My thoughts and concerns in the political world

Monday, January 17, 2005

A Divorce from Pessimism: Neoconservatism

Politics of fear seeks to increase trade barriers and isolate the US from other nations. Fear is not exclusive to one political perspective. Both Pat Buchanan and Howard Dean espouse the values of protectionism. It is an anathema that a conservative would support this. It is abhorrent that Dean promulgates fear. Both Clinton and Reagan expanded free trade despite the outcry of the paleo-thinking opposition.

Opposition from unions claimed that free trade would outsource jobs destroying the American worker. Reagan’s trade with Japan scared hyper-sovereignty conservatives who thought the US would lose out, go into decline and all but become a colony of Japan. Rather, the US saw economic boom in the 80’s and 90’s and a decline in animosity between the free trade nations. This is a sharp contrast to paleo-thought of doomsday.

It is no surprise then that both Buchanan and Dean opposed the liberation of 25 million Iraqis. Perplexing as it may seem a conservative running and skipping along side an avowed left-winger, there is common interest between them in pessimism. Fear, hate and ignorance are joined at the hip with pessimism. Courage, love and information are linked inevitably with optimism.

Fear is never a good motivation and Ronald Reagan knew this better than most for “America doesn’t belong to the faint hearted. It belongs to the brave.”

When a nation produces the products that it has a comparative advantage at making, trades openly with a different one that does the same, both of them make absolute gains. Free and open trade is the only policy that allows goods, services and ideas to permeate boundaries with the most benefit to consumers. Since both nations are able to make their respective products efficiently, trading them means more products for both countries than both could produce in isolation.

Of course one must assume that these mutual gains are good for everyone. Since courage and love should drive our inner-most desires as a nation, the US should open up markets for trade not punish them. It would be quite the opposite of both love and courage to fall back into isolation.

Fear and hatred drive the desires of the opposition to our liberation of Iraq. Saddam Hussein gassed his own people, imprisoned or killed his political opposition and defied world mandates to comply with the evidence of the destruction of his WMD. The coalition found mass graves of hundreds of thousands of people.

How could anyone oppose the most humane thing to do with the toppling of a known state sponsor of terror? Fear and hatred. Fear of the unknown with pessimism and hatred of America “imposing” her will onto others is a major reason for paleo-thinking. Sounds like a WTO protest of Marxists, right? But there are conservatives who fear and hate for the same reasons and in equal measure to the leftists. Could it be that there is hatred for other races and religions among the extremes in the far left and far right as well? It is rather frightening that the far left and far right are both anti-Semitic, for example.

We must turn our backs to paleo-thinking.

America is the leader of the Free World. The US cannot abandon its responsibilities. The politics of fear must end. With George W Bush, America has claimed her rightful place in the new century. Isolation gave us Hitler. Intervention toppled Hussein. Isolation gave us the Great Depression. Free trade gave us the 80’s and 90’s. The results are clear. Now is the time to divorce ourselves from pessimism and those that promulgate it.

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