Reuters recently reported on Senator John McCain (R-AZ) appearing on an edition of ABC’s This Week during which Senator McCain issued his thoughts on what former President Ronald Reagan would think of the current Republican candidates for the 2012 presidential election:
“He would be saying: That’s not the Republican Party of the 20th century, and now the 21st century. That is not the Republican Party that has been willing to stand up for freedom for people for all over the world,” McCain said.
Reuters reported in the same article that Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) made similar comments on NBC’s Meet the Press:
“If you think the pathway to the GOP (Republican) nomination in 2012 is to get to Barack Obama’s left on Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq, you are going to meet a lot of headwinds,” Graham said.
There is a lot wrong with what Senators McCain and Graham said. They are particularly wrong when they identify opponents of defeatist strategies and unjustified wars as isolationists and as being to the left of the president. Nevertheless, their attempt to denigrate and/or redefine conservatism seems to be growing among those who explicitly or implicitly identify to the right-of-center. (For instance, Jeff Jacoby recently wrote, “The World’s Best Policeman,” in which he advocates using American Troops to serve nations around the globe.) This must stop. People can believe what they want but they have no right to redefine conservatism to fit their beliefs.
An entry at The Foundry explains what true conservatism is and how it differs from isolationism:
Fortunately, conservatives do not need to choose between intervening everywhere and walling ourselves off from the world economically, politically, and militarily. If we look to first principles, the proper foreign policy is somewhere in between: a doctrine of always supporting liberty and self-government but not necessarily intervening militarily in every situation. This doctrine, as Matthew Spalding has written, is at once principled and prudent. . . .
. . . Internationalism is a doctrine that commits us to alliances and military intervention as a rule. This doctrine only took hold in American politics during the early twentieth century as the progressives rejected American first principles.
But there is something more to this story than just an ongoing attempt to distort conservatism. There’s the question of why the internationalists, who are so eager to use our Troops to serve other nations, refuse to fight back against the Mexican invasion and colonization of the United States.
Every day brings new stories of the Mexican War on the U.S. These stories reveal that Mexican invaders have taken over entire school districts where they demonize white people and advocate for the overthrow of the American government. Or they tell of Mexican colonialists who lecture our lawmakers in Spanish. And they tell of the Mexican government participating in lawsuits against our states that try to defend their citizens and existences.
Yet despite this constant invasion and colonization, our officials either ignore this war or actively encourage it even as they berate conservatives as being “isolationist” and “xenophobic.” Why is this? What does this reveal about them? . . . And what does this reveal about the future of our nation?