Laughing Boy 
Member since Aug 3, 2010


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Re: “Why Foreign Policy Matters Most

Thanks for your interesting article. I have just discovered you, and now happily recommend your work to the "confused conservatives" of my acquaintance. I do so out of pure self-interest: for I expect to be richly rewarded with their gratitude. :)

It is sad, however, that you must devote an entire article to demonstrate the simplest truism. Of course, I do not doubt its necessity. As you have so ably written elsewhere, our public discourse is about the transaction and conflict of "political identity", not logic. If it were otherwise, Sarah Palin could scarcely exist as a political force.

Ironically, the unity of foreign policy and domestic polity --rooted in a politics of symbols -- is upheld nowhere fiercer than in Neo-Con circles.

Although I have never heard it precisely phrased elsewhere this way, the "linchpin" concept cohering the two in their mind, as a single vision -- as I humbly perceive it -- resides in this single word: "decadence". That is, the Neo-Cons sincerely believe that the pursuit of Empire is necessary, even apart from purely security considerations, for the health, vigor, and unity of our American democracy.

Imperialism, to them, is good for the American soul. They are fighting the "decadence" that threatens to undermine that soul, glutted with the success of freedom and wealth and the collapse of any worthy foes to constrain our inevitable self-indulgences.

Their belief in an all-embracing project for "National Greatness" is predicated firstly on the notion that the US is an "ideological nation", not an organic one rooted in time and place.

A nation or country, so conceived, is thus essentially an abstraction, which gains the affection, allegiance, and attachment of citizens through the subsumation and conscription of their wayward energies into its own.

The vigorous activity of a "Great Nation" naturally constrains riotous self-interest and provincialism; necessitates public virtue by heady world responsibility; and provides an emotional investment in public symbols of triumph and sacrifice that transcends class, regional, ethnic, and other divides.

It is no use denying that the Neo-Cons are not a specie of American conservatism. They sincerely believe that they are "conserving" true American values, our best traditions. They truly do promote traditional conservative, even libertarian policies-- at times-- especially regarding the free market and public morals.

The real DIFFERENCE, between you and them, is that the latter live in a Social Darwinist (SD) world -- and you apparently do not.

YOU seem to believe in "organic" communities, like the South, that are naturally and healthily "self-regulating"-- in the sense that their proper governance mostly requires their instinctive, natural social evolution be given the least regulated, unemcumbered scope of development.

Your South is isolated conceptually in your mind as an entity, with all its bizarre contradictions and eccentrities, with a life without any ESSENTIAL reference to its environment in its internal definition or function.

In a SD world, social entities like physical ones are either expanding -- or declining: CONTEXT is everything. So for a political or social unity to "keep in trim", it must SEEK challenges if necessity does not impose them. Otherwise, the public bond loosens, and especially a free society decays from "liberal" to "licentious". Societies DISSIPATE and DISSOLVE without some irreducible level of EXTERNAL and INTERNAL pressure.

Neo-Con Social Darwinism is comprehensive, then, from domestic to global affairs. To them, Bin Laden is an essential (and so convenient) lesson that --unless we fill every corner of the world with our values and thinking --unscrupulous forces will do so instead, and perhaps achieve the world prominence to dictate global terms to us.

This is the Neo-Con mantra: without some over-awing international presence, a world of "normal" nations in their regular transactions is not a free one, but a vacuum "that would be filled" -- by someone, somehow. Better be us.

By realizing this permanent international reality, Americans would mature politically in domestically-salutary ways. The "guardians of the world" must internalize the sterner public and private virtues as necessity for crucial national vigor. Private immorality and vice dissipate vital energies required for important public projects.

At the same time, social programs must be constrained, as the market provides the arena of free action, rewards, and consequences that the inculcation of thoroughly personal -- and so subsequently, publicly conscriptable --virtue requires: a hardy, uncoddled, self-reliant citizenry schooled directly in hard-knock survival.

The Neo-Con vision, as my dim lights perceive it, ASSUMES the very point your article makes. And it can harken back to a lineage of "Right" thinking that is exclusively American, if its advocates were ever truly honest or even cogniscent. It's just not the "school" of Buckley, Kirk, Bradford, or Nock. It's the "school" of Hamilton, Captian Stahan, Oliver W Holmes, and the Adams brothers (Brook and Henry).

The KEY to the Neo-Cons -- and the link between their domestic and foreign policies -- is NOT Marx, or Trotsky, or ulterior Zionism. It is all-American Social Darwinism: an old tradition. And don't Conservatives reverence tradition? LOL, j/k

Posted by Laughing Boy on August 3, 2010 at 1:36 AM
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