Hoisted By Their Own Petards

Whenever I ask myself, “What were the Republicans thinking?” I find the answer in the immortal collection of essays by Irving Kristol, Neo-Conservatism: The Autobiography of an Idea. In that book, Kristol lays out his grand plan for how the Republicans can truly achieve immense power in the United States, but that to do so will mean abandoning principles of fiscal conservatism and balanced budgets and embracing the “conservative welfare state.” Kristol further instructs that in matters of economics and foreign policy, the people aren’t to be listened to (as democratically elected politicians sometimes mistakenly believe), rather they are to be led because they are ignorant of these matters and they know it. In addition, Kristol and his associates guided the New Right to create a budget crisis by implementing socialist policies to compete with those of the left and to use this crisis to force the public to choose between traditional socialism and market-based social engineering. Well, the people have chosen: If you’re going to have a welfare state, let the left run it–after all, you can’t beat a guy at his own game.
The pundits on all sides will talk about this election as being a choice between right and left, speculating, “Was Romney too far to the right?” Or, “Was Romney not ‘right’ enough?” But “the right” as it is now defined comes with all sorts of baggage that is both inconsistent with the founders’ principles (to which the right pays much lip service) and irrelevant to national politics (or at least should be). The right has become the right side of the left: a quasi-market-based philosophy promising more efficiently to achieve the-all-things-to-all-people government at the core of liberal philosophy. But what makes the Republican Party “too right” to the pundits is that it couples this “conservative welfare state” with federal attempts to control people’s behavior at home and the shape of the world outside its borders. Regardless of the labels, from top to bottom, the right now merely offers a different flavor of statism from the left’s, not an alternative to statism itself. What’s worse is that while not providing an alternative to statism, the New Right purposely displaces those who would.

Please Don't Feed Me Neo-Con & Tell Me That It's Liberty (Part 1)

Everyone is abuzz with Romney’s “bold choice” of running mate, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan. Every bobble head with a press badge is telling us that the Tea Party and Ron Paul supporters should be psyched because, to borrow a phrase from Harry Reid: “The word is out!” Ryan’s a libertarian!
What else could he be? Ryan quotes Austrian economists and loves Ayn Rand – he must be a libertarian! And anyway, everyone says he is: Forbes calls Ryan “Ron Paul-esque,” the Financial Times calls him “a conservative of the libertarian kind,” and New York Magazine calls him “Your Annoying Libertarian Ex-Boyfriend.” He even has a libertarian-sounding name for crying out loud: Ron Paul, Ayn Rand, Paul Ryan…it just flows! As a matter of fact, someone said to me yesterday that Ron Paul was Romney’s running mate—true story! I mean those two are practically interchangeable!
What was that? You’re not so sure? Oh come now, don’t be such a purist, and don’t you dare let those nagging doubts about Ryan’s voting record bubble up to the top of your brain. And of all things, please don’t fall for it when Democratic operatives say things like, “while he may be a devotee of Ayn Rand, he has voted more like a Republican hack than a revolutionary,” or “Paul Ryan Record Shows He Could Be Running Mate of Obama.” Libertarians really do need to be more pragmatic.
Sure, Ryan denies being a libertarian