Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Of Crackpots and Catholics ...

I'm not terribly surprised that Mark has taken the plunge gone into the tank for Ron Paul, but given his stated rationale for doing so I am once again going to label him as a paleocon. I'll also take the opportunity to note once again that it is the fact that Mark airs these types of social and political views that I remain so vehemently opposed to him. To his credit, he has yet to claim that any Catholic who supports a viable Republican candidate (I expect that both John McCain and Fred Thompson are beyond the pale to him because they continue to support the war in Iraq, which I gather he now regards as both completely lost and immoral) is now just as immoral as those who support the Democrats. It's the kind of sick moral equivalence rhetorical game that allows him to right to feel smuggly self-righteous while not actually doing anything to actually address the ills that he is allegedly so concerned. If you want an example of this, I would present the cases of the Chaldean and Pakistani Christians, both of whom Mark is more than willing to use a rhetorical club against the evils of neoconservatism. But as his explanation for why he opposes a McCain candidacy makes clear, he will fight tooth and nail to stop anyone from actually doing anything to keep either community safe from al-Qaeda.

As I noted before, if we succeed in Iraq the Chaldean Christians are going to get their own province and autonomy status comparable to the Iraqi Kurds. If someone wants to offer a better option for them, I would like to hear it. If Mark truly held their fate above all else as his other posts on this topic have indicated (certainly he holds their lives above those of the Iraqi Muslim population), he would hope for the surge to succeed rather than his cavalier dismissal of everything that General Petraeus has done to date. In fact, I suspect that if he were asked to explain anything Petraeus has done to date that he would be extremely hard-pressed to do so.

Mark's argument that isolationism is the traditional conservative or Republican position is one that I don't think can be supported by the available historical evidence. At best, it is a highly debateable point depending on one's definition of either category. Certainly none of the individuals that one thinks of as Republican stalwarts were isolationists and even his buddy Pat Buchanan supported the Cold War. As I think John J. Reilly explains quite eloquently, American foreign policy must be hegemonic in the absence of the Cold War. The alternative was for Soviet foreign policy to be hegemonic and I think that anyone remotely sane would recognize that this wouldn't be a good idea. We tried to revert back to as isolationist a foreign policy as the modern economy would allow during the 1990s and I think that the alternative was 9/11.

Finally, Mark appears completely oblivious to the fact that seemingly everyone else is aware: Ron Paul's supporters (a number of whom appear to have a strange resemblance, both rhetorical and ideological, to the LaRouches) have been routinely spamming online polls since the first GOP debate. Any and all reliable data (including the ones showing Giuliani in decline following his comments on abortion) suggests that Paul is a fringe candidate and is likely to remain one. That Mark has to appeal to WorldNetDaily as a beacon of a candidate's popularity among the general population is revealing in and of itself as to his disconnect. As to the substance of Paul's remarks, I think that Jonah did a good job of discussing them here. For all Mark's self-righteous denial that he is a fevered conspiracy theorist, he sure seems to be doing just that by assuming that the only reason anyone could possibly oppose Ron Paul is due to his views on torture.


Anonymous said...

Heck, I didn't even know Paul's views on torture until two minutes ago, and I opposed him long before the last debate. Does Shea seriously think that if Paul had said, "I believe that the U.S. was asking for it with regard to 9/11, that our opposition to the USSR was a mistake, and that we should abandon all our allies, but I favor waterboarding every terrorist we can get our hands on" that I'd support him? As Bugs Bunny would say, "What a Maroon..."

paul zummo said...

One thing that fascinates me about the Ron Pauls and Lew Rockwells of the political world is that they can alternately be labeled libertarians and paeloconservatives. Is there a difference? Or are paleocons essentially right-wing libertarians? What I mean by that is that these are individuals who have an extremely minimalist view of the government, but who are socially conservative - but from a cultural standpoint, not necessarily political. These are religious or moralistic individuals who hope that "the market" will be moral, but who do not wish to impose governmental prohibitions on matter pertaining to morality.

There's an interesting nexus between these two camps, and I'm just wondering if they are one in the same or are they just allies for the time being.

Anonymous said...

The Blackadder says:

Paleocons tend to favor more protectionist policies on trade and immigration, while libertarians do not. Libertarians also tend to oppose most laws restricting sexual behavior, as well as any mixing of religion and government, whereas paleocons do not. They are similar in that they tend to be anti-left, anti-war, and anti-state.

Right now I am reading Radicals for Capitalism, which is a fascinating history of libertarianism and right anarchism in the U.S. The book spells out in detail what distinguishes libertarians from others on the right, and contains countless interesting stories about the lives of historical libertarian figures (who tend to be quite eccentric). If you are interested in the topic, I would highly recommend it.

paul zummo said...

Thanks, Blackadder. I forgot about the trade issue - an important difference. It does seem that they've found some common ground in their opposition to the war, though there are many libetarians I know who do support it. And I'll definitely have to check out the book you mentioned. I've heard good things about it.

Shawn said...

Apparently I am not the only one who saw the Jonah Goldberg article which I commented briefly on HERE.

The drivel Mark is spouting on these matters along with the Ron Paul's of the world is motivating me to finish a post I have been working on for about a month now (on and off) dealing with the need for a third way in politics -a way between the unconstitutionality of the libs and the unworkability of the so-called "extreme right wing." For those who are interested, I mention this project in this thread after dispatching with a common canard of the so-called "progressives" who cackle about the specks in the eyes of the Founding Fathers while ignoring the beams in their own eyes.

Oh and one more thing: Blackadder I must say, it is nice to see someone use as a moniker the lead character of my alltime favourite show :)

Donald R. McClarey said...

"Mark's argument that isolationism is the traditional conservative or Republican position is one that I don't think can be supported by the available historical evidence."

Quite right. The Republicans have usually been in favor of a muscular foreign policy to protect American interests. To name a few of many examples: the purchase of Alaska from Russia, the various interventions in Latin America in the late 19th century, the construction of the Panama Canal, the negotiation of an end to the Russo-Japanese War, the pursuit of an Open Door policy in China, etc. Republicans have been largely isolationist only just before WWII when the overwhelming public opinion in the US was isolationist. The only other example of Republican isolationism that comes to mind is the rejection of the League of Nations treaty after WWI. However I don't think this was isolationist. First, because the treaty was badly flawed as the opponents in the Senate successfully pointed out, and because the Republicans under Harding, Coolidge and Hoover, contrary to popular belief, were quite active on the international scene.

Flambeaux said...

Thanks for the link to Goldberg's article. I had missed it, and shall read it this weekend.

I must confess that Ron Paul has some appeal to me, simply for the rather doomed and quixotic nature of his campaign.

But I'd happily vote for Uncle Fred if he ever throws his hat in the ring. :)