Home / Culture and Society / The Great Republican Problem with Liberals, Conservatives, and Libertarians, Part II

The Great Republican Problem with Liberals, Conservatives, and Libertarians, Part II

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Once upon a time, Democrats and Republicans lived in a political Eden, blithely unaware that the forbidden fruit was ready to be plucked from the Tree of Life and turned into apple sauce. Were the first shots of a Libertarian Armageddon ironically fired by a trio of women from diverse backgrounds?

The women could not be more different. They went on to inspire the Libertarian Party, conservatives, and thinkers like William F. Buckley, Jr.,  Ronald Reagan, and every conservative talking radio head in the country . It all began with three books, one by each author, all published in the same year – 1943. That year Ayn Rand’s “classic” The Fountainhead, Isabel Paterson’s The God of the Machine, and Rose Wilder Lane’s The Discovery of Freedom began to turn the political world inside out.

Isabel Paterson and Ayn Rand were correspondents until they had a falling out because Paterson, a Christian, could no longer deal with the self-serving Rand’s extreme anti-Christian views. Rand did not approve of Paterson’s linkage of capitalism with religion, a philosophy which would lone day greatly influence a young William F. Buckley, Jr. and Russell Kirk. Both men would go on to found the National Review.

Ayn Rand is famous for Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. The great Christian psychologist, M. Scott Peck, considered Rand something of a narcissistic psychopath. In Peck’s devastating People of the Lie, he likens people who have the same characteristics as Rand as “pure evil”. Noam Chomsky declared Rand to be one of the most evil intellectual figures in modern history and Buckley himself eventually rejected her philosophy. She detested Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, and eventually, Ronald Reagan.

Her philosophy today appears to be more like hedonistic self-serving than a viable political philosophy. According to Ayn Rand, "greed is good," the ends justify the means, you step over people to get your way. You do what you must to survive and to prosper. Perhaps it is appropriate that two of her followers today include Bob Barr and Ron Paul.

Rose Wilder Lane was the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder. In all probability Lane acquired her staunch up-by-the-boot-straps philosophy of life from her parents, who experienced one hardship after another while their only surviving child was growing into a very successful journalist.

During the Depression, her mother grew annoyed with friends and neighbors who constantly complained about the hard times they were experiencing. She began writing stories about her life as a girl.  A legend was born.  Later in life, Rose Wilder Lane became the sole beneficiary of a well-organized estate. The residuals from the books, movies, and the television series, Little House on the Prairie, were eventually channeled into several organizations, including the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Mansfield, Missouri, as well as into various Libertarian organizations and projects. One of Lane’s many adopted children, Roger McBride, became the Libertarian Party’s candidate for President in 1976.

The libertarian philosophies of Isabel Paterson, Ayn Rand, and Rose Wilder Lane were soon blended with the conservative, religious, and social philosophies of three self serving men, one of whom ought to be heralded as The Great Conservative Con Artist.

A direct marketing schmuck who figured out a way to make a buck, Richard Viguerie founded American Target Marketing in 1965, allegedly promoting “Christian” and “Conservative” principles. His fast-buck direct marketing scheme has been used, manipulated, and transformed a number of times over the years. He has at times been associated with Young Americans for Freedom, the Moral Majority, Conservative Digest, and recently basically bought and paid for the Libertarian Party, where he is appears to be promoting Ron Paul.

Viguerie, who claims to be a “Christian” has been working hand in glove with cult leader Sun Myung Moon of the Unification Church of Moonie fame. His offices are in a building owned by the church.

Currently Viguerie is prostituting himself to any cable station which will let him continue his incessant denigration of Republicans. Contrary to Viguerie’s current spew, back in the 1980s he, along with Howard Phillips and Paul Weyrich, was among the first to betray Ronald Reagan. When Reagan refused to kowtow to their demands once he became POTUS,  they treated Nancy Reagan terribly, and tried to cause enough trouble to force Ronald Reagan to not run for a 2nd term. Of course you will find none of this on your average conservative site, only how badly the GOP is doing because George W. Bush betrayed everyone.

In 1973 Paul Weyrich and Ed Feulner managed to talk the Coors family out of enough money to found the Heritage Foundation in order to counter the liberal influences of the country. Weyrich then went on to leverage the power and prestige he received from the Heritage Foundation, becoming one of the great conservative “leaders”.

Like the two other conservative leaders Phillips became dissatisfied with the Republican Party in the mid 1970’s. He went on to found the U. S. Taxpayer’s Party, which evolved into the Constitution Party, which is basically controlled by Pastor Chuck Baldwin of the Crossroads Baptist Church in Jacksonville.

What do far right conservatives and cannibals have in common? They eat one’s own.

The difference between the Far Left, Democrats, the Far Right and Republicans is quite simple. It has nothing to do with political ideology, and everything to do with infighting. It is quite rare to find the Far Left crunching and munching on Democrats. It happens, but not often.

Unfortunately Libertarians and the Far Right think nothing of sacrificing viable, highly successful Republican candidates and office holders at the altar of ideology, roasting them, and dining on them, then spitting out the remains. Let’s not leave moderates, and basic run-of-the-mill Republicans out of this mix either. We can be a little nasty at times, highly critical of those in our party. Perhaps we’re more intellectually honest than the left and Dems, then again, it could be this quest for “purity” that is destroying us from within.

There was a time when even Ronald Reagan was not pure enough for the same bunch who are castigating just about everyone but Dick Cheney and Mark Sanford.

This wasn’t always the way things happened in the political world here in the US. Things would get a little testy. Republicans have been consistent in their constant complaints about media bias, which does exist, and has existed for years. Perhaps the most fun events were the almost regular rants from Richard Nixon’s now disgraced VP, Spiro Agnew.

The fall of Richard Nixon was an absolute disaster for the GOP. History has shown that Gerald Ford was the perfect choice for the VP replacement of Spiro Agnew. The election of 1976 was not going to be a Republican year. Jimmy Carter did the GOP thing, though, and ran as a religious moderate, on a platform of “change”. I think we all know how the story ended.

Along comes the Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition. Men like Viguerie, Weyrich, and Phillips manage to promote their way into the spotlight long enough to assume THEY were instrumental in the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. When Reagan failed to bow to their demands, and did not govern as conservatively as they demanded, the three men immediately betrayed him.

By January 25, 1981 their attacks began.  First they claimed that Reagan had already betrayed conservatives and was too moderate. They continued their attacks throughout his first term, going so far as to gather the most influential conservative leaders to demand that Reagan not run for a second term.

In 1985 Ed Feulner, Jr., President of the Heritage Foundation, was so disgusted with Reagan that he wrote, “'It is unlikely that the Reagan era will prove to be the historic change in the direction of America that we have sought.''

Howard Phillips, on December 15, 1987 called Reagan a “useful idiot” and said Reagan was pandering to the Soviets so badly that he would destroy the country and allow Gorbachev to win the Cold War. They then attacked Nancy Reagan. White House Chief of Staff Howard Baker, Secretary of State George Shultz and Frank Carlucci, the Secretary of Defense — none were conservative enough for Phillips.

Both Weyrich and Phillips accused Reagan of appeasement of the Soviets. They felt nothing good could come of it, and begged conservatives to turn on Reagan.

Strange how the far right and conservatives suffer from amnesia when it comes to their shoddy treatment of Reagan.

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About SJ Reidhead

  • Rose

    Your section concerning Rose Wilder Lane is incorrect. Rose Wilder Lane was a writer long before Laura wrote a word. And Rose didn’t “inherit” the estate, she created through her background, and knowledge, and craft, her parent’s “estate” for them.

  • John Wilson

    Ayn Rand just stitched together a bunch of sampler homilies without natural connection.

    And she was a dreadfully inept novelist.

    I’m amazed anyone still pays attention to Rand.

  • ZAC D.

    You completely smeared Rand.

  • SJ, (It is quite rare to find the Far Left crunching and munching on Democrats. It happens, but not often.)

    I love this sentence and I can almost “hear the bones” Now I myself am not a Democrat(I don’t really belong to any party, at least I have never received talking points from one) But you have left out one political party in this paragraph, the “Conservadems”

    I hope you jump in your comment thread this time SJ or I am sorry to say “I will have to stop giving you any of my energy.” 🙂

  • I have to wonder whether the author of this piece ever actually read Ayn Rand. Whether through ignorance or otherwise, SJ Reidhead badly mischaracterizes Rand’s philosophy. Rand would never say that “the ends justify the means.”

    As a champion of non-aggression and not taking anything that you have not earned or paid for, Rand would also strongly opposed trying to prosper “by any means necessary” or “stepping over people to get your way.” (I’m assuming here that Reidhead means “stepping on” people — it’s not quite clear what “stepping over” people is supposed to mean.) Although Rand believed in ethical egoism, I don’t believe she ever said “greed is good.” That slogan came from the 1980s Hollywood movie “Wall Street.” Certainly Rand would have defended the right of people to acquire lots of material possessions, but “greed” is not merely the desire for plenty, it’s the desire for what is unearned, and Rand would have wanted no part of that.

    Also rather sloppy is terming Bob Barr and Ron Paul as “followers” of Ayn Rand. Once upon a time that label could have been justifiably applied to Alan Greenspan, but to my knowledge Barr and Paul were never “followers” of the author of Atlas Shrugged, merely admirers of her writing and philosophy. Both are Christian, so obviously they would not agree 100% with the atheistic Rand any more than Paterson would. Both Ron Paul and Bob Barr have been leaders in speaking out against big government greed and policies that hurt the poor, especially Paul’s call to end the “war on drugs” and rein in out-of-control government that is destroying the earning power of their wages via inflation, etc., so the not very subtle attempt to brand them as defenders of “might makes right” falls flat.

    Quoting Noam Chomsky as calling Rand evil, and implying that M. Scott Peck would have done the same, without bothering to say what is evil about a philosophy based on ethical self-interest and non-aggression, is intellectually lazy.

  • I’m sorry to report that you don’t understand Ayn Rand’s philosophy well enough to comment on it. Nothing about your summary was accurate.

    (1) Ayn Rand wasn’t a hedonist. She was a rational egoist. She held that life — not pleasure — is the ultimate good.

    (2) She didn’t think that “the ends justify the means,” but rather regarded certain virtues — like rationality, productiveness, honesty, and integrity — as essential to the life proper to man.

    (3) She didn’t advocate that “you step over people to get your way.” She advocated individual rights as the basic principle of her political philosophy — and held that, in ethics, a person should not sacrifice himself to others or others to himself.

    (4) She despised libertarians like Ron Paul and Bob Barr.

    Perhaps you need to re-read Atlas Shrugged?