Lew Rockwell gave the skinny on conservatism back in 2008:
What does conservatism today stand for? It stands for war. It stands for power. It stands for spying, jailing without trial, torture, counterfeiting without limit, and lying from morning to night.
There comes a time in the life of every believer in freedom when he must declare, without any hesitation, to have no attachment to the idea of conservatism.
Between the Liberals (who stand for the same things that Lew pointed out above) and Conservatives, it’s one big power party! As they pass the baton billyclub off every few years, each group seems to do its best to ratchet up the tyranny.
One of the “top” conservative think tanks (so I read repeatedly) is the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Go to their site, and they claim to be “committed to expanding liberty, increasing individual opportunity and strengthening free enterprise.”
Well, the president of AEI, Arthur Brooks, has a piece in USA Today titled “The social justice fight”.
Social Justice? Wikipedia says that: “The goal of social justice is generally the same as human development, and the relevant institutions are usually taken to include education, health care, social security, labour rights, as well as a broader system of public services, progressive taxation and regulation of markets, to ensure fair distribution of wealth, equality of opportunity, and no gross inequality of outcome.”
What about all the “liberty” and “free enterprise” talk?
Here are some nuggets from the Brooks piece:
Who owns the term “social justice,” conservatives or liberals? Whatever your own politics, you probably said “liberals.”
But as the past five years have shown, intentions do not equal results. Since Obama took office, stock markets have soared and the wealthy have regained their economic footing. But the most vulnerable people have fallen farther and farther behind.
Ok…before we go any further, you should know that neither the counterfeiting Federal Reserve, nor the words “government regulations” happen to be mentioned at all in this piece.
In short, social justice has not been served. But these failures are nothing for conservatives to celebrate. Years after the recession’s technical end, too many Americans are still struggling. Conservatives need to construct a solution of their own. But how?
They should start by actually asking vulnerable people what they need to thrive. Conservatives will hear that turning one’s life around requires three things: transformation, relief and opportunity. A true social justice agenda will rest on these three pillars.
Here we go….conservatives “need to construct”.
What a huge error. Liberty and free enterprise, (what AEI claims it stands for) do not require any “construction”. They exist when you tear down the chains that have already been constructed. Liberty and free enterprise are the default. They exist prior to any blueprints that meddling humans “construct”.
Also, I dare anyone to walk down any filthy city street and ask the people who are hurt most by the government and Fed “what they need to thrive”. Mark down in a notebook the number of people who reply with “transformation.”
Personal moral transformation comes first. Using data from the 2010 General Social Survey, I constructed…
Ok dear reader, I’m not going to waste your time. The above speaks for itself. Janet Yellen constructs “data” too by the way.
Faith, family, community and work are crucial for meaningful living, and thus for true success.
Whether or not you adhere to any type of “faith” is your business, not mine or anyone else’s. Same with “family”. If you have a family, don’t have a family…if you get along with them, or not…that’s your business. With “work,” unless you have a way to live off of voluntary charity (which is perfectly fine if you do) you’re going to need to get a job.
The key to all three “faith,” “family,” and “work,” is that you do not aggress against your fellow man in any way. Do what you’ve gotta do. Just don’t initiate violence against anyone to do it. That’s the liberty perspective. Notice that if there’s any type of “construction” that takes place here, it’s done by you.
After transformation, material relief. America’s tradition of voluntary charity is the envy of the world, but private philanthropy alone cannot lift up the millions this “recovery” has left behind.
So private industry can feed, clothe, and house billions, but can’t provide enough charity?
Why? How does Brooks know? Is he taking the government’s word?
He doesn’t say.
A genuine, limited social safety net is an important part of a prosperous and free society.
Looks like he is taking the government’s word. Here’s the catch that goes right over Brooks’s head: If government provides the “safety net”, it is not a free society.
The final piece of social justice is opportunity…Restoring equal opportunity will require three things. First, we need bold education reform and schools that help every child realize her potential. Second, we need a plan to create more jobs and economic growth at every level of the economy. And third, we need free enterprise — the economic system that empowers all people to find jobs and build businesses that match their passions and skills.
Very amusing that “free enterprise” is finally mentioned at the end of the piece. Yet under free enterprise, you don’t shuffle the deck chairs with “education reform”. Education would be an industry like every other: competition, free market pricing, supply & demand, and the freedom not to buy.
Also under free enterprise, there would be no “plan to create more jobs”. Again, blueprints away.
Bottom line. If you have an interest in liberty and free enterprise, don’t waste time at AEI. Visit Mises.org and never look back. At The Mises Institute, these are not just buzzwords or facades used to get “your plans” implemented.
Lew Rockwell was right about conservatives. There’s no reason to have any attachment whatsoever. Arthur Brooks could have written his entire piece for ThinkProgress or DailyKos and hardly anyone would know the difference.
Reprinted with permission from Economic Policy Journal.