Conservatism: fear writ large

I've had this idea in my mind for a couple weeks now, and now after spending several days with a very conservative family member, I'm convinced: the driving force behind American conservative foreign (and occasionally domestic) policy is the overwhelming fear that America is actually very weak.

A bunch of guys hiding in caves are really such a threat to America that the US military has to have a presence in the majority of countries, or we might be toppled. The "Ground Zero mosque" has to be defeated because if "the Muslims" get this foothold, they really might introduce Sharia law into America. This is not a joke.

To them, anyway.

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Pretty much any ideology or

Pretty much any ideology or point along the political spectrum has fears associated with it that nonmembers find preposterous. Of course, if I were to list your own fears (dear reader) which others find preposterous, this would only confirm for you the wisdom of your position. But consider that different ideologies have different sets of priorities. What do you think is most important that we do? Do you fear what would happen if we did not do that very important thing? If you do not fear leaving undone what you consider to be important to do, then it can't be very important now can it? Meanwhile your opponents don't think it's important, or worse, they think it's important to avoid doing it. That being the case, then clearly they don't share your fears. They probably think your fears are preposterous - because if they thought your fears were reasonable, then they would sympathize with your position, which they do not.

Shorter Constant: Three

Shorter Constant: Three cheers for cultural and moral relativism!

Shorter Micha: it's straw man

Shorter Micha: it's straw man time!

Moral relativism is the

Moral relativism is the belief that morality is not objective but relative to a person or society.

First of all, I am not talking about morality, but about facts. Conservatives, liberals, libertarians - they all have different fears about what is actually going to happen unless... And these fears are factual.

Second, I am not saying that nobody is right, or that they are all right by their own lights. I am not saying anything at all about who is right or wrong. I have my own views, which I have declined to share, because the point of what I was saying doesn't depend on who is right.

For example, I think that liberals are absurdly fearful of global warming. I think that liberals are absurdly fearful of the market. They are absurdly fearful of racism, seeing a racist behind every bush. They are absurdly fearful of the possibility of theocracy, absurdly believing that we are just a few votes shy of Torquemada. They are absurdly fearful of conservatives, which got to the point of Bush Derangement Syndrome, now Palin Derangement Syndrome.

The reason I didn't devote my comment to that was that I didn't want it to be taken as a tit for tat. My point was that saying that conservatism is "fear writ large" boils down to "I disagree with conservatives about something", as I explained. That doesn't make fear the essence of conservatism any more than the absurd fears of liberals make fear the essence of liberalism.

I wish people would educate themselves. Go read books like A Conflict of Visions by Thomas Sowell, which compares conservatives with liberals (and in some cases with libertarians). Maybe after being exposed to enough of that level of discussion you will realize just how unworthy of notice are the cheap shots of the likes of Will Wilkinson.

Ah, but the human condition

Ah, but the human condition is that cheap shots are more rewarding for almost everyone.

I'll give you that

I heard Tom Woods interviewed on Wisconsin Public Radio last month. A caller thought that the subtitle of his book, Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century lumped him in the category of "loony". Meanwhile, I am expecting to be rounded up with the other dissidents on charges of sedition and thrown in a cattle car any day now.

If we deal with our fears by means other than aggression, then we are simple mistaken and fearful and perhaps busy on fools' errands like stockpiling food and encrypting our communications. If we use our fears as justification to say, preemptively invade a country, we are simply criminals.

American conservatism is a

American conservatism is a movement consumed by protecting and asserting a certain fabricated conception of the traditional American way of life against imaginary enemies. Support for small government is no more than a bullet point on the Right’s “What We Believe” cheat sheet, mouthed at opportune moments.

- Will Wilkinson

For example, private

For example, private ownership of guns, a supposed conservative fabrication, according to Bellesiles. Turns out, the only fabricator was Bellesiles himself. Had Bellesiles's fraud gone unnoticed, I have little doubt Will would be happily citing it again and again.


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trap mosquitoes

While we're talking about right and left,

I'd be curious to know what you both (Micha and Constant) think of this video I ran across yesterday.

That's an essay. Why is it

That's an essay. Why is it spoken aloud with background music? I wish it were written down. Maybe someone can summarize it.

Too melodramatic for my

Too melodramatic for my tastes. I'd rather read an essay if it's just some dude reading out loud.

I'm in Homer mode...

Okay, I've left a comment on the author's YouTube site asking for a transcript. He seems to hang out on, which has this long article that seems to be in the same vein. The gist of this YouTube is that "the Marxist, Trotskyite, New Deal, intellectual left of the 1930's are now the ostensible conservative Republicans; while the Marcusian cultural Marxists of the 1960's New Left are now the liberal Democrats." The author thinks that the proper political battle is for the "authentic" left to side with Rothbadian anarchists against socialists.

Unlike you guys, all I'm capable of on a Friday afternoon is sitting in front of the Tube for 9:00 minutes with a beer (assuming I can find a cup) listening to an awesome cover of a Blue Öyster Cult classic. I'm not up to wading through a long article...

Message from RJWeapon

Message from RJWeapon out of channel:

The video draws from various different essays.

"Liberty and Populism: Building an Effective Resistance Movement for North America" []

Philosophical Anarchism and the Death of Empire []

National-Anarchism and the American Idea []

Anarcho-Pluralism and Pan-Secessionism: What They Are and What They Are Not []

I'll have a look at these try to put up some separate posts.

"Be Afraid" has been official

"Be Afraid" has been official government policy since the end of WW2.