It is impossible to tell liberals from conservatives, democrats from republicans, leftists from rightists, anymore. You just can’t do it. The definitions and actions of the groups and individuals, who continue to cling to those titles are too mixed to determine true principles. The Libertarians (big L) have now joined this game and no longer represent libertarian philosphy. As such they can now be attacked by the other parties as simple crackpots and inconsistent ninnies.
Steve Brenneis, over at Ars Mens Mentis, takes a dim view of libertarians because of this. He is, however, honest enough to admit the failings in the conservative party that used to represent his own views. While I do agree with Steve on his view of the Libertarian party, I would suggest that he consider his own narrative and realize he may not have correct view of libertarianism, as a philosophy, for the the very same reasons.
I’ve spent a lot of time and energy, especially since I left public office, castigating this and that individual for claiming to be conservative when they were, quite obviously to me, not conservative at all. This reached a peak for me lately with George W. Bush. He is an unrepentant socialist, a globalist, and a closet aristocrat. At this point, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit a little self-absorption. Bush, at least his public persona, is just about the diametric opposite of most of what I believe, politically speaking. Since I considered myself a conservative, obviously Bush couldn’t possibly be one. I have come to realize I was wrong about that.
Creeping socialism has been the way in this country for lo these past forty years. Following Hayek’s logic, conservatism acts as an anchor, slowing or impeding change. The conclusion isn’t rocket science. Bush and his fellow “neo-cons” really do represent American conservatism now. The neo-con appellation is ironically apt with its connotation of “new conservatism.” The Republican Party is now the home, for the foreseeable future, of this new conservatism.
Even though I consider the libertarian philosphy the closest to my own beliefs, I feel a kindred spirit with Steve, as I once was a conservative. The very things he laments drove me from that party, and made me realize that the system produced these results. For meaningful reform, the system must change, not just the policy.
Steve has many more terrific posts. Go read and enjoy.
“When a true genius appears in this world you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.” — Jonathan Swift