May 8, 2009
The Notional Dangers of the Fictional Far RightBy Bruce Walker
Arlen Specter has left the Republican Caucus and become a Democrat. Why? The ostensible reason was because Republicans were dominated by the far right. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano issued a dire warning to watch out for members of the far right in combating the nonexistent threat of "domestic terrorism." Again, the far right is the bogeyman. Listen to Nancy Pelosi or Barney Frank or MSNBC reporters or the New York Times. What is the mythical danger? It is the "far right."
Now, the far right of the liberals' imagination simply does not exist. Those accused of representing the mythical "far right" -- historical figures like Father Coughlin or the Ku Klux Klan -- have nothing in common with American conservatism, and they never have. Coughlin and Long, as I point out in my January 2006 book, Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie, were radical socialists who were strong supporters of the Democratic Party.
Why, then, do so many rail against a "far right" that does not exist? Those who want to make everything in life political (and run all politics themselves) must create a nebulous and indefinable "enemy."
What then is "radical agenda" of the citizens who actually populate the right side of the conservative movement? The following ten points would form a truly "extreme" agenda:
First, adopt a flat income tax rate in which all Americans pay the same percentage of their income as their fellow countrymen. The rich would still pay much more than the poor, but that each would pay the same percentage of his income.
Second, end to all preferences in which a person is allowed into college or employment.
Third, return abortion policy back to state governments. Some states would outlaw abortion; some would legalize; some would regulate: that is all that overturning Roe v. Wade would mean. State legislators, not federal judges, would make laws regarding abortion.
Fourth, adopt policies toward federal spending and toward entitlements that ordinary businessmen would consider fiscally sound. Government financing by Ponzi scheme is just as wrong as private confidence Ponzi schemes.
Fifth, provide competition for schools and colleges and also ensure that if tax dollars are spent to educate people, that all major political points of view are treated fairly.
Sixth, have Congress pass laws that limit the jurisdiction of federal judges to intrude into every area of our lives. Replace a society in which unelected judges govern our lives with a society in which ordinary citizens with conflicts "agree to disagree" and in which market forces resolve economic problems.
Seventh, maintain a strong military and a robust intelligence service. Build a nuclear defense system to keep us safe from rogue, nuclear armed madmen. Make protecting Americans the most important job of government.
Eighth, adopt an aggressive policy to drilling for oil and mining for coal. Limit, for awhile, the most costly environmental regulations.
Ninth, recognize that we are overregulated. Agree together, as our Founding Fathers once agreed, that whatever our politics, there is a limit to what government has the legal and moral power to do. State, or perhaps restate for modern times, the limits on government inherent in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Reach a new, common understanding of what federal power cannot do and should not do.
Tenth, recognize that every attempt to create Heaven on Earth has failed. There is a limit as to the perfectibility of the human condition, and, at some point, more intensive efforts by state or even organized pressure groups, to make us all better will, in fact, make us all worse.
Are these ten points, which would embrace nearly all of the most ambitious agenda of the so-called "far right" dangerous to anyone? These points, by and large, embrace mutual self-restraint. We want no one to be given state preferences. We want schools to teach and not to advocate. We want consent and not court orders to govern how we relate in society.
One cannot move from these ten points into Nazism. In fact, Nazism, like all other systems that crush the conscience, is simply an incarnation of the Left. The reality is that moving "too far" in the direction of limited government fairly quickly leads to a modest, safe, tame approach to politics and government. Which is another way of saying that it is impossible to move too far in the direction of the mythical "far right." Why, then, all the fuss about the "far right"?
Those who would grab huge hunks of power must always invent an enemy. In Orwell's 1984, that enemy was Emmanuel Goldstein. In Stalin's Russia, those enemies were Kulaks, counter-revolutionaries, and saboteurs. In Hitler's Germany, that enemy was World Jewry. The enemy never, really, stands for anything. He is just a vague, unarticulated menace, and his menace itself is illogical.
Hitler, for example, campaigned against Jewish "Finance Capitalism" and Jewish "Bolshevism." Did it matter that Jewish bankers and businessmen were the opposites of Jewish communists? No -- that was not the point -- Nazis warned of the menace of World Jewry, a nonsensical term that tried to lump together an almost infinitely diverse collection of individuals and groups. Why? Nazis needed an enemy.
We conservatives are different. Let Ben and Jerry be socialists (if they give their own money away.) Let the gay community pursue its lifestyle (just let us have our consciences be free.) Let leftist professors say nutty things, (but keep them from running indoctrination camps of leftism.) The essence of what is called today the "far right" is simply affection for limited government, the radical concept upon which America was born. Those who hate us are simply those who love power above all else and who will call us silly names to terrorize people into fearing us.