Paleo-conservative writer and professor Dr Paul Gottfried has an article out for Taki’s Magazine which makes a couple of excellent points about political labels and the state of society in the United States. The article begins by critiquing a recent piece from pro-Establishment Republican George Will. In his piece, Will writes that ‘Twice as many Americans identify themselves as conservative as opposed to liberal. On Nov. 6 we will know if they mean it.’ He then goes on to quote Leftist (but, as Gottfried notes, pro-Israeli) New York City politician Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Irving Kristol, the ‘godfather of Neo-conservatism’, to defend his point of view. Will makes the case that the United States is really a conservative society that often votes for liberals and that this time voters should stick to their principles and elect conservative Mitt Romney as US president. Of course, there are major problems with Will’s argument, and Gottfriend points them out in plain language:
What Will has written about political labels is pure mush. He stretches the term “conservative” so far that it means whatever he (and presumably the “conservative” press) wants it to mean.
Gottfried goes on to note that by even the standards following WWII, US voters in general (encompassing both Democrat and Republican supporters) today are well to the Left of European socialists and on social issues make the communists of those years appear ‘strikingly reactionary’ by comparison. He continues, pointing out how even the ‘conservatives’ for whom George Will cheers have adopted the underlying values of liberalism upon which Post-Modernity has been built and sound much like crazed French revolutionaries of the 1790s:
Those who were ranting at the GOP Convention about our duty to spread human rights globally did not sound even vaguely “conservative.” They seemed to be imitating the zealots of the French Revolution who worked to bring their “Rights of Men and Citizens” at bayonet point to the rest of the human race.
Gottfried then notes how ridiculous it is to compare today’s liberals and ‘conservatives’ to Jeffersonians of yesteryear. Hamilton, for all his faults, distrusted democracy and opposed internationalism. And the State power that Jefferson wished to protect has been completely destroyed; we now live under a consolidated government. Nor do the ‘conservative’ Republicans of today (who advocate global revolution, Third World immigration, propping up failing US industry with taxpayers’ money and subordinating US foreign policy decisions to the demands of a certain tiny country in the Middle East) hold views anywhere close to the world-view of Jeffersonians.
Continuing his assault on the careless and completely inaccurate way in which political labels are thrown around in the US today, Gottfried writes:
Since the terms “conservative” and “liberal” have become empty rhetorical phrases, it is not surprising that some Obama voters are being classified as inconsistent “conservatives.” Why not call them Martians? The operative terms are truly free-floating. They function to allow journalists and politicians to differentiate their mostly indistinguishable products.
This is Paul Gottfried’s political and social commentary at its best. His entire article is well worth reading.