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BIZARRO CONSERVATISM AND ITS DISCONTENTS by Justin Raimondo

 
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User ID: 105879
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09/27/2006 11:25 AM
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BIZARRO CONSERVATISM AND ITS DISCONTENTS by Justin Raimondo
”The program of the War Party – perpetual war and the creation of an American empire – had to mean the overthrow of our constitutional republic, and the rise of… something else. Something that has been, so far, alien to America, but is now, sadly, a looming possibility: a dictatorship "legally" empowered by "emergency" measures, such as the one presently before the Senate.”


www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=9758
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SNIP

September 27, 2006


Bizarro Conservatism

And its discontents


by Justin Raimondo


Our parent organization, the Randolph Bourne Institute, is named after an early 20th-century liberal famous for, among other things, his trenchant observation that "war is the health of the State" – a phrase that takes on quite a different connotation in our degraded era. In these dark times, Bourne's statement might be taken as meaning approval of war: after all, the State, in this age of Big-Brotherism and "big government conservatism," is a Good Thing, and it's only natural in this context to wish it good health: the more overweening and built-up, the better.

There was a time, however, when Americans feared the accumulation of power, especially when it accrued to the federal government in Washington: conservatives of the Goldwater stripe (and, further back, the followers of Sen. Robert A. Taft), were especially vigilant against this danger. The liberals of Bourne's day, before they were Wilsonized and Rooseveltized, were wary of government's coercive essence. Both Left and Right were joined at the root by the American libertarian consensus – a reflexive distrust of government power rooted in history and reinforced by a rebellious temperament embedded in the American consciousness.

No more: today, the "conservatives" on the Fox "News" channel and the Rush Limbaugh-radio talk show circuit are worshippers at the altar of State Power. No expansion of governmental authority is too vast, too broad, too brazenly contrary to the spirit and letter of the Constitution to evade their enthusiastic endorsement. Liberals, to some extent, are regaining their old distrust of government power, largely in reaction to the radical incursions on our civil liberties authored by the Bush administration. Yet the liberal mainstream, which extends from the Hillary Clinton Fan Club on the "far left" to the editors of The New Republic in the supposed center, stood by in silence or else openly applauded while this president eviscerated our civil liberties.

A massive attack on the traditional principle of habeas corpus – which means that the authorities must have some stated reason, some evidence that a crime has been committed, to hold an individual in detention – would, in normal times, have provoked a storm of protest. However, that was before 9/11, before the impact of those planes on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon tore a gaping hole in the space-time continuum and propelled us into an alternate universe known to avid readers of Superman comics as Bizarro World – a parallel plane of existence where up is down, right is wrong, and the Constitution is really a mandate for the president's unlimited authority.


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