By David Beilstein
IN these years it has been easy to be reactive, rather than pro-active when it comes to being a classical liberal in facing the environs of American politics. As has been stated before, here, what calls itself conservative, in the mainstream, has been discredited of late, creating a necessity for a change of direction.
So far the jury is out on the Grand Old Party being the vessel good classical liberal politics are derived from; still, little options remain for a third party ascendancy (stated repeatedly on Libertarian Monks), so classical liberal voters are stuck with the G.O.P.
This means concern with the G.O.P., being taken over by paleocons and libertarians is a must. Important for classical liberals to comprehend, however, is how the American conservative movement (which is an American interpretation and preservation of classical liberalism) went off the rails. And so, much of the columns written on this blog have tried to elucidate the “wherefores” American conservatism went “tit’s up,” in electoral politics.
Overall, a lack of submission to reality — concerning people, place, community, and government — caused the conservative movement over the last 30 years to become disconnected from reality.
While a lack of submission to reality informs statist progressivism to greater degrees, statist’s had the fortune of creating a robust economy (under Bill Clinton) and staying out of mismanaged wars, ala Republicans the previous decade. Also, Americans like causes, have personal stability concerns, especially when spun in the face of opposition party incompetence and perceived disconnect.
American conservatism will rebound only when it becomes in touch with reality once again — concerning people, communities, and government. It seems libertarians and paleo-conservatives have the upper hand in opposition to mainstream “pop” conservatism in our time. This is good. Reason being, the purer classical liberalism of paleocon and libertarian ideas have not been discredited nationally because they have not been the face of G.O.P. politics for generations.
Also, paleocons and libertarians have been distressed at the direction of the G.O.P. (and the conservative movement) and its leadership for enough time to be considered legitimate criticism, as opposed to politics-as-usual desire for power.
But a threat looms in libertarian, and to a less extent, paleo-conservative circles. The fringe elements, sort of speak. If Wilsonian foreign policy and “ever growing government in favor of “conservative” causes, dismantled the American mainstream conservative movement, than radical isolationism, and conspiracy theorist presumptions threaten to unmoor the libertarian and paleo-conservative perspectives from reality as well.
The ideal utopias, or any fixed “system” or “ideology,” will fix all problems is something American conservatism has historically been skeptical toward. Not simply out of contrarian “bragging rights,” but because utopias lack verity with life’s rich pageant of reality.
From Alex Jones to a team of libertarian hack websites, conspiracy theories abound.
Many large problems coexist with conspiracy theories. They’re detached from reality, of course — of whom, and by how people act, and think, and live. Conspiracy theories are an a priori conviction mere mortals are orchestrating from atop of the heavens, the divergent and complex realities of life unknown to the conspiracy theorist.
Conspiracy theories are overly rationalist, unmoored from the cause and effect of events and societal developments. People are hardly able to carry on an extra-marital affair without others knowing, yet too many think a bloated, federal government (which can’t turn a profit for Amtrak or handle healthcare costs) can, nevertheless, control time and space and individual’s actions.
Conspiracy theories rarely cohere, and when attempted, often fail. It’s hard enough to get two people to cooperate on small matters, let alone large affairs. People are perfectly imperfect, brimming with selfish desires and motives. Such realities war against conspiracy theories working “where the rubber meets the road,” in actual life.
Life should teach people such lessons. This does not mean the direction American life currently travels is good. It is not — but it is not the handmaid of the conspiracy theory, but the complexities of human nature as Edmund Burke wrote elegantly during the French Revolution.
The other problem with conspiracy theories is they militate against sound leadership from a classical liberal approach. They are just as disconnected from the American people as bad politics.
In a word: 9/11 conspiracies and New World Order
bullshit does nothing to replace American leadership nor erect 18th century liberal influenced policies limiting the federal government and its powerful overreach.
And conspiracy theories do not win elections. It could be argued that as soon as the Democratic Party stopped preaching conspiracy theories, focused on Republicans, and articulated a cohesive (statist) plan forward — following eight years of the Bush administration’s policies, Democrat’s began winning elections.
However much the American classical liberal thinks President Obama is a wrecking ball to American ideals and society, the president ran his 2008 campaign concerned with addressing America’s sundry problems — addressing specific concerns Americans held, in specific regional locations.
One will get no argument from this author, the President, ego-driven as he is, made American problems worse — but neither did Obama get stuck in 9/11 conspiracy theories, and other moronic assertions, that do not win over voters, thus winning elections.
The future of the American liberty movement will subsist in the long held ideas of Edmund Burke and other “conservative” thinkers and philosophies about life and government. Edmund Burke and his ideological posterity should be the sail on the boat of classical liberalism, not the half-baked babble of Alex Jones and those like him.