By: Thomas Lee Abshier, ND
John (quote from email correspondence below): “I would say that the only area where you and I *might* disagree is in the use of force to achieve natural law. Or maybe we don’t disagree? Natural law is about individuals having individual conscience and the freedom to make correct choices (or to make incorrect ones), thereby expressing their morality (or lack of it). What moral significance is displayed by behavior in a situation with a threat of immediate punishment for noncompliance? A person who chooses “correctly” under such circumstances acts only to avoid immediate pain and punishment – he would do otherwise if he could get away with it! His actions then are not moral actions. Right?”
Thomas: John, to paraphrase your point, to place it in the context of a criticism of the legitimacy of any government, and to take it to the extreme of its implication, “It is immoral for government to enforce compliance with any and all points of law, because people need to be free moral agents and choose right action out of a respect for the moral code inherent in Natural Law (God’s Law), rather than out of fear of punishment.”
You raise a number of good points in your comment, that have deep implications. Examination of these points will illuminate important considerations which ultimately give us insight about the purpose and proper structure of life.
In your statement, you have implied that natural law does not punish a man immediately for violating it. And, that this delay between violation and punishment gives men the opportunity to choose to do good out of loyalty to morality, rather than a fear of punishment. The implication is that men should not be forced by threat of governmental punishment to behave right, since when under threat of punishment they are acting out of fear, rather than out of a desire to be moral. Hence, we cannot even attribute goodness to their character because their right actions came from fear, rather from habit, heart, and love of right action.
I submit that it is impossible to separate the influence of pain from the pleasure and benefit of doing good in forming a man’s morality. Natural law will eventually punish its violator with pain of some type. Government only mimics the benefit and punishment polarity provided by nature. The laws of behavior (which reflect natural law) are administered and generated (legislated) and enforced by parents, sibs, friends, spouse, employer, the market, and all layers of government.
The only difference between the punishment administered by nature and man (all agents listed above) is that man can make an error in judging the patterns of natural law, and thus legislate wrong behavior. Likewise, men can make mistakes regarding his judgment of natural law.
The major differences between government and nature-administered Natural Law are 1) When men pass judgment and administer punishment, the violation of natural law may be spoken in some well-articulated declaration. Versus, Natural Law (God) usually speaks only in action, and often at a distance sufficiently removed from the violation that the casual listener may misunderstand the connection between violation and punishment.
2) Governments can pass and enforce laws that oppose both the spirit and letter of Natural Law.
3) Governments can be hyper and hypo vigilant in their reaction to violation of Natural Law. Government can monitor every movement of its populace, and administer automatic instantaneous and inflexible punishment. Or government may have no monitoring or enforcement provisions. Natural Law always brings justice to its violators, but the variations in lag and force can be large.
Note: the rest of the essay is simply an elaboration of the above few paragraphs.
Your objection to state-administered punishment revolves around issues related to “threat of punishment”. You have implied that a man can exercise moral judgment only if he chooses the right/moral action out of a love of right morality, instead of out of a fear of punishment.
This is an interesting point that is worthy of examination.
John 14:15 If you love me keep my commandments
1 John 2:3 Now by this, we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.
There is much more depth of understanding that comes from the surrounding verses. But in essence, they refer to the connection between righteous living and our relationship toward God. I don’t think this speaks to a punitive, touchy, withdrawing reaction to our disobedience and fleshly nature. Rather, I think it refers to the structural relationship between the human spirit, which is separated from fellowship with the divine to the extent there is error in life. The universe was built to only allow perfection to relate to God, and this happens through our relationship to Jesus Christ (this statement needs much justification to have it make sense, so I refer you to the larger body of my work in my www.theoryofabsolutes.com website for elaboration and rationalization of this concept).
Returning to your comment about people needing to be free of forceful governmental laws that require good behavior. Those who are mature and right in their relationship with God choose to do right because of the love they have for God. Those who choose to violate the law because of their “lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and pride of life” do not love God.
1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; is not of the Father, but of the world.
1 John 4:17-18 Love has been perfected among us in this; that we may have bondless in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in the world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
In this passage, “perfect love casts out fear” refers to the man who totally loves God’s law. Such a man is no longer acting out of a fear of the law, but instead choosing to worship, and thereby love, God by obeying His Law/commands/Way/Natural Law. God, His character, spirit, and being and His Law are inseparable”. If a man chooses to violate the law our of a love of satisfying the flesh, then there is no love for the character, person, way, or being of God in that aspect of his life.
God enforces His law by eventually, by bringing forces to bear that push back on the violator. The physical laws are instantaneous in their manifested effect, such as the law of gravity and electromagnetism. But, the moral violations, such as adultery or theft, can take a long time for the sequence of effects to mature enough to be seen, even though righting forces are initiated at the moment of violation. Because the effects are delayed in the realm of moral law, the naive perpetrator easily deludes himself into believing he has escaped the consequences of violation. This delay gives men the opportunity to feel they can violate God’s moral laws if they are smart enough.
When the state tries to enforce morality to the point of omnipresent monitoring, and instantaneous consequence, they have superceded the role of God, and His way of giving feedback and enforcing compliance with natural law. I believe this is the point you were trying to make regarding the state and punishment. When everyone is required to wear or implant RFID chips, and our every infraction is noted, and punishment delivered with immediate certainty, that is a level of moral enforcement beyond the level God intended for His children. This type of mechanical slavishness is typical of the type of Satanic control. When the state holds itself to be above error, to the point of certainty of punishment and slavish obedience to man’s law, they have taken the role of God from Him, and put themselves in the place of the Most High.
There are two sets of laws, 1) God’s moral law, and 2) Man’s concept of morality. Ideally the two are identical. Violations of God’s moral law will eventually, and certainly produce consequences. Man’s laws should not be more immediate, and their enforcement more certain, than God’s law. Modeling man’s legislative, judicial, and executive system after God’s seems like a reasonable pattern for man’s government.
I think we agree completely on this point. God allows a man’s sins to be found eventually revealed. The cause and effect sequence of discovery, conviction, and punishment winds slowly through the spiritual realm. The delay makes it possible for men to repent, change course, and become new creatures without applying the forceful corrective/aversive stimuli of state (or God) administered punishment. The delay in punishment makes it possible for men to choose the moral path, in spite of their blindness to the fact that no retribution will come immediately, and thus he thinks that he has been able to violate natural law, without any consequence. I believe this principle is integral to free will and developing moral maturity, just as you do.
Thus, the application of government force cannot be excluded on the basis of philosophical objection on principle, it must merely submit itself to the standards and protocols similar that applied by God. Thus, we are beginning to see more clearly the requirements that government should follow. The answer to the question, “Should government be involved in supplying punishment that enforces the terms of natural law?” can be answered yes, but it should follow Godly protocols and standards.
In summary, the main issues confronted regarding the philosophical boundaries of the state establishing law and administering punishment are: 1) allowing men enough room to act with a possibility of non-detection, 2) Legislation that conforms in principle with natural law, and 3) the appropriate enforcement response (in terms of detection, judgment, and prosecution) for that infraction.
So, to reply to your previous objection to the immorality of government, to the extent that a government is unrighteous, it immoral for that government to require the compliance of a people to its unrighteous law. It is, of course, wrong to submit to the rule of evil, ignorant, or misguided people. To give people the power of the sword to men who have no wisdom, and then submitting to it, is as foolish as the rulers and their orders.
But, your objection is an indictment of government in general, and the right of any government to rule over a man who had not consented to that rule. The statement has within it an indictment of the state enforcing compliance with the commands and demands of the state. The implication being that the use of force has an inherently wrong or evil aspect to it. In particular, it is wrong for the state to use force upon the citizen who had no real or effective part in agreeing to the tenets, principles, and premises of that law for which he is being prosecuted.
To begin with, the implication of this statement, taken to its extreme is to de-legitimate the authority of all governments to enforce law. Under this set of assumptions, every legislated and enforced requirement of the state is inherently immoral unless the citizen agrees consciously to be subject to every specific law. Which taken to its logical extreme means that if government enforcement is inherently, and entirely wrong/immoral, then there is no place for any legislation with enforcement by any government.
If this theory of government is correct, then the only authority and role for a moral government would be as a body which makes suggestions and receives donations. And, upon this point I momentarily digress, noting that a government which provides wise policy, workable guidelines, and well-proven strategies to resolve various disputes, is a government functioning with very little force. And, such a government may, in fact, be possible with a people that are mature, wise, moral, and Godly. Certainly, little more than advice would be required for such people to act rightly.
To this point, I have attempted to restate your point with as much clarity and expansion around the center kernel of this issue as I am capable. Thus, I shall assume we understand the premise of the discussion, and agree on the assertion and assessment above are accurately stated in reflecting your philosophical objection to a government that exerts force.
(I don’t believe there is any misunderstanding of the premise of the criticism of government. If there is a contention with this point, please take issue with my framing of your objection and correct my understanding of it.)
The problem is that we live in an imperfect world, and every layer of life exerts force on every other layer. The power of the state is virtually irresistible, but not omnipresent, nor omniscient, nor instantaneous in its capacity to react to violation. Thus, the possibility of evasion still exists, in fact, a better possibility than evading God’s eventual justice. So, the argument against the validity of government, and government using force cannot be used.
The inherent nature of government is the application of force. The real question is, “Is it possible to institute a moral government?” The government’s laws and enforcement should be identical to those of natural law. But, natural law already exists, and it will eventually punish the violator. Is there any need to establish another layer of law and enforcement other than that which has already been instituted and established by God?
And, the answer is yes. The argument is by analogy. There was a man who came by and saw a farmer’s field and was admiring all the crops. The farmer came by and asked him what he was doing. The man said, “It’s amazing what God has done with His creation?” the farmer replied, “You should have seen what He was doing with it before I got here.”
Of course, this story illustrates the fact that most of what God has done with the creation is to merely set the stage of life. The laws are present in men’s hearts, and the heavenly realms will act to produce that eventual and inevitable justice. But, man has been given the authority and opportunity to bring order and culture to this otherwise wild and primal world. The development of moral character comes both by listening to wisdom and counsel, and obeying it (elders, counselors, wise men, the Bible), becoming attuned to the voice of conscience (The Holy Spirit), and obeying the direct and overt signs of those who have authority over us (parents, family, employer, government-on-many levels, and God).
Thus, government is simply one of the octaves of law, one of the layers of the organization of humanity. As a society we could let people wander wild, waiting for natural law to correct their behavior. Or, we could groom the landscape of humanity, and shape their being.
To a large extent, I believe you *might* agree with everything I have written to this point, so I am merely restating the obvious. It appears though that you have a reflexive distrust of government, and are searching for a philosophical rationale for objecting to the rule of government. To my mind, I believe you are objecting to the unrighteous rule of government. But, to use such words would be to admit that there is an absolute standard, a way of being that cannot be challenged, must be followed, simply because it is right. But, to admit that such a standard of absolute behavior and being exists requires that there be an absolute standard holder, a God, a center, a point of unavoidable accountability and truth. And, this is antithetical to your experience of life. You have dedicated yourself to being open, a seeker, a man without conviction, a person willing to always look for another deeper level of truth.
I understand this reluctance to end the search because, to me, the depth of the moral perfection of life is endless. Thus, for me, I had to simply acknowledge the existence of the “Truth” as a principle, held by God, known and established by God, but not necessarily known by me, although I could follow it endlessly to deeper layers of perfection.
I believe the blockage is the experience of God. By your own admission, you have not had direct experience with God – He isn’t real. There has been no hunger in your heart to know Him because there has been no pressing emotional sense that something is missing. I gather your childhood did not include an acknowledgment of God’s presence and honor or reverence. This is the time of life when it is easiest to open up to this part of the soul, but it can happen later in life, by asking, by being open, by opening to the possibility that there is another aspect of life that you were previously blind to. I think it requires a miracle, a move of God in a man’s heart to open that room of the psyche. But, with prayer, a simple asking to the great unknown, “God, if you are real, show yourself to me. Let me feel your reality in my heart. Let me know the rationality of your way and being in my head.” That was essentially what I did, with every part of my being, and He came alive. It happened 23 years ago, and it never left.
Returning to the examination of government. Government is just one of the layers of organization of humanity. It can organize around group projects, support of the unfortunate, education, science, and provide a place for the societal boundaries of behavior that are encoded and enforce as the edicts/laws/policies of government.
As an illustration of the fact that government as a concept is acceptable, “We all agree that we would gladly live in a society with a governmental control that is just, fair, right, and good. But, such a rule will only arrive with the reign of the Kingdom of God.” Nevertheless, we should see to emulate the laws, judgment, and administration of the Kingdom in our own earthly government.” The people living under the reign and rule of the Kingdom prosper and live in harmony and enjoyable relationship. Property and person are respected because the boundaries of each are properly defined, demarcated, and honored.
In other words, it is Heaven on Earth living under such a dominion. Having established, and hopefully without argument, that such a government is perfect, and would have complete justification in using appropriate force to require compliance with the perfect way of being, the question that may be asked is, “How much of the obedience is due to the threat of force, and how much is due to the hearts of the men who populate the Kingdom?”
Of course, such questions cannot be answered definitively, but I believe we could presume that the force administered by a righteous government would be sufficiently forceful that compliance with righteousness would be the only reasonable alternative. Quickly, the citizenry would come to the sure recognition that compliance is better than resistance, and all who veered from a perfect center would be directed toward the straight and narrow.
Would such a world be good and pleasant to live in? It is a manifestation of the dream we all have of a world which is of maximum enjoyment, with all of the aspects of life that give it interest and texture. This is a utopian vision, a dream of a perfect world. It is Heaven on Earth, and it is still a world with free will. Men can still violate natural law, attempt to avoid detection, and profit for a time under the illusion of the invisibility of their violation. But, just as in God’s kingdom, and under natural law alone, the government, and God, simple administer appropriate feedback for consequences in due time.
The question you raise is about a world without sin or free will. And yes, it is necessary for the world to have risk, and the possibility of violation, consequence, failure, and victory. This was the possibility opened up in the Garden of Eden when men rebelled against God, ate of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and evil, and their eyes were opened to the Truth and the Lie (the false appearance of reality). Men were confused by seeing and knowing all the possibilities of life, and they made mistakes, drawn by their desires, they took what was not theirs (life and property) for their own temporary enjoyment. Life has continued on with this particular drama being played out over and over throughout the ages for every man. It is the drama that matures our souls and gives us the opportunity to choose and work for the level of maturity of the soul at which we will enter eternity.
If the reign of righteous government were established on earth, among real flesh and blood flawed humans, life would still be a challenge, a trial, a daily experience of victory or defeat. Men would still have to resist the temptations to violate the boundaries of property and person. And there would be the possibility of gain and loss, injury, and shame. Nature will continue to provide the natural challenges of organizing matter, and overcoming the constant disorganization produced by random collisions. In other words, we have merely added an overlay of perfect government on top of an otherwise ordinary configuration of men and the commerce of their daily lives.
The question we must ask is, “What is the level of penetration and participation of government in men’s lives enhances their experience?” The purpose and function of government, certainly not at the national level, should not be to take the risk out of life, nor to enforce charity.
We cannot escape “government” in our lives. It is asymmetric and unbalanced to assume that government can and should exist at all levels, except at the level of city/state/federal. We encounter and subject ourselves to numerous quasi-governmental forces throughout our daily life, such as parenting, with its forceful application of consequences (without our consent); the forceful application of boundaries by neighbors, shopkeepers, teachers, employers, association members, and friends… We are constantly in a space of action and consequence, and while not of the formal nature of government, the various social institutions and experiences are all governmental in nature. Thus, the question of the validity of government is not around the validity of the institution itself, but rather the righteousness of its law and appropriateness of its enforcement mechanism.
You have advocated for the elimination of government as a lawgiving and forceful body and argued for the replacement of it with the force of the market. I believe there is a place for the market, and many, if not most, of the currently usurped powers that the Federal government has taken upon itself. Redistribution of the institution of charity to the individual, church, and community, instead of forcing charity would be one of the first reductions in the scope and power of government. But, having moved most of the functions of the Federal government, etcetera, to the market and other groups, we are then left with a few functions that are well suited to a layer of organization on the level of national size – Defense being the primary one among them.
The fact of men’s desire to control, usurp power, micro-manage everyone, and everything, does not diminish the fact of the appropriateness of establishing a layer of control on the National level. Rather, this is simply another force of slavery and sin that men can and should conquer. The very fact that there is so much passion and effort being exerted by you and I over this debate gives evidence to the fact that the human heart and soul long for mastery on this level. And, I don’t think that the resolution and victory we will eventually accomplish in this realm is simply to dismiss the entire concept of government in favor of the market regulation of all societal institutions or anarcho-capitalism.
Again, your original assertion is that force exerted by government is immoral. And, this theory is refuted by the fact that there is no discontinuity along the continuum from the commonly accepted social institutions which have laws of relationship, and forceful enforcement of compliance with those laws, and the domain of government with its laws and forceful compliance.
Government is simply another octave, another layer of social institution, with its own appropriate level of coordination of groups. And, as in all other layers of society (individual, couples, families, clans/associations/groups, cities, states, nations, world), each layer has its own appropriate set of rules and enforcement tools to properly regulate that layer.
Again, the question is not whether force and law should be administered at each layer of social organization, but rather what is the appropriate force and law.
Experience and casual observation reveal the fact that most government law and force is done poorly, by people with little wisdom. The result is that the laws and force applied are inappropriate and counterproductive. In turn, people come to believe that the institution of government is immoral since none of us agreed, or would ever agree, to be subject to the rule of madmen. And certainly, being subject to the rule of madmen is immoral, just as forceful obedience of any wrong/sinful/hurtful order is immoral (both to commit it, and to give the order). But this common administration of the institution of government does not make the institution of government (with its laws and force) immoral, it merely makes the particular actions of a particular government immoral.
To emphasize this point I reiterate the possibility of a government that is totally moral, issues laws and exerts force only in its proper domain, and with the minimum effective force to return the errant man to the center track of life action. Thus, the right use of government is not immoral, but the government that requires immorality certainly is immoral.
Would such a government allow men to be moral, given that every law of government was moral, true, right, and had enforcement behind it? And of course, the answer is yes. Such a government is no different than a perfect parent. The child is not perfect, he still tries to taste and eat the forbidden fruit. The child still has imperfect knowledge of right thought, speech, and action, and he is seduced by the dark side of the force into wrong action. The hard edge of the law, the disapproval of parents and society administer the soft punishment to the soul that moves the tender heart. The hard labor and confinement will produce penitence when there is a right standard being taught during the time of rehabilitation. And yes, we need to have a standard that we teach as a society, but largely it is written on men’s hearts, rather than on the law books.
Which then brings us to the consideration of the righteousness of organizing a government as a Constitutional Republic. I can see how this form could be implemented as a Godly government. It would require a nation of men each dedicated to pursuing and bowing to the Lord who embodies Truth and Law. When such men populate Main Street, then the men who serve as the judges, legislators, and executives will populate the halls of government.
Until the Lord returns, our job is to serve as the surrogates in divining the just law by which each layer of government should regulate the layers of life appropriately. And yes, force must be used in all things in this world. Nothing happens without exerting force, whether spirit-mental-physical or simply natural kinetic transfer of energy via collision.
The footprint of a righteous government is nearly invisible, except when there was a violation of the proper boundaries of relationship. Most violation should be handled at the layer of personal confrontation, and then at the level of the group, and then at the level of the State. Very little regulation needs to be done on the national level, but changing that will require that each man submits his heart to the will and way of God. And, the only power we have to effect that change is to purify our own hearts and speak the truth in love to our brothers to encourage and admonish them in the ways of righteousness.
There is no royal road to societal harmony. There is no perfect governmental organization, only ones that are more or less amenable to the natural feedback of men who are righteous and can thus influence the way of the state. Government of the people, by the people, and for the people is our best hope. And that will only work to the extent that we purify our hearts.
Original Message —–
To: Thomas Lee Abshier, ND
Sent: Tuesday, November 09, 2010 3:22 PM
Subject: A clearer distinction between libertarianism and neoconservativism
I like this:
“Neoconservatism is one of the most influential ideological paradigms in the modern age. Incredibly, this book (Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea) is the first thorough critique of this position, from the perspective of the party of freedom.
It is written by Bradley Thompson, a professor of politics who once sympathized with the neoconservative outlook until he discovered its implications for freedom. Here he reveals how the outlook actually longs for dictatorship and distrusts freedom and the free market.
He first establishes the fact that neoconservatism is more than a clique but rather is a real theory of politics. He then explores its roots and suppositions, with a particular focus on its suppositions concerning freedom and the free market.
He then proceeds to utterly crush its distrust of human liberty and shows how its adoration of power and rule by the elites goes against the natural formation of a civilization of freedom.
What is particularly surprising here, as well as deeply effective, is how Thompson provides a rigorous and thorough critique that is not from the left-socialist point of view but rather from the “right”: the standard here is the liberal tradition. This makes his work more effective than any that has ever been written.
You will learn from this book and come to see why the libertarians never signed up with the neoconservative agenda in either domestic or foreign policy. More than any book written on the topic, this book provides the intellectual ammunition to combat this threat to freedom from the right.”
From: Dr Margo
Sent: Tuesday, November 09, 2010 4:04 PM
Subject: Re: A clearer distinction between libertarianism and neonconservativism
Hi John, I don’t have time for your article right now, just as you haven’t had the time to read all of Tom’s replies to previous ones. But, I would like to ask you a question. What is your definition of a neo conservative? I have a clear understanding about what a conservative is. But, from what I can tell, “neo conservative” is a pejorative epithet bandied about by liberals, progressives, libertarians, anarchists and anyone who wants to denigrate anyone they disagree with, but especially people who believe natural law to be part of man’s obligation to God, and it also sometimes seems to have anti-Semitic overtones. So, I am interested in hearing what you consider the definition to be. It is easy to build up a straw man just to tear him down.
I am sure the book (described by the article below) really defines the distinction better and more completely than I can. There was no article and not much to read, nothing beyond the clip I sent. It’s basically just an advertisement for the book.
But here’s a definition from Wikipedia that seems about as complete a definition as I can think of:
Neoconservatism is a political philosophy that supports using economic and military power to bring liberalism, democracy, and human rights to other countries. In economics, unlike paleoconservatives and libertarians, neoconservatives are generally comfortable with a limited welfare state; and, while rhetorically supportive of free markets, they are willing to interfere for overriding social purposes. Critics on the right attack Neoconservatism for involving the United States with wars in the Middle East. Critics on the left attack Neoconservatism for its promoting of American exceptionalism and its policies in the Middle East that align the United States with Israel.
The distinction with paleoconservatism becomes clearer by reading the Wikipedia definition of paleoconservatism:
Paleoconservatism (sometimes shortened to paleo or paleocon when the context is clear) is a term for a conservative political philosophy found primarily in the United States stressing tradition, limited government, civil society, anti-imperialism and anti-federalism, along with religious, regional, national and Western identity. Chilton Williamson, Jr. describes paleoconservatism as “the expression of rootedness: a sense of place and of history, a sense of self-derived from forebears, kin, and culture—an identity that is both collective and personal.” Paleoconservatism is not expressed as an ideology and its adherents do not necessarily subscribe to any one party line.
I would say that your and Tom’s philosophy fit the paleoconservative definition better than the neoconservative definition. Am I right? I think if you read the whole definition at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleoconservatives you will see a very clear distinction between the paleo and the neo variety. Several examples are given.
In short, I would consider neocons as milquetoast conservatives or RINO conservatives, or “Democrat-lite” conservatives. I would also consider neocons as the “lip service conservatives” who represent the financial elites of the world, whose first interest is control (to their benefit). They will even promote socialism if it advances their own wealth and control. Maintaining their control is their goal, and they will go with whatever it takes to achieve that. Certainly, the Federal Reserve plays into their interests. I think corporate weapons sales to all sides of a conflict (regardless of the morality of either side) is also a part of this, but that would be only my own extension of the definition.
There’s no straw man here. These are pretty clear definitions and distinctions.
I would say that the only area where you and I *might* disagree is in the use of force to achieve natural law. Or maybe we don’t disagree? Natural law is about an individual having individual conscience and the freedom to make correct choices (or to make incorrect ones), thereby expressing their morality (or lack of it). What moral significance is displayed by behavior in a situation with a threat of immediate punishment for noncompliance? A person who chooses “correctly” under such circumstances acts only to avoid immediate pain and punishment – he would do otherwise if he could get away with it! His actions then are not moral actions, right?
I am sure there is leftist usage of the term “neocon” that is more all-inclusive of all conservatives (or anyone who isn’t a socialist like them). I hear that all the time. But the terms can also be used precisely and non-pejoratively.
From: Dr Margo
Sent: Tuesday, November 09, 2010 6:21 PM
Subject: Re: A clearer distinction between libertarianism and neonconservativism
Glenn Beck is dedicating this week to disclosing George Soros and all of his Marxist organizations world wide, used to bring down governments and destroy currencies for his power and aggrandizement. I must admit, I don’t think I know of any real “neo conservatives.” There are socialists and Marxists with all their scheming, and then there are their “progressive” and “liberal” and “anarchist” friends who also help form their cabal. Some of those call themselves Republicans, but they aren’t conservatives, they are treasonous traitors.
I don’t know any of these so-called “business people” who the Fed supposedly plays to their interests. Who are these “financial elites?” The “wealth and control” crowd that I see involved in all these Marxist organizations don’t even feign any conservatism. They might “take off the revolutionary clothing to get to the revolutionary ends,” as Van Jones said. But, they don’t feign conservatism. Name me one “control” guy who is not a “socialist” or “Marxist.” McCain might claim to be conservative, but only when it is popular, but his wife and daughter are always upfront about being “progressives.” And, there are other Republican turncoats, but by their fruits, you will know them.
The Fed is “playing” to destroy our currency in order to cause global collapse and force a one world order Marxist government on everyone. There isn’t a businessman out there who wants that. These Marxists want to destroy capitalism, that won’t play in Peoria. Again, my point is, people are either conservatives, both culturally, financially, economically, and morally, or they aren’t. Conservatives don’t want anything to do with these socialist tactics. That doesn’t mean that some fairly good guys can’t be tricked occasionally into voting for some legislation, or picking a horrible Supreme Court justice, etc. But, I am talking about true conservatives, they don’t want anything to do with the duplicity, the lies, the slander, and the evil Marxist elitist plans. Conservatives have no desire to trap others to benefit themselves.
As for “natural law” such things as property rights and punishment for murder, rape, theft, slander, perjury, etc., of course, there is a need for government to enforce such things. Otherwise, society has no glue or protections to hold it together. This nonsense that “you can’t legislate morality” is an oxymoron. Someone’s morality is going to be legislated or upheld. God’s law is the fairest for the most vulnerable in society. These folk who don’t want morality legislated are now sending cops out to issue citations to restaurants for transfat content while the cities are plagued with robbers, rapists, and murderers. The Marxists always enforce capricious and arbitrary laws in order to maintain control. They just aren’t laws that make any sense or help society advance. Only one thing makes societies work and become prosperous and that is God’s laws, that He has written in the hearts of mankind, hence “natural law.” If God’s laws aren’t enforced, then society breaks down and can’t grow or prosper, and chaos rules. What American exceptionalism is all about is that as much as the people of this nation followed God’s laws, this nation worked better and produced more benefits to mankind than any nation on the face of the earth. As de Tocqueville said, “America is great because America is good. If she ever ceases to be good she will cease to be great.” That is the only source of American exceptionalism, the marriage of liberty with God’s laws that he saw and wrote about:
Upon my arrival in the United States the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention; and the longer I stayed there, the more I perceived the great political consequences resulting from this new state of things. In France, I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom marching in opposite directions. But in America, I found they were intimately united and that they reigned in common over the same country.
Religion in America must be regarded as the foremost of the political institutions of that country; for if it does not impart a taste for freedom, it facilitates the use of it. Indeed, it is in this same point of view that the inhabitants of the United States themselves look upon religious belief. I do not know whether all Americans have a sincere faith in their religion, for who can search the human heart? But I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions. This opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens or a party, but it belongs to the whole nation and to every rank of society.
The sects that exist in the United States are innumerable. They all differ in respect to the worship which is due to the Creator, but they all agree in respect to the duties which are due from man to man. Each sect adores the Deity in its own peculiar manner, but all sects preach the same moral law in the name of God… Moreover, all the sects of the United States are comprised within the great unity of Christianity, and Christian morality is everywhere the same.
In the United States the sovereign authority is religious… there is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America, and there can be no greater proof of its utility and of its conformity to human nature than that its influence is powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth.
That is American exceptionalism explained in detail and it has nothing to do with Neo-Conservatism, which I still think is a straw man that doesn’t exist, except in the mind of socialists who want to silence the free speech of their political opponents.
Margo, I agree with and admire almost everything you said. One problem with my discussions with everyone is that they escalate from message to message to get longer and longer, to the point that I have to chew up 2 or 3 hours to answer every point in a reply after a few replies get sent back and forth, and I really don’t have the time for that right now. I really wish I did! There’s really nothing I enjoy more than thinking, writing, evaluating, replying, discussing, etc. But my plate is very full. I have to let it go.
I will say, however, that Neocon is not a straw man. In fact, you will find many famous figures who proudly label themselves as such! I am surprised you have never come across the term in non-pejorative contexts. I am pretty sure that Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, proudly labels himself a Neocon. His mag is for the beltway, good-ol-boy, entrenched Republicans. I think whoever the current Rockefeller also labels himself a Neocon. Neocons hold contempt for Tea Party conservatives. Anytime you see a so-called conservative/GOP publication that ridicules the Tea Parties, you can pretty much bet that it holds a Neocon persuasion.
I have run into Neocons a lot, directly or indirectly. Our Sonoma County GOP happens to be one of the most activist counties in California. They are stymied relentlessly by the California State GOP which is Neocon controlled. Our county party is heavily Tea Party supported, and the State GOP hates the Tea Partiers.
I bet you could Google “popular neoconservatives” and come up with a list of people you recognize who proudly refer to themselves as neocons.