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News Link • Philosophy: Conservatism

How the Interventionists Stole the American Right

• McMaken

Thanks to Ron Paul, the Conservative movement is having an identity crisis. The old guard of the Conservative movement, which also happens to be the Republican Party establishment, still clings to the old creation myth of the Conservative movement. Namely, that there was no opposition to the New Deal-Liberal consensus until William F. Buckley and National Review came along in 1955, saving America from the American left, social democracy, moral turpitude and international Communism.

The modern gatekeepers of the movement, and the Republican Party officials, who fancy themselves as the keepers of the last word on the acceptable range of debate within the movement, cannot understand why the Ron Paul movement is more concerned with actually shrinking the size of government than with waging endless wars for endless peace. They cannot fathom that people claiming to be part of the American Right might actually be interested in rolling back government power to tax, wiretap, spy, arrest, imprison and feel up American citizens. This runs contrary to everything they have ever imbibed about what it means to be Conservative in America.

And to a certain extent, they are correct. Since the Buckley-National Review wing of the movement in the 1950s gradually took control of the American Right, the movement became recognizable no longer by any particular concern with freedom or with free markets, but with a struggle against international Communism, with fighting culture wars and with other collectivist and big-government notions that came to dominate the movement by the 1960s. Thus, in response, the modern National Review columnists and the established Conservative punditry has repeatedly attempted to read the Ron Paul movement out of the American Right wing, although to very little effect.

While the modern disciples of Buckley and American interventionism act aghast and claim that the Conservatives and libertarians within the Paul movement have some how betrayed the ideals of the right, it is actually the laissez faire and anti-interventionists among the Paul wing of the movement that have the better claim to being true to the roots of the movement.

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