Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Dr. Pat on the People

versus "the military-industrial complex." It used to be that conservative populists were against the social libertarianism of the pointy-headed intellectuals and their various liberationist "isms." And they didn’t have much against big business or a fairly bellicose foreign policy. Dr. Pat gives us the provocative thought that the pointy-headed intellectuals are now allying with the military-industrial complete--a new power elite--against the little guy. Is a new William Jennings Bryan about to emerge to lead the people against the interests? In which party? It makes sense to say that a libertarian/anti-libertarian realignment might be coming. But that might be bad news for the anti-libertarians. Bryan lost every time. I’m broadly sympathetic to the Dr. of Love’s concerns about creeping and often creeping libertarianism, but despite Dick Cheney I don’t think the military-industrial compex really exists. Not only that: The miltary only gets really unpopular when we screw up a war, and most people are ok with Wal Mart’s low prices and remarkably mediocre quality. And "the people" love their cars.

Discussions - 2 Comments

I agree with this analysis.

In fact, many big business have been signaling that they wish to Knife the U.S.

Peter - Yes, I've thought too that such a realignment would be very bad for the anti-libertarian party, and the persistent fact of our deep-seated libertarianism or even self-indulgence is the main reason why the libertarian wings of both the Democratic and Republican parties basically call the shots. Yet, let's recall that Goldwater lost pretty badly too - sometimes a good loss is the sign of strength to come. Maybe there's just been more of a lag after Bryan's losses. And, even if I'm totally wrong about that (probably), let's face it - is the alternative much better? What's the non-libertarian option in a Giuliani-Clinton election, just to pick the current front-runners?

I've acknowledged doubts about the "wisdom of the multitude" thesis in another thread, recognizing the common man's love of WalMart crap and gas guzzlers (all courtesy of Saudi Arabia, paid for in full by loans from China). Robert Jeffrey's subsequent response there suggests otherwise - that, led by a statesman, the people would be prepared to make sacrifices - and I suspect he's right. There was an interesting poll that appeared a few weeks ago in the New York Times which indicated that people were not willing to pay a gas tax of $1 or $2 a gallon in the abstract, but were willing to agree to pay at least those amounts if such a tax were framed in terms of national security and patriotism. So, there may be a party out there capable of being assembled and led, but no actual leaders capable of making the argument.

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