5 Most Annoying Things Neocons Say
by Ben Lewis
October 19, 2014 – Roughly a decade ago, before I had ever heard of Ron Paul, before I knew what a libertarian was, I bought into the mainstream myth that political opinions can be neatly divided into two camps, left and right. On the left were the commie liberals, who not only wanted the government to run the economy, but who also hated God, the military, the American flag and apple pie.
Being a fan of economic freedom (and of pie), I deduced that I must therefore be a conservative. To bear this weighty title I learned that I must hold the free market and the Constitution in high regard – except when they permitted someone to do something I didn’t like. I also learned that I must revere military interventionism and believe wholeheartedly in the power of the federal government to make people moral.
As I discovered libertarianism I learned that it was what mainstream conservatism claimed to be: a principled belief in liberty. I also came to see neoconservatism for what it was: a half-baked political theory replete with contradictions. Neocons wear these contradictions on their sleeves, proudly supporting people and policies that completely belie their stated beliefs in limited government and individual liberty.
For these reasons, I find neoconservatism largely insufferable. Here is my list of the five most annoying things that neocons say.
5) “I pledge allegiance to the flag…”
Q: What is the most successful piece of socialist propaganda in U.S. history?
A: The Pledge of Allegiance.
Few Americans realize that the Pledge of Allegiance was authored by an avowed socialist, Francis Bellamy, in 1892. Bellamy’s purpose in writing the Pledge was to indoctrinate America’s schoolchildren into a nationalist mentality by pounding the idea of a national, indivisible republic into their little heads every day for 13 years.
Neocons don’t care about the Pledge’s history, though. They don’t care that the Pledge is entirely antithetical to America’s founding principles. They don’t find it the least bit creepy to stand, hand over heart, and pledge unending devotion to a central government. Neocons shame the legacy of the conservatives of the Old Right who knew that allegiance is too important to pledge to a central government. Allegiance should be reserved for the really vital parts of our lives, faith, family and community. But neocons sacrifice all of that on the altar of nationalism.
4) “Stand up for the Constitution.”
During the 2012 presidential election, Ron Paul’s supporters caught all kinds of hell from conservatives for refusing to get behind Mitt Romney. Talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck fumed at us for not playing nice with the Party. In their eyes we were petulant brats who needed a good talking (down) to.
That was all to be expected. What was surprising was that at least one neocon had the audacity to say that Paulites needed to vote for Romney in order to protect the Constitution. Yes, the election of Mitt Romney – the guy who favored bailouts, who thought lawyers should decide how we go to war and who loved the NDAA – was essential to defending the Constitution.
Neocons don’t really care about the Constitution. They despise its limits on their power as much as the left does. The only thing more annoying than when they claim to defend the Constitution is when they lecture others for failing to.
3) “I miss George W. Bush.”
With the recent violence in Iraq, there has been a surge in “Bush was right!” rhetoric from neocons. They have seized upon President Obama’s low approval ratings as an opportunity to pine for the good ol’ days of George W. Bush.
I wonder what part of Bush’s presidency they miss the most. Is it how he increased spending to its highest level since Lyndon B. Johnson’s failed “Great Society” programs? Was it how he moved the health care industry closer to socialism with Medicare Part D? Was it his unconstitutional Patriot Act? Was it his general disdain for the Constitution’s limits on executive authority?
Maybe they just miss the way he militarily meddled in foreign countries, helping to set the stage for the violence and destruction in Iraq today. People who genuinely believe in liberty miss none of this. Of course, people who genuinely believe in liberty aren’t neocons.
2) “Those libertarians are crazy.”
John McCain and Lindsey Graham, the crypt keepers of neoconservatism, absolutely despise libertarianism. McCain’s now infamous “libertarian kids’ comments made for some entertaining internet memes, but it also exposed a general disdain of libertarianism by neocons. The most common objection they have is that libertarians are crazy idealists.
The real issue that libertarianism poses for neocons is problematic for the likes of McCain and Graham. It is that libertarians actually stand for the things that they only rhetorically embrace. Libertarians believe that liberty doesn’t come with asterisks. They also believe that, as modern events clearly show, constantly military interventions abroad only serve to create chaos there and shrink liberty here.
For neocons, however, libertarians are crazy for being logically consistent and paying attention to the facts.
1) “American exceptionalism”
Is America exceptional? There’s a case to be made that it once was. Frederic Bastiat, the great classical liberal economist, wrote in 1850 that United States enjoyed the greatest amount of freedom in the world. Fast forward 164 years, and that is no longer true. In the most recent Economic Freedom Index, the U.S. placed only 12th. In a Press Freedom ranking, the U.S. recently came in 32nd.
Despite these trends, neocons are absolutely obsessed with American exceptionalism. Belief in it is mandatory to be taken seriously in neocon circles. In their minds, America is inherently better than all other countries in the world because, well, we’re America. Since America is better, it gets to militarily export its preferences around the world. Paradoxically, as freedom has decreased here at home, neocons have doubled down on the failed mission to export it abroad.
Ironically, if Americans would reject the neocons and look to the country’s founders, who were profoundly more conservative, America truly would be exceptional. Were we to follow their advice we would, as George Washington said, “give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence.”
So there you have it, five really annoying things neocons say. Are there only five such things? Of course not. Add to this list by posting more obnoxious garbage uttered by neocons in the comments!