Neocons have so corrupted the Republican Party that in order to be considered a viable national presidential candidate and to be embraced by the rank and file and Tea Party right, one must openly advocate for an open-ended continuation of the war on terror and a de facto war against Iran.
Of course, the Republican Party was born of corporatism and nurtured on bloodshed, so it’s no surprise that the masses, programmed as they are and conned into an unreasoning fear of U.S.-created Islamic booger bears, are eager to embrace a candidate who pledges unwavering support to Israel and who wants to continue slaughtering Middle Easterners armed, trained, funded and inspired by America and its allies — including Israel.
As historian Bruce Catton wrote in “The Civil War,” in 1860 Abraham Lincoln wanted to be the nominee of the new Republican Party — a party that consisted of an amalgam of former members of the defunct Whig Party, Free-soilers (those who believed all new territories should be slave-free), business leaders who wanted a central government that would protect industry and ordinary folk who wanted a homestead act that would provide free farms in the West.
Catton wrote: “The Republicans nominated Lincoln partly because he was considered less of an extremist than either (Senator William H.) Seward or (Salmon P.) Chase; he was moderate on the slavery question, and agreed that the Federal government lacked power to interfere with the peculiar institution in the states. The Republican platform, however, did represent a threat to Southern interests. It embodied the political and economic program of the North — upward revision of the tariff, free farms in the West, railroad subsidies, and all the rest.”
When seven lower-South states decided that Lincoln’s election ushered in what they believed would be a reign of unacceptable Republicanesque despotism, they terminated their relationship with the federal government, a relationship into which they had voluntarily joined and which politicians of the several New England states had for years rightly believed could be voluntarily terminated (and in fact that advocated for separation often, fearing what they considered a despotism of Southern agrarianism). When Lincoln proved himself duplicitous by going back on his word and sending a fleet to resupply federal troops at Fort Sumter, prompting the firing on those fleets by batteries from South Carolina, four upper-South states quickly followed suit.
From there Lincoln embarked on series of decidedly unconstitutional and unconservative steps, including conscripting men to fight his battles, raising taxes, printing greenbacks, sending federal troops to arrest state legislators, arresting contrarian editors and shutting down newspapers, and sending his army to invade the South in order to “preserve” the union.
The party promptly consolidated its power on the ruins and destruction of the South during the Northern War of Aggression and its aftermath. And destroying the South once wasn’t enough. Republicans were quickly advocating a second full-scale attack when Southern States declined to ratify the 14th Amendment — an amendment that has acquired such magical powers since its adoption (it was never constitutionally ratified) that it has granted federal judges the power to create and change state and federal law on their whim and invent all manner of “rights” once unimaginable. It is upon this amendment that the “right” of women to murder their babies, the “right” of gay people to be married and the “right” of corporations to contribute vast sums to purchase politicians are cobbled. It is upon this amendment that federal judges strike down state-passed referenda and force people to give up their right of religious conscious in order to placate homosexuals who want to purchase wedding cakes or wedding flowers or wedding photography services.
Thanks to Lincoln’s war and his Republican coterie, federalism is dead; and the nation, once a republican union of states, is now nothing more than a corporatist- and bankster-driven nation-state controlled by the District of Criminals and a handful of oligarchs.
This is certainly not the view of Lincoln to which most Republican voters — nay, most Americans — subscribe. To them, anything and everything Lincoln did — however evil or unconstitutional it might have been — was necessary and, therefore, acceptable to “save the union.”
Robert E. Lee recognized in the early days of reconstruction the danger inherit in the destruction of federalism and the federal government’s actions toward the South. Writing to Lord Acton in 1866, Lee said, “[T]he consolidation of the states into one vast republic, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will be the certain precursor of that ruin which has overwhelmed all those that have preceded it.”
And that’s exactly the path American government policy has followed since.
Conservative Sen. Robert A. Taft of Ohio, who fought the New Deal, labor unions and America’s entry into World War II, said: “[T]he principal purpose of the foreign policy of the United States is to maintain the liberty of our people. … Its purpose is not to reform the entire world or spread sweetness and light and economic prosperity to peoples who have lived and worked out their own salvation for centuries, according to their customs, and to the best of their abilities.”
Most Americans who consider themselves conservative have never heard of Russell Kirk. That’s a shame. He’s one of the great thinkers of the 20th century and considered the father of modern American conservativism. In his writings he created a number of principles of conservatism. One of them is: “In the affairs of nations, the American conservative feels that his country ought to set an example to the world, but ought not to try to remake the world in its image. It is a law of politics, as well as of biology, that every living thing loves above all else — even above its own life — its distinct identity, which sets it off from all other things. The conservative does not aspire to domination of the world, nor does he relish the prospect of a world reduced to a single pattern of government and civilization.”
Of course, that’s not the policy of the neocons, who see it as the duty of America to police the world and “spread democracy” even when the people it’s being spread to don’t want or need it. If the people decide they don’t want or need it, American government just deposes that regime and installs another… or not, as in the case of Libya, which has become a hellish cauldron of anarchy, bloodshed and terror for the poor inhabitants who enjoyed a prosperous and relatively free and safe existence before American drones and NATO bombs were unleashed in order to take out Moammar Gadhafi. The Republican rank and file embraces this policy of military adventurism, thanks to Bush the Second and his policy of “kill them over there so we don’t have to kill them here.”
And just who or what are necons? The original neocons were a small group of mostly Jewish liberal intellectuals who, in the 1960s and ’70s, grew disenchanted with what they saw as the American left’s social excesses and reluctance to spend adequately on defense. Many of these neocons worked in the 1970s for Democratic Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson, a staunch anti-communist. By the 1980s, most neocons had become Republicans, finding in President Ronald Reagan an avenue for their aggressive approach of confronting the Soviet Union with bold rhetoric and steep hikes in military spending. After the Soviet Union’s fall, the neocons decried what they saw as American complacency. In the 1990s, they warned of the dangers of reducing both America’s defense spending and its role in the world.
The trouble for rank and file conservatives who embrace this neocon foreign policy is one of cognitive dissonance. They are willing and eager to send their money and, worse, their sons and daughters and other people’s sons and daughters into foreign lands on behalf of Christians caught in the millennial-long civil war between Islamic thugs and being slaughtered by U.S.-backed ISIS criminals, to send their money and their sons and daughters and other people’s sons and daughters to back “rebels” seeking to overthrow regimes deemed unacceptable (Iraq, Libya, Syria and, if they get their wish, Iran) by the Council on Foreign Relations-controlled U.S. State Department and/or propaganda ministry, or to send their money and their sons and daughters and other people’s sons and daughters to back rebels (either overtly or covertly) in the U.S.-inspired Ukrainian coup, because they believe in “ freedom.” Yet they applaud Lincoln’s efforts to quash a secession (it wasn’t even a rebellion, as the Confederacy sought to live as a peaceful neighbor) that led to the death — directly and indirectly — of close to 1 million Americans because he preserved the Union.
When Bush the First launched the first grand Middle East excursion, Kirk said in a speech opposing the war:
Now indubitably Saddam Hussein is unrighteous, but so are nearly all the masters of the “emergent” African states (with the Ivory Coast as a rare exception), and so are the grim ideologues who rule China, and the hard men in the Kremlin, and a great many other public figures in various quarters of the world. Why, I fancy that there are some few unrighteous men, conceivably, in the domestic politics of the United States. Are we to saturation-bomb most of Africa and Asia into righteousness, freedom, and democracy? And, having accomplished that, however would we ensure persons yet more unrighteous might not rise up instead of the ogres we had swept away? Just that is what happened in the Congo, remember, three decades ago; and nowadays in Zaire, once called the Belgian Congo, we zealously uphold with American funds the dictator Mobutu, more blood-stained than Saddam. And have we forgotten Castro in Cuba?
And what would be the outcome of Bush’s war? Kirk predicted:
We must expect to suffer during a very long period of widespread hostility toward the United States — even, or perhaps especially, from the people of certain states that America bribed or bullied into combining against Iraq. In Egypt, in Syria, in Pakistan, in Algeria, in Morocco, in all of the world of Islam, the masses now regard the United States as their arrogant adversary; while the Soviet Union, by virtue of its endeavors to mediate the quarrel in its later stages, may pose again as the friend of Moslem lands. Nor is this all: for now, in every continent, the United States is resented increasingly as the last and most formidable of imperial systems.
Bush the Second and his regime assured us that we would be made safer by “fighting them over there.” But 14 years later, and were still being told there’s a radical Muslim somewhere nearby seeking to cause us harm. So whose prediction turned out right: Kirk’s or Bush’s?
No nation ever engages in foreign wars without at the same time initiating subtle and silent war on its own people. The war on terror has given us trillions of dollars in debt, reduced liberty, increased government spying and created a government even more hostile to its own people.
Finally, conservatives — true conservatives — are about small government. There is nothing conservative about a war party because wars are predicated on big government and fiat money, especially multiple wars on multiple continents. Yet a war party is apparently what Republicans have become because all of the presumptive candidates for the party’s next presidential election back an interventionist, wartime foreign policy… and that seems to be exactly what “conservatives” want.