The New Burkeian

Reflections on the Revolution in Conservatism

Friday, October 29, 2004

The Problem with Neocons

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll eat for a lifetime.

The same can be said for nation building. If, in the example of Japan, we encourage democracy and the education of the populace to better facilitate democracy, we can be successful in the process of building a nation. If, in the example of Iran, we impose leadership for the interest of America, we will most likely suffer defeat.

The responsibility of the new 'actionary' is to educate the world about democracy in an effort to promote a more peaceful world order. Obviously we cannot be everywhere at once. It will be a gradual process to create a beneficial world order for all peoples. Iraq and Afghanistan are the stepping stones to our new mission for the world. The UN has failed. So America, as a leader in the world, must help to establish a new international order that does not step on the feet of sovereign democratic nations, but also protects those very interests.

The problem with neocons is that they would establish a litmus test for American intervention. Then our mission becomes self-serving, and in the process, American policy is viewed with disdain. With neocons setting policy for conservatives, the dogma of the liberals that Republicans act only in the interest of oil and money is not far from the truth. I believe most Americans care more about people than property.

Neoconservatism is a remnant of the Cold War period. Neocons are essentially balance of power advocates in a bipolar world (the opposition being radical Islam). They do not believe in absolutes (good and evil), but push for relatives (better and worse) in relationship to American interests. As their goals fall in line with 'actionaries' (democratic nations do not go to war with each other) they have been allowed to dictate American policy. The real problem is that they are 'reactionaries'. The mission of nation building will only be enacted when American interests are threatened. I believe that to be selfish, self-serving, and in opposition to the general idea of liberty and justice.

As I have stated before, 9/11 changed everything. Conservatives can no longer perform their duties of preservation by being 'reactionary'. We must be vigilant. We must be active in the world. We must be passionate for democracy. We must actually believe that we are doing what is right. And we must set higher standards than solely American security and interest. In essence, we must be 'actionaries'.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The Chills of Patriotism

I love baseball. I never want to be disappointed with baseball again. I love the World Series. I love the Home Team. And I love the patriotism that flows through our national pastime.

I think my favorite part of the game is the national anthem. I love to watch the beginning of the game, and always look forward to singing and listening to the 'Star Spangled Banner'. In fact I get the chills when I hear it. And I do not have to be present at the game. I sat on my couch tonight to watch the game and those chills hit me right on during the national anthem. It always puts a smile on my face, and I forget anything negative.

I stopped to ponder that feeling tonight, though. It was so natural for me to be filled with the splendor of our country that the national anthem embodies. I realized that all of the glorious things Americans have done and will do are embodied in our anthem. Patriotism overwhelms me when I hear that tune. I am filled with love and respect for our country and its ideas. And it is one of the most wonderful experiences to get those chills of patriotism during our anthem.

With the endorphines flowing through my body I thought more on the ideals of the New Burkeian. What does it mean to be an 'actionary' in the new conservative movement? It means loving our country, and understanding the values that our country was built and thrives upon. It means understanding the universal nature of the values of liberty and justice. And ultimately, it means expressing and promoting those ideas that have brought such joy and freedom into my life.

There is nothing evil or misleading in the cause of the 'actionary'. It is a movement of truth; the truth of what our values represent as a country, as well as the truth that can lead other nations to our path of liberty and justice. America is indeed the 'City on a Hill' that our forefathers foresaw. And we will willingly present that blue print to any nation that inquires. We will also prevent any nation from blocking that path to freedom. We will fight to the bitter end, if that is our fate.

But of course, that is not to be our fate. The standard of liberty and justice cannot be defeated. America will not be defeated. We will never allow anyone to say that we did not fight for freedom. We will never give up hope. This is the patriotism of the 'actionary'. This is just a glimpse at the feelings of patriotism that overwhelm me. And this embodies the chills of patriotism that fill me with joy when I hear our national anthem.

Monday, October 25, 2004

The Mandate of Liberty

Why should America involve itself in the democratization of the world through state-building? In defining the just and right path for America to democratize the world we must find a legitimizing factor. In my mind that legitimizer is 'liberty'. Rather it is the ability of a people to determine their own path in the world, so long as that does not promote cultural dominance of one country over another.

Some would perceive this advancement of liberty as a promotion of cultural dominance. But they forget the roots of the ideas of democracy and liberty. Americans did not come up with liberty. It was advanced by many great thinkers (including to my amusement some French). Liberty is a natural right among men. We all deserve the ability to pursue happiness. Allowing countries such as Taliban Afghanistan and Baathist Iraq to pursue their own course in the world is not the answer, though. I think we can all understand the dangers there.

Opponents of American policy in the War on Terrorism fail to understand liberty as a natural right. They view our promotion of liberty to be the encroachment of American ideals. Liberty is inherent in all culture, though. Liberty is not an American ideal. It is man's ideal. And as I've stated before it allows all aspects of a specific culture to be heard and examined.

We have a hotly contested election coming up between two very different ideologies in our country. Americans are being given their natural right to choose the path of this country, for at least a generation, in a single election. Afghanis were able to experience this right for the first time. Iraqis will accept this right in a couple of months. I do not understand what is wrong with a populace being able to elect its own leaders. Do liberals oppose liberty?

And herein is the problem. I do not think opponents of the War on Terror believe liberty to be a universal right. Or perhaps they do not perceive the ability of certain cultures to appreciate that right. I find that to be quite racist and egocentric. Certainly the Afghanis and Iraqis can appreciate liberty. And I think our success in these two countries (as well as Japan and Germany after WWII) proves the universal nature of liberty. This is our mandate in the War on Terror.

Well, what if these countries later become hostile to the interests of the US (example Germany)? That is the nature of liberty, though. It allows people to decide their own path. And that is acceptable because America is not the imperial figure liberals would have us be. I might also add that no two democracies have gone to war against each other ever. So we can either sit back and let the world fall apart of its own accord as we did before WWII(can we say Appeasers), or we can use this Mandate of Liberty to promote a right and just world.

Friday, October 22, 2004

America the 'Evil Empire'?

Observing a class discussion on the reason for use of the A-bomb to end WWII in Japan, I heard an interesting theory. Apparently WWII was driven by the racism of America. The reason suggested for the use of the bomb was because the Japanese were not caucasian and American brass just wanted to test the bomb on live subjects. Supposedly, we did not use the A-bomb on Germany because they looked more like us. Interesting.

I think this student should probably get his facts together, but I doubt that will occur as he is a journalism major. We are to forget the provocation of WWII. He seems to forget that the Japanese initiated the war with America via surprise attack. He also fails to note that a working A-bomb was not around before Germany surrendered. Furthermore, he attempts to equate the internment of Japanese by America to the treatment of POWs by the Japanese. Thank goodness our professor corrected this misinformed student before the end of class.

This drives even deeper than a discussion of WWII strategy and tactics, though. These arguments are very similar to opposition for our War on Terrorism. Opponents seem to forget that we were attacked. (And I might add that 9/11 was not the first time.) It also drives home opponents' ideas that America is inherently 'evil'. They suggest that we respond with force because we are bloodthirsty savages with no right to impose our will on others. Unlike former dictator Saddam Hussein, perhaps?

It amuses me how similar these people are to proponents of 'original sin' in mid-millenium Europe. The idea here is that America is inherently 'evil', so any action we take in the world is wrong. Perhaps conservatives should start buying indulgences from the liberals to get to Heaven.

But to be more serious about this, it is crucial that America make clear its intentions for the War on Terrorism. We are acting because it is the right thing to do. Much like Japanese and German abuses in WWII, terrorists attack without regard for human life. If the A-bomb can save American lives in a war that we did not initiate, then America must do whatever it can now to prevent the loss of innocent lives at the hands of terrorists. It is the right thing to do.

We are not an 'Evil Empire'. We believe in liberty for all people. What is wrong with a country where both Michael Moore and the Swift Boat Veterans can have an opinion on political matters? Sitting back and waiting to respond will not suffice either. Waiting implies that we do not care for the plight of people all around the world, and I really truly believe that Americans understand the difference between right and wrong. We must fight for justice and liberty around the world because it is the right thing to do. We are not an 'Evil Empire'.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

The Age of the Conservative as an 'Actionary'

The new conservative seems to be a remarkably different entity than what was expected in the past. We are no longer passive supporters of the status quo. Instead we are 'actionaries'.

I use 'actionary' in direct opposition to to the term 'reactionary'. 'Actionary' depicts a movement. And it is not just a movement for the status quo. In fact it is quite the opposite. It is a strain of conservatism that promotes and expands. We understand the inherent good in liberty. And in understanding that liberty is a right that should be cherished, we actively promote it in all aspects of life.

The new liberal takes on the characteristics of a 'reactionary'. Cultural relativism is their value. And the promotion of liberty as Americans know it is viewed with disdain. They prefer isolation to activism in the promotion of liberty throughout our country and the world. They believe that just because something is good in America does not mean it will be good somewhere else. Cultural relativism.

I believe this will be the basis for the battleground between these new strains of ideological belief. The 'old guard' has not relinquished the reins of power, however. This results in hatred for the conservative cause because of cold and calculating neocons. It also leads to the lack of a unifying message for the liberals because of the conflict between internationalists and isolationists.

The liberal movement is less of a concern to me. But if their movement heads toward isolationism, expect a stronger united front from them in the future.

Instead, lets discuss the 'old guard' of the conservative movement. I identify neocons as dangerous to the conservative movement, because of the enmity directed at them from many aspects of American and world society. They operate in a manner that is not entirely contradictory to the promotion of liberty, however. It is the manner of that promotion where we differ.

Neocons act only in the interest of national security, albeit because liberty(read America) is a good and noble cause. It is the perception of others that cause the problem here. Under neocon control, America is perceived as a selfish entity interested only in the promotion of her security and financial interests. There is no unifying world cause behind their strain of conservatism other than the promotion of American interests.

The New Burkeian identifies that unifying world cause in liberty. We believe that America should act in the world because of the truth of liberty. We believe that while America may not be perfect, we at least attempt to promote the greater good because it is right. We acted in Iraq beacause it was the right thing to do, and we were able to promote liberty to the people of Iraq.

Our movement came to being after 9/11. We realized that America could not act justly and in the interests of its citizens using the ideology of the past. And we can no longer ride on the coattails of the neocons because our message becomes blurred in their self-interested movement. I believe that most conservatives are the new 'actionaries' that I described. We believe in the inherent goodness in the idea of liberty, and we will actively promote this in all aspects of life in this world.

This is the basis for this blog. This is the movement of the New Burkeian.