The Kuyperian Commentary

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

Archive for the category “Pat Buchanan”

The Abuse of Power and the Power of Abuse: Dealing with an Inconvenient Truth

By Uri Brito

Republicans are the party of small government. Democrats are the party of big government. These distinctions no longer hold true. Reagan’s first term, perhaps, in recent history, is the last to come close to the type of small government Republicans say they envision. But for too long the scenery of the political landscape is replete with big government towers. We, the people, stare hopelessly at those babel-like towers wondering if any of them have read Genesis 11. We are Tolkien’s hobbits wanting to be left alone smoking our tobacco and drinking the finest beer, but alone they will not let us be.

David Shipler’s The Rights of the People: How our Search for Safety Invades our Privacy (2011) detailed some of these abuses. Shipler wrote that the Bill of Rights were “embedded in the first ten amendments to the Constitution…to climb and counter the might state, to keep their speech free, their confessions true, their trial fair, their homes and files sealed from cavalier invasion by police.” We are losing that right as speedily as the government (NSA) is tracking your e-mail or Verizon phone call right now.

What we are seeing today is more than the undermining of the Constitution; we are seeing the undermining of morality. And this implies that we need the objectivity of Christendom. We can no longer amen the actions of any party, because both major parties do not care about the shire. They will make deals with anyone. We need the boldness to assert the foolish actions of our party and then condemn them each election.

Obama’s promise to secrecy and the respecting of civil liberties in 2007 has quickly derailed into a Mordor-like crystal ball. They have looked and accessed every conceivable file. They have found what they wanted and used that information for their own purposes. “We cannot have 100% safety without inconvenience,” the president argues. Inconvenience? An absurdly burdensome tax system,  the waste of our taxpayer money, TSA, a destructive economic policy, reckless wars led by reckless leaders, the murder of the unborn? This is more than inconvenience; this is abuse; and all in the name of an agenda.

What we are witnessing is not the era of inconvenience; those days were relatively comfortable. At least we knew when the inconveniences would come. We are entering the era of abuse. We are in an era where the words “abuse of power” have become redundant. In an abusive society, led by abusive leaders, we do not know what to expect. Power corrupts, but absolute power in the hands of fools leads to abuse.

We are not claiming that this is a distinctly Obama problem. Bush’s Patriot Act opened the doors to this type of infringement. The tyranny of technology began long ago. And we are now recipients of a president who is continuing those policies.

The Economist observed in 2007, that in the past, information was gathered by drawing conclusions about citizens from fragmented reports by party loyalists. They would tap phones, send informers to workplaces, and follow people around. Today, “data about people’s whereabouts, purchases, behavior, and personal lives are gathered, stored, and shared on a scale that no dictator of the old school ever thought possible.”

We are living in a new era. This is an era where privacy is becoming extinct. The security of e-mail exchanges, counselor to counselee phone calls, and a host of other matters are sacrificed at the altar of safety. But are we safe? The answer to that is an inconvenient truth to our president.

Bush, War, Conservatives, and the Search for Consistency

One of the perplexing dilemmas we face as those who oppose the over-reach of the Federal Government is the inconsistency we see in such movements. While on the one hand, we opine viciously in opposition to all forms of welfarism, on the other hand, we support and encourage our military efforts ( a form of international welfarism).
In his essay for The American Conservative, Ivan Eland discusses this inconsistency and warns conservatives that they can’t have it both ways:

“Conservatives should be leery of jumping into wars not only because American powers may become overextended—especially in a time of fiscal crisis—but because war makes government expand rapidly at home, even in areas of national security.”[1]

It is also fair to say that the Conservative mood has changed drastically in these last few years. Just as Democrats are quick to oppose a policy under a Republican governance, so too are they quick to support that same policy under a Democratic presidency.[2] I would like to think Republicans have learned their lessons, but they are just as prone to falling into the cycle of political hypocrisy. On a positive note, I have heard growing opposition to Obama’s Drone Strikes’ Policy from Republicans. Much of this opposition stems from the non-hawkish Senator, Rand Paul.

In his 2007 book, A Tragic Legacy, Glenn Greenwald details many of the former Bush supporters who have now come to see the light on America’s endless wars. Among them is Rod Dreher, a former contributor to National Review. In 2001, Dreher declared, “Thank God we have a Republican in the White House.”[3] Dreher later describes his regret for supporting Bush’s policies:

I see that I was the fool…the consequences of his (Bush’s) failure will be far, far worse than anything Carter did.

These political transformations are the results of a long line of unintended consequences, or what Chalmers Johnson referred to as Blowback.

I am convinced that serious minded Republicans are willing to count the cost, and the cost has been high. The U.S accounts for more than 50% of the world’s military spending[4] and with all that might it has left the Middle East desolate and unstable. The eloquent “No Nation-Building ” answer given by then candidate George Bush should be our policy. It is costing us too much. And as Eland observes, once warfare starts, taxes and spending continue:

Conservatives should not fail to recognize that war is the most prominent cause of the massive welfare state that has been erected in the United State.

Hopefully, consistency will return to small-government conservatives. We cannot continue to stay on budget at home, while distributing our credit cards abroad.


[1] The American Conservative, January/February 2013

[3] Greenwald, Glenn, A Tragic Legacy: How Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency, 34-35.

[4] Ibid. 3

Buchanan on Target Again…

Pat Buchanan summarizes the debate, and concludes that the culture war must continue:

Two weeks ago, Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-fil-A, an Atlanta company famous for its juicy chicken sandwiches, appeared on “The Ken Coleman Show” to air his biblical belief that those who champion same-sex marriage are risking divine retribution upon us all.

“We are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,’” said Cathy. “I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.”

Speaking of the company his father started after World War II, Cathy went on, “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives.”

With 1,600 restaurants and 50,000 employees in 40 states, Chick-fil-A is among our fastest-growing food chains. Obedient to the commandment, “Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath day,” Cathy closes his outlets on Sundays.

Reaction to his remarks has been little short of hysterical.

Mayors  of Chicago, Thomas Menino of Boston and Edwin Lee of San Francisco said they no longer want Chick-fil-A in their cities. “Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values,” says Rahm. Read more…

A Nation of Takers

Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?Pat Buchanan’s masterful Suicide of a Superpower is replete with gems. I am still uncomfortable with his protectionism, but I see his point a little better after reading his first chapter. Quoting Stephen Moore,

More Americans work for the government than work in construction, farming, fishing, forestry, manufacturing, mining and utilities combined. We have moved decisively from a nation of makers to a nation of takers (16).

Buchanan blames free-trade ideology. Though there may be some element of truth, the reality is that the government has increased its size, and part of that increasing demands a workforce to keep the machinery going. The lesser her size, the lesser her workforce.

Pat Buchanan on the rise of the war-party via Bill Kristol writes:

Now the neocons are worming their way into the Romney camp, dropping us hints on whether John Bolton or Joe Lieberman will be the next secretary of state.

Has Gov. Romney imbibed the Kristol Kool-Aid that caused the war and cost the party Congress in 2006 and the presidency in 2008?

Hard to believe, but we should find out before November.

Pat Buchanan on the Zimmerman Case

Buchanan writes:

Yet the public mind has been so poisoned that an acquittal of George Zimmerman could ignite a reaction similar to that, 20 years ago, when the Simi Valley jury acquitted the LAPD cops in the Rodney King beating case.

Should that happen, those who fanned the flames, and those who did nothing to douse them, should themselves go on trial in the public arena.

What they wish to hear…

When survival is at stake, one may hear from a politician not what he believes — but what he thinks the people deciding his fate wish to hear. –Patrick Buchanan

Buchanan’s 1999 Warning

Patrick Buchanan’s preface to A Republic, Not an Empire is filled with prophetic utterances.  Buchanan writes that John Quincy Adams’s Independence Day Speech of 1821 declared that it was neither America’s duty nor its destiny to “go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” Further, Buchanan writes that a non-interventionist foreign policy should ultimately be accepted for a fundamental reason:

“Present U.S. foreign policy, which commits America to go to war for scores of nations in regions where we have never fought before is, unsustainable. As we pile commitment upon commitment in Easter Europe, the Balkans, the Middle East, and the Persian Gulf, American power continues to contract–a sure formula for a foreign policy disaster (xiii).”

Almost 15 years later, the military industrial complex continues–at the counsel of hungry neo-conservatives–to strategize and pursue taking over various, if not identical regions to those in the 90’s with the Middle East taking a center stage in this modern warfare age. Buchanan’s prophetic words need to be heeded more than ever.

Pat Buchanan on the War Party

Buchanan poses the question: “Is the GOP the War Party?” and comes to the obvious conclusion.

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?

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