Late in 2011 or early 2012, while on a late night road trip, I was seeking through radio stations and I happened across Mark Levin’s radio show. At the time, I would describe myself as a conservative, maybe even neo-conservative. The 2012 republican primary was just about to kick off, and on this particular night, just mere days before the Iowa caucuses, Mark Levin was lamenting the fact that Ron Paul’s polling numbers in Iowa had been somewhat favorable. Of course, the main reason behind Levin’s lamentations was in regards to Ron Paul’s foreign policy views.
The reason this night sticks out to me is because Levin went so far as to say he would entertain the idea of voting for the re-election of president Obama in a hypothetical Obama-Paul general election matchup, which, looking back, this hypothetical matchup is insane to even think about. So, the same guy in Obama, who Levin had spent the previous 3-4 years excoriating for almost every possible policy, and probably even non-policy related, item was now the better hypothetical option due solely to his furtherance of America’s military presence in the world, and specifically, in the Middle East.
And as ridiculous as that sounds, I am ashamed to say that I also entertained this very same idea as Levin pondered over it on his show. As I said, I was a conservative at the time, and, at 20 years old, 2012 was going to be the very first presidential election I would be allowed to participate in. I had been taught, as most Americans are, that "our" presence was greatly needed around the world because "we" had the great responsibility of being the world’s guardians ("world’s policemen" is a better term for this but most neo-conservatives don’t think of it that way). Obviously, I have drastically changed since then; I wouldn’t be writing on this site if that weren’t the case. I won’t be delving into that transformation in this piece, though.
Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Mark Levin has not changed. And here we are 7 plus years later and Mark Levin has now directed his ire toward son of Ron Paul, Rand. The ire came after Senator Paul pitched to President Trump the idea of being an emissary to Iran for the purpose of engaging in diplomatic negotiations. Levin, in typical fashion, went on said hissy fit because negotiations led by Paul decreases the chances of war, and Levin is just as bloodthirsty as ever. One point of contention Levin referred to during this most recent rant was that Rand Paul is an "ideologue" when it comes to foreign policy.
This particular part of Levin’s argument I find to be interesting, considering Levin refers to himself as a conservative, an ideology based on the preservation of certain ideas.
When conservatives speak on America’s founding and its "manifest destiny", they often refer to America as being an idea, or, rather, a set of ideas and principles. And where the label conservative comes from is their desire to preserve as well as conserve those initial founding ideas and principles. An ideologue is someone who is often a blind advocate of a particular ideology. But, it seems that when it comes to foreign policy, many conservatives, including Levin, have completely abandoned following any particular set of ideas whatsoever; whether that following be blind or not.
When it comes to non-interventionism, negotiating for and having the desire for peace, and seeking to eliminate opportunities for blowback, conservatives seem to turn their backs on the preservation of those founding ideas and principles they so strongly espouse. The lip service paid to ideology ceases and is replaced with a kind of warmongering rhetoric led by statists who feel it is America’s job and responsibility to enforce justice around the world through the use of bombs and foot soldiers.
I am no longer a conservative, and even if the conservative movement were to eventually release itself from the much too long neoconservative trance it’s been in, I still would not return to that movement. But, I do know that if the movement had more "ideologues" like Rand Paul – who is nowhere near perfect when it comes to foreign policy, himself – within it, those founding ideas and principles that they claim to love so much would reveal themselves to be far more attractive and, more importantly, genuine to those who are watching from near and afar.
Mark Metz lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and works as the Home Supervisor of a residential home housing 7-12 year old behaviorally challenged boys. He’s had several articles published on beinglibertarian.com.