Thursday, March 23, 2006

How the NeoCons Will Kill the GOP

Commentary by Martin Kelly
October 6, 2004

Ideologues are like racehorses or Siamese cats – they must be bred from a pure line. Just as inbreeding has turned Siamese cats into demented neurotics, so too are most ideologues – the only difference between them is that the Siamese has an excuse.

The neoconservatives’ relentless quest for ideological purity is what will kill the Republican Party that they currently infest. The very word, ‘neoconservative’ is redolent of a desire to design yourself as different from others who are like you – what was wrong with the word ‘conservative’? Why must they be ‘neoconservatives?’ If anyone thinks that the GOP is strong enough to withstand the force of their divisive ideology, they had better think again, because right now the British Conservative Party is dying as the result of its abandonment, decades ago, of conservative principles in pursuit of ideology that was new and radical but which is now just old and failed, the economic dogmas and absolutes of Thatcherism. Neoconservatism adopts many of the same principles, and the Harvest of Thatcher will be the Harvest of Bush. You have been warned.

The evening of September 30 was the night that the death rattle of the Conservative Party could be heard in Hartlepool, in the North-East of England. One of Hartlepool’s claims to fame is that, during the Napoleonic Wars, its people hanged a monkey they believed to be a Bonapartist spy.

The Conservatives had kept the seat as recently as 1959. However, Hartlepool, like everywhere else north of the River Humber, was badly affected by their adoption of Thatcherism.

Thatcherism states that everything must be left to the market. The market will create choices for people. As a consequence, the state has no business interfering in the choices that people make. It is therefore impossible to review the abortion laws as people may wish to choose to have abortions. If it is the choice of a business to relocate its operations overseas, the government has no cause to interfere. Anything that stands in the market’s path must be annihilated.

As you might imagine, Thatcherism was a very, very business-friendly philosophy. However, it inflicted casualties. Principal among these were northern industrial towns like Hartlepool, which all suffered massive unemployment as the market adjusted itself down to its lowest cost. As a result, the Conservative Party has been on the back foot in the north for 20 years.

The Parliamentary bye-election that night arose because the sitting MP, Peter Mandelson, had resigned in order to become a European Commissioner in Brussels. Labour kept the seat with a vote of 12,752 on a turnout of 45.8%. The Conservatives finished fourth, with a vote of 3,044.

The conservative columnist Peter Hitchens, brother of Christopher, wrote a scathing article about the Conservative Party called ‘The problem, not the solution’ for the October 2 issue of The Spectator. He makes it quite clear that it was the Conservatives’ abandonment of conservatism that has brought them to this pass, and they have nobody to blame but themselves. He’s dead right.

In the meantime, that day’s leading editorial in The Daily Telegraph was called ‘Howard must be ruthless in pursuit of power’. When the house journal of the Conservative Party feels it must exhort an already ruthless man to greater heights of ruthlessness, then the movement it’s supposed to represent is dying.

It is the divisive, unconservative ideology of the neoconservatives that will kill the GOP. They might not do it immediately – it might take years. However, the death warrant of the party of Lincoln, Eisenhower and Reagan was signed the minute that the neoconservatives gained the balance of power in its leadership. These people were not seeking power in order to act like true conservatives; protecting the status of the family; creating opportunity; ensuring America’s borders are secure; protecting the right to life; protecting American tradition and history. Many, like George W. Bush, American Thatcher, seemed to be running to their own agendas, not the bill of goods they sold the public. Many who call themselves neoconservative still say conservative things about halting illegal immigration, either actively or passively ignorant that illegal immigration is vital to the best interests of the corporate interests they fawn over.

This inconsistency doesn’t bother them, because they have inherited the truth. They have inherited the pure vision. The pure vision tells them to wreak havoc, that’s what they do. The pure vision tells them to sell the dollar to the Chinese, that’s what they do.
In time, the people will drift away from them as they tire of a message of constant aggression, constant war and constant economic insecurity. And what will happen after that is what I’m really scared of.