Neocons and Progressives: One Big Family of Aggressors and Central Planners, with Delusions of Grandeur

Column by Scott Lazarowitz.

Exclusive to STR

Regarding the traditional left-right scheme and modern uses of the terms “conservative” and “liberal,” the neoconservatives are hardly conservative and the liberals and progressives are hardly liberal or progressive. Rather than viewing “left” as liberal or progressive, and “right” as conservative or neoconservative, I view left as being collectivist and right as individualist.

Because both sides, progressives and neoconservatives (a.k.a. “neocons”) are of collectivism, I view both sides as on the left. Advocates of private property and voluntary exchange are on the right, in my view.
Collectivism includes the sacrificing of the individual to serve the collective, and the conscription of the individual’s labor to serve the interests of the collective via coercive taxation under threats of violence, i.e. involuntary servitude.
Individualism, on the other hand, includes the protection of the rights of the individual to self-ownership, the right to be free from the aggression and intrusion of others, the sanctity of justly acquired private property, and voluntary exchange, voluntary association and voluntary contracts.
Connections between the neocons and the progressive-left include covetousness, trespass onto the property of others, delusions of grandiosity and the use of aggression to force their delusional plans onto others. Both groups are also collectivist in nature, and their policies show a lack of respect for the rights of the individual. The individual , to these collectivists, is to be sacrificed to serve the interests of the community, or of the State.
The Progressives
In their utopian delusions of grandiosity, the progressive-left central planners seem to fantasize that the disadvantaged and the underprivileged would be helped if the government forced people to do certain things, with business regulations, mandates, licensure requirements, union protectionism, trade laws and restrictions, minimum wage laws, etc.
But as we have seen from America’s economic destruction over many decades, the progressives have inflicted on us their pathological “fatal conceit,” as coined by F.A. Hayek.
And the progressive-left probably don’t understand that when they support legislation, enforced by armed police agents of the State, that they are really supporting aggression and violence.
Why are the progressives’ grandiose schemes violent in nature? Because it takes the use of physical force or coercion and the State’s hired guns, the police, to enforce the progressives’ agenda. The progressives do not seem to accept the ideas of voluntary association, voluntary contracts and private property.
And the more intrusive legislation they support, such as the Dodd-Frank “Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act,” and the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” a.k.a. “ObamaCare,” the more armed police (via FBI, IRS, SEC, local police, etc.) they require to inflict their grandiose utopian yet counter-productive schemes onto the rest of us.
Workers unions are a more direct representation of the violence imposed by the left and progressives. Unions have used intimidation to coerce their employers to pay them more than their labor would be valued in a free and open market [.pdf]. Employers have become slaves of workers, and as a result there are fewer workers, because some employers can’t afford to pay the salaries and benefits that the unions have forced them to pay either through “negotiations” or through legislative force.
Some people believe that it was unions’ unreasonable demands for further artificially higher pay and luxurious benefits that would have put General Motors out of business, were it not for the taxpayers who involuntarily “saved” the unions GM.
Believe it or not, or like it or not, State privileges such as those granted to private sector unions through protectionist coercion or legislation, as well as public employees unions’ extravagant benefits and pensions – taken by force through taxation from the private sector workers and producers – are in the same category of State-privilege for the “1%” Wall Street crowd who get their bailouts, their Primary Dealer government-fiat-money handouts and their extravagant bonuses – all at the expense of the taxpaying and compulsory-dollar-using working stiff.
And the Occupy Wall Street movement seems to have an agenda associated with that of the progressive left. Some of Occupy’s demands have included more governmental interventions and coercion (to further wreck the economy). Besides forgiveness of student loan debts and getting rid of corporate influence in elections, demands also include a further increase in the minimum wage, increasing taxes on the rich, universal or single-payer health care, and ending capitalism entirely.
Obviously, in my opinion, many amongst the Occupy movement are just not economically literate. Class warfare has been used by the left for a century to inflict its agenda of collective sacrifice of the individual and State theft of the individual’s property and wealth.
But as Sheldon Richman observed, Wall Street couldn’t have done it alone, and it takes collusions with government to cause the financial mess that America is now in. So the Occupy Wall Streeters also need to protest Congressional offices, the Federal Reserve, and the White House to be consistent.
As Richman concluded, the solution lies in a freed market. That is, markets of voluntary exchange and private property, in the absence of governmental intrusions and coercion.
Acts of intrusion into the private associations and contracts amongst individuals that the progressive-left have imposed have caused the reduction of employment opportunities and distorted prices of products and services. Whether it’s in the health care, financial or other industries, central planners’ authoritarian, top-down approach to resolving problems and inequalities of opportunity or wealth is impossible to achieve, because central planners lack the information that is necessary to know what is needed, how much is needed, where something is needed, and what price a product or service should be.
In contrast, in a freed society with freed markets, in which private associations and contracts are protected from intrusions and protected from aggression, trespass and theft, the consumers would determine what prices should be and who succeeds in what particular field of endeavor.
The Neocons
How are “neoconservatives” not conservative and instead socialists and much more closely linked with progressives than with real conservatives? 
To be conservative can refer to adhering to traditional social and cultural values, as well as being fiscally conservative. But the neoconservatives spend tax dollars (received through coercive taxation and threats of violence against individuals) and borrow while increasing public debts in the name of expanding their military bases overseas.
Neocons are socialists in that they believe in the public ownership of the means of production in security. Neocons would never consider the idea of de-monopolized, privately owned [.pdf] means of production in security under the rule of law. That would remove the protectionism that the privilege of State-controlled, socialized national security gives favored defense contractors, and would instead provide the population with many more choices of competitive protection firms on a freed, open market.
Regarding the “moral values” of actual conservatism, the neocons have started wars against countries such as Iraq (twice) and Afghanistan, in which much of those countries’ infrastructure and property was destroyed, multitudes of innocent civilians were slaughtered or injured, families torn apart, and for no good reason.
But to believe in actual moral values, one would have to adhere to the Golden Rule of “Do unto others what one would want others to do unto you,” and “Don’t do unto others what one would not want others to do unto you.”
Sadly, when Ron Paul mentions this basic Christian, universal rule of moral civility, he gets booed by the neocons.
When it comes to true conservatism and moral values, the neocons are phony. They’re as phony as a dollar bill.
Besides their grandiose schemes and promotion of Big Government central planning, another aspect that puts neocons in the same category as the progressives is their globalist fanaticism.
In the neocons’ utopian delusions of grandeur, those central planning collectivists have been attempting to “remake the Middle East,” particularly with the first unnecessary and counterproductive Iraq War in 1991, and onward. As with progressive President Woodrow Wilson, the neocons want to “make the world safe for democracy.” (But not safe for freedom.)
As Justin Raimondo explains, modern neocons have their roots in the late Irving Kristol, father of chickenhawk Bill Kristol. The elder Kristol was a self-proclaimed Trotskyist. He opposed Stalinism but embraced Trotskyism.
Stalin, as Raimondo points out, favored “Socialism in one country,” such as USSR and its satellite countries, but not necessarily world revolution, while Trotsky embraced the idea of world revolution, defeating capitalist countries and spreading socialist paradise globally.
Further expansion of the neocon movement and of the U.S. government’s military-industrial-complex ensued following the 1991 Iraq War. In 1996, the younger Bill Kristol, and Robert Kagan (later foreign policy advisor to George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney, and who has been praised by Barack Obama), published the article, Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy. In the article the neocons called for “benevolent global hegemony.” And In 1997, Bill Kristol and Kagan founded Project for the New American Century, whose main policy paper, Rebuilding America’s Defenses, calls for the U.S. to spread its might and influence globally.
In 2007, Gen. Wesley Clark revealed that the neocons had by 2001 planned to invade and force regime change in particular countries, including “Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.”
George W. Bush merely called his crusade a “global democratic revolution.”
As Raimondo observes, the Trotskyite neocons transferred their loyalty from the USSR to the U.S., albeit not a capitalist America but a truly socialist American utopia, in which the central planning government controls all things domestically with its regulatory and armed police state, and expands itself globally as well.
With George W. Bush and Obama’s Patriot Act, NSA spying against Americans, the NDAA indefinite detention of innocents, America has become much more like the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, thanks to the Demopublicans and Republicrats’ rubber-stamping the neocon police state agenda.
In a sense, one of the major neocons of our time, Dick Cheney, who has spent most of his adult life not in the private sector being productive but in the public sector feeding off the taxpayers’ labor, has a lot in common with the current president, Barack Obama, who has spent his entire adult life advocating the powers of the State to administer “social justice,” and who also advanced in life through privilege (and affirmative action).
But the “antiwar” progressive Democrat candidate of 2008 Barack Obama immediately became a Cheney neocon after being sworn in as President. Obama expanded the Bush imperialism warmongering and then the more typically progressive-lefthumanitarian” warmongering.
Especially Orwellian is Obama’s new cringeworthy “Atrocity Prevention Board.”
Contrary to the neocon-progressives’ assertion about “spreading democracy” or fighting against terrorism, their aggression is hardly behavior of “peace-loving,” “democratic,” or “benevolent” cultures and societies. You can’t say with a straight face that you are “spreading capitalism,” when you are engaging in murders of innocent civilians, destruction of other people’s property and trespassing on other peoples’ lands.
Just as the progressives’ domestic economic interventions that allow State theft of and aggressions into private property have the natural blowback of “unintended consequences” (an economy in shambles, dwindling freedom, etc.), the neocons’ foreign interventionism has caused a great deal of blowback against America. The war of aggression that President George H.W. Bush and his defense secretary Dick Cheney started against Iraq in 1991, the destruction of civilian water and sewage treatment facilities, sanctions and subsequent disease and deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, all led to widespread anti-Americanism throughout the Middle East and the 9/11 attacks.
Terrorist attacks within America’s borders were actually predicted by Ron Paul during the 1990s, based on Dr. Paul’s understanding of the situation overseas, especially in Iraq, and his understanding that when central planners initiate aggressions against the lives, liberty and property of others, there will be negative consequences and blowback.
As I noted here, war is an artificial collectivist and statist concept used to rationalize criminal aggression. It comes straight from the left and from the State and its apparatchiks, propagandists, and merchants of death, certainly not from the individualist, voluntaryist right.
So-called conservatives such as Sarah Palin and Sean Hannity, who allegedly believe in traditional moral values and “small government,” seem to have been brainwashed into supporting the wars of aggression by the neocons that have destroyed much of the Middle East, and have given us the domestic police state that is now Nazifying America. Not very conservative, not really moral.
Real capitalists and individualists who believe in free markets, private property and voluntary exchange, do not impose themselves onto others with aggression. Aggression and invasion of property are the marks of socialists and interventionists.
Aggression, collectivism, and destructive central planning delusions are the characteristics which bond the neocons and progressives together in one big covetous family of power-grabbers. Can we possibly ever free ourselves of them? 
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Scott Lazarowitz's picture
Columns on STR: 16

Scott Lazarowitz is a libertarian writer and cartoonist. Website:


eugenedw's picture

From the article: "Workers unions are a more direct representation of the violence imposed by the left and progressives. Unions have used intimidation to coerce their employers to pay them more than their labor would be valued in a free and open market [.pdf]. Employers have become slaves of workers, and as a result there are fewer workers, because some employers can’t afford to pay the salaries and benefits that the unions have forced them to pay either through “negotiations” or through legislative force."

The above may well be true, but there is something to keep in mind here. In a society without government, there will no longer be government structures to protect workers who strike etc. But there will also no longer be any government force to protect employers against their own workers. Fail to pay your workers a living wage, and they'll have your head on a platter. You could possibly appoint hired guns to protect yourself and your property, but so can they (and it may well be more expensive than simply paying your workers a bit more and yourself a bit less). Worker unions will probably still exist, and may well actually have more power than they do now.

Thus, rather ironically, my guess is that a government-free society will in some respects be more socialistic than the current one. At least as far as income equality is concerned. In societies with sweat shops and that sort of thing, it is ironically the socialist "people's governments" that in fact keep the repression and exploitation going by preventing or stamping out worker revolts in the name of "keeping public order." The employers on their own, without government help, will not be able to do it and will likely be far more inclined to talk to their workers instead of simply spraying them with water cannons and tear gas.

I am not an American, so I am reluctant to make sweeping statements about America, but my guess is that neither the leftwing "progressives" nor the rightwing neocons are interested in socialism as such. They are interested in preserving the status quo in the interest of a small number of privileged people. Obama may well claim that he wants better conditions for workers, but his policies are not achieving that - they are keeping things the same, or indeed making it even worse for employees.

Exactly the same thing happens here in South Africa, where we have a nominally leftwing government of corrupt, incompetent parasites who like standing on stages talking about human rights, but in fact do little more than enriching themselves and their cronies. They are all for worker rights until there is a demonstration by workers, at which point they send in gangs of armed thugs to stamp it out. They are all for developing local entrepreneurial activity, until a few people put up small vending businesses in the city center, at which point the armed thugs are once again sent in to destroy these (and, usually, help themselves to the merchandise).

So much for government by the people, for the people! Alas, in election after election, the victims of these goons vote them back into power, firmly believing that this time round the outcome will be different.

Jim Davies's picture

eugenedw, you wrote "Fail to pay your workers a living wage, and they'll have your head on a platter" in a zero-government society.

How, exactly? - I mean, how could such a situation arise?

If an employer offered inadequate wages, he'd not get any help. But if he did and got some, that would happen under the terms of a contract, enforcible by free-market courts. If he later reneged and paid less than contracted, the employee could either just quit for a better job, and/or sue him and expect to win.

There being no government all money would be honest - most likely, Krugerrands in your part of the world. Nobody could reduce their value, like government cuts the value of its fiat money so as to cause inflation. So if the boss honored his side of the contract, the wage could not fall. In fact on the precedent of the 19th Century, gold money would probably _rise_ a little in purchasing power.

Or do you perhaps foresee a gold bonanza, the discovery of a major, rich new vein in the Drakenberg? - that would have an effect, but it would affect everyone in the economy, not just a single skinflint employer.

Glock27's picture

It really sounds as if we are really no different. I deeply empathize with you and your situation. You just can't seem to stamp out human stupidity. You may know this already, but many years back the Mayor of Washington went to prison on drug related charges, got out, camb back, ran for Mayor again and won. What's that tell you about human nature.

Hope all goes well for you and you don't get caught up in a bloody mess.



Suverans2's picture


eugenedw's picture

Jim: Thank you for your comments. I was really only speaking somewhat hypothetically. I can imagine situations in which trouble may arise, for example if there is widespread unemployment, which would limit the possibilities of job seekers. They may have little choice but to accept a job in which they have to work 16 hour days for a barely living wage. After a few months of that, perhaps they would not care about what the courts or their contracts say anymore, especially if they notice that their employer hardly works at all and lives in luxury.

However, I am not really in fundamental disagreement with you. It seems to me that in a no-government system, workers may well actually be better off, simply because the state would no longer protect truly exploitative employers.

Jim Davies's picture

You're welcome, Eugen, and it's a real challenge to the imagination, to visualize a free society. It will be radically different from what's familiar. Without government, for example, there would be no obstacle for a rival to enter the trade and undercut the plutocrat; as you say, he'd have no protection.

Once competitors got weaving, wages would be bid up.

Can there be "widespread unemployment" in a free society? - How?

There _might_ be some during the transition, assuming it happens fast once it begins :-) I reckon that in the US about 40 million work directly or indirectly for government (around a third of all workers) and that's a huge number for any job market to absorb in a short time. There may also be an understandable reluctance among formerly overpaid bureau-rats to take a steep pay cut and do real work. But this will be a temporary problem at worst and the longer the period over which it can be spread, the easier it will be.

To that end, recently I put up to encourage an early start.

Glock27's picture

Cheers Jim,
I notice that you also have the ability to imagine something "...and it’s a real challenge to the imagination, to visualize (imagine) a free society." without having to clinically analyze something to death. Not saying logical reasoning doesn’t have a place but it is rarely used. There is no truth in science,

Karl Popper; Conjectures and Refutations; 1965, p192 states “It can even be shown that all theories, including the best, have the same probability, namely zero.” That strikes me fearfully because that is what I see despite my desperate love for a free society not to be confused with an open society as George Sorous so eagerly covets. Then there is Morris Kline; Mathematics: The Loss of Certainty”p7 “The hope of finding objective, infallible laws and standards has faded. The age of Reason is gone.” Scary. This is what I feel dooms anarchism, libertarianism, voluntarism and etc. isms. I love the ideas but for the most part that is exactly what they are. How do you get new ideas to become a part of reality? Morris Kline again from the same text “Nature’s laws are man’s creation, we, not God, are the lawgivers of the universe. A law of nature is man’s description and not God’s prescription.” Bart Kosko; Fuzzy Thinking, 1993; p8 calls out that “Laws of science are not laws at all…Laws of science state tendencies we have recently observed in our corner of the universe.” Also Hans Hahn; Logic, Mathematics and Knowledge of Nature; 1933 declares “…there is not a single law of nature which we know to be valid; the laws of nature are hypotheses which we assert tentatively.” Henry Poincare; Science and Hypothesis p104, J.H.Randall; Philosophy: An Introduction: This one is one I really like “If we examine the history of science…we find that in each period a given theory is entertained by science as true. Shortly afterward the theory is found inadequate, and is replaced by a new theory…these theories…cannot all be true. …A true theory would not be replaceable, for what is true remains true—unless of course what we are explaining no longer remains the same.

THUS THE THEORIES OF SCIENCE ARE GUESSES, which are changed after the scientific fashions of the day, but none are faithful accounts of reality. J.H. Randall; Philosophy, An Introduction p98. Where does ALV have to go but stand where it is, in a deep hole without escape. That is what is frightening to me. Our world is vested with robbers, crooks, thieves, cheats, liers, schemers, scamers, politicians whom haven’t the foggiest notion of what they are doing except to garner as much from the population as they possibly can under false pretenses and being for the good of the people. The only intelligent one was Saul Alynski I believe--one whom [o]bama idolizes and models his efforts after.
Believe me when I say I have absolutely nothing against you or logic. I just don’t see it as a tool of change. It works upon those whom are splitting the fence at the time and don't know which way to fall. This then is where logic and reasoning is going to work but it would certainly help if they were able to imagine something a lot better than what we currently have. Only via a revolution of some form is going to alter the current circumstances and that revolution may not be the healthiest or most desired for the end result so much sought after here at Strike the Root. Changing one person at a time is the slowest and most fruitless method possible. I look at all the efforts and money spent by people to defeat [o]bama with all the atrocities he has committed upon the American public. That is evience enough that reason and logic will not work.

EMPIRICISM IS NOT A SOURCE OF TRUTH either. “…we can never have perfectly clean-cut knowledge of anything. It is a general consequence of the approximate character of all measurements that no empirical science can ever make exact statements. P.W. Bridgman; The Logic of Modern Physics; p33, 34,

L. Wittgenstein 1921; Tractatus logico-Philosophicus, s6.1,6.11,6.111,4.462 “The propositions of logic are tautologies. The propositions of logic therefore say nothing. Theories which make a proposition of logic appear substantial are always false. …the propositions of logic do not stand in any representational relation to reality.” This list of prominent mathematicians and philosophers goes on and on with their disparagement of theories, ideas, hopes and dreams, logic, rationality, validity, truth and falsity, yet they persisted in their fields with the knowledge of all this. Had it been me I would have given up and still may. John Hasnas I think has hit upon probably one of the most fruitful ideas in a long time. We are imaginative beings first, possibly rational second. Very little that happens in this world happens by logic or sound reasoning or rational thought; that occurs here on this site and by my ramblings I am certain you see not one iota of logical, rational, reasoning to what I say. It is not my intent to be logical, rational and reasonable. My intent is to make observations with comments in hopes of uncovering some thought or idea I have not given consideration to.

The reason of this response is that my observation of your having use the word imagine and made me wonder why you have not given it considerable thought or will not give it thought regarding the overall situation of discussion, dialogue and conversation. Realizing that people are rather imaginative when lead in the direction you wish them to go is quiet a fortunate aspect to use against those whom have no reasoning ability. Saul Alynski recognized this many years ago while organizing people to get change to happen. If you can get one person to imagine that at the end of the line his or her life will be better than it presently is, then achievement will have been accomplished. But beating them over the head with logic and rational reasoning is only going to make them dig their heels in deeper and imagine the alternate of your argument is the far better choice.

Did I ignore the remainder of your comment? Yes I did because that was not the point I was focused on.

I know this must seem rather aggressive on my part but let me assure you that this is not the case. It is me making a point regarding imagination over logic or science in relationship the Dr. John Hasnas.

With all due respect,

Suverans2's picture

Sorry, Glock27, I don't mean to detract from your point, but nature’s laws are NOT man’s creation, Morris Kline, nor can it be proved that they are "God's creation", they are simply discovered by men, and, unfortunately, sometimes misinterpreted. Man did not create the idea of self-ownership any more than he created the law of gravity; he discovered them both.

Glock27's picture

Cheers Suverans2,
If you note, these were not my ideas, kind of wish they were and that my mind could operate that well. These guys are well out of my class of intellectual range as well as a number of people here. I observe, I post an observation and hope for the best that I haven't f***ed up somewhere, which it seems as though I mostly do. Part of the reason I posted it the individual was some what sharp with my notion about the idea of imagination as opposed to rational. They used the term "imagination" in a response and I found it interesting that they could recognize the word, use it, but not consider it beyond that point. Samirami linked me up with the Dr. John Hasnas whom influenced my thought that man is not necessarily a rational, logical being but rather an imaginative being. When he can imagine something as being to his benefit he is most likely to accept the idea and does not go through a rigrious critical analysis to come to a decision. I do not believe any of us are that rational but more emotional and use our emotions to make decisions, and respond to events, circumstances, state-of-affairs and etc. I know that I am that way when I consider my life. I could have done better but I never imagined anything differently than what I have and thanks to my wife she was able to help me imagine something better that I had previously imagined not rationalized.
Does that make sense?


Glock27's picture

Scott. That was a firecracker piece, or cherry bomb of a piece loaded with historical and current event. It was an interesting read, but like most of the stuff I read here one point always seems to be missed, overlooked, forgotten or ignored. What is a real viable and operable solution? I have no disagreement with what you have said here. It's great but it fails to produce a solution. Freedom and Liberty at this point in time is a myth.

I really like Samirami. He seems to have it boiled down for himself. How he does it I have no idea, but still, even he offers no wholistic solution either. The only solution I see is a collective effort to agendize A,B,C,D, and etc, but once you collectivize then you have screwed yourself into something you originally had no interest in becoming.

Just an observation from an "unwashed mass member" not criticism, just looking for answers.

Glock27's picture

No comment already done before,