STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Krugman Promotes False 'Conservative' Meme
By Staff News & Analysis - February 14, 2012

Severe Conservative Syndrome … Mitt Romney has a gift for words — self-destructive words. On Friday he did it again, telling the Conservative Political Action Conference that he was a "severely conservative governor." As Molly Ball of The Atlantic pointed out, Mr. Romney "described conservatism as if it were a disease." Indeed. Mark Liberman, a linguistics professor at the University of Pennsylvania, provided a list of words that most commonly follow the adverb "severely"; the top five, in frequency of use, are disabled, depressed, ill, limited and injured. That's clearly not what Mr. Romney meant to convey. Yet if you look at the race for the G.O.P. presidential nomination, you have to wonder whether it was a Freudian slip. For something has clearly gone very wrong with modern American conservatism. – Paul Krugman

Dominant Social Theme: These crazy conservatives are small government radicals!

Free-Market Analysis: Columnist Paul Krugman of the New York Times is out with another one of these strange articles on "conservatism." While this article seems to be critical of conservatism, Krugman (a socialist New York Times columnist) actually revels in conservatism.

Not only that but Mitt Romney is glad to cast himself as a conservative. That's because, strange as it sounds, both of them work for the same team. And what team is that? Why, the Anglosphere power elite that wants to run the world and doesn't want any inconvenient talk about freedom and small government.

You won't get any of that talk from either Romney or Krugman. That's why they are where they are. One is the controlled opposition and the other is very obviously a controlled columnist. Both will use the term conservatism on a regular basis, and they will try to make it a stand-in for small government sympathies. But when you actually analyze the rhetoric, a conservative is nothing but a variant of a big-government liberal.

Thus we can see the term "conservative" is a very successful dominant social theme of the Anglosphere power elite. The powers-that-be managed to take classical liberalism and remove the anti-activist bias. A true classical liberal does not believe in the primacy of the state when it comes to economic issues.

But a "conservative," as construed within the context of American politics, believes in a strong police state (domestic security) and a strong military presence abroad. In a sense, this belief structure is a good deal more supportive of Leviathan than the current democratic-liberal mindset that American conservatives so decry.

In fact, this sort of conservatism, which mandates a strong "security state" often ends up with the worst of both worlds. So-called conservative presidents such as George Bush will put a priority on military and domestic policing activity and will make deals with the opposition to do so. Thus, the welfare state is apt to grow along with the security apparatus.

This is what happened under George Bush. The military-industrial complex had a virtually free hand while domestic nanny-ism grew aggressively as well. To call this Republicanism – or even conservatism – at this point begins to beg the question.

Under both Bush and now Obama both sides of fedgov have grown almost uncontrollably. The welfare state has expanded even as the free market has been more hemmed in than ever. Conservatism as a political movement that is supposedly small-government oriented is a failure. But not for Paul Krugman.

Tinfoil hats have become a common, if not mandatory, G.O.P. fashion accessory. There's Ron Paul, who came in a strong second in Maine's caucuses despite widespread publicity over such matters as the racist (and conspiracy-minded) newsletters published under his name in the 1990s and his declarations that both the Civil War and the Civil Rights Act were mistakes …

For decades the G.O.P. has won elections by appealing to social and racial divisions, only to turn after each victory to deregulation and tax cuts for the wealthy — a process that reached its epitome when George W. Bush won re-election by posing as America's defender against gay married terrorists, then announced that he had a mandate to privatize Social Security.

Over time, however, this strategy created a base that really believed in all the hokum — and now the party elite has lost control. The point is that today's dismal G.O.P. field — is there anyone who doesn't consider it dismal? — is no accident. Economic conservatives played a cynical game, and now they're facing the blowback, a party that suffers from "severe" conservatism in the worst way. And the malady may take many years to cure.

We can see in this excerpt all the meretricious confusion that the elite's media mouthpieces are paid to sow. The Anglosphere power elite that wants to create world government needs strong national governments through which it can secretly operate. Classical liberalism, which was a genuine political movement for small government, needed to be replaced.

Classical liberalism has a 2,000 year history that begins with the Greeks and can be traced through the Romans and the Renaissance to the modern day. Conservatism is a good deal more amorphous. As we've pointed out in the past, one can find the term first used in Britain about 400 years ago.

But in a sense it is a meaningless term. It merely means, basically, to "conserve" what one has. Thus, those who mourn the passing of the USSR or Hitler's Germany can be legitimately termed conservative.

Conservatism in the US has spawned presidents like the horrible public spendthrift and neo-fascist George Bush. And it has allowed columnists like Krugman to further confuse the American public about what constitutes a valid choice between small government and large government.

In this article, for instance, not only does Krugman focus on "conservatism" as a counterpoint to big government liberalism, he also paints the libertarian candidate Ron Paul as a "conservative" by focusing on what he considers to be Paul's social views rather than his economic and foreign policy ones.

Ron Paul has singlehandedly punctured the "conservative" versus liberal meme by refocusing the conservation along the lines of a classical liberal agenda. His emphasis on small government and a minimalist foreign policy gives big-government types nowhere to go.

For this reason, Krugman focuses on only a very small part of Ron Paul's belief system, which is his social/cultural perspective. But even here, Krugman gets it wrong. Paul has disavowed the articles that Krugman attributes to him and in any event, would leave most choices about social policy up to the states.

This article of Krugman's is a perfect example of the conscious confusion of American political rhetoric. Romney claims to be free-market oriented but calls himself a conservative, which means he is in favor of many aspects of the American Leviathan.

Krugman, a leading columnist, is not satisfied with this amorphous term and blasts Romney for not being even more big-government oriented than he already is.

What has gone wrong with American conservatism begins with the nomenclature itself. A conservative is nothing but a government activist who believes in various aspects of the American empire but not in others. Romney fits this definition nicely.

After Thoughts

The alternative to Romney is someone like Ron Paul who has actually reignited the ideas of classical liberalism and brought them back into the public sphere. That would be an article worth writing.

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