Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Real Conservatives Oppose the War on Terror

By Philip Giraldi

Benjamin Franklin once observed that those who would trade their liberties for security will wind up losing both. James Madison stated that no nation can preserve freedom in the midst of perpetual warfare. Few can question that America's Founding Fathers epitomize true conservatism. There is something seriously wrong in America today precisely because the elites from both political parties have forgotten about Franklin and Madison and ignored their wise counsel.

No one should doubt that ill-conceived security measures and the greatly exaggerated fear of terrorism have driven much of both foreign and domestic policy since 9/11 -- it was undeniably a horrific experience for this nation, but it did not threaten the survival of the American Republic. Its perpetrators and their heirs do not do so today. Only we Americans can do that and we are doing so by overreacting to the danger and compromising our own liberties.

The War on Terror Is Anti-Conservative

Philip M. Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer who served 19 years overseas in Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Spain.

h/t Liberty Pulse

CPAC 2010: "Why Real Conservatives Are Against the War on Terrorism, Part 1" from The Future of Freedom Foundation on Vimeo.

CPAC 2010: "Why Real Conservatives Are Against the War on Terrorism, Part 2" from The Future of Freedom Foundation on Vimeo.

Videos via Antiwar.com blog


  1. Just a note, the founders of the US were mostly radical liberals, not conservatives. Liberal democracy was radically different than British monarchy and was considered very dangerous stuff at the time.

    Now, of course, as history has proved, liberal democracy saddled with the our Republic represents the best hope for liberty and freedom. Today's conservatives now protect the original ideals of yesterday's liberals.

    Thanks for following my blog, although I am surprised since I'm an avowed anti-atheist and anti-nihilist.

  2. Thanks, Euripides.

    I agree with you about the founders being true liberals, unlike the "liberals" of today.

    On following your blog, you're welcome. I follow blogs I like, whether I agree with them on everything or not. Thanks for following Skeptical Eye.

    There is nothing wrong with being "anti-atheist", at least in the sense of believing that atheism is mistaken, so I have no problem with that.

    And you should also know that I'm not a nihilist. I suppose that's a carry over from my short period of Objectivism and what I learned from it, and my continuing admiration for Ayn Rand and her ideas.

  3. They were liberals in the original sense of the word, and Jefferson probably most personified it... of course, Jefferson also expanded presidential power while denouncing such... so he is kind of conservative in that respect.

  4. I always go back and forth on this. When I read them, I definitely sense conservative leanings (their takes on God gives us some insight into this)- and not in the way we know it today.

    Moreover, they respected tradition, history and religion very much. Yes, Jefferson was more "progressive." But Hamilton and Madison certainly could be seen as conservative.

    The way I see it is this way. They were conservative men during the golden age of liberal thought; as espoused by the Englightenment. They embraced liberal doctrines (e.g. individual freedom) but weren't necessarily "liberal."

    And definitely not liberal in the sense we see today. If they'd go on Huff Po they'd vomit.

  5. I wonder, to add, if the Thomas Paine and Edmund Burke - that is how the FF viewed them - can lend us more insights?

  6. @Commentator - Burke was indeed a conservative in his views on the traditional monarchy of the time, as well as his idea of a natural aristocracy.

    Jefferson was the most radical of the core group of founders who would have liked to see the US became a nation of farmer philosophers. Ginx is correct, though, Jefferson wrote against the power of the executive, but when push came to shove, he adopted all the power of executive privilege, including arranging the Louisiana Purchase without congressional approval.

    Madison was a federalist. He understood how dangerous a liberal democracy could be and rightly saddled it with the ideal of the Republic.

    Hamilton, I think, would have happily overturned George Washington's position as the first president so that he might gain the power of the executive and turn it into something akin to an American monarchy.

    What made these folks liberals was their idea of limited government under the control of the people - today's paleoconservatism.

  7. Thanks Euripides.

    In the backdrop of today's political climate, absolutely they were.

    And that's absolutely true what you wrote about their positions. Jefferson knew the LP was not permitted by the Constitution. Thus possibly revealing early on how political evolution moves faster than a document.

    My point remains, they did have a conservative streak in them. In fact, this discussion is relevant because in history circles a debate does exist about whether the American Revolution was a conservative or liberal revolution. Have you come across this debate?

    I like the last part you wrote: limited government under the control of the people. So much for that idea. Today's liberals or neo/paleo cons. don't adhere to that.

  8. Come to think of it. I have a question for this panel.

    Today the government is seen as a point guard to solving society's ills. This "socialist" outlook pretty much prevails in Western culture now.

    In relation to the FF, where do you think they'd stand on the issue of government taking care of its citizens as a moral computation?

    I know they believed in limited government, largely because they also knew the people were suspicious of government, but is there a chance some of them would have moved towards socialism? We can never really know because socialism really began to blossom in the late 19th century.

    In other words, take health care, while there were no provisions for it in the Constitution, do you think if they were alive today they'd support Obamacare?

    I hope I framed the question right.

  9. I think it's risky to think about things in terms of the founding fathers. They were wise enough to write into the system the ability to correct them.

    For one thing, they'd be shocked at things we wouldn't think of. They'd be shocked at the size of the US, the lack of slavery, paper currency without state affiliation and a national armed forces, not to mention ridiculous things like cars. I'd like to think they'd be apalled at things like our foreign policy and the war on drugs, but I might just be projecting.

    I think if the founding fathers heard both sides of the healthcare argument and were given the data, they would recognize abuse in the current system and support some kind of reform. I'm not sure what you mean by "Obamacare" [other than to broadcast your dissent of any kind of socialized medicine, I guess?]. If you are referring to either of the bills being debated in Congress, I can't imagine the founding fathers being huge fans.

    "Why should I pay for some pauper's bloodletting?" they'd say...


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