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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.”
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
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?