so-called conservative movement of the last 20 years, starting with
the Reagan revolution of the 1980s, followed by the 1994 Gingrich takeover
of the House, and culminating in the early 2000s with Republican control
of both Congress and the White House, seems a terrible failure today.
Republicans have failed utterly to shrink the size of government; instead
it is bigger and costlier than ever before. Federal spending spirals
out of control, new Great Society social welfare programs have been
created, and the national debt is rising by more than a half-trillion
dollars per year. Whatever happened to the conservative vision supposedly
sweeping the nation?
is certain: those who worked and voted for less government, the very
foot soldiers in the conservative revolution, have been deceived. Today,
the ideal of limited government has been abandoned by the GOP, and real
conservatives find their views no longer matter.
government conservatives have been co-opted by the rise of the neoconservatives
in Washington. The neoconservatives – a name they gave themselves –
are largely hardworking, talented people who have worked their way into
positions of power in Washington. Their views dominate American domestic
and foreign policy today, as their ranks include many of the President's
closest advisors. They have successfully moved the Republican Party
away from the Goldwater-era platform of frugal government at home and
nonintervention abroad, toward a big-government, world empire mentality
more reminiscent of Herbert Hoover or Woodrow Wilson. In doing so, they
have proven that their ideas are neither new nor conservative.
neoconservatives are not necessarily monolithic in their views, but
they generally can be described as follows:
agree with Trotsky's idea of a permanent revolution;
identify strongly with the writings of Leo Strauss;
express no opposition to the welfare state, and will expand it to
win votes and power;
believe in a powerful federal government;
believe the ends justify the means in politics – that hardball politics
is a moral necessity;
believe lying is necessary for the state to survive;
believe certain facts should be known only by the political elite,
and withheld from the general public;
believe in preemptive war and the naked use of military force to achieve
any desired ends;
openly endorse the idea of an American empire, and hence unapologetically
call for imperialism;
are very willing to use force to impose American ideals;
scoff at the Founding Father's belief in neutrality in foreign affairs;
believe 9/11 resulted from a lack of foreign entanglements, not from
are willing to redraw the map of the Middle East by force, while unconditionally
supporting Israel and the Likud Party;
view civil liberties with suspicion, as unnecessary restrictions on
the federal government;
despise libertarians, and dismiss any arguments based on constitutional
Those who love liberty, oppose unjustified war, and resent big-brother
government must identify the philosophy that is influencing policy today.
If the neoconservatives are wrong – and I believe they are – we must
demonstrate this to the American people, and offer an alternative philosophy
that is both morally superior and produces better results in terms of
liberty and prosperity. It is time for true conservatives to retake
the conservative movement.
Paul is a Republican Congressman from Texas. He was the 1988 Libertarian
Party candidate for President.
articles by Rep. Ron Paul
Happened to Conservatives?
What Are We Getting Into?
the United Nations out of Iraq and America
Antagonize Our Trading Partners
Myth of War Prosperity
United Nations War?
War Allies and 'Friends' with Foreign Aid
Prospects for Peace in 2003?
Does Regime Change in Iraq Really Mean?
Incoherent Foreign Policy Fuels Middle East Turmoil
Security Is the Largest Federal Expansion in 50 Years
Homeland Security Monstrosity
The New Homeland Security Bureaucracy!
Our Military Veterans
the Use of Military Force Against Iraq
Must Say Yes or No to War
Congress Relevant with Regards to War?
We Afford This War?
is a Political Mistake
Alliances Distort our Foreign Policy
that Won't Be Asked About Iraq
Foreign Policy for Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty
Against a War in Iraq
Questions About War in Iraq
in Iraq, War on the Rule of Law
Congress Debate War with Iraq?
Homeland Security Non-Debate
of Homeland Security Who Needs It?
Cuban Markets Good for Cubans and Americans
America a Police State?
or Invasion in Iraq?
Force Taxpayers to Fund Nation-Building in Afghanistan
No to Conscription
in Support of a Balanced Approach to the Middle East Peace Process
Founding Fathers Were Right About Foreign Affairs
Entangling Alliances in the Middle East