Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What Motivates Born-Again Antiwar Conservatives?

Yesterday I wrote about how so many conservative radio talk show hosts, who were previously pro-war, have done a sudden 180 degree switch now that Obama has attacked Libya. They now oppose war.

I provided a list of such born-again, antiwar conservative radio hosts.

To this list you may now add John Batchelor, whose sudden skepticism about the Libya War is noteworthy, considering that he's long been one of the most HARDCORE of neocon radio hawks -- no small achievement, considering the field.

Batchelor passes himself off as providing serious news and analysis (not a "mere entertainer"), and as possessing superior expertise on foreign affairs. Yet despite his feigned objectivity, he "editorializes with music." He plays stirring martial music when reporting on the U.S. military, and ominous music when reporting on Arab nations.

One of Batchelor's standard numbers is from Hollywood's Starship Troopers. That the film is increasingly interpreted as a satire of militarism seems lost on Batchelor.

Why the sudden policy switch among so many conservative hawks? One slow conversion, from hawk to dove, might indicate sincerity. But so sudden -- and united! -- a switch among so many hawks indicates ... well, it's weird.

Here's some (not wholly original) speculation:

The American populace is often and increasingly upset. In order for the Powers That Be (no, I don't know their names) to maintain control of the American Empire, they must give the people safe channels through which to vent their steam.

Our Two Party System serves this purpose nicely. Whenever a majority of the populace is dangerously fed up, they can find "hope" in the Out Party, and vote it into "power". This creates the illusion of Change.

No, I don't think there's an organized cabal, but rather, a confluence of interests, and an understanding of what's expected to succeed within the system.

Conservative radio hosts (and that includes "libertarian" baby pundits like Wayne Allyn Root) know that their personal success depends upon bashing Democrats, regardless of merit.

When Bush was in power, conservative pundits understood that their book deals and media ratings depended upon beating Bush's war drums and railing against the "big spending" Democrats. Now that Obama is in office, conservatives' success depends upon bashing Obama, regardless of what he does.

Democratic pundits, think tanks, media voices, etc., do the opposite.

It's noteworthy that neither side seriously challenges the Empire. No loud demands for a complete end to ALL foreign aid (to ALL nations) and a complete shutdown of ALL overseas military bases.

The talking heads (conservatives -- including "libertarian conservatives" -- and progressives) thus maintain the illusion of Two Choices. Whether the talking heads understand their role in maintaining this political deception is unimportant. They DO realize that in order for their careers to flourish, they must cheer one Official Side and attack the Other Official Side.

That's where the money is. That's what brings in the book deals, TV appearances, and radio show gigs.

(It's okay to take a few light jabs at your "own side" -- indeed, it's a Good Thing. It creates the illusion of "independent thinking," which goes over well with the populace. But you MUST choose One Side, and save your big punches for the Other Side.)

Thus the American populace sees Two (illusory) Choices. And when the economy sinks, or wars go bad, they vent their anger at the In Party by supporting the Out Party. The infrastructure and policies of the Empire itself -- from the Federal Reserve to the overseas military bases -- are left unchallenged. Indeed, that they might even be debatable issues is unthinkable to most people.

Yes, conservative talk radio is now attacking Obama's Libya War. So what? We are in Libya. It's a done deal. The Empire is pleased. And when the American populace becomes fed up with Obama's Wars (as they were, before, with Bush's wars), they will believe (thanks in part to conservative talk radio) that the solution to ending Obama's Wars is to vote Republican.

Then we'll have a new Repubican war, and an angry populace will once again vote for a Democratic warmonger.

This notion of hidden power brokers, discussing which Face (Clinton, Bush, Obama) will be our next president, reminds me of the ending to Being There:


A note on Wayne Allyn Root. Why don't I trust his (latest) born-again antiwar stance?

Because unlike Root supporters, I judge Root in context. His supporters want Root to be judged by his every latest article, all his previous acts and statements -- all his Clintonesque switches and sudden flip flops -- down the Orwellian Memory Hole.

Would any libertarian judge Obama like that? Would libertarians allow Obama to reinvent himself every day? If Obama gave a startlingly libertarian speech, would libertarians ignore all of Obama's previous acts and writings?

I judge libertarians by the same standards I set for conservatives, progressives, independents, and anyone else. I give no extra credit for having a Magic L before your name.

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