Is Bill Bennett A Classical Liberal, a.k.a. A Libertarian or A Neoconservative? His Listeners Would Like To Know.
Revised and Updated December 23, 2014
“I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.”
~President Ronald Reagan
On Wednesday, July 14, I was listening to Bill Bennett’s talk show Morning In America, currently my favorite talk radio show.
A caller was making a comment when Bill responded that he is a “classical liberal” and had been one for a very long time.
This surprised me for I thought he and his executive producer, Seth Leibsohn, were neoconservatives.
The conservative movement has two major wings the traditionalists and the libertarians.
I would call or label my political philosophy or views traditionalist libertarian or classical liberal or conservative.
However like Hayek, my own preference is classical liberal.
This is especially the case when I am playing with American progressives and liberals who do not have a clue as to what I am talking about.
Both wings of the conservative movement may on occasion agree with the neoconservatives and even admire and respect their writings, however many conservatives do not consider neoconservatives to be either new or conservative and are insulted if you call them a neocon.
I fully supported President Bush’s response to the Islamic religious fanatics’ terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
Unfortunately, President Bush was simply too slow in changing the leadership and strategy of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars when they were not working.
Thomas Barnett: The Pentagon’s new map for war and peace
The neoconservatives were largely responsible for the strategy for both the Afganistan and Iraq wars.
Many of Bill’s interviews with authors and experts in the foreign policy area are identified or called, rightly or in some cases wrongly, a neoconservatives.
While I accept Bill’s answer, I still suspect he is closet neoconservative.
Your loyal audience would appreciate some amplification and clarity as to the category of your political philosophy.
Bill on July 18, 2010 in commenting upon a caller’s remark stated he was not a libertarian.
Most classical liberals and libertarians in America would equate the two.
TAKE IT TO THE LIMITS: Milton Friedman on Libertarianism
Apparently Bill is a neoconservative after all.
I am not surprised.
Newsmakers Interview: Bill Bennett
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The Neoconservative Agenda | John F. McManus
LewRockwell.com Podcast #28 – What is Neoconservatism?
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John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt – The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy
Iraq, the Neocons and the Israel Lobby – John Mearsheimer
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Neoconservatists – Who They Are and Their Powers in the Government ( Documentary )
The War Party. Zionism and American NeoCon foreign policy. Part 1 of 5
The War Party. Zionism and American NeoCon foreign policy. Part 2 of 5
The War Party. Zionism and American NeoCon foreign policy. Part 3 of 5
The War Party. Zionism and American NeoCon foreign policy. Part 4 of 5
The War Party. Zionism and American NeoCon foreign policy. Part 5 of 5
SA@TAC – The Great Neo-Con: Libertarianism Isn’t ‘Conservative
SA@Takimag – Mark Levin Avoids the “Empire” Question
SA@Takimag – Axis of the Expendable: Frum vs. Limbaugh
SA@Takimag – Why Mark Levin Hates Glenn Beck
Victor Gold Speech pt1
Victor Gold Speech pt2
Victor Gold Speech pt3
Neo-cons: Invasion of the Party Snatchers Part 1
Neo-cons: Invasion of the Party Snatchers Part 2
Irving Kristol 1/6 – Father of Neoconservatism
Irving Kristol 2/6 – Father of Neoconservatism
Irving Kristol 3/6 – Father of Neoconservatism
Irving Kristol 4/6 – Father of Neoconservatism
Irving Kristol 5/6 – Father of Neoconservatism
Irving Kristol 6/6 – Father of Neoconservatism
Douglas Murray – Neoconservatism (1/3)
Douglas Murray – Neoconservatism (2/3)
Douglas Murray – Neoconservatism (3/3)
Rothbard on Neoconservatives
Rothbard on the Drug War
Rothbard on the ‘best’ US president
Rothbard on Ron Paul
The Current State of World Affairs | Murray N. Rothbard
“Neoconservatives are the boat people of the McGovern revolution.”
Background Articles and Videos
The Repellent Neoconservatives
by Murray N. Rothbard
“…Once upon a time in America, there was a left and a right and a center, and within these clearly discernible segments of the ideological spectrum there were distinctly calibrated gradations. Everyone could find an ideological niche without much trouble, and knew pretty well where everyone else stood too. Everyone knew who were the good guys and bad guys, and the varying degrees of rectitude of the guys in between.
By now it is almost a cliché that the old ideological points of reference are no more; that left, right, and center cannot be identified even with a scorecard. One way of describing these changes is to say that left and right have been collapsing toward the center, that is, toward the locus of power. Interests of state have increasingly taken over, leading the “responsible” elements within each ideological group more and more to resemble one another.
We have reached the final pages of Orwell’s Animal Farm, in which the pigs, who had previously been the vanguard of the successful animal revolution against man, now walk erect and even live in the farmhouse, and “the creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from Pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.” Specifically, it has become almost impossible to distinguish “responsible” National Review conservatism from right-wing social democracy or from neoconservatism, and even, in some respects, from left-liberalism or the democratic socialism of the Robert Heilbroner variety. …”
A STRATEGY FOR THE RIGHT
By Murray N. Rothbard
“…So, to sum up: the problem is that the bad guys, the ruling classes, have gathered unto themselves the intellectual and media elites, who are able to bamboozle the masses into consenting to their rule, to indoctrinate them, as the Marxists would say, with “false consciousness.” What can we, the right-wing opposition, do about it?
One strategy, endemic to libertarians and classical liberals, is what we can call the “Hayekian” model, after F.A. Hayek, or what I have called “educationism.” Ideas, the model declares, are crucial, and ideas filter down a hierarchy, beginning with top philosophers, then seeping down to lesser philosophers, then academics, and finally to journalists and politicians, and then to the masses. The thing to do is to convert the top philosophers to the correct ideas, they will convert the lesser, and so on, in a kind of “trickle-down effect,” until, at last, the masses are converted and liberty has been achieved.
First, it should be noted that this trickle-down strategy is a very gentle and genteel one, relying on quiet mediation and persuasion in the austere corridors of intellectual cerebration. This strategy fits, by the way, with Hayek’s personality, for Hayek is not exactly known as an intellectual gut-fighter.
Of course, ideas and persuasion are important, but there are several fatal flaws in the Hayekian strategy. First, of course, the strategy at best will take several hundred years, and some of us are a bit more impatient than that. But time is by no means the only problem. Many people have noted, for example, mysterious blockages of the trickle. Thus, most real scientists have a very different view of such environmental questions as Alar than that of a few left-wing hysterics, and yet somehow it is always the same few hysterics that are exclusively quoted by the media. The same applies to the vexed problem of inheritance and IQ testing. So how come the media invariably skew the result, and pick and choose the few leftists in the field? Clearly, because the media, especially the respectable and influential media, begin, and continue, with a strong left-liberal bias.
More generally, the Hayekian trickle-down model overlooks a crucial point: that, and I hate to break this to you, intellectuals, academics and the media are not all motivated by truth alone. As we have seen, the intellectual classes may be part of the solution, but also they are a big part of the problem. For, as we have seen, the intellectuals are part of the ruling class, and their economic interests, as well as their interests in prestige, power and admiration, are wrapped up in the present welfare-warfare state system.
Therefore, in addition to converting intellectuals to the cause, the proper course for the right-wing opposition must necessarily be a strategy of boldness and confrontation, of dynamism and excitement, a strategy, in short, of rousing the masses from their slumber and exposing the arrogant elites that are ruling them, controlling them, taxing them, and ripping them off. …”
The Irrepressible Rothbard
INVADE THE WORLD
By Murray Rothbard
“…When Communism and the Soviet Union collapsed several years ago, it seemed evident that a massive reevaluation of American foreign policy had to get under way. For the duration of the Cold War, U.S. foreign policy was simply a bipartisan interventionist crusade against the Soviet Union, and the only differences were precisely how far the global intervention should go.
But when the Soviet Union fell apart, a rethinking seemed absolutely necessary, since what could form the basis of U.S. policy now? But among the intellectual pundits and elites, the molders of U.S. and even world opinion, virtually no rethinking has occurred at all. Except for Pat Buchanan and us paleos, U.S. foreign policy had proceeded as usual, as if the Cold War collapse never happened. How? Buchanan and the “neo-isolationists” urged that American intervention be guided strictly by American national interest. But the liberal/neocon alliance, now tighter than ever before (now that Soviet Communism, which the neocons were harder on, has disappeared), pretended to agree, and then simply and cunningly redefined “national interest” to cover every ill, every grievance, under the sun. Is someone starving somewhere, however remote from our borders? That’s a problem for our national interest. Is someone or some group killing some other group anywhere in the world? That’s our national interest. Is some government not a “democracy” as defined by our liberal-neocon elites? That challenges our national interest. Is someone committing Hate Thought anywhere on the globe? That has to be solved in our national interest.
And so every grievance everywhere constitutes our national interest, and it becomes the obligation of good old Uncle Sam, as the Only Remaining Superpower and the world’s designated Mr. Fixit, to solve each and every one of these problems. For “we cannot stand idly by” while anyone anywhere starves, hits someone over the head, is undemocratic, or commits a Hate Crime.
It should be clear that there is now virtually no foreign policy distinction between the liberals and the neocons, the Tony Lewises and Bill Safires, Commentary and the Washington Post. Wherever the problem is, the liberal-neocon pundits and laptop bombardiers are all invariably whooping it up for U.S. intervention, for outright war, or for the slippery-slope favorite of “sanctions.” Sanctions, the step-by-step escalation of intervention, is a favorite policy of the warmongers. Calling for immediate bombing or invading of Country X as soon as a grievance starts would seem excessive and even nutty to most Americans, who don’t feel the same sense of deep commitment to the U.S.A. as Global Problem-Solver as do the pundits and elites. And sanctions can temporarily slake the thirst for belligerence. And so it’s sanctions: starving the villains, cutting off transportation, trade, confiscating their property in terms of financial assets, and finally, when that doesn’t work, bombing, sending troops, etc. Troops are usually sent first as purely “humanitarian” missionaries, to safeguard the “humane” aid of the UN “peacekeepers.” But in short order, the benighted natives, irrationally turning against all this help and altruism, begin shooting at their beloved helpers, and the fat is in the fire, and the U.S. must face the prospects of sending troops who are ordered to shoot to kill. …”
Neoconservatism Versus Libertarianism
by Justin Raimondo, April 29, 2004
“…The editors of National Review led a smear campaign against conservatives and libertarians who opposed the war, deeming them “Unpatriotic Conservatives,” and yet now these same people are repeating the arguments of Patrick J. Buchanan, Lew Rockwell, myself, adopting the paleoconservatives critique of “democratic” imperialism. Like Brooks, the National Review editorial makes some minor criticisms of the Bush policy as imperialism “on the cheap,” but the main problem, as far as they are concerned, is:
“An intellectual mistake made prior to the occupation: an underestimation in general of the difficulty of implanting democracy in alien soil, and an overestimation in particular of the sophistication of what is fundamentally still a tribal society and one devastated by decades of tyranny. This was largely, if not entirely, a Wilsonian mistake. The Wilsonian tendency has grown stronger in conservative foreign-policy thought in recent years, with both benefits (idealism should occupy an important place in American foreign policy, and almost always has) and drawbacks (as we have seen in Iraq, the world isn’t as malleable as some Wilsonians would have it).”
One can hardly find anything in this with which to disagree – except to note that one of the biggest and most energetic promoters of this mistaken Wilsonian tendency has been none other than National Review. What else is one to make of Michael Ledeen’s constant paeans to the glories of what he calls “creative destruction” in the Middle East, and countless articles in that magazine urging the extension of the war into Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and beyond? Wasn’t it Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review, who infamously suggested the nuking of Mecca as a prelude to the occupation of Saudi Arabia. I suppose one could claim that the mindset of Lowry and his co-thinkers and fellow editors owes more to Dr. Strangelove than to Woodrow Wilson, but this hardly exculpatory. Second only to The Weekly Standard, none have been louder or more consistent in calling for war in the Middle East than National Review.
What is appalling is the utter dishonesty of their arguments: yesterday, Pat Buchanan was an “unpatriotic conservative” for making the very same arguments against the neoconservative’s democracy fetish as National Review now borrows and claims as its own. It was Buchanan, after all, who recently wrote:
“Bush’s world democratic revolution is Wilsonian imperialism, which contains an inherent and perhaps fatal contradiction. Imperialism means we decide the government a nation will have and how its foreign policy shall be oriented. Democracy means they decide. What do we do if we impose democracy on Iraq, and the Iraqis use their freedom to vote to throw us out and confront Israel and claim Kuwait as their long-lost province?”
Buchanan wrote that in the beginning of April, but he had been saying it long before the wisdom of the principle ever dawned on the editors of National Review. In 1999, he outlined what he called a “New Americanism”:
“We need a new foreign policy rooted neither in the Wilsonian Utopianism of the Democrat Party nor the Pax Americana of the Republican think tanks and little magazines, a policy that reflects the goodness and greatness of this Republic, but also an awareness that we were not put on this earth to lord it over other nations. The true third way is a New Americanism that puts America first, but ‘goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy,’ that defends America’s freedom, frontiers, citizens, security, and vital interests, but harbors no desire to impose our vision on any other people.” …”
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