From at least the time of the 1980’s, the Republican Party and the “conservative movement” have been dominated by, not conservatives, but neoconservatives. The so-called “libertarian” influence in the party is growing—and neoconservatives are none too pleased by it.
Libertarians, neoconservatives assert, are “isolationists,” “naïve,” even sophomoric, idealists whose detachment from reality borders on being “unpatriotic,” for libertarians threaten to compromise national security, making citizen and soldier alike unsafe.
After all, when his own country is in the midst of a protracted, bloody war, a person who uses his considerable influence to convince large numbers of Americans that their country is “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today” must surely be deemed a threat of a sort to national security.
A person who cautions people against being fooled into thinking that “God chose America as his divine, messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world,” who claims to “hear God saying to America, ‘You’re too arrogant!’” and promising to “break the backbone of your power,” must be an “isolationist,” an opponent of “American Exceptionalism.”
How can libertarians not be said to weaken America’s resolve during times of war, how can they not be said to, in effect, provide “aid and comfort” to the enemy, when they use their public platform to decry the war as “unjust, evil, and futile,” a “demonic, destructive suction tube” and “enemy of the poor?” Do not libertarians exhibit, at best, an astonishing degree of naivety, and, at worst, something bordering on anti-Americanism, when they accuse America of being self-delusional, of indulging “rationalizations” and embarking on an “incessant search for scapegoats” that “blind” her to her own “sins”?
David Frum, writing for National Review, must’ve been on to something when he accused those on the right that opposed the Iraq War of being “unpatriotic.” After all, can an American who refers to the enemy in terms of “the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence,” and who claims to speak for the “little brown…children” who now “languish under our bombs” be anything but unpatriotic?
No one who charges America at any time, but particularly when she is at war, with suffering from a “deadly arrogance that has poisoned the international situation for years” and that has actually “sought, in a real sense, to sabotage the Geneva Accord,” can be good for either the Republican Party or, more importantly, national security.
Jack Kerwick received his doctoral degree in philosophy from Temple University. His area of specialization is ethics and political philosophy. He is a professor of philosophy at several colleges and universities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Jack blogs at Beliefnet.com: At the Intersection of Faith & Culture. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or friend him on facebook. You can also follow him on twitter.