Thursday, October 04, 2007

Political Cross-Dressing

Dan Erdman's review of Look Homeward, America. In Search of Reactionary Radicals and Front-Porch Anarchists and the growing appeal of paleo-conservative thinking among the left.
The past six years have found progressives, liberals, and socialists busily rethinking their ideologies, allegiances and priorities. The tumult of the post-9/11 world has shaken up the certainties of the right as well. The result has been what Tony Blair called 'an orgy of political cross-dressing'.

Most of the mainstream conservative intelligentsia in the US still support the 'war on terror', but even this is starting to sound strained and creaky. A significant minority weren't convinced in the first place; no less than William F Buckley Jr, founder of The National Review, wrote, on the eve of the Iraq War, that President Bush should have been 'more cautious when he spoke of the prospects for Iraq after liberation. Portugal, climbing out from monarchy soon after the turn of the century, moved towards an autocracy that lasted for 35 years, after which was the military coup, reaching an institutionalized democracy only in the late '70s.' [1]

Those on the right who agree with Buckley often come from the ranks of 'paleo-cons', isolationist, traditionalist conservatives who regard Franklin Roosevelt - whose two singular accomplishments were a more muscular internationalism and the beginnings of the modern welfare state - as a sort of traitor to something essential in American society. Lately, representatives of this tendency have gained a new confidence, as well as a new audience.
Ron Paul's the most flamboyant cross-dresser on the stage but the audience's tipping him. I wouldn't underestimate this actor's impact.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ron Paul is a racist John Birch loving Texas Republican who is in the race to peel off Right wing libertarians who might want to support the Democrats against the war in Iraq.

But that's beside the point. What's more insidious about this article is the implication that people who are against the war in Iraq are old fashioned isolationists. But in fact, one can be against one war (especially a stupid, ill considered one like the one in Iraq) and not be against military intervention abroad as such. And I think both you and this author know it. So try again.