[Paleopsych] American Conservative: Endorsement Issue
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American Conservative: Endorsement Issue
http://amconmag.com/2004_11_08/cover.html et seq.
[I keep coming out as a paleo-conservative, even though I criticize their
shortcomings regularly and am in fact a transhumanist and a secularist,
have little feeling for tradition, and am a 21st century left-wing
pluralist. The reason I come out as a paleo-con, I think, is because of my
pluralism: I find no higher truth in politics and therefore favor a
radically decentralized federalism, which is the scheme that allows voter
to move to the states that give them *their own* optimal mix of taxes,
benefits, and regulations. The average American moves every seven years,
but since the national government collects most of the taxes, federalism
is not allowed to work very well. I find very little national activity
that cannot be handled at the state and local level, esp. since 85% of
government activity is simply transfer.
[I don't vote, on the principled grounds that taxeaters have a conflict of
interest to vote for more tax dollars for themselves. Taxeaters include
those who work for the government, like I do, as well as those who receive
more in targeted government benefits than they pay back in taxes. But were
I to vote, I'd vote for the Constitution Party, even though they are
strongly Christian and want to ban abortion. Their platform,
http://constitutionparty.org, refrains from demanding a Federal law
against it. I am both anti-life and anti-choice: in my state, Maryland,
pregnant female taxeaters--I exclude government workers here--should be
required to get an abortion as a condition of remaining a taxeater.]
[I'd support the Libertarian Party, on the grounds that I'd vote with Ron
Paul more than any other member of the U.S. House of Representatives,
except for their open-borders policy.
[I do not fear Christians! I understand them. Nearly all of them want to
be left alone by the government. I do not fear their unwillingness to
leave the rest of us alone. That is a way out-of-date fear.]
Unfortunately, this election does not offer traditional conservatives
an easy or natural choice and has left our editors as split as our
readership. In an effort to deepen our readers' and our own
understanding of the options before us, we've asked several of our
editors and contributors to make "the conservative case" for their
favored candidate. Their pieces, plus Taki's column closing out this
issue, constitute TAC's endorsement. --The Editors
Coming Home by Patrick J. Buchanan
In the fall of 2002, the editors of this magazine moved up its launch
date to make the conservative case against invading Iraq. Such a war,
we warned, on a country that did not attack us, did not threaten us,
did not want war with us, and had no role in 9/11, would be "a tragedy
and a disaster." Invade and we inherit our own West Bank of 23 million
Iraqis, unite Islam against us, and incite imams from Morocco to
Malaysia to preach jihad against America. So we wrote, again and
In a 6,000-word article entitled "Whose War?" we warned President Bush
that he was "being lured into a trap baited for him by neocons that
could cost him his office and cause America to forfeit years of peace
won for us by the sacrifices of two generations..."
Everything we predicted has come to pass. Iraq is the worst strategic
blunder in our lifetime. And for it, George W. Bush, his War Cabinet,
and the neoconservatives who plotted and planned this war for a decade
bear full responsibility. Should Bush lose on Nov. 2, it will be
because he heeded their siren song--that the world was pining for
American Empire; that "Big Government Conservatism" is a political
philosophy, not an opportunistic sellout of principle; that free-trade
globalism is the path to prosperity, not the serial killer of U.S.
manufacturing; that amnesty for illegal aliens is compassionate
conservatism, not an abdication of constitutional duty.
Mr. Bush was led up the garden path. And the returns from his mid-life
conversion to neoconservatism are now in:
o A guerrilla war in Iraq is dividing and bleeding America with no
end in sight. It carries the potential for chaos, civil war, and
the dissolution of that country.
o Balkanization of America and the looming bankruptcy of California
as poverty and crime rates soar from an annual invasion of indigent
illegals is forcing native-born Californians to flee the state for
the first time since gold was found at Sutter's Mill.
o A fiscal deficit of 4 percent of GDP and merchandise trade
deficit of 6 percent of GDP have produced a falling dollar, the
highest level of foreign indebtedness in U.S. history, and the loss
of one of every six manufacturing jobs since Bush took office.
If Bush loses, his conversion to neoconservatism, the Arian heresy of
the American Right, will have killed his presidency. Yet, in the
contest between Bush and Kerry, I am compelled to endorse the
president of the United States. Why? Because, while Bush and Kerry are
both wrong on Iraq, Sharon, NAFTA, the WTO, open borders, affirmative
action, amnesty, free trade, foreign aid, and Big Government, Bush is
right on taxes, judges, sovereignty, and values. Kerry is right on
The only compelling argument for endorsing Kerry is to punish Bush for
Iraq. But why should Kerry be rewarded? He voted to hand Bush a blank
check for war. Though he calls Iraq a "colossal" error, "the wrong war
in the wrong place at the wrong time," he has said he would--even had
he known Saddam had no role in 9/11 and no WMD--vote the same way
today. This is the Richard Perle position.
Assuredly, a president who plunged us into an unnecessary and ruinous
war must be held accountable. And if Bush loses, Iraq will have been
his undoing. But a vote for Kerry is more than just a vote to punish
Bush. It is a vote to punish America.
For Kerry is a man who came home from Vietnam to slime the soldiers,
sailors, Marines, and POWs he left behind as war criminals who engaged
in serial atrocities with the full knowledge of their superior
officers. His conduct was as treasonous as that of Jane Fonda and
disqualifies him from ever being commander-in-chief of the Armed
Forces of the United States.
As senator, he voted to undermine the policy of Ronald Reagan that
brought us victory in the Cold War. He has voted against almost every
weapon in the U.S. arsenal. Though a Catholic who professes to believe
life begins at conception, he backs abortion on demand. He has opposed
the conservative judges Bush has named to the U.S. appellate courts.
His plans for national health insurance and new spending would
bankrupt America. He would raise taxes. He is a globalist and a
multilateralist who would sign us on to the Kyoto Protocol and
International Criminal Court. His stands on Iraq are about as coherent
as a self-portrait by Jackson Pollock.
With Kerry as president, William Rehnquist could be succeeded as chief
justice by Hillary Clinton. Every associate justice Kerry named would
be cut from the same bolt of cloth as Warren, Brennan, Douglas,
Blackmun, and Ginsburg. Should Kerry win, the courts will remain a
battering ram of social revolution and the conservative drive in
Congress to restrict the jurisdiction of all federal courts, including
the Supreme Court, will die an early death.
I cannot endorse the candidate of Michael Moore, George Soros, and
Barbra Streisand, nor endorse a course of action that would put this
political windsurfer into the presidency, no matter how deep our
disagreement with the fiscal, foreign, immigration, and trade policies
of George W. Bush.
As Barry Goldwater said in 1960, in urging conservatives to set aside
their grievances and unite behind the establishment party of
Eisenhower, Rockefeller, and Lodge, the Republican Party is our home.
It is our only hope. If an authentic conservatism rooted in the values
of faith, family, community, and country is ever again to become the
guiding light of national policy, it will have to come through a
The Democratic Party of Kerry, Edwards, Clinton & Clinton is a lost
cause: secularist, socialist, and statist to the core. What of the
third-party candidates? While Ralph Nader is a man of principle and
political courage, he is of the populist Left. We are of the Right.
The Constitution Party is the party closest to this magazine in
philosophy and policy prescriptions, and while one must respect votes
for Michael Peroutka by those who live in Red or Blue states, we
cannot counsel such votes in battleground states.
For this election has come down to Bush or Kerry, and on life, guns,
judges, taxes, sovereignty, and defense, Bush is far better. Moreover,
inside the Republican Party, a rebellion is stirring. Tom Tancredo is
leading the battle for defense of our borders. While only a handful of
Republicans stood with us against the war in Iraq, many now concede
that we were right. As Franklin Foer writes in the New York Times, our
America First foreign policy is now being given a second look by a
conservative movement disillusioned with neoconservative warmongering
and Wilsonian interventionism.
There is a rumbling of dissent inside the GOP to the free-trade
fanaticism of the Wall Street Journal that is denuding the nation of
manufacturing and alienating Reagan Democrats. The celebrants of
outsourcing in the White House have gone into cloister. The Bush
amnesty for illegal aliens has been rejected. Prodigal Republicans now
understand that their cohabitation with Big Government has brought
their country to the brink of ruin and bought them nothing. But if we
wish to be involved in the struggle for the soul of the GOP--and we
intend to be there--we cannot be AWOL from the battle where the fate
of that party is decided.
There is another reason Bush must win. The liberal establishment that
marched us into Vietnam evaded punishment for its loss of nerve and
failure of will to win--by dumping LBJ, defecting to the children's
crusade to "give peace a chance," then sabotaging Nixon every step of
the way out of Vietnam until they broke his presidency in Watergate.
Ensuring America's defeat, they covered their tracks by denouncing
their own war as "Nixon's War."
If Kerry wins, leading a party that detests this war, he will be
forced to execute an early withdrawal. Should that bring about a
debacle, neocons will indict Democrats for losing Iraq. The cakewalk
crowd cannot be permitted to get out from under this disaster that
easily. They steered Bush into this war and should be made to see it
through to the end and to preside over the withdrawal or retreat. Only
thus can they be held accountable. Only thus can this neo-Jacobin
ideology be discredited in America's eyes. It is essential for the
country and our cause that it be repudiated by the Republican Party
formally and finally. The neocons must clean up the mess they have
made, themselves, in full public view.
There is a final reason I support George W. Bush. A presidential
election is a Hatfield-McCoy thing, a tribal affair. No matter the
quarrels inside the family, when the shooting starts, you come home to
your own. When the Redcoats approached New Orleans to sunder the Union
and Jackson was stacking cotton bales and calling for help from any
quarter, the pirate Lafitte wrote to the governor of Louisiana to ask
permission to fight alongside his old countrymen. "The Black Sheep
wants to come home," Lafitte pleaded.
It's time to come home.
Kerry's the One by Scott McConnell
There is little in John Kerry's persona or platform that appeals to
conservatives. The flip-flopper charge--the centerpiece of the
Republican campaign against Kerry--seems overdone, as Kerry's
contrasting votes are the sort of baggage any senator of long service
is likely to pick up. (Bob Dole could tell you all about it.) But
Kerry is plainly a conventional liberal and no candidate for a future
edition of Profiles in Courage. In my view, he will always deserve
censure for his vote in favor of the Iraq War in 2002.
But this election is not about John Kerry. If he were to win, his
dearth of charisma would likely ensure him a single term. He would
face challenges from within his own party and a thwarting of his most
expensive initiatives by a Republican Congress. Much of his presidency
would be absorbed by trying to clean up the mess left to him in Iraq.
He would be constrained by the swollen deficits and a ripe target for
the next Republican nominee.
It is, instead, an election about the presidency of George W. Bush. To
the surprise of virtually everyone, Bush has turned into an important
president, and in many ways the most radical America has had since the
19th century. Because he is the leader of America's conservative
party, he has become the Left's perfect foil--its dream candidate. The
libertarian writer Lew Rockwell has mischievously noted parallels
between Bush and Russia's last tsar, Nicholas II: both gained office
as a result of family connections, both initiated an unnecessary war
that shattered their countries' budgets. Lenin needed the calamitous
reign of Nicholas II to create an opening for the Bolsheviks.
Bush has behaved like a caricature of what a right-wing president is
supposed to be, and his continuation in office will discredit any sort
of conservatism for generations. The launching of an invasion against
a country that posed no threat to the U.S., the doling out of war
profits and concessions to politically favored corporations, the
financing of the war by ballooning the deficit to be passed on to the
nation's children, the ceaseless drive to cut taxes for those outside
the middle class and working poor: it is as if Bush sought to
resurrect every false 1960s-era left-wing cliché about predatory
imperialism and turn it into administration policy. Add to this his
nation-breaking immigration proposal--Bush has laid out a mad scheme
to import immigrants to fill any job where the wage is so low that an
American can't be found to do it--and you have a presidency that
combines imperialist Right and open-borders Left in a uniquely noxious
During the campaign, few have paid attention to how much the Bush
presidency has degraded the image of the United States in the world.
Of course there has always been "anti-Americanism." After the Second
World War many European intellectuals argued for a "Third Way" between
American-style capitalism and Soviet communism, and a generation later
Europe's radicals embraced every ragged "anti-imperialist" cause that
came along. In South America, defiance of "the Yanqui" always draws a
crowd. But Bush has somehow managed to take all these sentiments and
turbo-charge them. In Europe and indeed all over the world, he has
made the United States despised by people who used to be its friends,
by businessmen and the middle classes, by moderate and sensible
liberals. Never before have democratic foreign governments needed to
demonstrate disdain for Washington to their own electorates in order
to survive in office. The poll numbers are shocking. In countries like
Norway, Germany, France, and Spain, Bush is liked by about seven
percent of the populace. In Egypt, recipient of huge piles of American
aid in the past two decades, some 98 percent have an unfavorable view
of the United States. It's the same throughout the Middle East.
Bush has accomplished this by giving the U.S. a novel foreign-policy
doctrine under which it arrogates to itself the right to invade any
country it wants if it feels threatened. It is an American version of
the Brezhnev Doctrine, but the latter was at least confined to Eastern
Europe. If the analogy seems extreme, what is an appropriate
comparison when a country manufactures falsehoods about a foreign
government, disseminates them widely, and invades the country on the
basis of those falsehoods? It is not an action that any American
president has ever taken before. It is not something that "good"
countries do. It is the main reason that people all over the world who
used to consider the United States a reliable and necessary bulwark of
world stability now see us as a menace to their own peace and
These sentiments mean that as long as Bush is president, we have no
real allies in the world, no friends to help us dig out from the Iraq
quagmire. More tragically, they mean that if terrorists succeed in
striking at the United States in another 9/11-type attack, many in the
world will not only think of the American victims but also of the
thousands and thousands of Iraqi civilians killed and maimed by
American armed forces. The hatred Bush has generated has helped
immeasurably those trying to recruit anti-American terrorists--indeed
his policies are the gift to terrorism that keeps on giving, as the
sons and brothers of slain Iraqis think how they may eventually take
their own revenge. Only the seriously deluded could fail to see that a
policy so central to America's survival as a free country as getting
hold of loose nuclear materials and controlling nuclear proliferation
requires the willingness of foreign countries to provide full, 100
percent co-operation. Making yourself into the world's most hated
country is not an obvious way to secure that help.
I've heard people who have known George W. Bush for decades and served
prominently in his father's administration say that he could not
possibly have conceived of the doctrine of pre-emptive war by himself,
that he was essentially taken for a ride by people with a pre-existing
agenda to overturn Saddam Hussein. Bush's public performances plainly
show him to be a man who has never read or thought much about foreign
policy. So the inevitable questions are: who makes the key
foreign-policy decisions in the Bush presidency, who controls the
information flow to the president, how are various options are
The record, from published administration memoirs and in-depth
reporting, is one of an administration with a very small group of six
or eight real decision-makers, who were set on war from the beginning
and who took great pains to shut out arguments from professionals in
the CIA and State Department and the U.S. armed forces that
contradicted their rosy scenarios about easy victory. Much has been
written about the neoconservative hand guiding the Bush
presidency--and it is peculiar that one who was fired from the
National Security Council in the Reagan administration for suspicion
of passing classified material to the Israeli embassy and another who
has written position papers for an Israeli Likud Party leader have
become key players in the making of American foreign policy.
But neoconservatism now encompasses much more than Israel-obsessed
intellectuals and policy insiders. The Bush foreign policy also surfs
on deep currents within the Christian Right, some of which see
unqualified support of Israel as part of a godly plan to bring about
Armageddon and the future kingdom of Christ. These two strands of
Jewish and Christian extremism build on one another in the Bush
presidency--and President Bush has given not the slightest indication
he would restrain either in a second term. With Colin Powell's
departure from the State Department looming, Bush is more than ever
the "neoconian candidate." The only way Americans will have a
presidency in which neoconservatives and the Christian Armageddon set
are not holding the reins of power is if Kerry is elected.
If Kerry wins, this magazine will be in opposition from Inauguration
Day forward. But the most important battles will take place within the
Republican Party and the conservative movement. A Bush defeat will
ignite a huge soul-searching within the rank-and-file of
Republicandom: a quest to find out how and where the Bush presidency
went wrong. And it is then that more traditional conservatives will
have an audience to argue for a conservatism informed by the lessons
of history, based in prudence and a sense of continuity with the
American past--and to make that case without a powerful White House
pulling in the opposite direction.
George W. Bush has come to embody a politics that is antithetical to
almost any kind of thoughtful conservatism. His international policies
have been based on the hopelessly naïve belief that foreign peoples
are eager to be liberated by American armies--a notion more grounded
in Leon Trotsky's concept of global revolution than any sort of
conservative statecraft. His immigration policies--temporarily put on
hold while he runs for re-election--are just as extreme. A re-elected
President Bush would be committed to bringing in millions of low-wage
immigrants to do jobs Americans "won't do." This election is all about
George W. Bush, and those issues are enough to render him unworthy of
any conservative support.
Old Right Nader by Justin Raimondo
The Nader for President rally was a raucous affair and Mission High
School was filled to capacity, with a substantial crowd packing the
lobby and overflowing into the street. It was the logical place for
such an event, the middle of San Francisco's Mission District, a hub
of far-left activism where you're as likely to see an advertisement
for a forum by the International Socialist Organization as a billboard
for Absolut vodka.
As I entered the auditorium, Nader's runing mate, Peter Camejo, was
already warming up the crowd. Camejo, a former Trotskyist turned
Green, gives a good speech: the stentorian voice, the slashing
polemics punctuated by applause. There I was, surrounded on every side
by rambunctious Reds, wondering: what the heck am I doing here?
As if in answer to my question, Nader finally strode onto the stage.
He looked impossibly serene in the midst of that storm of applause,
and his voice--steady and sure--reinforced an aura of integrity that
seemed to emanate from his very person.
We're getting poorer, he said. In spite of government propaganda about
how things are getting better, our standard of living, compared to the
way our parents lived, is declining. The Left, content to settle for
less, has given up fighting for real progress, while the Democrats are
just as bad as the Republicans on such issues as "the concentration of
Nader explained that his campaign is important "pictorially" because
the two major parties, left to themselves, will merely consolidate the
status quo: there will be no one to pull the political dialogue in a
new direction. He spoke of "the domination of multi-national
corporations" intent on "erecting a corporate globalization scheme of
international autocratic government called WTO and NAFTA." The avarice
and cowardice of the two parties allows this to happen. Invoking the
legacy of the populist and progressive movements of the last century,
Nader urged the crowd to remember the fighting tradition of ordinary
people who stood up to the railroad monopolies and bankers. They
didn't "settle for less," he declared, and neither should you.
He kept coming back to the theme of a liberal intelligentsia that has
betrayed the cause of progressive reform. They are, he charged, at
once arrogant and too accommodating. They "presume to tell you that
[your efforts on behalf of Nader] will help to re-elect George W.
Bush--but when push actually came to shove in Florida, what did they
do?" "Who elected George W. Bush?" he asked. "It was the Democratic
Party! Even after they won the election they blew it!"
I cheered when he cited Gen. Smedley Butler's book War is a Racket as
an example of how corporate interests manipulate patriotic sentiment,
socializing the risks of overseas investments and pocketing the
profits. The Democrats are a big part of the problem: "In Washington
they say that George W. Bush must be defeated because of the War in
Iraq. Who voted for the War in Iraq? John Kerry. They say our civil
liberties are being sacrificed by the Patriot Act. Who voted for the
Patriot Act? Every Democratic Senator except Sen. Russ Feingold voted
for the Patriot Act."
What we have in this country, he declared, is "corporate socialism."
You should've seen the dirty looks I got as I applauded vigorously.
Socialism, to this audience, doesn't have anything to do with
corporations, it can't. But Nader is no Red; he knows better. Although
all 11 varieties of Trotskyists were there in full force, earnestly
hawking their pamphlets, the rhetoric that was coming from the stage
was hardly music to their ears.
Nader's distrust of bigness, either corporate or governmental, his
fear of centralized power, his sharp critique of the
managerial-bureaucratic mentality, all recall the distinctively
American tradition of individualist populism. Just as Nader rebelled
against the corporate socialism of the Democratic Party establishment,
so the mostly Midwestern progressives turned against the New Deal when
it became a stalking horse for corporatism and war. Nader's views are
attractive to the Left but are rooted, at least in part, on the
libertarian and populist Right.
He wasn't always a leftist icon. One of his first published articles
appeared in the Oct. 1962 issue of The Freeman, a libertarian
magazine. The piece, "How the Winstedites Kept Their Integrity," told
the story of how a proposal to build a public-housing project met with
opposition in Winsted, Conn., Nader's hometown. He attacked the
aesthetic aspect of government housing projects as symbolic of "the
drab, uniform, barrack-type existence" that awaits its tenants. He
Living under the government as landlord neither teaches children
the value of property (which is one reason why public housing
deteriorates so quickly) nor produces the environment for the
exercise of independence, self-reliance, and, above all,
citizenship. Any government intrusion into the economy deters the
alleged beneficiaries from voicing their views or participating in
civic life. The reason for this goes beyond the stigma of living in
subsidized housing. When public housing becomes, as it has over the
nation, a source of additional patronage for local distribution to
contractors, repairmen, and tenants, the free expression of human
beings is thus discouraged.
What riled Ralph about the Winsted housing project was that locals
were denied access to information by bureaucrats and had to resort to
three referenda before they could scotch the plans of political
insiders to milk private profit from the public teat. It's the same
old Ralph, albeit a bit more libertarian than we're used to.
As he stood on the stage, denouncing corporate socialism and foreign
wars, that calm, clear voice ringing with modest sincerity, I thought:
no wonder they're so afraid of him that they've hired an army of
corporate lawyers to deny him ballot status and shut down his
I know Ralph Nader is supposed to be a man of the Left, the Eugene
Debs or the Norman Thomas of our times, but as I listen to him on the
stump, I keep hearing the voice of the Old Right.
Justin Raimondo is editorial director of Antiwar.com.
Constitutionally Correct Peroutka by Howard Phillips
The Constitution Party, then called the U.S. Taxpayers Party, was
established in 1992, with its goal to limit the federal government to
its delegated, enumerated, constitutional functions and to restore
American jurisprudence to its Biblical common-law foundations. Neither
John Kerry nor George W. Bush shares that goal.
Both President Bush and Senator Kerry have voted for or signed into
law more money for Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups,
more money for homosexual activist groups, more money for the United
Nations, more money for foreign aid, more money for federal
intervention in education, not to mention the biggest budgets and
budget deficits in the history of our Republic. Neither Bush nor Kerry
has supported "Ten Commandments Judge" Roy Moore and his Constitution
Restoration Act to prohibit reliance on foreign law and deny federal
judges the authority to restrict our acknowledgment of God. Both men
favor amnesty for illegal aliens and policies that benefit Communist
China to the detriment of U.S. national security.
You and I know these things, but most "conservatives" plan to vote for
George W. Bush. Some say the reason they plan to vote for Bush is
judicial appointments. But that argument lost its validity when
President Bush intervened to prevent the nomination of Congressman Pat
Toomey over pro-abortion Sen. Arlen Specter in the recent Pennsylvania
Republican Senate primary. If Senator Specter is re-elected on Nov. 2
and the GOP holds its majority in the U.S. Senate, Specter will become
chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, situated to act in
collaboration with his liberal Democrat soul mates to prevent the
confirmation of pro-life judicial nominees--and positioned to argue to
Bush, if he is re-elected, against the appointment of judges who are
comprehensively opposed to abortion. For these reasons and others, it
is specious to vote for George W. Bush on the basis of supposed
advantages for our side with respect to judicial confirmations.
Moreover, just as Senate Democrats have blocked Republican judicial
nominees, the GOP majority in the Senate can--if they summon the will
to do so--block nominees by a President Kerry. Of course, only three
GOP Senators voted to oppose the confirmation of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Only nine voted against Stephen Breyer, and no Republican Senator
voted against confirming either pro-abortion David Souter or
pro-abortion Sandra Day O'Connor. The positions of both of these
nominees were a matter of public record when the Senate placed them on
the Supreme Court of the United States.
But there is a greater reason that many conservatives are reluctant to
vote for the Constitution Party's Michael Peroutka. It is fear of the
"Bogey Man," and John Kerry is the Bogey Man of 2004. George W. Bush
is presented as "the lesser of two evils," and Bogey Man John Kerry is
characterized, perhaps accurately, as evil incarnate.
Kerry personifies the antithesis of what most conservatives believe,
but he is only the latest in a long line of Bogey Men who have
diverted us from putting our Republic back on a constitutional track.
In 1992, most conservatives were understandably frightened by Bogey
Man Bill Clinton and voted against me when I offered then, as Michael
Peroutka does now, a constitutionally correct alternative to both
major parties. Despite your votes for Bush the Elder, the Bogey Man
won in 1992.
Bogey Man Bill Clinton reappeared in 1996 and, once again, most
conservatives rejected the only candidate who offered a Christian,
constitutional plan of action and invested their votes in Kansas Sen.
Bob Dole. There were some exceptions. Jim Dobson declared after the
fact that he had cast his vote for Howard Phillips. Of course, despite
conservative support for Dole, Clinton won again in 1996.
Last time, Al Gore was the Bogey Man and, once again, conservatives
rejected the Constitution Party nominee in favor of George Bush the
Younger. In 2000, the Bogey Man lost, but what did it profit America
to have elected the "lesser of two evils"? Would we have had the
unwise, unnecessary, unconstitutional war on Iraq if Gore had been
elected? I doubt it.
We have traveled farther down the wrong path with a Republican
president and Congress than we would have if we had experienced
gridlock with a Democratic president and a Republican majority in the
House and the Senate.
As president, Michael Peroutka would end federal intervention in
education, cut off federal funding of Planned Parenthood and
homosexual activist groups, withdraw from NATO, the UN, NAFTA, WTO,
the World Bank, and the IMF. He would seal our borders, cancel the
George W. Bush-Vicente Fox treaty to pay Social Security benefits to
illegal aliens who have returned to Mexico, expel illegal aliens, end
all foreign aid, withdraw from Iraq, oppose the Patriot Act, fight all
forms of socialized medicine, and appoint only judges who are 100
percent against abortion. Peroutka would abolish the IRS and replace
the income tax with a revenue tariff. He would recognize the threat
posed by Communist China and rebuild the U.S. Navy, which has dropped
from 600 ships under Ronald Reagan to fewer than 250 today.
If conservatives don't vote for what they believe, they will never get
what they want. Losing as slowly as possible means we still lose.
Going over the cliff at a supposedly slower speed still means we are
going to crash.
A vote withheld from both the Democrats and Republicans weakens that
which is wrong and strengthens the cause of that which is right. Any
vote cast for constitutionally sound, Biblically based policies
hastens the day when, should God will it, we can witness the
restoration of the Republic. It is not for us to decide elections, but
rather to determine where we shall invest our precious franchise. God
alone determines the outcome, and He blesses those who trust in Him.
Michael Peroutka is the only constitutionally correct choice in 2004.
Let's not let the Right go wrong again.
Howard Phillips is the founder of the Constitution Party
Libertarian Resistance by Alan W. Bock
For those inclined to participate in the electoral circus--and given
the choices presented by the two major parties, especially on the key
issue of war and an increasingly imperial American foreign policy, one
can understand an inclination simply to abstain--the question is what
kind of vote will best send a message to the system about the
importance of your core political values.
I would respectfully suggest that a vote for Libertarian Party
presidential candidate Michael Badnarik, and for Libertarians running
for other offices, is the most efficacious way to do so.
It's not a perfect way to telegraph a message, and Michael Badnarik is
not a perfect candidate. But by its nature the electoral system does
not offer ideal choices, simply those that have managed to claw their
way to party nominations and ballot status. For conservatives who
treasure the Old Republic and recoil from the interventionist foreign
policies that have led to so much American blood being needlessly
spilled and treasure unnecessarily wasted, while posing an ongoing
danger to constitutional principles, the Libertarian Party is the best
option in 2004.
John Kerry, however tempting it might be to contemplate a divided
government (assuming Republicans maintain control of Congress) mired
in glorious gridlock, simply will not do. His short-term solution to
Iraq is more troops, and while he questions in retrospect the Bush
administration's decision-making and lack of planning, he is an
unalloyed international interventionist unwilling to question the
Wilsonian underpinnings of current American foreign policy. His
explanation of his vote to authorize the use of force if needed is
more ominous than if he had supported the Iraq War enthusiastically.
The president should have that power, he explained, whining only that
Bush had misused it.
On domestic policy, of course, his voting record is to the left of
Teddy Kennedy, suggesting a slew of spending initiatives, not all of
which a Republican Congress--especially one conditioned to higher
spending by four years of Bush 43--will resist or block.
George W. Bush richly deserves to be punished at the polls. He got the
United States into a war of aggression in Iraq that is likely to be
followed, in a best-case scenario, by a long and difficult occupation
that will inspire increasing hatred of the United States among people
likely to express their hatred in unpleasant ways toward innocent
On the home front, Bush has presided over the most dramatic increase
in domestic discretionary spending since the Great Society. While he
talks of freedom and a government that leaves the people alone, the
initial debates show that both his and Cheney's learned response to
problems in American society is to throw taxpayers' money at them.
This record does not deserve support or encouragement from even a
modestly principled American conservative.
As for Ralph Nader, while some of his statements on the unwise war in
Iraq have been welcome, he is what he has been for many years: an
advocate of a comprehensive regulatory state designed to eliminate
even the whiff of risk--and plenty of freedom--from American life. A
vote for him in some battleground states might hurt Bush or help
Kerry. Those who want to use their vote for such tactical
purposes--understanding that no matter how sophisticated polling gets
you can't be sure it will have that effect--might want to vote for
Nader, but it will not be a vote that sends a message of support for
constitutionally limited government.
Why should a conservative vote for the Libertarian candidate rather
than one of the American Independent, Patriot, or Constitution Party
hopefuls? The main reason is the ability to send a coherent message of
resistance to unconstitutional growth of government.
To be sure, many conservatives are put off by some libertarian
positions on drug-law reform, free trade, gay marriage, and
pornography. But an election is--or should be for a government
properly limited in scope--more about political values than moral
values. If I correctly understand American Conservative readers, of
which I have been one since early on, they still hold a
constitutionally limited state, a noninterventionist foreign policy,
and a proper balance among branches and levels of government, to be
core political values.
The Libertarian Party, whatever its many shortcomings, has been around
since 1972, running candidates at every level. It is on the ballot in
every state and in 2000 ran enough congressional candidates to win
(theoretically) a majority in the House. It is much better organized
at a national level than any of the minor conservative parties (which
may not be saying much) and it has presented a coherent philosophical
alternative to the major parties for decades.
I know the party better in the Golden State than on a national level.
In California, which has seen its share of flakes running as
Libertarians, Orange County Superior Court Judge Jim Gray, a serious,
principled proponent of limited government who would wipe the floor
with Democrat Barbara Boxer and Republican Bill Jones if they were
foolish enough to let him into televised debates, is running for
Senate and should do respectably. He's the harbinger of a trend toward
people who understand that if you're going to do politics, even as a
third party, you put on a suit and tie, handle questions seriously,
and convince people you could actually serve responsibly if elected.
That trend in the Libertarian Party should be rewarded. And a vote for
a Libertarian is the best way for a small-government,
constitutionalist conservative to let various establishments know
there is still a constituency for the Constitution.
Alan W. Bock is a senior editorial writer for the Orange County
The Right to Remain Silent by Kara Hopkins
What if you threw a party--and 100 million people refused to come? You
could blame them for lacking festive spirit, but odds are it wasn't
much of a party if they preferred to stay home.
On Nov. 2, millions of Americans will troop to the polls to re-enact
the quadrennial pageant. But nearly as many will opt out. They will be
accused of sloth, though indifference is more apt--and remains the
appropriate response to irrelevance.
If George W. Bush and John Kerry agree on anything --in fact, they
agree on far too many things--it's that we must vote. Elections
maintain the illusion of opposing parties exchanging ideas rather than
political animals competing for power. Selling voting as the ultimate
expression of citizenship serves two purposes: it legitimizes the
process that keeps them in control and makes the public docile by
enforcing the notion that we rule ourselves.
But what value is participation if those who cast ballots go
unrepresented? Is there virtue in the act if it allows no choice?
Smash offending countries alone or invite friends along for the
invasion? Tax-and-spend or tax-cut-and-spend? Open borders or open
borders? Before herding to the polls because it's What We Do--like
fireworks on the Fourth or eggnog at Christmas--consider the
possibility that voting has little to do with democracy and democracy
is not the first cause of liberty.
Fault him for a thousand things, but Saddam Hussein knew how to get
out the vote: his elections had far better turnout than ours. Yet we
reckoned his government so undemocratic that it had to be razed, and
next round, according to Donald Rumsfeld, elections in "three-quarters
or four-fifths of the country" should be good enough. It's not the
chad-punching that makes a country free. It's the democracy, stupid.
Or is it?
After Sept. 11, the White House identified our enemy as forces that
"hate democracy and freedom." The coupling may have been as careless
as the notion that men die for such abstractions, but in the public
mind the concepts are twined as they are devalued. We export democracy
to spread freedom to make our country more secure--or so the slogan
goes. Real life is more complicated.
Venture into that crosswalk reserved for sacred cows. Democracy may be
the West's political grail, but it is not inherently just or moral. As
Edmund Burke famously asked, "[Is there some difference] between the
despotism of the monarch and the despotism of the multitude?" The rule
of law--fixed by forces less capricious than the whim of the mob--is a
far better guardian of individual freedom than electoral popularity.
The majority may elect a tyrant. Neither is democracy the most stable
social order--something we might have considered before we went
planting political systems in security's name.
Come January, our new colony is likely to school us in democracy's
shortcomings. A May survey by the Coalition Provisional Authority
found that just 6 percent of Iraqis want the U.S. to stay as long as
is "necessary for stability." Thus any victorious candidate will have
radicalized his constituents by running on an anti-American platform.
Because we have enshrined democracy, we must accept the Iraqis' choice
and may quietly be grateful to be shown the door by these infant
democrats. But so much for visions of Madison reincarnated in
Mesopotamia and promises that Iraqi democracy will enhance U.S.
But they will be free, we comfort ourselves. After all, we wrote that
book. Its latest version ensures that we don't answer cell phones
while driving in D.C. or smoke after dinner in New York. No complaints
because we apparently brought this freedom from ourselves upon
ourselves by democratic means. The old monarchs confiscated a far
smaller portion of their subjects' gain and would never have
countenanced a trillion-dollar deficit. They weren't leaving town in
four years. But we feel more free because we elect our captors, having
long since forgotten that the purpose of government is not to confer
freedom but to restrict it. With regrets to Tocqueville, here the
people do not rule--though marching to the polls creates a tidy front.
So if the act of voting is not sacrosanct and democracy, despite its
"better than all the rest" pedestal, is not the sole--or perhaps even
the best--guarantor of liberty, Nov. 2 may be just another day. This
election the major candidates agree on the prerogative of politicians
to bribe voters with their own money and that the fine print of the
presidential job description obligates him to "make the world safe."
These issues are not open to debate. There is no conservative
Some will argue that voting third party is more responsible than
staying home. But there is a more effective way to register a protest
than lining up behind an asterisk. Four million evangelical voters
refused to be corralled in 2000. This round, Karl Rove went looking
"What about judges?" Republicans ask conservatives turned
conscientious objectors. That argument no longer persuades. Six
Republican-appointed justices sat on the Court that decided Roe v.
Wade; Nixon appointee Harry Blackmun wrote the decision. And after 12
years of Reagan and Bush, the Court affirmed Roe in 1992. The GOP has
no reason to register some votes as pertaining solely to judicial
nominees. They collect them all and call it a mandate--affirmation of
a foreign policy that plunged us into endless war and a domestic
agenda that is driving us into massive debt. Full speed ahead.
By declining to be coerced we may yet salvage a scrap of liberty. We
won't be letting democracy down, for it has already disappointed us.
Pace President Bush and his "forward strategy of freedom," liberty was
never government's to give; the essential right to be left alone
belongs to each citizen. This November, we can borrow a bit back by
refusing to be counted by parties that don't represent us. Silence is
a profound expression, and enough unraised voices eventually turn even
the most partisan heads.
The Real Deal by Taki
Having to choose between George W. Bush and John Kerry is like
navigating between Scylla and Charybdis. On one side lurks the hoary
beast of a decent man brought down by the neocons and their agenda of
world domination. On the other churns the vortex of a man who is right
on nothing and is willing to betray anyone--as he did his fellow
soldiers, sailors, and Marines when he painted them as war
criminals--in order to achieve recognition and high office. It is
obviously a very difficult choice, so I will take the third way. But
first, as my colleague Pat Buchanan states in his endorsement of the
president, "Bush is right on taxes, judges, sovereignty, and values.
Kerry is right on nothing." So why not Bush? Why not do, as Pat says,
what the pirate Jean Lafitte did when he asked to fight alongside his
countrymen against the Redcoats in the Battle of New Orleans? I am,
after all, a lifelong conservative Republican.
The answer is that the party of Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, and
William F. Buckley Jr., a party motivated by libertarian impulses and
deep convictions about personal freedoms, ain't no more. Since when is
a Leviathan federal government with a record deficit a conservative
Republican one? How does a Bush administration supposedly committed to
ideas like limited government, personal freedom, and a balanced budget
explain a $450 billion budget deficit, the loss of American
manufacturing jobs, and the promise of an amnesty for illegal aliens?
How can the party of Robert A. Taft excuse the catastrophic war
against Iraq and the idea that those who opposed it are traitors, an
accusation Pat, Scott, and I were tarred with by Ariel Sharon's agent
The words of Gen. George C. Marshall, the Chief of Staff of the U.S.
Army during World War II, come to mind: "I would be loath to hazard
American lives for purely political purposes." Yet Bush continues to
heed men whose policies have radicalized the Mideast and converted
much of the Islamic world into a giant recruiting station for Osama
bin Laden. As Buchanan wrote recently, the Republican Party is now the
party of big business, big government, and big war.
Tom DeLay is a disgrace, a brutal fund-raiser who resembles Robert
Torricelli and Alfonse D'Amato, not what a conservative Republican
House majority leader should be in my book. Once upon a time,
conservatives believed in ideas and individualism, now it seems money
and power are what counts. So despite his personal decency, I cannot
in all honesty endorse Bush for a second term.
Kerry, of course, is far worse, a disaster in the making. Not only has
he dismissed the president's promises to enact amnesty for illegal
aliens as insufficient, he has vowed to sign an amnesty within his
first 100 days in office. Again, as Pat writes in his endorsement of
the president, the people on Kerry's side are all those I despise, the
George Soroses, Barbra Streisands, and Michael Moores of this world.
What unites the Kerry army is hate for George W. Bush. Marching under
the Michael Moore banner, they have no message except to get rid of
the 43rd president. If this is a policy, I'm Monica Lewinsky. Their
self-righteous anger is negative and as dishonest as John Kerry's
false populism. Signing the Kyoto Protocol and adhering to the rules
of the International Criminal Court will only weaken America and yield
Which brings me to my choice, Michael Anthony Peroutka. Yes, I know,
it sounds like a wasted vote, but is it? He is the nominee of a small
third party called the Constitution Party. The point of voting for
Peroutka is to help create an alternative. After all, there has to be
a start somewhere and adhering to the Constitution as Peroutka
advocates is a pretty good way to begin.
Peroutka defines his party as a Christian one dedicated to preserving
the foundations on which the American Republic was based. He is
predictably against abortion and gay marriage. Peroutka is also
opposed to mass immigration, and he strongly supports national
sovereignty. As Samuel Francis has written, Peroutka "is a charming
and decent man of deep convictions and principle, has a ready grasp of
the principles he supports and knows how to explain them."
As it happens, National Review was founded 50 years ago next year. If
anything, it looked like a quixotic effort at its birth. Yet 25 years
later, Bill Buckley and his crew had managed to sweep Ronald Reagan
into office. Peroutka's presidential bid looks just as idealistic,
perhaps even more so. What is a conservative Republican to do except
send a message and, in the words of Buckley, yell "Stop" to runaway
Without big ideas, elections become about personalities--popularity
contests, nothing more. Both major candidates are filching each
others' rhetoric and pandering. All that matters is the sell, not the
content. Kerry is an opportunist sans pareil, Bush a man under the
wrong influence. Vote for the real deal, Michael Anthony Peroutka.
What sound does the liberal make? Mo__.
What sound does the conservative make? Mo__.
What sound does the cow make? Mo__.
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