L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 250, December 7, 2003
Remember Pearl Harbor
Grand Unification Theories
Exclusive to TLE
One of the major problems libertarians have in understanding both liberals and conservatives is the concept of ideological center. We focus on the "Zero Aggression Principle". We tie all of our positions on issues to that one concept. Any disagreements we may have are on the implementation of that central ideal. The Death Penalty and Abortion come to mind as issues we divide on, but even though we argue, it is over "is preventing abortion more of an initiation of force than the abortion itself?" or "is the death penalty an initiation of force or a legitimate retaliation to another's initiation of force?"
When it comes to the opposition we try to divine grand unification theories from their statements, one of the best I have seen is "conservatives think everyone is a little bit evil and liberals think everyone is a little bit stupid." But that is perhaps too simple of an idea, after all why do conservatives support "reasonable gun control laws" and why does the idea of open borders put their panties in such a bunch? How will open borders help promote evil? I think perhaps a new theory of conservative ideological center needs to be developed to incorporate these inconsistencies. Let us delve deep into the mysteries of the conservative mind and soul and perhaps we can rewrite the grand theory.
Let us first list the strong positions that are associated with the middle of the road conservatives, we will toss aside the wild extremes and focus on those issues that unite the conservative movement.
The issue that most divides conservatives and libertarians is drug prohibition. More brain sweat and bandwidth has been wasted trying to compare drug use and gun use than on any other dividing issue. However something deep in the conservative psyche demands a strict adherence to a fanatical support of the drug war, even though we can show it has not fulfilled its goals and in fact has made things worse. I suspect deep down inside the conservative wants something else from drug prohibition than the stated goals of ending illegal drug use.
The next issue that comes to mind is open borders. Even with the caveat of "we will first dismantle the welfare state" to answer their concerns of "lazy wetbacks coming to live off my tax dollars" they still insist on closing the borders and carefully selecting immigrants to this country. The next reason given for supporting this position is "they take jobs from Americans". Of course, if an illiterate, undereducated person who barely speaks English can take your job, then you failed to plan well for your future. But that again is irrelevant, the conservative panics at the idea of letting people into this country without the proper regulations being followed. So is the issue economics or is it something else?
On to the issue we think we have in common with the conservative, guns. We are the only political party that supports repealing every firearm regulation on the books, something the Republican Party cannot claim. In fact Republicans are much fans of gun control as Democrats, and no matter how often we show that fact the conservatives refuse to change sides. Could it be that "reasonable gun control" is a phrase that resonates with conservatives? When they think about those "instant background checks" who do they imagine being stopped from getting a gun?
I think the "little bit evil" concept has to be stretched too far to include all three of these dissimilar positions as well as many others. Perhaps we accept that line because the truth is too hard to take. Unfortunately, and I say this with family who are conservatives, I think the answer is far more nasty than we want to think. Look not at what is said, but the actual effects of their positions. Think about it and you will find the one unifying theme is the negative effect their positions have on minorities. Yes, I am accusing conservatives of being racist. It's the only way their divergent positions make any sense.
Drug laws unfairly prosecute minorities over whites. Need proof? Ask Rush Limbaugh about his jail time for violating both Florida and Federal law for possession of prescription drugs without a legal prescription. Do you doubt that if he were Walter Williams or Thomas Sowell what his new address would be? What happens once the drug laws catch a minority? Well, in 1/3 of the states, Florida included, they will never vote again. In another 1/3 they will have to beg the Governor for the right to vote and in the last 1/3 they are able to vote, but no one bothers to tell them. As for the gun issue, well those background checks do a damn fine job of keeping the minorities disarmed and unable to defend themselves.
I don't think we need to dig too deep into the borders issue, argue with a conservative long enough and they will keep repeating the same party line "illegal immigrants are bleeding this country dry, they steal jobs and sit on welfare eating up services my tax dollars pay for, they don't pay taxes, they use the schools…" The list goes on and on but look at the central theme. Lazy, shiftless illegal immigrants are all bums that want a free ride. Keep in mind we don't get much illegal immigration from Norway or Great Britain, mostly folks with a dark suntan from the south are coming in without permission and those are the ones they don't want. Hard working folks who just want a better life for their families. They do the work Americans are too proud or too fussy to take. But the conservatives want to keep these people out. I doubt the economy is the reason. I think their collective panties get in a bunch because these people aren't what conservatives see when they think about the American dream.
Try looking at anything they say, keeping the idea that racism is their central principle in mind, and they make a whole lot more sense. In some cases you need to dig to see what they really mean. Issues such as abortion may look like a religious position, but think about who is more likely to need an abortion to keep their life on track, a rich white woman with a good health insurance plan and a stable marriage or a poor black woman whose husband has been sent to jail for a drug crime. Which one do you think can afford to carry the child to term with all the additional expenses of a new wardrobe and time lost at work? Again, they do make a whole lot more sense when you simply accept they are racists and get on with it.