Saturday, April 02, 2005

Do Paleos Have a Future?

The seeming neocon stranglehold on the country and the failure of paleocons to present a coherent alternative leaves one wondering about the future of the American Right, and American politics more generally.

In his latest book, historian John Lukcas whimsically concludes that, "Hitler and Stalin are gone, and George W. Bush will soon be gone, too." Quite a juxtaposition! Lukacs goes on to write:

The "Left" has been losing its appeal almost everywhere. It may be that in the future the true divisions will be between not Right and Left but between two kinds of Right: between people on the Right whose binding belief is their contempt for Leftists, who hate liberals more than they love their liberty, and others who love liberty more than they fear liberals; between nationalists and patriots; between those who believe that America's destiny is to rule the world and others who do not believe that between those who trust technology and machines and others who trust tradition and old human decencies; between those who support "development" and others who wish to protect the conservation of land--in sum, between those who do not question Progress and others who do.


I have written previously on the sin of despair. Our faith demands that we not drift into fatalism, but act in obedience to Christ. Perhaps, Lukacs is right and there are no lost causes.

If Lukacs is correct, one wonders where the paleolibertarians will be in the coming realignment. If this Lew Rockwell essay is any indication, they will be busily forming alliances with feminists, the professorate, homosexuals, "anti-fascist" blacks, and writers from Counterpunch. I can see it now, Lew in a love fest with Katrina Vanden Heuvel and David Corn.

I love Rockwell and am reluctant to find fault with him, but does Lew actually believe that restoring the Articles of Confederation and teaching seminarians Lockean philosophy will restore the republic to great glory?

Here are a few more gems from Rockwell's essay:

Some of the strongest resistance to American fascism right now comes from African-Americans, who have suffered disproportionately in this war...

Women too provide strong resistance to war fever. As more women are drawn to the expectation of a full-time professional life, women voters are also going to increasingly develop a commercial-class consciousness concerning taxes and regulations. The victim mentality that agitates for privilege in the workplace could give way to a free-market feminism...

Many people find themselves in circumstances, for whatever reasons –whether personal difficulties, life choices, and other factors – that bring about associations that fall outside the Bush-approved bourgeois family arrangements. No libertarian can support federal penalties against such people. Freedom of association is a first principle of civilization, and it is a disgrace to see that principle attacked in the name of family values...

I used to complain about the universities and their indoctrination of students in leftist theory. But these days, one has to be grateful that there are at least some pockets of resistance remaining...

I'm wary of all formal alliances but I do think libertarians need to be strategically flexible and entrepreneurial in finding intellectual allies, even if it means admitting that far better arguments are being made by CounterPunch than National Review.


OK, so Lew thinks the black community is going to become a bulwark against statism, hopes women abandon their children for the marketplace where they can "develop a commercial-class consciousness concerning taxes and regulations," assumes that university intellectuals will become standard-bearers for liberty, and hopes to align with those who fall outside "bourgeois family arrangements."

Rockwell also says that the problem isn't the neocons, as such, but "plain old conservatism" and concludes by saying, "The libertarian revolution will come when we least expect it, and it will unfold in a way we cannot fully anticipate."

I'm guessing that if libertarians take liberty-lovin' Lew's advice to heart and look to the Left for allies that the "libertarian revolution" won't be coming any time soon. And Rockwell's musings demonstrate in spades the emptiness of "Christian libertarianism."

3 Comments:

Blogger Lawrence said...

Let me start by saying that all casualties from this "war" should be exactly "0" as we have no business empire building or being involved in wars of aggression.

That said, I am curious how Rockwell arrives at the conclusion that blacks are suffering "disproportionately in this war" using the context of his words to make us think "more than their proportion". The 2000 census puts the black population at 12%.

This link:
http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2003/iraq/forces/casualties/
allows for looking up casualties broken down by race. As of March 19th these figures were:

White: 1,101
Hispanic: 175
Black: 164
Asian: 29
Other: 30
Unknown: 18
Total: 1517

Twelve percent of this total is 182, so Blacks are actually short of their 12%.
Rockwell must be getting his numbers from Charles Rangel who uses the "Blacks are dying for the rest of the country" argument to lobby for a draft.

10:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darrell & Lawrence,

Rockwell's speculations are those of a libertarian, one not given to the same constraints as would be those guiding Christian people, and they have a kind of chimerical caste. I have little taste for libertarianism, presented as it almost always is as a type of religion. Liberty, properly understood, and the only kind of liberty worthy of being sought, it seems to me, is the liberty of God, of Truth. No contaminants, please.

John Lowell

2:14 PM  
Blogger Darrell said...

Those are interesting numbers, Lawrence, because I hear frequently about the disproportinate costs being borne by the Black community vis a vis the war.

John,

Rockwell is a Catholic. Indeed, before the Iraq War he wrote a wonderful piece on Just War theory that blew the pro-war argument completely to shreds.

I like your point, too, that liberty solely for the sake of liberty is absolutely meaning. If we are "free to choose," to borrow from Milton Friedman, what are we going to choose? All of life is ultimately ethical, and if the liberarians have nothing to say here, than they should not be taken seriously.

3:26 PM  

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