I’ve been thinking about the psychological differences between Ron Paul supporters and mainstream conservatives. Since the main issue of disagreement seems to be foreign policy, we can apply the lessons we learn to how each group sees this issue.
Mainstream conservatives are more numerous because TV tells people that Republicanism is one of two acceptable options. When they realize that they’re not masochistic enough to be liberals, the Republican takes conservatism as a package. When I first accepted free market economics I didn’t care about abortion or a hawkish foreign policy but supported both because I knew that those who wanted to redistribute wealth were on the other side.
Ron Paul’s people fall into two main categories: misplaced hippies and ideologues. A few join his movement because they sense that they are marginalized members of society and state power is used to punish them; these include drug users, religious fundamentalists and Stormfronters.
The neo-cons seem to hate the media, the universities and the government. They believe themselves to be a beleaguered minority. For the most part, this view is accurate. So why the insistence on spreading the American way of life to other parts of the world? Is the hope that one day Afghani and Iraqi traditionalists will feel as marginalized by their respective mainstream cultures as white Americans do today? No one ever seems to see the contradiction between hating every institution in your country and calling yourself a superpatriot. The reason for this is that conservatives aren’t very smart. The Republican may buy into the propaganda about the melting pot and land of opportunity because theories of institutional racism and heteronormativity go straight over his head. Or he may be motivated by spite, hating both the liberals he feels inferior to and the Muslim who scares him.
The libertarians are either ideologically opposed to war or have lost so much faith in their society that they don’t feel comfortable using the term “us” when talking about foreign affairs. I fall into the latter category.
What’s I’ve always felt was weird was that a man who loves war like McCain is considered by liberals to be a moderate while anti-interventionists like David Duke and Pat Buchanan are fringy. This shows that the left understands that American power is used to spread multiculturalism. Otherwise, the elites’ natural revulsion to whites hurting non-whites would take over and they’d be just as anti-war as they are outraged when anybody advocates closing the border or a positive white identity. Unlike conservatives and like libertarians, liberals sometimes have high IQs so it’s actually worthwhile to look for consistencies in their ideas and actions.
Conservative careerists know that being “tough on defense” is the path of least resistance. Liberals will grumble or support you if you advocate war. They will fight you on everything else and destroy you if you go off script on race or gender issues. The masses can’t exactly articulate why they hate the establishment but know that calling them “soft on terror” is an excuse to attack the elites.
The reason that paleoconservatives and libertarians shouldn’t just throw in the towel on foreign policy and enter into a coalition with the mainstream right on cultural and economic issues is because in such an alliance foreign policy tends to become its defining feature, as we saw during the Bush administration. When it comes down to cutting government Vs. controlling the world, the latter has always won. When it’s time for conservatives to compromise with the left, liberals would rather sacrifice a few goat herders to be tortured than give ground anywhere else. This satisfies the bloodlust of the conservatives while allowing the establishment to continue destroying America without too many objections.