Right-Wing Utopians

Ron Paul, God bless him, is out in front in his role as the Chairman of the Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology Subcommittee (part of the House Committee on Financial Services).  He held a hearing on Tuesday to examine the Fed’s role in contributing to unemployment.  His lead witness was Thomas DiLorenzo.  You remember DiLorenzo from such tomes as The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War and Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe. DiLorenzo is to historical research what Lady Gaga is to music, so it was a curious choice by Ron Paul.  Then again, we should probably thank our lucky stars that he didn’t select his buddy Alex Jones, though I suppose it would have provided some entertainment to hear him rail about 9/11 conspiracies and the role of the Illuminati in trying to secure a one-world state.

As Greg Garrison at Red State notes, it’s kind of funny, but also kind of sad.

This subcommittee hearing is a great example of Paul’s inappropriate oddness. With all that government needs to do, and all that it needs to stop doing, the last thing we need is a series of hearings on how the Federal Reserve is causing massive unemployment. That’s probably what Dr. Paul will “uncover”, and while there’s obviously a relationship between monetary supply, inflation, unemployment, and the like, blaming all of our problems on “The Fed” (which he asserts we need to end) is lunacy.

But that’s Ron Paul. He wants to end fractional reserve banking. He claims that gold is “real money” and paper is not (to say nothing of debit cards), without thinking of how uncomfortable mattresses are when stuffed with gold coins instead of dollar bills. He blathers on about 9/11 cover-ups” and comes pretty close to blaming 9/11 on America (Many say that he crosses that line).

The last part is a bit more debatable, but that’s neither here nor there.  I think a commenter nails the problem with Paul and those who are of like mind.

Essentially, Rothbard, the anarchistic libertarians, and some Objectivists are on the utopian right: they essentially envision worlds and systems that have never, and will never, exist, existing solely by virtue of their intellectual consistency. They then attack extant society from the mistaken notion that its demise will lead to anarcho-capitalism… somehow.

This squares with what I’ve long believed about the paleo-conservative right.

Now originally I was going to just write about Paul and the utopianism of his movement, but then last night I came home and watched a little bit of the Fox News “All Star” panel, which tonight featured a trio of foreign policy experts discussing the situation in Egypt.  Included on the panel was Paul Wolfowitz, and he was by far the most optimistic about the potential for democracy to erupt in Egypt and for rainbows to sparkle everywhere and for unicorns to dance in the street.  Okay, maybe he didn’t say anything about unicorns, but he was not terribly concerned about the Muslim Brotherhood’s potential to hijack the reform movement and create an Islamic theocracy in Egypt.  To be fair he didn’t completely discount this threat, but he definitely appeared to be much happier about what was taking place than the rest of the panel.

This comes on the heels of Bill Kristol’s denunciation of Glenn Beck’s supposed hysteria regarding the situation.

But hysteria is not a sign of health. When Glenn Beck rants about the caliphate taking over the Middle East from Morocco to the Philippines, and lists (invents?) the connections between caliphate-promoters and the American left, he brings to mind no one so much as Robert Welch and the John Birch Society. He’s marginalizing himself, just as his predecessors did back in the early 1960s.

Nor is it a sign of health when other American conservatives are so fearful of a popular awakening that they side with the dictator against the democrats. Rather, it’s a sign of fearfulness unworthy of Americans, of short-sightedness uncharacteristic of conservatives, of excuse-making for thuggery unworthy of the American conservative tradition.

Granted Beck does tend to get, shall we say, a little over excited at times, Kristol runs in just the opposite direction.  What Kristol dismisses as “fearfulness” is nothing more than a pragmatic approach to events that epitomizes what real conservatism is all about.

They say that a neoconservative is a liberal who got mugged by reality, but it seems that there is nothing very realistic about an approach to foreign policy that hand waves away legitimate concerns.  Shouting at the top of your lungs like Kevin Bacon at the end of Animal House that “all is well,” or will be well just as soon as a democracy is installed is, to put it kindly, naive.

This is not to say that Kristol and Wolfowitz are wrong in their prognostications.  It may very well be that we are witnessing Egypt transform itself from an authoritarian regime to a relatively moderate democracy that is more ally than enemy of the United States, and which expands the personal liberty of its citizenry.  But Kristol seems to think that democracy for its own sake is a good, and we should simply back the protesters without any concern that the end result is a regime far worse than what we currently have.

This moment in time may serve as useful line of demarcation between neoconservatives and traditional conservatives.  The term neocon has been used willy nilly to apply to pretty much anyone who doesn’t take The American Conservative or the scribblings on lewrockwell.com as Gospel truth.  Many of us have criticized this mis-labeling of much of the conservative movement, but here we have a case where the differences between neoconservatives and other conservatives becomes much clearer.

What’s funny about all this is that for all their hatred of neocons, it turns out paleocons and neocons have one fundamental thing in common: a kind of utopian outlook that is anything but conservative.

One other thing occurs to me about all this.  It is said that the academy is dominated by the left, and this is empirically true.  But for the 10-15 percent of academics not on the left, especially in the social sciences, neocons and palecons predominate.  Admittedly this is a somewhat anecdotal observation, but I’d say that most right-wing professors tend be at least sympathetic to paleoconservatism, and another good chunk on the opposite extreme as neocons.  So maybe there is something that ties all academics together: a preference for abstract systems over the real world.

(By the way, as I write this post it has been announced that Mubarak has really truly resigned this time.  I guess we’ll get to know soon who is right, literally and figuratively.)

24 Responses to Right-Wing Utopians

  • Ron Paul’s nuttiness has gone mainstream in the Tea Party. Fortunately, we’re not going to get real monetary reform.

    Now that we’ve angered Joe, I’m going to hide under my bed.

  • I’m not sure about that, RR. Yeah, there are a lot of followers of Paul and many others that are sympathetic to some of his monetary policies, but I am not sure they represent the majority of the movement.

  • Granted, lots of TPers don’t have any strong views one way or the other on monetary policy but those who do are usually Austrian goldbackers. Paul Ryan sounds a lot like Ron Paul these days.

  • All you need to know about Dilorenzo as a scholar:

    “For example, DiLorenzo repeatedly asserts that Lincoln did not believe in human equality and shared the widely held prejudices of his time that blacks were inferior. Here is DiLorenzo:

    “Lincoln even mocked the Jeffersonian dictum enshrined in the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal. He admitted that it had become “a genuine coin in the political currency of our generation,” but added, “I am sorry to say that I have never seen two men of whom it is true. But I must admit I never saw the Siamese Twins, and therefore will not dogmatically say that no man ever saw a proof of this sage aphorism” So, with the possible exception of Siamese Twins, the idea of equality, according to Lincoln, was a sheer absurdity. This is in stark contrast to the seductive words of the Gettysburg Address, eleven years later, in which he purported to rededicate the nation to the notion that all men are created equal.”

    DiLorenzo cites the first joint debate between Lincoln and Stephen Douglas, held in Ottawa, Illinois, in 1858, as the source of the quotation. The language actually comes from Lincoln’s eulogy of his longtime friend and colleague Henry Clay, delivered in July 1852. But that is the least of DiLorenzo’s problems. He uses this quotation, and a few other excerpted phrases, to “prove” that Lincoln’s professed belief in human equality was disingenuous. Here are Lincoln’s actual words:

    “[There are] a few, but an increasing number of men, who, for the sake of perpetuating slavery, are beginning to assail and to ridicule the white man’s charter of freedom, the declaration “that all men are created equal.” So far as I have learned, the first American, of any note, to do or attempt this, was the late John C. Calhoun; and if I mistake not, it soon after found its way into some of the messages of the Governors of South Carolina. We, however, look for, and are not much shocked by, political eccentricities and heresies in South Carolina. But, only last year, I saw with astonishment, what purported to be a letter of a very distinguished and influential clergyman of Virginia, copied, with apparent approbation, into a St. Louis newspaper, containing the following, to me, very extraordinary language:

    I am fully aware that there is a text in some Bibles that is not in mine. Professional abolitionists have made more use of it, than of any passage in the Bible. It came, however, as I trace it, from Saint Voltaire, and was baptized by Thomas Jefferson, and since almost universally regarded as canonical authority ‘All men are born equal and free.’

    This is a genuine coin in the political currency of our generation. I am sorry to say that I have never seen two men of whom it is true. But I must admit I never saw the Siamese Twins, and therefore will not dogmatically say that no man ever saw a proof of this sage aphorism.

    This sounds strangely in republican America. The like was not heard in the fresher days of the Republic.”

    DiLorenzo thus attributes to Lincoln the words of a Virginia clergyman whom Lincoln quoted and then went on to criticize. In the course of his eulogy of Clay, Lincoln defended the proposition of human equality and equal natural rights, as he did in all his major addresses. His argument is precisely the opposite of what DiLorenzo claims it to be.”

    http://www.claremont.org/publications/crb/id.736/article_detail.asp

  • Utopianism of any kind is dangerous, but that doesn’t mean that we should throw out the entire thought stream. Austrian economics in the realm of the economics of capital is true. The failure occurs when they drift into the realm of morals and total human nature (as opposed to the nature of homo economicus, which is just a portion of the whole man).

    As Catholics, we should not marry ourselves to any ideology be it libertarian, neocon, liberal, whatever. We are called to proclaim the Truth and discern the truth.

    To dismiss some ideas simply because they seem nutty is foolish, because they may be true. Leftists, jihadists, petrodollar autocrats, Marxists, etc. will tear each other apart, yet, they have one enemy in common. That enemy is the Truth and all of the enemies know that the Truth is manifest in the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church. Sadly, we who should know this, spend so much of our time deciding which ideology is best among those floating around in the ether; rather, than knowing that we are the target. Of course, that ether is a myth, because all of these ideologies are rooted in materialism. This includes Isalamism. Although is is presented as an Abrahamic faith, it is not. It is a material ideology cloaked in spirituality.

    For example, we think of a martyr as one who witnesses to the Truth and may be killed for it. A martyr does not seek death, but is willing to accept it for the sake of the Truth. A Moslem shaheed (martyr) seeks death in order to GAIN a Zoroastrian materialist heaven. This isn’t much different than Marxist ideology. A Caliphate is very similar in form to a global Communist revolution. Both are a Utopian lie. The only question left to be answered is which Utopian ideology will win out in Egypt and how will that be used to attack the Copts, the Catholic Church and America.

  • There’s a lot of magical thinking in Rothbard and the libertopians, and a hard materialism that makes it even more repellent. Man does not live by contract alone.

    Oh, and if you’ve never read Rothbard on abortion, keep a bucket handy.

    http://mises.org/rothbard/ethics/fourteen.asp

  • *shrug* Libertarians of the philosophical type are the most common “conservatives” to stand against Liberal academics, since they speak the same language. Always easier to argue when you’re using the same terms, especially when a lot of philosophical libertarians share a distaste for overt religion.

    There are a lot of neocons in the way you seem to define it, and they’re fresh converts, so they’re loud. Eventually, they will either burn out, run their group into the ground, or grow into seeing people as forming communities and being formed by them, rather than “community” meaning “group of people.”

  • I’m not sure I see what is utopian about being optimistic over the protests in Egypt. Democracy is hardly an utopian idea.

  • Also, while I think Ron Paul’s monetary views are very wrong, he is right that Fed policy is contributing to unemployment. He’s just wrong about why.

  • Dale:

    Wow. Just the inhumane, cold analysis that Rothbard takes to the issue is disgusting. Is he a human or an automaton?

    Blackadder:

    I don’t think that optimism per se is utopian. After all, I am cautiously optimistic myself that things will turn out all right in Egypt. What is utopian is the almost blind optimism of a certain sect of neocons (and on the left as well) that sees the Middle East’s path to salvation through democratization. Kristol, Wolfowitz, et al seem maddeningly dismissive of the potentiality that what replaces Mubarak will be much, much worse.

  • I don’t want to get into another Fed discussion, but clearly the Fed is a privileged private company, or some may consider it a public-private partnership (corporatist/fascist); either way it is not transparent and certainly causing massive economic and political disruptions.

    Agree with Paul or not, at least he is bringing the issue to light. Again, as Catholics we should not be married to any ideology; however, in seeking truth, we may ally with those who we have common cause with. I don’t have a problem protesting abortion along side Moslems, but I disagree with them about almost everything else. Though I no longer subscribe to libertarian ethics, I can ally with them on economic issues.

    Austrian economics for the most part, is true, and if you don’t agree with that, you still have to concede that it is far more viable than Keynesianism, Marxism, corporatism and their related fabrications.

  • What is utopian is the almost blind optimism of a certain sect of neocons (and on the left as well) that sees the Middle East’s path to salvation through democratization. Kristol, Wolfowitz, et al seem maddeningly dismissive of the potentiality that what replaces Mubarak will be much, much worse.

    I confess I don’t see the blind optimism in the Kristol editorial you link to (I didn’t see the Fox panel, but I don’t think being “much happier about what was taking place than the rest of the panel” counts as blind optimism either).

    On the other hand, Glenn Beck really does seem hysterical to me on the issue.

  • Blackadder,

    I am curious what do you find hysterical about Beck’s analysis? I am not suggesting that he has it right and all of his views are tainted by his weird religion and his apostasy from the Catholic faith. My question is simply to know why you think he may not be right and other than his Mormonism, what makes him hysterical?

    The establishment of a Caliphate is certainly the dominant view among jihadists. Perhaps the filter of American/English speaking journalism withholds some of these views from Western ears. But I can tell you that in Arabic, they don’t hide their intent. The leftists and many neocons’ blindness or even support of such a thing seems plausible too.

    I am not challenging, just trying to get information and try to see the truth.

  • In many respects, I like Ron Paul. Still in other respects, I have to jump ship. I jumped on board his previous bid for the GOP nomination. However, I’m not so sure I could support him this go-round (should he decide to run). Basically, I see him more useful and effective in being the “House Crank” (not trying to be uncharitable). Frankly, he has helped to inspire a good portion of the Tea Party membership, which in turn has helped to elect a good number of “Tea Party Republicans.” Paul presents a view that is more extreme than what most would prefer, but I think it helps shape the overall discussion… for the better, I might add.

  • Hey Paul,

    Just a few points.

    “Then again, we should probably thank our lucky stars that he didn’t select his buddy Alex Jones, though I suppose it would have provided some entertainment to hear him rail about 9/11 conspiracies and the role of the Illuminati in trying to secure a one-world state.”

    Jones is actually not as bad as you think. Putting 9/11 aside, can you really doubt that certain forces are trying to establish a global regime? Really? That there aren’t growing assaults on national sovereignty?

    I have absolutely no doubt in my mind, though, that progressive billionaires like George Soros, Al Gore, Bill Gates, Ted Turner, David Rockefeller and others believe that a one-world government is the logical and best end for humanity, as well as eugenics and population control. The only question is how much power and influence they have over events. For materialist/progressive/eugenicists, a one-world government that implements a global one-child policy in the name of fighting greenhouse gas emissions is a perfectly just and rational thing. If they can’t get it outright, they’ll move us as close as possible to such a deranged end.

    I don’t have a problem with a reasoned refutation of any theory, conspiracy or otherwise. I have major problem with the “no one is that evil!” line of argumentation though, and that’s usually what we get. I take the existence of evils worse than you or I can imagine for granted, and I think powerful people have been known to be evil from time to time, especially when they think they’re doing what is right and good! In fact I think it is more or less a theological fact that Satan is the temporary master of the Earth.

    As for the rest, look: paleo and neo cons are just conservatives who like to be abstract, academic, etc. Not everyone can be or should be a hard-nosed pragmatist all the time. Nixon said that Pat Buchanan had great ideas but should never be President. I kinda understand his point. I don’t think Ron Paul is ever going to be president. But I’m glad he’s there, I’m glad he’s calling attention to issues that would otherwise be ignored. And I think he’s the most principled man in Congress, even when he’s wrong. I respect that. It isn’t sad, it is noble. It’s sad you and others think it is sad, it’s a sign of how far we’ve fallen.

    Frankly I think the argument against the Fed makes a lot of sense. I think the Austrian approach to economics in general makes a lot of sense – I don’t think the ridiculously complex mathematical approach favored by modern economists has ever actually helped formulate sound economic policy. I think there’s a reason why even mainstream economists think that their profession has become useless:

    http://blogs.ft.com/maverecon/2009/03/the-unfortunate-uselessness-of-most-state-of-the-art-academic-monetary-economics/

    I think it is evident that Keyensianism has done a great deal more harm than good, that limitless money and credit does lead to bad and reckless investments that ultimately create bubbles in the economy, and that the whole thrust of economic policy is to keep the treating the symptoms with pain-numbing medicines rather than curing the disease by letting it finally run its course, because that will be painful for some.

    I never really see “good” arguments put for the Fed’s activities, only political ones. I never really see good arguments in favor of Keyensianism, only political ones. I know that Austrian-minded commentators such as Ron Paul knew well in advance exactly what was going on in the sub-prime market and warned against it. I know that almost every Keyensian was caught with his pants down.

    I really don’t think these people understand reality at all, and so I think it is ironic that the guys who KNEW based on their theory that a major crash was coming are called “utopian” while the blithering idiots who sailed the Titanic right into the iceberg are called “realistic.” Let’s be real. They’re only “realistic” in the sense that it is always easier to maintain the status quo than it is to make difficult but necessary changes and reforms. I call it “cowardly”, but cowards have always been seen as realists by some.

  • Ron Paul has lots of problems but, sorry, he’s met his destiny in taking on the Federal Reserve…which does cause inflation and unemployment; which must be dissolved; which must give way to a sound money economy not based upon usury and the printing press. I realize this is rather kooky – but its a bit of kookiness I fully subscribe to. As long as the Federal Reserve exists, so long will the American economy under-perform.

  • That should be paleolibertarian right, not paleoconservative right.

  • Jones is actually not as bad as you think. Putting 9/11 aside,

    Sorry Joe. Anyone who holds the views that Jones does of 9/11 isn’t worthy of serious consideration. The man is a kook, pure and simple.

    can you really doubt that certain forces are trying to establish a global regime? Really? That there aren’t growing assaults on national sovereignty?

    Oh I have no doubts that there are forces at work trying to undermine American sovereignty. But one doesn’t have to dig deep into conspiracy theories to find these people. The left is pretty out in the open about what they’re doing. And that’s one of my main issue with conspiracy theorists – why talk about sinister conspiracies when your opponents are operating out in the open?

    Not everyone can be or should be a hard-nosed pragmatist all the time.

    I’m not arguing against idealism or fighting for one’s principles. If I were, I’d have joined up with the Frumites long ago. All I’m suggesting is that a lot of neoconservative and paleoconservative (or paleolibertarian, if you prefer, though I think they’re largely one and the same) ideas are not based on anything resembling a look at the world as it really exists. One side seems to think that if we bury our hands in the sand and engage in an isolationist foreign policy, then everything will be peachy keen. The other seems to think that democracy is a cure all.

    Now this doesn’t mean that I think neither side has any good ideas, or that there are not elements of truth within their prognostications and policy prescriptions. I agree that the Fed has caused instability, I just don’t share Paul’s fatalistic approach to the institution. There are a lot of factors other than the Fed that led to the economic crash. There have been economic crashes – and worse ones – before the Fed existed. On the other side, I agree that, in the long run, creating liberal democratic institutions in the Middle East is a goal we should work towards, I just don’t think we can sit back and assume that removing dictators is going to automatically be a good thing for these countries.

  • Although this isn’t a global issue, I am starting to suspect one of the things SOME right-wing utopians are striving for is a world in which public employees become a new “untouchable” class, not in the Eliot Ness sense but in the Indian social caste sense.

    Yes, I realize there are serious issues surrounding public employee unions, pensions, level of pay, etc. and the time has come when most governments will have no choice but to scale back the benefits they have promised to workers. It isn’t going to be as secure or lucrative a gig as it once was, and I can live with that. So don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be an apologist for AFSCME or anything like that.

    However, I am beginning to wonder if there aren’t some conservatives out there who won’t be satisfied until working for the government becomes just as undesirable as telemarketing, flipping burgers, or picking vegetables, or just as stigmatized as prostitution or drug dealing — something only the most desperate, unskilled or unscrupulous people lower themselves to do, and which they try to get out of as quickly as possible.

    Take a look at the comments, particularly the second to last comment, on this post from a conservative blog:

    http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2011/02/what-public-employee-union-members-really-think-and-the-danger-they-represent-.html

    Maybe I’m biased or something, being a NON-union Illinois state employee who doesn’t make a whole lot of money and probably never will, but I have a very, very hard time believing that the person described in the original post truly represents the viewpoint of the majority of state employees. I have never, ever, once heard any fellow employee talk like that, ever.

    I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t part of an overall drive among certain (not all) conservatives to demonize and stigmatize public employees in general, and if it isn’t succeeding. But if it succeeds, then aren’t conservatives basically shooting themselves in the foot — because then when they finally do win elections and get into power, no one will want to work for them?

  • There’s no such thing as a right-wing utopian. The people who promote utopian ideas are always on what we call the left. Read Jonah Goldburg’s Liberal Fascism , Daniel Flynn’s A Conservative History Of The American Left or Kuehnelt-Leddihn”s Leftism Revisited. If certain ‘conservatives’ are sounding utopian, it probably means, one, they may have absorbed some utopianism earlier in their lives and haven’t quite shaked it off. Two, they may be slouching toward it, but they haven’t gotten there yet. Three, they’re already there, but they’re disguising themselves under a label like progressive conservative.

  • Joe, great post! I am not sure why we find it so hard to accept that conspiracies do exist and always have. I suppose it is normalcy bias. I do think Alex Jones goes to far with his 9/11 Trutherism; however, whether intentional or not, we did drop the ball before 9/11. Incompetence isn’t an excuse, but at least it absolves our government of malice; but just because it was not an ‘inside job’ (which I don’t believe it was) doesn’t mean that the enemy and those sympathetic to the enemy did not infiltrate portions of our government. Why do we accept the Communists got into our government during the Cold War, but think jihadists (or those sympathetic or merely have convergent goals) have not.

    Mark, right on! The Fed has to go. Of course, when someone says that we are rebutted with, “what will you put in its place?” – the right answer is nothing. Money is commodity and the best ‘regulator’ of a commodity is the market.

    Elaine, if you look through the rhetoric, you can see that no logical person wants to eliminate ALL government jobs. The fact is that an abundance of government jobs are for non-Constitutional functions of government (dept. of Education, Dept. of Energy, EPA, etc.). I certainly don’t want our country defended from foreign attack by private armies, nor do I want our standing army to ever be deployed on US soil. There is a balance and reasonable people can argue about what that is, but we can’t have unending government growth. This is mostly at the federal level, but it also occurs local. Of course, who would want the police and emergency first-responders eliminated, the courts and the necessary administrative and IT support (although I suspect some of that can be privately contracted).

    The fact is that as socialism spreads more and more jobs become government jobs. I live in enemy-occupied Northern Virgina and our unemployment rate is astonishingly low because the big federal factory
    in town is the only ‘business’ growing in this economy. When you have a majority of your workforce employed by government or closely related to it, then the economy will be destroyed because government grows at the expense of real economic growth.

    Lady Thatcher said that the problem with socialism is eventually you run out of other people’s money. Of course, if you have a Federal Reserve then that may take a long, long time, but eventually it must happen. Redistribution can only happen when you have something to redistribute. Plunder, even legal plunder fails without producers to plunder.

  • Paul,

    “And that’s one of my main issue with conspiracy theorists – why talk about sinister conspiracies when your opponents are operating out in the open?”

    That’s exactly what Jones says… and exactly why I don’t think of him primarily as a “conspiracy theorist.” I don’t know what you think he talks about on his show, but it isn’t like Coast to Coast AM with George Noory. 99% of the time he is talking about headline news and explaining how it is bearing out the things he and others predicted and read about in documents put out by globalist think tanks years ago.

    I’ll just admit it – I like infowars.com. I go there to read about certain news items I won’t read much about elsewhere. Do I always agree with the “spin” his staff put on a particular news item? No. And a couple of times I have cringed at the eclectic nature of the operation (for instance, Jones, a hardcore libertarian, always has this ex-LaRouchite on his program for updates on world affairs, using vaguely Marxist lingo).

    As for the rest, sounds fair enough to me.

  • Joe,

    It is refreshing to hear (read?) that someone whose writing and thinking I respect seeks the truth in some of the same places I do. What I think is important to point out is that we are blessed with a gift that we may often take for granted and many choose to not acknowledge. We have the gift of discernment from and through the Holy Spirit.

    We can get news from infowars.com without falling for the veiled Marxism and the 9/11 trutherism.

    We can agree with Dr. Paul and the ‘Austrians’ without falling for the utilitarian heresy in libertarianism.

    We can learn from Glenn Beck without absorbing his anti-Catholic Mormonism.

    We can even agree with paleoconservatives, liberals and neoconservatives without adopting their entire leftist agendas.

    What we should not do, is dismiss the truth simply because it comes from an ideological label that we find distasteful or incorrect, after all we are Catholic – as in universal not indifferent.

  • Stephen,

    Jonah Goldberg’s book is wonderful, and should be required reading. Keep in mind, though, that even in his last chapter he notes that there is a soft totalitarianism on the right, especially within the “big government” wing. So I would say that it isn’t necessarily contradictory to be right-wing and utopian as long as we’re talking about a certain naive idealism. It’s the putting that utopianism into practice through government coercion that leads to totalitarianism, and I don’t think either extreme on the right is anywhere near there.

    Joe,

    I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree about Alex Jones. He’s a bit of a non sequiter to my overall post anyway.

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