- Why Hayek was wrong about American and European conservatism, I Barry Stocker, NOL
- Why Hayek was wrong about American and European conservatism, II Barry Stocker, NOL
- Why Hayek was wrong about American and European conservatism, III Barry Stocker, NOL
- Why Hayek was wrong about American and European conservatism, IV Barry Stocker, NOL
Bill Wirtz does a great job reporting, in the American Conservative, on recent developments in European politics. Basically, the “populists,” who are socially conservative by European standards and anti-immigrant, are not actually opposed to the European Union. In fact, these right-wing parties are building international coalitions as you read this in order to better wield the dormant power of the EU; nobody is “actively seeking to leave the EU.”
Wirtz concludes that the anti-immigrant populist parties will spell the end of the European Union as we know it, but how can this be if these populists now want to use the EU rather than leave it? Wirtz is a great reporter but I think he wanted to mock Europhiles and the dreams of Euro-federalists rather than think things through. I’m happy to pick up where he leaves off, though.
For example, what if these populists succeed in federating Europe, rather than breaking it up? It’s not as radical as it sounds. The populists are small-d democrats. The populists are actively working with each other in an internationalist framework. The populists share the same anti-immigrant goals. The populist parties of Europe share the same opinion of Western civilization and believe their way of life is under threat. The populists realize that the EU can help them achieve their goals, and they share an affinity for some semblance of local (“national”) sovereignty. The ideological underpinning of these populist parties seems to be, then, that their way of life – their freedom – is under threat, and that they are not united and therefore susceptible to outside threats, and that the European Union is a great way to help them achieve some semblance of unity and security. Why not federate? Why not cure the mischiefs of faction?
Conservatives have a long track record of supporting radical change if it suits their worldview, too. The best example of this in politics is Otto von Bismarck, the Prussian diplomat who patched together a unified German state in a federal manner, but you don’t have to stop there. Examples abound everywhere.
The populists and could-be federalists aren’t going to usher in a new era of fascism, either. Today’s anti-immigrant sentiments are very different from the anti-Semitism that has plagued Europe for centuries. While I am disappointed that the European elections were essentially won by the anti-immigration faction, I am not surprised. I would not be surprised, either, to see a strong federalist push by these populists.
- Julian Assange deserves a Medal of Freedom James Bovard, USA Today
- Assange, Ecuador had a testy relationship Solano & Armario, Associated Press
- Assange was a window into America’s polarized soul David French, National Review
- What lessons do conservatives need to learn? Scott Sumner, MoneyIllusion
What I’m going to say here is far from original, but I believe it is worth reminding from time to time. Yes, there is a lot of over-simplification here, but bear with me! This is the difference between conservatives, liberals, and libertarians (or at least this libertarian who writes):
- Liberal: Guns are dangerous! People should not have guns!
- Conservative: From my cold dead hands!
- Libertarians: I personally don’t like guns and I wouldn’t like to have one. But I believe that people who so desire should have the right to own guns.
- Liberal: Marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol and should be legalized!
- Conservative: Marijuana is a gateway into heavier drugs and should be prohibited!
- Libertarian: Although I personally never did drugs and have no desire to do so, nor have deep knowledge of how particular drugs are heavier than legalized substances or not, I believe that people who want to do drugs should not be prohibited from doing so.
- Liberal: We have to send more foreign aid. It is our moral responsibility! And who are we to judge which nations are democratic or not?
- Conservative: The world is a dangerous place and it is our responsibility to police it!
- Libertarian: Although I can see that the World is a dangerous place and I feel personally obligated to do something to help those in need, I don’t believe it is the role of the government to interfere in other nations.
- Liberal: We have to protect the poor!
- Conservative: Capitalism is God’s way of deciding who is poor and who is smart!
- Libertarian: I feel for the poor, and I believe we should do something to help. I believe that some governmental policies predictably hurt the poor and therefore should be changed. However, I believe that helping the poor should be mainly done by individuals and independent organizations, not by the government.
Crime in general:
- Liberal: He is a victim of society!
- Conservative: The chair!!!
- Libertarian: External circumstances can explain and even attenuate certain crimes, but never justify it. On the other hand, if we are cruel towards criminals, we are becoming just like them. Also, throwing people in jail is very clearly an awful and simplistic way of dealing with crime and should think of other ways of punishment, always having reconciliation as an ideal.
- Liberal: We need more government oversight!
- Conservative: The market will solve everything!
- Liberal: Open the border!
- Conservative: Build a wall!
- Libertarian: Completely opening the borders is abandoning any notion of nation-state. Nevertheless, we should be welcoming, though thoughtful, about immigration.
- Liberal: Your kids are mine!
- Conservative: We need to bring prayer back to public schools!
- Libertarian: Education is fundamentally religious and reflects the values we aim to have. Maybe the state can have a very limited role in it, but the main responsibility belongs to the parents, who likely will instill their values on the children.
Politics in general:
- Liberal: My party will solve everything!
- Conservative: My party will solve everything!
- Libertarian: There are no perfect solutions, especially not through politics. Do you want to change the World? Start by cleaning your room.