The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

Archive for the month “February, 2012”

A Theocratic Case for Libertarianism

Bojidar offers a compelling case for libertarianism from a theonomic perspective. This is well worth the time.

Ron Paul beating Obama nationally

This is more proof of the destructibility of the incumbent:

Fans of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul will rejoice upon hearing the following news: Congressman Paul (R-TX) has defeated President Barack Obama in a Rasmussen Reports daily presidential tracking poll of general election voters released Monday. This is the first time that Mr. Paul has bested Mr. Obama in a Rasmussen Reports poll. Mr. Paul garnered 43 percent of the votes among general election voters and Mr. Obama pulled 41 percent of the votes.

Read more:

Pat Buchanan’s Vicious Critique of U.S. Foreign Policy

Pat Buchanan, namely one of the most ardent defenders of non-interventionism, delivers the death blow to neo-conservatives. This is a must read:

“I wish to express my deep regret for the reported incident. … I extend to you and the Afghan people my sincere apologies.”

As President Obama sent this letter of apology to Hamid Karzai for the burning by U.S. troops of Qurans that were used to smuggle notes between Afghan prisoners, two U.S. soldiers were murdered in reprisal.

Saturday, a U.S. colonel and a major working in the Interior Ministry were shot dead by an Afghan protesting the desecration of the Islamic holy book. All U.S. officers have been pulled out of the ministries in Kabul.

Sunday, seven U.S. troops on base were wounded by a grenade.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Gen. John Allen, commander in , have also offered their apologies.

Remarkable. After fighting for 10 years, investing $500 billion, and losing nearly 2,000 dead and many more wounded and maimed to save  from a  future, America is issuing apologies to the regime and people we are fighting and dying to defend?

And how has Obama’s apology been received?

Abdul Sattar Khawasi, a member of Parliament, stood with 20 other members to declare, “Americans are invaders, and jihad against Americans is an obligation.” He urged mullahs to “urge the people … to wage  against Americans.”

In what other  would we have tolerated this from an elected leader of a government we had sent an army of 100,000 to protect?

Undeniably, the soldiers who burned the Qurans blundered. Yet there is no evidence that it was malicious. If vandals desecrate a Bible in America, burning and replacing the holy book would not be regarded a valid excuse for mayhem and murder.

If Afghans cannot understand this mistake and have no other way to express their rage than rioting and ranting, “Death to America!” what kind of raw material are we working with in building a Western-style democracy in any foreseeable century?

Two pertinent questions needs to be put.

While keeping  free of the  is a desirable goal, what vital U.S. interest would be imperiled should the  take over again, now that  is largely gone?

What price in blood and billions should we expend on what appears a dubious enterprise at best — creating a pro-American democracy in a country that seems mired in some distant century?

It is time we took inventory of all of these wars we have fought since the Army of Desert Storm restored the emir of Kuwait to his throne.

That 1991  was seen as a triumph of American arms and a model of the global cooperation to come in establishing the  of .

But the savage  we imposed on a defeated Iraq and the planting of U.S. bases on Saudi soil that is home to Mecca was a casus belli for Osama bin Laden. Ten years after the triumph of Bush I, he brought down the twin towers.

This atrocity caused us to plunge into  to dump over the  and eradicate or expel . We succeeded, then decided to stay on and build a nation. After 10 years, what have we accomplished to justify the immense price we have paid?

In 2003, , seeking to complete the work begun by his father, invaded Iraq. But Saddam had no role in 9/11 and was no threat to America. Iraq did not even have weapons of mass destruction.

Today, after eight years of , 4,500 dead, 35,000 wounded and a trillion dollars sunk, the 15,000 Americans we left behind are largely holed up in the Green Zone, as Iraq descends into sectarian, civil and ethnic .

What did it all profit us?

How goes  after the U.S.-NATO intervention to dethrone Moammar Gadhafi?

Here is the Rand Corp.’s Frederic Wehrey:

“A weak transitional government confronts armed militias. … Defiant young men with heavy weapons control ’s airports, harbors and oil installations. Tribes and smugglers rule desert areas south of the capital. Clashes among various militias for turf and political power rage. …

 teeters dangerously on the brink.”

Now we see a push for intervention in Syria from Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman. That would make us allies of , the  Brotherhood and Hamas, all of which also seek the fall of Bashar al-Assad and the rise of a Sunni regime in Damascus.

But it is the clamor for a U.S.  on  that grows loudest.

But why, when the U.S. intelligence community still claims to have no hard evidence  has even decided to build a bomb?

Since Ronald Reagan went home, the United States has attacked or invaded Panama, Iraq, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Serbia,, Iraq again, and .

How have Americans benefited from all this war? How have the Chinese suffered these 20 years by not having been in on the action?

The Next Ron Paul

Mike Rigg’s Reason article is a sample of the few remaining defenders of constitutional rights in congress after Paul leaves–whether he wins the Republican nomination or not. John Duncan (R), Jared Polis (D), and Justin Amash (R) make the top three candidates to assume the constitutional shoes of one of America’s greatest politicians.

Facts on Iran’s Nuclear Plans

The L.A. Times reports:

As U.S. and Israeli officials talk publicly about the prospect of a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program, one fact is often overlooked: U.S. intelligence agencies don’t believe Iran is actively trying to build an atomic bomb.

Stanley Fish Misses Pat Buchanan…so do I.

It has been a long time since I heard the stinging commentary of Patrick J. Buchanan. His vicious, but classy observations about the political scene was rare. Buchanan was a protectionist. I have little sympathy for protectionism. But Buchanan taught me– more so than most political commentators– to develop a healthy distaste for government action…especially abroad. Pat knew that the republic was in danger. Our foreign wars are fought with brave troops, but with cowardly politicians behind the scene. Buchanan’s vivid denunciations of the Iraq war still remain as an accurate assessment of a war we continue to pay. I will miss Patrick Buchanan’s back and forth with liberal queen, Rachel Maddow. Maddow rarely knew how to respond to Buchanan’s wit. Fox News, or anyone else, will be highly esteemed in my eyes if they take Buchanan. Let the bidding begin.

Stanley Fish in the New York Times misses Pat for two reasons:

My own disappointment at Buchanan’s departure goes in another direction — in fact in two. First, Buchanan is an extraordinarily acute observer of the political scene. His knowledge of past campaigns — including knowledge of what went on behind the scenes — is encyclopedic. No one is more skilled at contextualizing a present moment in our political drama so that viewers can understand the history informing a decision or action that appears on its surface to be inexplicable, even zany. When Buchanan offers that kind of analysis, his pugnacious junkyard-dog persona falls away and is replaced by a precision that is almost professorial. It is a pleasure to watch, just as it is a pleasure to watch some coaches-turned-analyst who can explain what is going on in an athletic contest because they have been there.

Buchanan has also been there. That is the second thing I will miss: the contributions of someone who is not only reporting on history in the making, but has been part of that history himself. On “Morning Joe” and “Hardball With Chris Matthews” fellow broadcasters would regularly turn to Buchanan for insights that could come only from someone who has been in the arena and experienced the ups and downs of the election year roller coaster. What other regularly appearing political commentator has won four primaries, scared the daylights out of a sitting president and represented an entire wing of a major party? It is as if Barry Goldwater or Eugene McCarthy or George Wallace or Estes Kefauver were turning up nightly to offer their takes on the current presidential race. Those four have departed this life, but Buchanan has not, and it is a pity that MSNBC has decided to deprive its viewers not only of a dissenting voice but of a voice that has in its time stirred millions.

Wead Power

Lone Exception

The Washington Post reports:

The national debt is likely to balloon under tax policies championed by three of the four major Republican candidates for president, according to an independent analysis of tax and spending proposals so far offered by the candidates.

The lone exception is Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who would pair a big reduction in tax rates with even bigger cuts in government services, slicing about $2 trillion from future borrowing.

The Name of the Game is Delegates

But none of these delegate counters properly estimate how the caucuses will allocate their delegates. According to the Paul campaign, Ron is well positioned to win 50% of the delegates in Iowa, 75% in Minnesota, 50% in Colorado, and 75% in Maine. So what is likely to be the true delegate count once the caucus states select their national delegates?

Add together the bound delegates from New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, and Nevada, and extrapolate the caucus states’ delegates using the Paul campaign’s estimates and you get:

Total Delegates (IA, NH, SC, FL, NV, MN, CO, ME)
Romney: 93 (6, 7, 2, 50, 14, 2, 7, 5)
Paul: 82 (13, 3, 0, 0, 5, 28, 17, 16)
Gingrich: 29 (0, 0, 23, 0, 6, 0, 0, 0)
Santorum: 25 (6, 0, 0, 0, 3, 7, 9, 0)
Unpledged: 14 (3, 2, 0, 0, 0, 3, 3, 3)

{read the rest}

Santorum is Not a Reagan Conservative

When Rick Santorum’s nephew endorsed Ron Paul in an op-ed in The Daily Caller this week, he wrote: “If you want another big government politician who supports the status quo to run our country, you should vote for my uncle Rick Santorum.” Santorum respectfully and lovingly dismissed his young nephew’s endorsement. The senator said his nephew was just “going through a phase,” and later added: “I am a Reagan conservative. I am not a libertarian. And the people who are calling me a big government guy are libertarians.”

In an interview with Reason magazine in 1975, Ronald Reagan said:

If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism … The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.

Says Santorum: “I fight very strongly against libertarian influence within the Republican Party and the conservative movement.”

Santorum is not a Reagan conservative. Not even close.

It surprises people when they learn I’m not a libertarian. As Ron Paul’s official campaign blogger, I’m often perceived as being a libertarian and I am no doubt sympathetic to many libertarian views. But ultimately I’m a traditional conservative — a limited-government constitutionalist of the Barry Goldwater variety. That said, I’m no more offended at being called a libertarian than a heavy metal fan is when called a rock n’ roller — both terms represent far more synthesis than antithesis. Santorum has no comprehension of this basic philosophical and historical truism.

Being against big government does not represent the totality of American conservatism, but it does represent what Reagan called the “heart and soul” of conservatism. Reagan recognized that the “desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom” was indeed libertarianism but that it was also conservatism. This observation was fairly commonplace on the right during Reagan’s time, when “conservatism” was still more of a substantive philosophy than a Republican marketing tool. For example, in his book “Flying High,” a memoir about the 1964 presidential campaign, William F. Buckley repeatedly refers to Goldwater’s philosophy as “libertarian” and his famous book “The Conscience of a Conservative” as a “libertarian tome.”

So, were Reagan and Buckley wrong about libertarianism’s kinship to conservatism — or is Santorum correct to treat libertarianism as something alien to conservatism? This depends on your definition of that term.

Let’s begin with Reagan’s definition. In addition to calling libertarianism the heart of conservatism, Reagan believed that the American right was a three-legged stool consisting of social conservatives, national security conservatives and economic/libertarian conservatives. Lose a leg and conservatism loses a lot, or so Reagan believed.

During the George W. Bush era, social and national security conservatives were represented well, while the economic/libertarian leg of the American right was virtually non-existent. Conservatives now look back and wonder how a Republican president could have spent so much money. They needn’t wonder long. The notion — which has been advanced by Santorum, Mike Huckabee and others — that libertarian influence in the Republican Party poses a problem is absurd. It was the lack of libertarian principles that defined Bush’s “deficits don’t matter” GOP. “Libertarian influence” in the Republican Party is a problem only if one thinks the national debt is not a problem. Before the tea party and Obama, few Republicans seemed to think it was.

And Santorum was their leader. Writes The Washington Examiner’s Timothy P. Carney:

As a member of Senate leadership, Santorum literally was an agent of the GOP establishment during passage of No Child Left Behind, the expansion of Medicare, and the overspending of the Bush era.

Red State’s Erick Erickson is even more explicit:

Rick Santorum is a pro-life statist. He is. You will have to deal with it. He is a big government conservative. Santorum is right on social issues, but has never let his love of social issues stand in the way of the creeping expansion of the welfare state. In fact, he has been complicit in the expansion of the welfare state.

Santorum not only rejects Reagan’s concept of conservatism as a three-legged stool, he admits he is eager to kick out the libertarian leg. When Santorum says, “I fight very strongly against libertarian influence within the Republican Party and the conservative movement,” he is essentially saying that he fights strongly against what Reagan considered the integral core of American conservatism. This is not to say that Reagan or even Goldwater were libertarianism personified — only that any person who calls themselves a “Goldwater” or “Reagan” conservative also must be a libertarian to some degree in their philosophy. Goldwater would have likely agreed with this sentiment. Reagan certainly did.

Read the entire column

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