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The neo-Con Machiavelli Revival

June 19, 2007

The way to support Ron Paul publicly is to simply transmit his principles from his own actions and words. I have to repent any “marketing” I have done in supporting Ron Paul. Ron Paul needs no marketing, and in fact, I don’t believe in marketing candidates.

Words often leave their trails of meaning, taking off into dense woodsy areas. “Conservative” is such a word, and now is completely lost, stolen, strayed, and without meaning. So we use modifiers, like “paleo-conservative” and “neo-Conservative,” or “neo-Con.”

Neo-Cons–and liberals–are keen on statecraft and big, centralized national government that oversees what, before the Civil War, were always Constitutionally viewed as falling within the purview of  state and local governments. Paleo-Conservatives favor strictly limited central government, with state and local governments taking responsibility for what is not delegated to the federal government by the Constitution. 

When most people think of the sixteenth-century super-pragmatist Nicolo Machiavelli, they think of “the ends justify the means.” But neo-Con author Michael Ledeen says this is inaccurate:  “Quite the contrary,” says Ledeen. “He simply recognizes the reality that there are times when a leader must accept dreadful responsibility in serving the common good.”

I am confounded to discern the distinction, but do read the entire text of Mr. Ledeen’s paean to Machiavelli here and judge for yourself. 

The Annotations to the Constitution are full of “common good” distortions of the document’s original plain meaning. The neo-Cons are loathe to concede that most of these interpretations were wrung from whole cloth by the ultra-liberal Warren Court and its big-government-loving successors.

Ron Paul accepts no PAC donations, has never voted to raise taxes or Congressional pay, and refuses to participate in the Congressional pension system or take government-paid junkets. He supports limited government, a non-interventionist foreign policy, and unregulated markets. Limited government, foreign entanglements, and less regulation mean lower government spending, so lower taxes can be a reality.

Back in 2003, Ron Paul wrote a column titled, “We’ve Been Neo-Conned” . Everything you will see in a page full of headlines this week was on Ron Paul’s radar screen then, and he cited it in this column. It’s a classic of clarity. Referring, for instance, to America’s wars and planned campaigns abroad, Congressman Paul wrote,

“We got here because ideas do have consequences. Bad ideas have bad consequences, and even the best of intentions have unintended consequences. We need to know exactly what the philosophic ideas were that drove us to this point; then, hopefully, reject them and decide on another set of intellectual parameters.”

Congressman Paul also had the neo-Con-Machiavelli link on his radar:

“Many neocons now in positions of influence in Washington can trace their status back to Professor Leo Strauss of the University of Chicago. One of Strauss’ books was Thoughts on Machiavelli. This book was not a condemnation of Machiavelli’s philosophy. Paul Wolfowitz actually got his PhD under Strauss.”

Congressman Paul also mentioned Michael Ledeen as a leading neo-Con architect of U.S. foreign policy.

A principle is a rule of action or conduct. Principles do not change in moral, principled people; they are set, not situational. A reasonable person tracking Ron Paul’s voting record through ten terms in Congress would conclude that he is principled, i.e., that his rules of action with respect to voting are consistent and do not change from one set of circumstances to another.

But the rules of engagement should change with the situation, according to Machiavellian Michael Ledeen–even if we don’t know the facts! He recounts the story of infantry soldier Henry Tandey, who came upon a wounded enemy soldier in 1918 and elected not to kill him, thinking it would be murder to kill a man already injured. The wounded soldier, he learned years later, was Hitler. But of course he did not know that fact when he encountered the future Fuhrer as a wounded corporal. Favoring human omniscience over providence, Ledeen sees the situation like this:

“Murder is surely evil, yet every reasonable person will agree that the cause of good would have been greatly advanced if Henry Tandey had killed Hitler in that trench. History abounds with examples of good actions furthering the cause of evil…”

Oh, but surely this doesn’t mean the ends justify the means…and surely we are given to know just what the ends are….

I can only hope there are other people out there whom Mr. Ledeen would not find reasonable.

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2 Comments
  1. June 19, 2007 4:13 pm

    Excellent summation of the neocon peril. I’ve been trying to find a way to show what they are for a long time. You did it in half a page.

  2. June 21, 2007 9:50 am

    All of the above will above Neo-Con Machiavelli like actions will continue unless Ron Paul is elected President.

    Since the War Between the States most of the PC American history is made up of apologists writing a fairytale for the politicians, and attempting to hide the main purpose of government. The unfortunate main purpose of government is, as I have said before, theft and the transfer of wealth to their supporters and special interests. Always remember that the winners get to write the history.

    Read The Hidden History of Institutional Political Theft in America and support Ron Paul for President. http://www.swissconfederationinstitute.org/swisspreserve10.htm

    All of this is from “The Swiss Preserve Solution”.

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