Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 14, 2004
Okay, let’s finish up with the neocons.
Frankly, I think I’m about to burn out on this political stuff because it’s all so tawdry. Take the ad saying that Kerry lied about his service in Vietnam. This group of neocons from Texas (Bush’s buddies) alleges that Kerry’s first Purple Heart was justified because the wound was minor, ignoring that these medals of valor are awarded to anyone who suffers any combat-related injury. It doesn’t matter if the shrapnel in Kerry was a centimeter long. Kerry just said he earned a Purple Heart, not that his arm was blown off. There was no lie.
As for the heroism, all of the veterans in the Bush (not) ad said they served with Kerry, but not a one of them really did. They served in Vietnam when Kerry was in Vietnam, but did not serve with him on the boat. The men who really served with Kerry were on stage with him at the Democratic Convention. Who’s lying? It ain’t Kerry.
This latest example of the dirty tricks the neocons will stoop to is a good lead-in as to why they are so dangerous and why we all, conservatives, liberals and the majority of us who are somewhere in the middle. They don’t care about truth. Oh, they can’t utter a sentence without the words &uot;values&uot; or &uot;morality&uot; coming up, but they will mislead, misdirect or outright lie when it suits them without blinking.
There are no instances that I’m aware of where Kerry has lied. He may be vague and his answers may be incomplete, but that’s because he apparently wants to avoid lying. Bush knows the aforementioned ad is a lie, but he refuses to repudiate it even though many in his own Party have urged him to do so, including a Republican for whom I have a great deal of respect, Sen. John McCain.
So, what is it that scares me about the neocons? Basically, their philosophy not only acknowledges the truths Niccolo Machiavelli revealed in &uot;The Prince&uot;, but also heartily embraces them.
Machiavelli realized that attaining and holding power required deception, lies, and the judicious use of an iron glove. We may not like it, but there is a great deal of truth in what Machiavelli wrote more than 500 years ago. In our democratic government, we like to think our leaders have evolved beyond Medieval, theocratic totalitarianism, but there is some &uot;Prince&uot; in every leader.
What has made our democracy endure is that we have two other branches of government that were specifically designed by the Founding Fathers to keep the President in check. Just as important, however, is that the First Amendment guarantees freedom of the press. A diligent press that reports the truth to the people can do more to keep power in check than either the Congress or the Supreme Court since, as we have seen in recent years, those two branches of government can easily get into lock-step with the administrative branch of government.
But the press hasn’t been doing its job. After 9/11, the press let the emotions of the day overrule the healthy skepticism that serves to keep an eye on government. As such, we all marched off to war in Iraq even though it had nothing to do with the war on terrorism. Only now is the press starting to look skeptically at some of the things the Bush administration has done, but it is only doing so now because there have been so many secrets kept and lies told. (And if you rely on Fox &uot;News&uot; for your information, you might as well know that you’re being fed the Republican Party line.) But I’ll rail against the poor job of the national press another day. For now, I want to talk about these neocons.
The do not ascribe to the notion of fiscal conservatism that so defined the Goldwater and Reagan philosophies. Conservatives want a smaller, less intrusive government that expects individuals to take care of themselves without putting the burden on others. I agree with that philosophy with modifications. I do believe, as Jefferson said, &uot;The government that governs best, governs least.&uot; The trick is to find a balance that doesn’t punish those on the bottom tier simply because they are on the bottom tier.
Neocons give lip service to conservatism, but they are not conservative. In fact, they are far more like liberals than even the liberals they claim to hate. Look at how much Bush has expanded government since he took office – in both size and power. The neocons attack the aspects of government that conservatives traditionally attack – social programs that seek to help people rather than forcing people to take care of themselves – but they want to expand the government’s power. They’d love to have secret police and stormtroopers making sure we’re all doing &uot;like we’re supposed to do&uot; (as they define it).
You see, neocons believe that if there are people who don’t subscribe to their definition of how people should live their lives, the government should utilize force. Take gay marriage, for example, since that’s an unpopular notion that Bush is using to get people to forget about his atrocious policies, his deceptive tactics, and his thirst for absolute power.
Gee whiz! I’m out of space for this week. Next week I’ll tell you – from a strictly conservative standpoint – why government not only has no business banning gay marriage, but also has no business being involved in the issue of marriage at all.