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Why the Left Should Welcome the Resurgent Old Right

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One of the more interesting developments of the Bush years has been the resurgence of the Old Right. Self-described conservatives taking an anti-war and anti-empire stance is not the anomaly it may seem to many on the Left. In fact, the Left should find much to laud in the Paleoconservative / Paleolibertarian reaction against Neoconnerie.

The Old Right dates back opposition to FDR's New Deal and his march to war (the "Welfare-Warfare State" of which Murray N. Rothbard later spoke). The history of this time when conservatives wrote books with titles like Our Enemy, the State is told by two of the current resurgence's brightest voices ¦¡ by Justin Raimondo in Reclaiming the American Right in and by Bill Kauffman in the soon-to-be released Ain't My America: The Long, Noble History of Anti-War Conservatism and Middle-American Anti-Imperialism.

Justin Raimondo is the editor-in-chief of the venerable, which got its start in opposition to Clinton's wars and has only redoubled its efforts against Bush's. The openly gay libertarian's "Buchananism or Barbarism" speech nominated Pat Buchanan's 2000 Reform Party candidacy, which was subsequently blacked out by the media.

Pat Buchanan, that friend of Ralph Nader, is almost universally vilified on the Left, so successful has been the corporate media campaign against him. In 2000, he was called "the only left-wing candidate" by Bill Kauffman due to his populist, pro-labor views and his longstanding opposition to Empire, as detailed in his magnum opus, A Republic, Not an Empire. The Wall Street Journal called him a "leftist" at the time, but did not mean it as a compliment. (For more, see this appreciation of the man from The Progressive: Buchanan to the Left of Them - presidential candidate Pat Buchanan.)

The magazine Mr. Buchanan founded, The American Conservative, should be read by all progressives and tough liberals. A good place to start is its August 28, 2006 What is Left? What is Right? issue, a must-read for those not easily boxed by our current American political taxonomy.

The aforementioned Bill Kauffman chronicles those not easily boxed by our current American political taxonomy in Look Homeward America: In Search of Reactionary Radicals. Among those chronicled is Karl Hess, speechwriter for Barry Goldwater who later joined the Students for a Democratic Society, fitted his old boss for a daishiki, worked to bring toward unity between the Old Right and the New Left, and told us that "Vietnam should remind all conservatives that whenever you put your faith in big government, for any reason, sooner or later you wind up an apologist for mass murder."

Another such figure is Paul Craig Roberts, who served as an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration and has been called the "Father of Reaganomics." His writings regularly appear in the far-right Chronicles and the far-left CounterPunch. A glance at the titles of some of his recent articles tells us where he stands: Leaderless and Clueless America Heads for the Trash Can of History, Bush Regime Preaches Democracy, Proposes Tyranny, Rudy or Hillary: Pick Your Poison. Dr. Roberts is also one of the leading critics of offshoring, calling it "labor arbitrage."

Paleos of various persuasions ¦¡ they are hardly a monolithic bloc ¦¡ have found voice in the campaign of Dr. Ron Paul. Those on the Left might disagree with this or that position of Dr. Paul, but they would nevertheless be wise to welcome his campaign and the ideas it represents as an alternative to the status quo, just as many in the Old Right have welcomed the campaign of Dennis Kucinich, hailed by the "Father of Reaganomics" as "the only member of Congress sufficiently concerned and courageous to introduce impeachment against the notorious war criminal Dick Cheney."

Left and Right should work for the day when Paul and Kucinich represent their party's mainstream, and Hitlery and Ghouliani are relegated to the extremes. All Americans must work to bring about the end of one-party rule in our country, and send The War Party packing.


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An American Catholic son-in-law of Korea, Joshua Snyder lives with his wife and two children in self-imposed exile in Pohang, where he serves as an assistant visiting professor of English at a science and technology university. Religiously orthodox and politically heterodox, he might be (more...)
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