… you usually get sparks.Â And sometimes light.Â I think the ongoing exchange between Justin Raimondo of Antiwar.com and Daniel Larison of Eunomia and American Conservative is one of those exchanges.Â Raimondo is a libertarian who often posts the views of paleoconservatives, as well as liberals, on his site.Â Larison is a paleoconservative.Â Both object to the present regime and its reality-deficient agenda of continuous warfare and the projection of American power as an end in itself.Â Both Raimondo and Larison are wise enough to see destructive foreign and domestic policy for what it is.Â But one grasps the nature of the problem confronting us, and the other does not.
Hereâ€™s Larison on Obama, whom he correctly unmasks as a phony antiwar champion:
Given the rather grim prospects for antiwar voters this election, it is understandable why many look to Obama and think that they have found someone they can trust. But this is a mistake. It isnâ€™t that Obama is wrong on Iraq, but that he has happened to be right about it basically in spite of his own foreign policy views.Â … As I noted in a column last autumn comparing the universalist fantasies of President Bush and Obama, â€œThere is no logical end to the list of foreign crises and internal political disputes that both visions compel the United States to solve.â€ Indeed, there is not one intervention, U.S. war or allied campaign except Iraq to which Obama has raised any objections in his career.
Raimondoâ€™s rejoinder?Â That Obama is the best we can hope for.Â He agrees that Obama isnâ€™t about to make fundamental change to the welfare/warfare monster, but at least, he says, the Democratic front-runner makes promises to end the current disaster in Iraq.Â But one has to ask: even if he makes good on those breezy promises, what will Obama do next?Â If we cannot reasonably hope to change the war beastâ€™s disposition, and can only hope (?!) that Obama will make good on his tepid assurances to pull it out of this latest bloodletting, with no guarantees he wonâ€™t go off on his own war of liberation elsewhere (Iran? Darfur?), then we have to admit we have little real hope.Â Raimondo even concedes itâ€™s little to feel optimistic about:
It is quite enough that Obama wants to end the war in 2009, and bring all our troops home. More than that, in these dark days, we have no right to expect or hope for. Yet it is enough, for now.
Sheesh.Â Thatâ€™s supposed to motivate us?Â To keep telling ourselves that as bad as things get, they could always be worse?Â Doesnâ€™t work for me.Â As a matter of fact, Raimondo tries to brighten up his dreary scenario by waving the tatters of the Ron Paul Revolution flag:
And while Iâ€™m on the subject of electoral politics and options for antiwar voters: it looks like Ron Paul is re-energizing his presidential campaign. Thatâ€™s good news: the more options we have, the better.
But as I noted over a year ago, itâ€™s self-defeating to get excited over the Ron Paul candidacy.Â All youâ€™re going to do is to delude yourself into imagining that yet another man on a white horse is going to come rescue us.Â Problem is, one man cannot do it.Â DC is so hopelessly mired in the mud and muck of cronyism and conquest that it cannot be tidied up to look anything like the old Republic the Founders created.Â That political entity was strangled in its adolescence by one Abraham Lincoln and was replaced by a changeling that had similar features to the original, but possessed a radically contrasting soul, a soul that continuously lusts for power and profit, while demanding unending adoration for whatever it does.Â Those who benefiit from its misadventures have to keep assuring us itâ€™s the child of Washington and Jefferson nobly undertaking another crusade for democracy, but those of us who judge things by their behavior rather than their words know itâ€™s the spawn of Lincoln, Sherman, Hobbes, and Marx unleashing chaos on a long-suffering world.Â
Raimondo even tries to end his piece with a bit of sunshine about how weâ€™re going to teach this beast to behave:
The anti-interventionist movement â€“ that is, the movement to make a fundamental change in our foreign policy of dominationism â€“ is bigger than any political candidate, or party. We donâ€™t endorse candidates here at Antiwar.com, and not just because weâ€™re a nonpartisan nonprofit foundation: in order to succeed, and really make that change, weâ€™re going to have to transcend party, and even ideology, and come together as Americans to stop the carnage and the tragic loss of resources, both human and material.
Thatâ€™s where Raimondo gets it wrong.Â He does not understand, like most conventional pundits these days, that the problem is not personal, but systemic.Â Putting the â€œright peopleâ€ in charge of the national security stateâ€™s levers of power and plunder is an illusory goal.Â The thing was designed for central control, for internal surveillance and external aggression, and itâ€™s not going to work for any other purpose.Â Itâ€™s like saying that we only need to tweak our good olâ€™ IBM System/360, and itâ€™ll amaze people once again with its calculating speed and agilityâ€”just as it did in the good old days.Â You can go on believing that overgrown, clunky machinery deserves our loyalty because it was once shiny and promising.Â But at some point we have to realize that the machinery is inherently flawed and hopelessly outdated to the point where it is now more of a liability than an asset.Â
Both the legacy mainframe and the centralized megastate are based on old assumptions about economies of scale, one-size-fits-all architecture, and central control; core beliefs that have been proven to be ill-fitting in a new, decentralized age.Â Both need to be humanized and downsized.
The ruling class understands this.Â As Gary North says in another post, thatâ€™s why theyâ€™re throwing everything they have at us, from the bizarrely mis-named USA PATRIOT Act to the 2007 Protect America ACT.Â The central government is desperately trying to prop up its control over us with the instruments of fear and coercion.Â Itâ€™s trying to hold back a new world ready to be born.Â And it knows it cannot.Â Thatâ€™s what we have to hope and work for.