Is Ron Paul a leftist?
Over at The American Spectator, Jeffrey Lord is whooping it up because Ron Paul didn't win the Iowa caucus. In Lord's view, Iowa Republicans stood up for conservatism - which to him, means perpetual war:
The Ron Paul Non-Cons have tonight been effectively marginalized.
Whatever else comes out of this Iowa Caucus night, one thing is clear: conservatives -- Reagan conservatives -- triumphed.
The combined vote of Santorum, Gingrich, Bachmann, Perry and even the moderate Mitt Romney swamped Ron Paul's controversial and decidedly non-conservative foreign policy.
As this is written, either Santorum or Romney are first, the other second. Between them that's about 50% of the vote to Ron Paul's 25% or so.
Which clearly means that no matter how Congressman Paul -- a good and decent man with a wildly left-wing foreign policy -- spins the results, his ideas have taken a thorough beating. His candidacy and his controversial foreign policy views have effectively been sent packing.
As well they should. There is nothing remotely historically conservative about Paul's views.
Congressman Paul is partly to blame for this perception. He effectively endorsed this view at the Sioux City debate on December 15. The moderator accused Paul of "running left of President Obama on the issue of Iran" because he, unlike Santorum and Bachmann, had ruled out a pre-emptive war. This was Paul's great chance to make mincemeant of the notion that conservatism equals war, and leftism, peace, but he let it slip away.
It was the Neocons who redefined conservatism as the aggressive use of force to promote "democracy." George W. Bush justified his invasion of Iraq as part of the "global democratic revolution." The so-called "Neoconservatives" evolved (mutated?) from leftists who smuggled their revolutionary ideology inside conservative language. Thus, it became possible to appeal to such conservative values as patriotism and honor to promote leftist goals.
No wonder so many liberals were dazzled by this new rhetoric. In addition to leftists such as Christopher Hitchens, Dianne Feinstein, and Alan Dershowitz, the liberal media fell into line to back Bush's Iraqi war. In 2002, when "shock and awe" was still a glimmer in Donald Rumsfeld's eye, NPR featured this report entitled, "Bush's National Security Strategy", with TALK OF THE NATION host Neal Conan and NPR correspondent Mike Schuster:
SHUSTER: So they're tying notions of liberty that come from the way the United States emerged into the world and the values that have operated in the United States for more than 200 years. And they're saying that the expansion of those ideas is in the national security of the United States.
CONAN: It's a pretty idealistic thought in a way.
Yes, isn't that idealistic? And what a seductive dialectic of liberalism and conservatism. Or, more accurately, tough-talking patriotism at the service of liberalism.
In fact, the use of force to usher in liberty is a completely leftist notion. It's the world view of anarchists and communists, not conservatives, who know that liberty is a natural outgrowth of culture. Edmund Burke, the father of modern conservatism, knew that rights came from "longstanding custom and practice" rather than theory or from outside imposition.
In fact, conservatives realize that war is more likely to lead to tyranny and chaos, not liberty. Senator Robert Taft expressed the traditional conservative position on war when he said, "No foreign policy can be justified except a policy devoted to the protection of the American people, with war only as the last resort and only to preserve that liberty." Many well-known conservatives opposed Bush's wars for just that reason, including Patrick Buchanan, Samuel Francis, Thomas Fleming, Joe Sobran, Charley Reese [a League of the South member], Jude Wanniski, Eric Margolis, and Taki Theodoracopulos. They were condemned as "unpatriotic conservatives" by the war party's mouthpieces.
Instead of promoting liberty, DC's wars have given us The PATRIOT Act, which authorized warrantless wiretaps, and the National Defense Authorization Act, which claims the government can arrest Americans and hold them INDEFINITELY without bringing charges against them. Perpetual war has constructed an all-powerful government with an unbreakable grip on our lives and property.
So who's advocating the REAL conservative position, Ron Paul, or Rick Santorum?