One of the easiest ways to confirm that there is no difference between (mainstream) Republicans and Democrats is to compare the latter’s vision of perfectible economic meddling with the former’s right-wing dreamworld of international democracy and low, low oil prices.
Now, even a statement this general requires caveats. In the last two weeks, Democrat prez Barack Obama sent 750 troops, plus drones and Apache helicopters, back to Iraq. (And his dialing up the Afghanistan conflict, not to mention his putting drones all over the damn map long ago confirmed he was not even close to being a peacenik.) Not to mention, many (perhaps most) Republicans take rhetorical support for free markets to mean support for tariffs on imported goods, or at least plenty of handouts to favored businesses.
Nevertheless, let us for simplicity contrast support for a (vaguely left-wing) interventionist economic policy, such as the $850 billion stimulus, with an (arguably right-wing) intrusive foreign policy such as…well, most of what America has done for the past 100 years. The overriding similarity between these two daydreams is pure arrogance – a belief in the power of governments to not just know better than individuals about how their lives should go, but in their inhuman ability to predict outcomes. Advocates for international intervention make the same dead-certain claims about end results as do those who scorn markets and individual choices. But instead of your wallet or your freedom to work being on the line, in the latter case it’s the homes, health, and lives of millions of people.
Liberals believe that a regulation passed is magic – it can make people into robots. There won’t be any unpredictable consequences, no black markets, no noncompliance, or surprise costs. The warmongerer believes he has this power, but on an international scale. William Kristol of The Weekly Standard has made it his life’s work to learn nothing from his arrogant declarations on how Iraq (or Iran) will improve after a good dose of American might. Next time will be better. Next time we will not stop until a billion people, a 1500-year-old religion, and various theocratic societies bend into a pleasing, America-friendly shape.