The Hypocrisy of the Heritage Foundation

The Heritage Foundation has become the new hiring hall for the Trump Administration, filling key vacancies, providing the foot soldiers for the Trump revolution, and sending the left into a full-tilt panic. With the recent retirement announcement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, and the possible upcoming needed replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg (she is 85), this connection will likely prove even more important.

So why aren’t right-thinking right-wingers celebrating?  Call it Heritage hypocrisy.

The Heritage Foundation may claim to be fighting the good fight for “free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional values and a strong national defense,” but for those who really believe in individual liberty and small government, the Heritage Foundation agenda is liberty lite, a thin conservative façade applied to Main Street Republicanism.

Defending the Undefend... Walter Block Best Price: $3.97 Buy New $11.00 (as of 09:35 EDT - Details) It is not just that the Heritage Foundation has failed to call for the total elimination of any government department, not one. And for all of its chest-beating about economic liberty, it grows very shy about taking apart the engine of state economic engineering: the minimum wage law, tariffs, welfare, and business bailouts.

But the essence of Heritage Foundation conservatism comes into focus with Obamacare. That program, the stake in the heart of conservativism, can trace its roots to Stuart Butler’s 1989 Heritage Foundation Lecture #218, “Assuring Affordable Health Care For All Americans,” So much for Adam Smith’s invisible hand at work.

When the foundation has decided to show some conservative muscle, its targets have been governmental weaklings: the Job Corps and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, both of which Heritage wants to see gone.  That is not a record any conservative organization would want to brag about, especially one that has been in this business ever since 1973.  The Heritagers talk the free-enterprise talk, but are largely missing in action when it comes to what should be the conservative agenda: the parting of the government from market interference.

Instead, if there is one policy that has marked Heritage Foundation vigilance, it is the drug war.  The foundation has been unwavering in banging the drums of war for get-tough laws.

But no one who believes in authentic individual liberty should want to be a conscript for that cause.  Where is the liberty in advocating that adults should be put in jail for making choices about their own bodies and health?

The foundation finds no surer footing when it comes to real war.  Nothing should be an easier call for conservatives than getting behind slashing overstuffed defense budgets and withdrawing the U.S. from its foreign entanglements.  The U.S. annual military budget, the largest in the world, exceeds that of the total of the next seven biggest spending countries. The U.S.: $610 billion. China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, France, United Kingdom, Japan, all together: $578 billion (in 2017). The response to all of that from the Heritagers?  A treatise called “With Army Stretched Too Thin, Military Buildup Should Begin Right Now.” The Privatization of R... Walter Block Check Amazon for Pricing.

The U.S. is fighting separate wars, whatever the government chooses to call them, in some half dozen nations all at the same time: some hot, some cold, some lukewarm. We have roughly 800 foreign military bases in over 100 different countries. Since World War II our country has bombed the following nations: China 1945-46, Korea 1950-53, China 1950-53, Guatemala 1954, Indonesia 1958, Cuba 1959-60, Guatemala 1960, Belgian Congo 1964, Guatemala 1964, Dominican Republic 1965-66, Peru 1965, Laos 1964-73, Vietnam 1961-73, Cambodia 1969-70, Guatemala 1967-69, Lebanon 1982-84, Grenada 1983-84, Libya 1986, El Salvador 1981-92, Nicaragua 1981-90, Iran 1987-88, Libya 1989, Panama 1989-90, Iraq 1991, Kuwait 1991, Somalia 1992-94, Bosnia 1995, Iran 1998, Sudan 1998, Afghanistan 1998, Yugoslavia – Serbia 1999, Afghanistan 2001, Libya 2011.

This is not a national defense, it is a national offense. The fans at basketball games can full well distinguish the one from the other. And, in our national politics, it is the conservatives who should be demanding that our government know the difference as well

According to that old adage, there are lies, damned lies, and statistics. In this case, there are conservatives, damned conservatives, and the Heritage Foundation.