Conservatives used to be the ones with heads firmly based in reality. Their reforms were powerful because they used the market, streamlined government and empowered individuals. Their effects were large-scale and important: think of the reform of the tax code in the 1980s, for example, which was spearheaded by conservatives. Today conservatives shy away from the sensible ideas of the Bowles-Simpson commission on deficit reduction because those ideas are too deeply rooted in, well, reality. – Time Magazine
Dominant Social Theme: Leviathan cannot provide prosperity for all and you better not forget it.
Free-Market Analysis: This article, written by CNN correspondent and CFR member Fareed Zakaria provides us with a good idea of the arguments that the Anglosphere elites are trying to use against the growing Internet Reformation. This sociopolitical and economic movement is one that likely cannot be stopped but the elites will do their best to slow it down and further manipulate it if they can.
The article is apparently based on the recent Republican presidential debates that now doubt frightened elite apologists. In the years since the last set of debates, the libertarian ideas of Congressman Ron Paul (R-Tex) have gained considerable ground.
Much of the recent presidential debate turned on foreign policy and the idea that US imperial overreach was not feasible anymore. These were arguments that Paul was making four years ago and they were not well received by other Republican candidates. Today they have resonance. Ron Paul is making them again, with even more power and vigor.
The war on terror is a major dominant social theme of the Western power elite. As it is an amorphous concept, the elites can locate terrorists wherever they wish to create a war. The wars, as we try to repeat regularly, are not wars for resources – oil or commodities. The wars are for power and conquest.
Western elites increasingly have had less shyness about identifying their goal of formal world governance. As their ability to introduce credible fear-based promotions has waned thanks to the Internet, they have increasingly turned to force and intimidation. Force is the last bastion of an entity that has cannot persuade by others means. It seems an admission of a kind of defeat.
The war on terror sounded like a good idea hypothetically but in reality it has not proven very convincing. It is not a large enough war with not enough palpable enemies. As a dominant social theme it is failing and thus the Anglosphere elite's efforts to build a New World Order based on the threat of international terrorism is fading as well. Absent a significant false flag it is difficult to see how it can resuscitated.
This is the underlying issue that Zakaria is addressing, though he does not directly mention it. People like Zakaria, apologists for elite military manipulations, must attack current libertarian trends to try to return to the previous "conservative" paradigm that focused on moral issues, slightly reduced government programs and vastly increased military budgets.
It is the basic argument that Zakaria must make as a prominent member of the elite-dominated mainstream media. He does us the favor by presenting these arguments because they allow us to take their measure. By examining them, we can see how Money Power intends to justify the status quo.
Zakaria begins his anti-freedom jeremiad by quoting George Will who "told me conservatism is true" in a long ago interview. Conservatism was rooted in reality, and in society as it is. From Aristotle to Edmund Burke, Zakaria adds, great conservative minds have added to the canon of conservatism (whatever that is). The watchword of conservatism is not change but evolution.
Having drawn up this definition of modern American Conservatism and its putative historical roots, Zakaria is now in a position to launch his main argument, which is that modern "Conservatives" are not grounded in reality anymore but "espouse ideas drawn from abstract principles with little regard to the realities of America's present or past." What does Zakaria think of this trend? It's a tragedy, he writes, because conservatism should be a vital part of the American resurgence.
Zakaria is critical of Republican arguments against increased taxes, pointing out that the U.S. is "among the lowest taxed of the big industrial economies." He calls Republican rhetoric about lower taxes, "simply a theoretical assertion" and adds that the rich countries that are in the best shape right now, with strong growth and low unemployment, "are ones like Germany and Denmark, neither one characterized by low taxes."
He also claims that Barack Obama's administration is NOT anti-business as many have been led to believe, comparing it favorably to Richard Nixon's administration back in the 1970s, which he claims was much more hostile to business and supervised tax rates that went to 70 percent. Here are some more of his anti-conservative points:
Any discussion of government involvement in the economy — even to build vital infrastructure — is impossible because it is a cardinal tenet of the new conservatism that such involvement is always and forever bad. Meanwhile, across the globe, the world's fastest-growing economy, China, has managed to use government involvement to create growth and jobs for three decades.
From Singapore to South Korea to Germany to Canada, evidence abounds that some strategic actions by the government can act as catalysts for free-market growth. (See a dozen Republicans who could be the next President.) Of course, American history suggests that as well. In the 1950s, '60s and '70s, the U.S. government made massive investments in science and technology, in state universities and in infant industries. It built infrastructure that was the envy of the rest of the world.
Those investments triggered two generations of economic growth and put the U.S. on top of the world of technology and innovation. But that history has been forgotten.
This is really the crux of the matter. Zakaria as an elite apologist is worried that the philosophical underpinnings of the sociopolitical argument in the US have changed. And, yes, they have. Among a growing group of millions of American citizens – exposed first to the economic crisis and then to the explanations of the Internet – the clear culprit is big government just as it should be.
Zakaria essentially musters three arguments to counter this trend. The first one is that big government countries like China are growing quickly. The second is that big government investments in infrastructure are prosperity inducing. The third is that to believe one can return to small government once Leviathan has arrived is unrealistic.
In fact, China is growing quickly once again thanks to a torrent of money printing, and Zakaria knows it (but chooses to ignore it). That economy is likely going to fall off a cliff as price inflation surges. Second, it is fine to speak of big government infrastructure spending but while government can create infrastructure, it cannot sustain it. American infrastructure are headed toward ruin for just this reason.
Finally, there is the issue of "realism." This is the argument that Zakaria apparently feels most strongly about. Having arrived definitively at the era of big government, he insists that there is no going back. One assumes that the Catholic Church was making a similar argument just before the Reformation. Change was impossible. Then Luther nailed 96 theses to the church door and change happened after all.
Does anyone think we are really going to get federal spending to the level it was at under Calvin Coolidge, Zakaria asks rhetorically. He wants his readers to understand just how illogical the modern American Conservative movement really is.
He attacks not by undermining the premises of Conservatism (whatever they may be) but simply by claiming that to consider fundamental change is to be "unrealistic." This kind of argument is a fairly transparent one, however. It could be used by any dictator or despot. "I am the law. Change is futile."
Many claim such rhetoric but few are successful in the long term in creating the necessary sense of inevitability. Zakaria is ultimately worried that such unrealistic conservatism is denying the US the "logical" small "C" conservative solutions that the nation needs. Instead, he writes, what is offered are policies that don't reform but just "cut and starve" government — "a strategy that pays little attention to history or best practices from around the world and is based instead on a theory."
Actually, Zakaria pays little attention to history in this editorial, or logic or even to Adam Smith's venerable Invisible Hand. The "conservative" moment is only tenuously based in modern political theory and the idea that it goes back to the Greeks as he argues is just a lie. No great Greek philosopher of the age woke up one morning and decided to create a philosophical conversation around the idea of "conserving" the status quo. This may have been an adjunct to a larger philosophy, but a philosophy of itself it was not.
The world's arguments are what they always have been – ones that take place between freedom and authoritarianism. In America, the powers-that-be have tried to substitute a phony movement called "conservativism" for free-market thinking. But in the era of the Internet, that bait-and-switch has been exposed. Its exposure and the predictable rise of classical liberalism is what's really upset the elites for whom Zakaria writes.