One of the worst mistakes that one can make in about this election is to see the two-parties as standing for a fundamental alternative. The symptom of this is when an opponent of Party A (“don’t vote for McCain”) is accused of advocating a vote for Party B. A critic of mine did this again […]

The Conservative Package Deal

One of the worst mistakes that one can make in about this election is to see the two-parties as standing for a fundamental alternative.

The symptom of this is when an opponent of Party A (“don’t vote for McCain”) is accused of advocating a vote for Party B. A critic of mine did this again when he wrote: “why endorse the election of Obama who has openly advocated wrecking US defense?”

I did not of course endorse Obama. The endorsement rose in my critic’s mind. But to assume that denial of one’s vote to the Republicans implies endorsement of the Democrats is a serious error. It creates a package deal between the New Right and the advocates of freedom.

It is true that my vote must be either Democrat, Republican, or abstain–but this does not mean that a vote against one side requires endorsement of the other. In their own strident words, both parties today embrace the moral “ideals” of service, sacrifice, and economic redistribution. Both parties are expressions of America’s dominant moral philosophy. Objectivists–indeed, all advocates of liberty and the free market– reject that philosophy and the false alternative it creates.

The party of the left, however, advocates socialism in a context that is firmly connected to Marxism and nihilism.

No one mistakes Obama (or Paul Volcker) for an Objectivist–or an advocate of liberty.

The other party–the so-called party of the right–advocates socialism while coasting on the undeserved ideals of the “free market” and “national defense.”

Thus they become linked, in people’s minds, to ideals that they have actually rejected. The intellectual confusion caused by this package deal makes it harder for the real advocates of freedom to differentiate themselves from their own enemies.

As a result, the man who was once the chief economic Czar under the (allegedly) most free-market Republican president of our time — Alan Greenspan — is now smearing Ayn Rand by disavowing his own anti-Objectivist philosophy. Greenspan rejected freedom decades ago–but he remains forever associated with the free market.

The fact that people are confused about Greenspan and Ayn Rand is a direct expression of the confusion between today’s Republicans and advocates of freedom.

No socialist-democratic mouthpiece could ever sow such intellectual destruction as a member of the New Right who mouths the words “freedom” all the while advocating leftists policies.

Advocates of liberty will add to the confusion if they assume that rejection of the New Right requires endorsement of the New Left.

John David Lewis (website) is a Visiting Professor of Political Science, Duke University. He has been a Senior Research Scholar in History and Classics at the Social Philosophy and Policy Center, and an Anthem Fellow.

View all articles by author.

 

Please keep all comments polite, civil, and on the topic of the article. Due to spam considerations, comments with links are put in a moderation queue and will not be visible to others.

Related Articles

Pin It on Pinterest