A couple weeks ago, I had a conversation with Buzzfeed editor Ben Smith about Eric Cantor’s loss to David Brat. I said that it was interesting—not good, not bad, just interesting—that Cantor, who has been so close to the network of Charles and David Koch, was defeated by a guy very much in the mold of the libertarian, free market conservatism the Kochs have done so much to support.
I noted, as well, that Brat appears to have no deeply held convictions on the hot-button foreign policy issues of the moment. He might support Republican hawks and their freedom agenda. He might belong to Rand Paul’s merry band of noninterventionists. Most likely, he is somewhere in between.
Ben asked if he could attribute the distinction between "Freedom Conservatives" and "Liberty Conservatives" to me. I said yes—despite the fact that I wasn’t exactly sure I coined it.
For the handful of people who care about this sort of thing, Ben’s piece was thought provoking. I think it correctly gauges the nature of the dispute between the two camps. But it’s something of a phony war. There is an occasional skirmish, one team fires a few shots at the other now and then, but, for the most part, we all face a common enemy in President Obama and contemporary liberalism, and we all mostly cooperate in that fight.
There is a faction of libertarians that is not happy with this arrangement. Let’s call them the "Jew-baiting Paleoconservatives," because that’s what they are. For a fantastic example of this strand of conservatism, one might look at the work of Daily Caller opinion editor J. Arthur Bloom, whose pompous byline is outshined only by his paranoia about Jews—on both the left and right—and their plot to marginalize, using charges of anti-Semitism, young prodigies like him.
For Jordan Bloom, Ben Smith "appears to have been convinced by one of the neoconservatives’ top operators that neoconservative is no longer a useful label." Moreover, "It’s clear why someone of Goldfarb's persuasion would want to rebrand."
Just to be clear: I continue to proudly identify myself as a neoconservative, and if Bloom and his friends ever do realize their vision for this country, I, like others of my "persuasion," will wear the neocon gold star on my jacket—which I’m sure they will require—as a badge of honor.
Bloom’s Beautiful-Mind-like dot connecting of various Jews with whom I am friendly is correct. What bearing any of the details he breathlessly relates have on anything, though, I have no idea. But they do help him clear his throat before indulging in some good old-fashioned Jew-baiting:
The neoconservatives, whose influence has not really waned at all in Washington, would be far happier if the hayseeds in flyover country just shut up and filled their bodybags, and quit worrying about the deficit spending of which the Pentagon is a significant contributor. And if the rowdy rednecks start getting the impression they’re citizens instead of subjects, they’ll just pick up their money machine and side with Hillary, as the National Interest’s Jacob Heilbrunn wrote in the Times recently. …
If America is ever to return to a patriotic foreign policy, the "freedom conservatives" will need to be defeated and driven into the other party, not just argued with.
This is worth doing if the GOP wants to be more than the party of defense contractors and hawkish casino magnates; if it wants a different future than torture apologetics, amnesty, a government empowered to kill American citizens without trial, and endless war. The so-called "freedom conservatives" are sunshine patriots, ones that care about America and her institutions only as far as that concern can be enlisted to help export them.
Is Bloom an anti-Semite? He’s not calling me a kike, so surely my criticism will be dismissed as another Likudnik attempt to squelch open debate. For anyone who isn’t a complete nut job, though, the Jew-baiting of the above passage is as clear as day. And it is of a piece with the paleocon tradition and its flagship publication, the American Conservative.
Just last week, the Washington Free Beacon reported on another paleoconservative Jew-baiter extraordinaire, the American Conservative’s William S. Lind, and his recent appearance at a conference alongside Tufts university professor and Washington Post blogger Daniel Drezner and the Center for American Progress’s resident neocon obsessive Matt Duss.
In that piece, Alana Goodman—who, in case Jordan doesn’t have her picture tacked to his bulletin board yet, is also a Jewish neoconservative—reported that Lind once appeared at a conference put on by well-known Holocaust deniers, where he offered the stipulation that he and his organization were "not among those who question whether the Holocaust occurred."
You know what? If you have to say that to preface your remarks, you might want to step back and reflect on some of the choices you’ve made in life.
Lind went on to say that "cultural Marxists" are destroying the United States of America. Guess who the cultural Marxists are. Give up? "These guys were all Jewish."
Not all Jews are bad, you see, just the ones destroying America. In Lind’s defense, he isn’t just a Jew-baiter. He’s accused Muslims of being a "fifth column" inside the United States. And he’s written some lovely short stories about an America that, in the not too distant future, will break up into racial mini-states in which, in an "all-white New England, the majority had taken back the culture. Civilization had recovered its nerve." (Check out the Washington Post of April 30, 1995. Fans of Lind’s "fiction" might also read his work at Traditionalright.com.)
When I took the opportunity to needle Drezner and Duss for associating themselves with such a lunatic in their blind rush to gather all the finest neocon-haters of the fringe right, they dug in.
After all, Lind says he’s not a Holocaust denier. So that’s cleared up. And after all, Duss is a professional Jew-baiter in his own right—more sophisticated and subtle than J. Arthur Bloom, for sure, but not above accusing the Emergency Committee for Israel of being an "Israeli propaganda outfit." Because of course we take our marching orders from the Zionist entity occupying Al Quds.
And Drezner? Honestly, I think he’s nothing more than an academic who, in his quest for a larger profile, is trying to impress the neocon-haters by attacking me. Maybe I flatter myself. Maybe he’s just too dense to realize who he’s gotten in bed with, and too proud to distance himself now that he knows.
Either way—let the caterwauling begin. I can hear it now: "They’re trying to silence us with trumped up charges of anti-Semitism!" Well, fuck all of you.
I know anti-Semitism and Jew-baiting when I see it. And I’m not going anywhere. We’re here, we’re neocons, and you’re never going to be rid of us.
And though the Liberty Conservatives may well have their day in the sun, the Jew-baiting paleocons among them will always be toiling away at the margins, trying to figure out precisely how the Jews kept them out of the good jobs. And then, as now, the reason for their marginalization will have nothing to do with us, and everything to do with them—with the fact that they just can’t keep their Jew-baiting, Putin-loving, neo-Confederate, League-of-the-South bullshit to themselves.
Michael Goldfarb is the chairman of the Center for American Freedom.