[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 That is a way out-of-date fear.]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
    Republican administration.

    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
    for them.

    "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
    David Frum?

    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
    national sovereignty.

    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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