Utopians of the Left and the Right
In a recent column in this month’s issue of National Review (which I still read, due to a complimentary subscribtion, despite my anger with the tossing aside of Christopher Buckley for his audacious Obama endorsement) the eloquent Mark Steyn argues for citizens who give little more than “stilted cheers” for their political leadership. He illustrates the Soviet-style cult following that Barack Obama has benefited greatly from as being counter to the ideals America was founded on.
Of course, Steyn is right here. However, he is not guiltless. He has been far from a man of “stilted cheers.” Steyn was a major, and not simply stilted, advocate of the utopian goal of re-shaping the political structure of the Middle East. That was not an action that correlated with the values of the early republic. While he may deride Michelle Obama for saying her husband’s administration would “rebuild the world as it should be,” it was exactly rebuilding the world that Steyn has advocated for.
Also, for all the justified criticism of the cult of personality as evidenced by the Obama “HOPE” propoganda posters, am I the only one who remembers the “W: The President” posters in 2004 which were adorned with President Bush’s solemn mug?
Since libertarians cherish freedom above all else, it is easy for us to fall in with the Republican Party and “conservatives” because of an attraction to their rhetoric. However, if the Bush administration has taught us anything it is that the pro-freedom and pro-small government rhetoric emanating from conservatives is nothing more than that. The handouts to Wall Street speculators that the administration has made its final major act are as good of an illustration of this as is available.
Conservatives will start sounding like libertarians alot more during the next few years, just as liberals out of power during the Bush years increased their talk of civil liberties and habeas corpus rights. I’ll have trouble taking what the conservatives say seriously, however, as they seem to love big government as long as it is their big government.