Monday, March 4, 2013

The Libertarian Republican Heritage
by Justin Raimondo -- Part 1

The Libertarian Republican Heritage by Justin Raimondo --

Part I: From the Old Right to the New Nixon: Downhill All the Way

March 4, 2013 "The Republican party wasn’t always the party of war, unlimited military spending, and reckless foreign entanglements. There is a long albeit largely unknown tradition of opposition to militarism in the GOP, starting with the so-called "isolationist" opposition to US intervention in World War II and continuing right up until the 1960s....

"The conservative wing of the Republican party had been at the center of opposition to US entry into World War II. They had rightly feared two things: 1) that the war would rescue the Soviet Union from certain destruction, and 2) that we would defeat national socialism on the battlefield, only to find it had triumphed on the home front. In his public pronouncements, President Franklin Roosevelt bowed to popular opinion, which was overwhelmingly opposed to entering the European war, while slowly but surely – and covertly – involving us on the side of Great Britain. He was opposed in this by a coalition of conservative Republicans and Midwestern progressives, such as the Democratic Senator Burton K. Wheeler, who resisted the New Deal as a quasi-totalitarian betrayal of American ideals, and who also saw foreign intervention as a way for the New Dealers to further centralize power in Washington and cement their own dominance of the political landscape."

"The major anti-war organization of that time, the America First Committee, was founded and funded by conservative Republican Midwestern businessmen, such as Gen. Robert E. Woods, the head of Sears & Roebuck, and Henry Regnery, a Chicago businessman who would later go on to establish the first large scale conservative book publisher.... At its height, the Committee had 800,000 dues-paying members, and the sympathies of 75 percent of the American people.

"In those days, it was the left that constituted the core of the War Party. While ostensibly opposed to US intervention in principle, the far-left – that is, the Communist Party and its fellow travelers – turned on a dime the moment Germany invaded the Soviet Union. From that point on, it was the Communists who were in the vanguard of the War Party: it was they who led the vicious attack [on] the America Firsters as pro-Nazi and demanded they be prosecuted for treason....

"When war finally came, the America First Committee dissolved.... Rationing was imposed: the economy was militarized, and a wave of political repression swept the nation from coast to coast, as thousands of Japanese-Americans were put in concentration camps and political dissenters from both sides of the political spectrum were charged with 'sedition.' The federal government spent 43 percent of the gross domestic product in the years 1943-45.... A country that had once been the freest on earth was now only half-free, with the rudiments of the welfare state established and thriving. Worse, the outlines of the American empire began to take shape: far from freeing the US from the alleged necessity of meddling in the affairs of other nations, our victory only presaged a deeper involvement."

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