Thomas E. Woods, Jr., is the New York Times bestselling author of 11 books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History and Meltdown (on the financial crisis). A senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Woods has appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, FOX News, FOX Business, C-SPAN, Bloomberg Television, and hundreds of radio programs... (Read More)

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Progressive Half Gets It

12th July 2011      by: Tom Woods     

Adam Serwer at the American Prospect writes:

Recently, Cato’s C. Bradley Thompson wrote about neoconservatism, saying that neoconservatives “are and always have been, by contrast, defenders of the post–New Deal welfare state.” Other than David Frum, I’m not aware of too many conservatives who have offered forceful defenses of the New Deal welfare state. Rather, as neoconservatism has become the dominant foreign-policy ideology of the Republican Party, there’s been a hybridization of neoconservative foreign-policy aggressiveness with more traditional conservative hostility toward social insurance. As a result, America’s war expenses have become an untouchable driver of deficits that provide pretext for dismantling the welfare state.

Serwer is right about the neocons’ attachment to the military budget and foreign intervention, though he leaves out the Democrats’ record on this very issue — contrary to the usual neocon complaint, the Democrats have not in fact sought to “gut” the military.  Neither the Clinton nor the Obama record suggests any such thing.  It’s one big, corrupt system that we are tricked into thinking involves two diametrically opposed parties.

Also, Serwer, like most leftists, is dead wrong when it comes to Republicans and social welfare.  He genuinely thinks they want to repeal the welfare state.  They have shown zero interest in doing anything of the kind.  Under Newt Gingrich in the 1990s, GOP Medicare reform meant increasing spending by 6% instead of 7.5% per year.  That meant a difference in monthly premiums by 2002 of a whole five dollars.

Irving Kristol, the godfather of neoconservatism, was well known for his support of the welfare state.  Likewise for George Will.  I’ll put it this way: when was the last time a neocon called for an actual cut — a real cut, not a first-derivative cut — in the welfare state?  The Left has this view that the neoconservatives — who to them are the only Right that exists or is worth speaking of — are just waiting for the chance to eliminate the welfare state.  This is serious delusion, but it is practically universal on the Left.

Serwer, unlike many progressives, has taken the Obama White House to task for some of its betrayals, so I am not nominating him for Worst Guy in the World.  Just for Conventional Thinker.

Unlearn the Propaganda!

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EJCHJ2LWM3MGYUGHWB7ALWHE6M Kitty Antonik Wakfer

    Progressives/Conservatives/Liberals, right/left/middle, Dem/Republicans/Independents,…. A thimble’s full of difference all around.

    Personal/self-responsibility is NOT a part of a politician’s vocabulary, no matter the party affiliation. Keeping as many in the populace as possible dependent on government brings in the votes and adulation. Getting and staying in power is the name of the game. And having lots of people fawning over him/her also gets those politicians up every morning.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tom-Insko/100000927025663 Tom Insko

    I know I risk sounding like a broken record, but foreign policy for the U.S. under both parties post WW2 has had the effect of subsidizing European socialism, and despotic totalitarians like the Saudis and Egyptians through providing for their defense and direct aid. At some point, our largess must shift from so-called “allies” to the U.S. taxpayer.

  • Anonymous

    Conventional thinker award #174,857,342 goes too… Adam Sewer!

    Establishment republicans have no desire to end the welfare state. It’s just a scare tactic to keep democrat voters in line.

  • Jack

    I’m really not too surprised, most progressives/liberals also believe that neocons/conservatives are 100% for the free-market and deregulation. Since most people only pay attention to what politicians say and not what they do then, like I said, it’s not too surprising that these people believe the right wants to abolish the welfare state.

  • Martial_Artist

    Professor Woods,

    Your comment that “(i)t’s one big, corrupt system that we are tricked into thinking involves two diametrically opposed parties,” pretty well sums it up. That was very clearly demonstrated in 1994 with the “Contract with America.” Which reminds me, how does one go about suing a political party for breach of contract?

    Keith Töpfer

  • Mas Barracho

    That Progressive wuss turned off the comments.  Man, I wanted call him a wuss.

  • Anonymous

    Great last sentence.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=727498698 Andrew Miller

    I beg to differ with the thimble’s worth of difference. Classical Liberals, Fiscal Conservatives, true Libertarians, and true Tea Party types agree on very few things, but they disagree with the status quo Statist Imperial Aspirations of the Neo-Con/modern liberal/pseudo con/RINO brainwashed masses who’ve grown up believing that the government helps and that “Royal We” can Stimulate the economy.
    I agree with the rest of your statement. In general, the current breed of poliTICians are devoted to spending money and bringing adulation. I think a general housecleaning of anyone else who’s not been a consistent fiscal conservative or anti-statist would be a good continuation of the last round of elections.

  • Anonymous

    How did you get italics? Using the i tags?




  • Martial_Artist

    Yes, I use the “i” tags, “b” tags for bold, and HTML Entity Names for special, and other than pure Roman, characters. You can also see how some of the HTML is accomplished by pointing your cursor at the page of HTML, right clicking the mouse and selecting “View Source” on the flyout menu. Then do a text search in the HTML text file that opens for the specific item or a nearby term on the page.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

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