I wrote this back in the middle of 2007. Due to political cowardice on my part, as well as the upcoming Federal Election, never really released it and only showed it to a few people. Nothing to lose now though 🙂
Conscience of a Conservative
I still remember the moment we declared war on Iraq. Filled with Utopian visions of liberty & democracy spreading through the Middle East, of an evil dictator being deposed, and people freed from tyranny, I stood up and cheered. In the following months and years I wrote articles justifying the ‘liberation’, participated in debates and argued in countless tutorials. Seduced by neo-conservative preachings, I ignored the doomsayers and was full of hope. As the years progressed, I pushed aside my doubts, ignored evidence to the contrary, and continued to staunchly defend the actions of the Coalition of the Willing; I cheered when I saw George W Bush, Freedom Fighter, on TV. Yet, gradually, these doubts began to grow and multiply. My optimistic predictions seemed less and less likely to occur.The more I spoke of freedom, the more hollow my words began to sound, until I was mouthing little more than empty platitudes. I can do so no longer.
First and foremost, I am, and have always been, a conservative. I passionately believe in the principles of liberty, individualism and markets. Yet I have come to finally accept that conservative ideology has been hijacked, its core tenants trampled on, and its adherents betrayed. One of the things I belatedly recognise and regret is how the partisan nature of Australian politics has obscured from the public the intellectual struggles and debates within the US on this matter, where a vibrant anti-war conservative movement (paleo-cons, realists and some libertarians) competes with an active pro-war new-left. Let it be never forgotten that ‘neo-conservitivism’ as it has been dubbed, evolving from a coterie of Trotskyites from New York City College, has been a tradition always associated with the left of politics, and, with their advocacy of the state imposing social virtues, and dislike of Republican policies of détente, were members of either the Socialist or Democratic Party until the late 1970’s. Even throughout the Reagan administration, neo-conservative Republicans continued to hold minor positions, Reagan himself sceptical of their grand designs, and condemning their domestic policies. Despite their rejection of overt Marxism, neo-cons they to this day remain fierce advocates of the use of the authority and power of the state; the very antithesis of conservative values. Indeed throughout the 20th century, it has been the Republican Party that was the party of non-intervention.