Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Real Question about American Conservatives

A comment at Andrew Sullivan's blog:
For all their talk about freedom and liberty, the enthusiastic embrace of the military and security culture by many conservatives makes that seem like a lot of empty rhetoric to me. . . . I honestly don't understand how you can cast yourself as a defender of liberty on one hand, while be fully in support of expanding the government's ability to physically remove your liberty on the other.
Exactly. If you feel that paying taxes erodes your liberty, how about looking for ways to reduce the defense budget? And how can you square a desire for freedom from the government with support for the government's right to intercept your emails, check your library records, and, if they find anything suspicious, imprison you without charges?

I know the answer: because American conservatives are really most interested in defending a white, middle-class culture that they feel is under siege by various nefarious enemies, and they want their government to smash those enemies by any means necessary. It is my hope, though, that if we let them talk enough about liberty and threats to it they will eventually realize that the national security state is one of those threats, and make common cause with liberals to reduce this threat.

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