Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Inherent Contradiction in Neoconservatism

The staple foundation of modern Republican ideology is an inherent distrust of government when it comes matters economical. Correctly so, the Republican mantra places special emphasis on proof that centrally planned, or mixed, economies always fail by means of government regulation, oversight, cronyism, and other detrimental mechanisms. Where an economical interventionist would claim the financial crisis of '08 was the result of a lack of government regulation, free marketeers (following the mantra of F.A. Hayek, Ludwig Von Mises, Murray Rothbard, and similar economists) rightfully claim that governmental implementations such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) facilitated risky malinvestments and over consumption as banks had no reason to conserve and consumers no reason to discriminate between banks thereby removing the most efficient form of regulation; competition. Of course, other reasons would be the foundations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or artificially low interest rates set by the Fed, but these supplements only underscore the fact that 2008 was a result of government intervention.

In essence, modern Republicanism calls for non interventionism in the American economy as government cannot be relied on to intervene without detrimental consequences.

However, modern Republicanism (at least before the last GOP presidential debate) also consists of a seemingly contradictory stance in terms of foreign policy; completely opposite of its economical stance. When it comes to foreign policy, government CAN be trusted to be reliable and not detrimental. When it comes to intervening in the matters of other countries, like Libya or Iraq, it suddenly appears, from the neoconservative point of view, as though the government can do no wrong. When it comes to homeland security on the domestic front, the government possesses a seemingly divine ability to not doing any wrong in the implementations of such legislation like the PATRIOT Act. This mantra is in complete contradiction to the belief that the government cannot be relied upon when it comes to the economy because of conflicts of interest and bureaucracy.

Therefore, whereas modern Republicanism, or neoconservatism, calls for non interventionism in economics, it also calls for interventionism in foreign policy and international affairs.

Again, this ideology obviously is contradictory in and of itself: The government can be trusted and the government cannot be trusted.

This mantra held by neoconservatives like Bill Kristol and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio from Florida flies in the face of the Law of Noncontradiction.

Quite simply the Law of Noncontradiction states that contradictory statements cannot at the same time be true. If one statement is true then the other cannot be true. One of the statements must be false.

In this case we have the following two statements: The government can be trusted. The government cannot be trusted.

Therefore, following with the Law of Noncontradiction, only one of these statements can be right. Either the government can be trusted or it can't. This is the inherent contradiction in neoconservatism--it's call for government intervention and it's simultaneous derailing of government intervention.

However, you will hardly see any neoconservative fess up to this contradiction. Usually justifications for both premises are attempted to be given, however, in essence these are the premises to which their arguments revert back to.

The next time you come across a free marketeer who is also a foreign policy hawk, present them with this contradiction and explain to them that only one of the premises can be true. And if only one can be true, then ask them which one is true (here's a hint: it's the "government cannot be trusted" premise). Then when they've made their choice, it can than be easy to explain to them the logical conclusion to which each premises leads. For example, if, when faced with this choice, the neoconservative concedes that the government CAN be trusted then the logical conclusion is that a free market is not a prerequisite for economic progress as the government can be trusted to intervene and produce desirable results.

*Please note that this contradiction is not special to neoconservatism. Oftentimes there will be progressives who call for the opposite while still maintaining the same premises. In the case of a progressive the mantra usually is, "the government cannot be trusted in foreign policy or international matters but the government can be trusted in economical matters." As you can see, same premises: The government can be trusted. The government cannot be trusted.

It's rather ironic that I will end this post with a quote by Ayn Rand as her professed ideology was full of contradictions. But that does not affect the correctness or truth of the following statements:

"Contradictions do no exist. Whenever you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong." - Ayn Rand

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