And, unfortunately they have taken command of the "conservative" Republican movement in the US political arena. More than willing to grant imperial and dictatorial powers to the their annointed leader the rank and file of the Neo-Conservative movement gathered in the droves at their annual CPAC event in Washington, D.C.
One of their many guest speakers was Mr. Bob Barr. Most libertarians are familiar with former-Representative Barr, since the Georgia LP helped hand him his walking papers a few years back, much to the chagrin of many people on the right. That defeat, tho was an epiphany for Mr. Barr. It woke him up to the reality that being an ardent supporter of the 2nd Amendment wasn't enough. You have to support them all, with equal ardour, understanding and fortitude. Mr. Barr's awakening to this moved him just a bit closer to the libertarian quadrant of the political spectrum. The neo-Conservatives that make up the rank and file of the Republican right nowadays just cannot seem to stand that and they made it abundantly clear at Mr. Barr's speaking engagement at CPAC.
Mr. Barr, in a debate event with Viet Dinh, (one of the authors of the USAPA, along with the likes of John Kerry), asked some posed some very simple questions. Questions that any libertarian could have easily answered.
The responses apparently ranged from semi-polite golf claps to outright booing from the audience.
"Are we losing our lodestar, which is the Bill of Rights?" Barr beseeched the several hundred conservatives at the Omni Shoreham in Woodley Park. "Are we in danger of putting allegiance to party ahead of allegiance to principle?"
Barr answered in the affirmative. "Do we truly remain a society that believes that . . . every president must abide by the law of this country?" he posed. "I, as a conservative, say yes. I hope you as conservatives say yes."
.....Richard Sorcinelli, booed him loudly. "I can't believe I'm in a conservative hall listening to him say [Bush] is off course trying to defend the United States," Sorcinelli fumed.And this is the mentallity that pervades the New Right, the Republican marching society that was brought to the Neo-Conservative side by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and the other talking heads. Folks like this have little knowledge or care for the likes of Goldwater, Buckley and other " conservatives. Newt Gingrich is probably too liberal for their tastes and it irks them to no end that someone like Bob Barr, defeated by libertarians asks them the no-brainer questions that they have no answers for.
Mr. Barr's opponent elicited a much more vocal response from the masses gathered to hear the exchange.
Mr. Dinh and his audience show a surprising frame of mind on the subject of liberty and freedom and the Constitutional limits on the power of the Presidency. These people have become fully engaged in the Bush Cult of Personality, where the "Great Leader" can do no wrong and all decisions are correct because of the times in which we live and the decisions which the Leader takes. That is a truly disturbing mindset and has led other countries down paths that ended badly.
Dinh, now a Georgetown law professor, urged the CPAC faithful to carve out a Bush exception to their ideological principle of limited government. "The conservative movement has a healthy skepticism of governmental power, but at times, unfortunately, that healthy skepticism needs to yield," Dinh explained, invoking Osama bin Laden.
Mr. Barr summed it up well for the audience, not that they grasped what he was saying.
"That, folks, was a red herring," he announced. "This debate is very simple: It is a debate about whether or not we will remain a nation subject to and governed by the rule of law or the whim of men."And there we have it. Mr. Barr, unlike his audience understands that democracy, blind faith and Constitutional ignorance are steps along the path to ruin. Blind faith in the current administration and their policies, along with acceptance of the propaganda surrounding their actions by the New Right are setting a dangerous precident and leading the country in a direction better left untravelled.
Mr. Barr, unlike so many others on his side of the aisle now understands what we Libertarians have been saying for years and he is preaching to his own choir. Unfortunately, their voices will inevitably drown out the wise words of a decent man. Unless there is a new revolution within the ranks of the right, (highly doubtful) there will be a continued soldification of their power and a huge movement away from "conservative" values that they once held for a short time and a full blown jump into the camp of far right extremism. A place that offers no room for dissent and would gladly consolidate power in the hands of an individual.