This correspondent has not endorsed Patrick Buchanan for President; neither as a Republican, nor as a third party candidate. While we consider him dedicated, articulate and intelligent--a man who has contributed much to the Conservative revival in America;--he is not the only Conservative in the race. It is too early to make a firm commitment. Moreover, we have several significant differences with Pat over issues of the 1990s.
We do not agree with Pat's opposition to the Gulf War. We believe that America had a legitimate interest in preserving the independence of our allies in Kuwait and Saudi-Arabia; that having accepted the enormous benefits of their very substantial investments in American industry and finance, we had a moral obligation to them, as well; that this combination of self-interest with moral obligation, clearly justified--even necessitated our involvement. But Pat urged equally important Conservative principles in reaching a different conclusion, and we must respect him for them.
We do not agree with Pat's Trade Policy. A proud Ohioan, our historic ideological identification is with the Virginia of Thomas Jefferson--the reflective, landed culture, that provided the ethos for the American Mainstream in the early 19th Century, when Ohio grew to Statehood and renown. Tariffs were suspect in such circles long before economists generally came to understand that they are self-defeating.
But there have been other rooted American perspectives on the issue. And Pat's desire to try some form of protectionism, in order to try to preserve American jobs and communities, deserves to be fairly debated, not scoffed at because he dares to challenge the present establishment. And to the extent that he dares to criticize the money grubbing policies of some Corporations, which act as though it does not matter whether they hire native Americans--their fellow countrymen--or foreigners, Pat should be applauded, not condemned. Economics is not the only consideration in our social interaction.
Finally, as the link below to "President Clinton & Abuse Of Power" will demonstrate, we have been very critical of the way many Republicans, including Pat Buchanan, focused earlier on the Ken Starr investigation into President Clinton's sexual escapades, rather than his abuse of power over the armed forces, in a misdirected effort to impeach the man for the wrong reason. The predictable backlash from this off-target attack has left the President virtually immune from accountability. And yet his official actions--legally tantamount to usurpation--not his private sins, would certainly justify his removal from office.
But while we have been critical, we must still welcome the choice that Pat offers. In the event that the Republicans and Democrats both nominate men who will continue to dismantle our way of life, Pat's decision to leave the Republican Party offers the possibility of a meaningful alternative to just staying at home. This cannot fail, also, to provide a boost to Conservative Congressional candidates, in whatever party. If, on the other hand, either of the main parties were to nominate a truly principled Conservative, it is very doubtful that a 3rd Party Buchanan candidacy would garner much support. (Indeed, one suspects that Pat might even drop out of the race.)
This, then really comes down to offering an option. It also offers the prospect for a meaningful debate on the historic merits of what the Founding Fathers had in mind for our future; and why--the historic perspective--they organized our institutions in the ways that they did. Even his enemies will acknowledge that Pat is a formidable debater. All lovers of truth must welcome such debate. We have been too long trying to find air in an ocean of intellectually meaningless sound bites.
Yet it is clear that not everyone welcomes either that option or that debate!
It had no sooner been reported that Pat Buchanan might leave the Republican party, this past summer, than a great hue and cry arose among many nominally conservative Republicans. Some denounced him as a turncoat and a "spoiler." Others tried to pick apart his conservative credentials. These were followed closely by a barrage of articles quoting Pat out of context, and claiming that the quotes proved a panoply of sins.
While these encompassed more subjects than we could possibly deal with in a short internet article; it should be possible to treat the essential nature of the attack by dealing with five of the most typical charges in a general yet direct manner. We would summarize these:
1. "Pat is an isolationist."
2. Pat's "trade policy is radical," dangerously destructive, not conservative.
3. Pat is some sort of "Nazi sympathizer"; or at least a nasty "anti-semite."
4. Pat is "pro-Union," which is not consistent with Republican conservatism.
5. Pat's opposition to liberal immigration reflects a "narrow," even "bigoted" perspective, inconsistent with the American tradition.
Pat Buchanan's aversion to foreign entanglements, is the Founding Fathers. We have discussed traditional American Foreign policy at some length in our May & June essays on "American Foreign Policy At The Crossroads," and "America In The 22nd Century"; the first is but a click away, below; the second two clicks away, via the Menu at our Conservative Intelligence Center. That tradition, which comes down to us directly from George Washington and Thomas Jefferson has never been a policy of "isolationism," never a policy of avoiding anyone. What it is, in reality, is a policy of treating all mankind with respect, good will and even kindness; demanding only respect in return.
There are two key aspects, both of which come to us from the Administration of General Washington. One is the famous admonition to beware of "Entangling Alliances"; to stay clear of the intrigues and international adventures of the Old World, which comes from our First President's Farewell Address. The second may be found very succinctly set forth in a 1793 Memo from Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson to President Washington on the subject of the internal affairs of other nations, triggered by the contemporaneous Reign of Terror in France. In this context, Jefferson set forth the fundamental principle that "Nations are to be judges for themselves, since no one nation has a right to sit in judgment over another."
Indeed, that principle is for nations what the avoidance of lynch law is for Domestic criminal jurisprudence--the essential to elemental fairness. We have always dealt with the World. We have always been a great commercial people, with beneficial and kindly intentioned involvements throughout the planet. But we grew greater and mightier than all other peoples while we followed--and precisely because we followed--this other essential rule, laid down by George Washington, himself:
The Great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign Nations is in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little POLITICAL connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements let them be fulfilled, with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.
Pat Buchanan understands and adheres to this tradition. While we may not agree with him on every application, we must certainly prefer him to any candidate who does not understand and adhere to this tradition. It was not intended as a policy for one time or era; it was based upon a study of all human history; designed not for one set of facts or circumstances, but for the ages; a recognition that what is fair, is fair, what is true, is true; and that to sacrifice your young manhood in a cause that is not truly their own is both immoral and wasteful. Nor is it any more moral to squander the fruits of their father's labor for a cause that was never theirs.
We have indicated that we personally do not agree with Pat Buchanan's trade policy. But even in doing so, we acknowledge the merits of his non-utilitarian approach to this issue. Economics have never been the only consideration to Conservatives. To those of our persuasion, the individual is what it is all about; our entire system is premised upon individual rights, individual pursuits, always coupled with individual responsibilities. Our enemies speak of the "collective good," the "greatest good for the greatest number." But while that may make sense to the Communists, Nazis and other Socialists, it was not what the Fathers had in mind when they risked everything to win our freedom, the liberty to be ourselves.
Again, Pat may be wrong on Trade questions--even about the long-term effects of the NAFTA treaty (creating an effective free trade area with Canada and Mexico). But he is not wrong to be voicing concern for the Americans whose lives have been dislocated by a Corporate management that considers only the bottom line, as they rush to relocate production south of the border; as they rush to buy the factors of production throughout the Third World. Nor is Pat's stand in anyway inconsistent with the Conservative Republicanism, that he has long been associated with. Indeed, Pat's position on NAFTA in this decade, reminds one of the speech the then Republican head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee made on another Treaty, 80 years ago. In the great League of Nations debate in 1919, Henry Cabot Lodge, Sr., the famed Massachusetts Senator, had this to say on the social side of the issue:
I have never had but one allegiance--I cannot divide it now. I have loved but one flag, and I cannot share that devotion and give affection to the mongrel banner... Internationalism, illustrated by the Bolshevik and by men to whom all countries are alike provided they can make money out of them, is to me repulsive. National I must remain, and in that way, I, like all other Americans, can render the amplest service to the world.
Pat, also, rejects both the Bolshevik and the business approach to Internationalism. And so do we.
Perhaps the most vicious aspect of the verbal assault upon Pat's reputation, has been the claimed evidence of some sort of pro-Nazi bias, usually coupled with an allegation of anti-semitism. While we have already posted articles on where the Nazis stood in the ideological struggles of our times (see the article on the Compulsion For Uniformity, in the Menu at the Conservative Intelligence Center, and the article on American Foreign Policy At The Crossroads, below, for examples), it might be helpful to point out some salient facts:
Pat has been assailed because even in denouncing Hitler and National Socialism, he acknowledged that Hitler was a genius, as well as a man of personal courage. Is there any question of that? For a low born, but ambitious Austrian Socialist to become absolute dictator of Austria's big neighbor, Germany, less than 15 years after his discharge from the German Army with insignificant rank, and no following whatsoever, does indeed indicate that the man had intelligence and courage. You have a serious "problem," if you cannot accept the reality that your enemy has strength. That form of "denial" can indeed prove fatal.
The other part of the smear has consisted in picking Pat's criticism of certain Jewish political groups out of context of the real issues, and trying to imply that there is some hidden anti-Jewish agenda implied. This is not only intellectually dishonest. It seeks to play on the legitimate fears of many American Jews, to exploit those who are susceptible for the political ends of those conducting the smear. In this context, it is Pat's enemies, not Pat, who are the real anti-semites. And the fact that some of his most cynical detractors may themselves be nominally Jewish, does not make this any less obvious.
Pat Buchanan has been a Conservative all of his adult life. He has freely debated the great issues of his time with depth and candor. He has stood for less centralized Government, economic freedom, States Rights, social tradition, private arms, the rights of people to freely practice their religion, and non-interference in the domestic affairs of other peoples. Indeed, in the recent NATO aggression against Serbia, it was Pat Buchanan who had the empathy to point out that the West was humiliating the Slavic people, and to recognize the injustice of that humiliation. Do those who smear Pat as a neo-Nazi know where the Nazis actually stood on these issues?
It is the great myth of the 20th Century that National Socialism was a movement of the Right. Hitler and the Nazis have long been associated with the technique of the "Big Lie"; the falsehood repeated endlessly until it is generally believed. And the biggest lie they ever told was that they were a movement "on the Right"--some sort of rebirth of the ancient ethos of the German people. In reality, if you have the brains to look past their admittedly brilliant and hypnotic use of staging and ceremony, you will realize that nothing could be further from the truth!
Hitler managed to control the streets in German cities, prior to gaining power, by using a group of homosexual street thugs. Is there anything "conservative" in that?
The first thing that Hitler did, after consolidating power, was to totally centralize German society, abolishing the freedom of the individual German States--States that had separate cultures, and long and distinguished histories going back many centuries. Was there anything conservative or rightwing in that?
Hitler's economic policy, while nominally allowing private enterprise--as did the New Deal in America--was remarkably similar to some of the most radical innovations of the Roosevelt Administration. Where they differed, it is clear that Hitler was the further Left. Consider: He disarmed the civilian population; replaced freedom for traditional religious expression with Statist dogma; enforced his own version of what was politically correct on German campuses with an almost inconceivable cruelty, and interfered in the domestic institutions of other nations and peoples in the most vicious ways imaginable. (You ought to read how concerned Hitler was with the self-image of the Slavic peoples!) It took all of our "liberal" left from Roosevelt to Clinton, to finally push us almost that far!
The policy of President Clinton has many similarities to Nazi policy (see the articles already referred to). The Pat Buchanan policy has none.
If Hitler and the Nazis were on the right, why did the Kaiser die in exile in Holland, over 7 years after this "rightwing" takeover? Why did the Nazis block the restoration of the Hapsburgs in Austria, and even confiscate their lands?
Because Conservatives, by their very nature, seek those things which are enduring; the pursuit of truth--an understanding of the wonder of Creation, the Natural Laws that govern all our actions--has always been of vital importance on the "Right." Why did the Nazis brutally suppress the pursuit of truth--as did the Communists, and other movements on the Left--as do American "Liberals," in the current version of what is "politically correct?"
Hitler's very scape-goating of the Jews was taken right from Karl Marx, the notorious systematizer of the reborn Communism in the mid-Nineteenth Century. Even the decision to focus on a single target--a single alleged enemy--for propaganda purposes--is taken right out of Marx. And make no mistake, the Nazis meant to eliminate the Jews, not debate with individual Jews or ideological organizations. They actively sought the "World Without Jews," that Karl Marx had written about. How can anyone be so viciously dishonest as to suggest that Pat Buchanan has ever advocated anything of the sort?!
That some, who claim to be "Conservative" would attack Pat for being pro-Union, is too silly to waste much space with. President Reagan was a trade unionist. The core of the so-called "Reagan Democrats," were conservative union and other "blue collar" types. George Wallace clearly demonstrated, in 1968, that while the leaderships of many International Unions were very "liberal," the bulk of members in many locals were far more conservative than the "Country Club" and "Cocktail Lounge" management types in the same communities.
Conservatism has never been about taking one side or another in an economic dispute, competition, or negotiation. It has never been pro-management or pro-labor. Again, it has to do with preserving enduring values and principles. And if Pat Buchanan has better rapport with union labor than do other Republicans, that fact is a great asset. We applaud him for it.
It is true that the Declaration of Independence indicts the British Government for interfering with immigration to our shores. The Founding Fathers wanted settlers for the obvious reasons: We had a vast unsettled wilderness to deal with. There was strength in numbers. Most of the immigrants, whether they came from the several nations of the British Isles or from other areas of Europe, still came for the same reasons: To seize opportunity; to develop themselves by their own abilities, as responsible citizens of a new land. Most accepted the prevailing ethos of those who had come here before them; the only exceptions planning their own self-sustaining communities.
We no longer have a great unsettled frontier. We have, if anything, a problem of crowding in many areas. More and more, we draw immigrants who seek not the opportunity to win a good life from an elemental wilderness--or even by hard labor, from the bottom up, in one of our now long established cities--but rather to participate with only minimal struggle in what is seen as a great booming prosperity. More and more we draw those who seek not the traditional culture and values of the Founding Fathers, but something very different indeed. More and more, we draw those, who do not even consider learning our language, a major priority; some who know all about obtaining Welfare benefits and health care, before they even arrive.
We have no animosity towards anyone. We think that the diversity of Mankind is a great Blessing. We wish all peoples well in their own lands, in their own traditions, in their own cultures. But there is no reason why we should not consciously try to preserve the unique heritage of America; as well as the open spaces, we still have. The question should not be, whether there is anything wrong with Pat Buchanan's desire to drastically curb immigration, but why more of the other candidates are not even willing to discuss these problems?
When all is said and done, the "politically correct" notion of an undifferentiated humanity, that we are basically inter-changeable, is the ultimate insult to each of us. In seeking to preserve the America we have known, we do only that which in any other age would have been considered only right and moral.
It is actually some of the issues, for which Buchanan receives the most criticism, that are the most critical to the immediate future of a free and sovereign America. We can make mistakes in economic policy, and correct them later. We can continue or discontinue Medicare, and still survive as a people. The Federal Government was not given any role in civilian health, local education outside the Federal districts, or in taking care of the poor. But the damage being done, can still be repaired.
But if we disarm our population--which means also taking away the fundamental responsibility of the individual American, on which the entire fabric of our system is intended to rest;--if we subvert American sovereignty into an armed "New World Order," whether the Nazi or the Clinton version; if we leave the floodgates open for an ever increasing surge of immigrants who do not share our historic values and have no affinity for our culture; the America we have known and loved, the America we have been truly Blessed with, is going to fade into the pages of History.
No, we are not yet ready to endorse anyone in next year's Presidential election. But we are very glad, indeed, that the Buchanan option is being kept viable!