Phi Beta Cons

Nonsense about Loving War

The new issue of The Chronicle Review contains an extremely annoying essay (subscriber content) entitled “Why Conservatives Love War” by Corey Robin, an associate professor of political science at Brooklyn College. It’s the kind of thing that gives the academic world a bad reputation.

He’s eager to pin the “warmonger” label on “conservatives” — that is, the group that generally favors limited government, low taxes, and individual liberty. Nothing inherently violent there, it would seem, but Robin claims that violence is encoded in the DNA of conservatives. What about the fact that, if you go back a century, it was the minimal state, leave-me-alone “Right” that opposed the “progressive Left” with its penchant for militarism abroad? Robin ought to have read Bill Kauffman’s Ain’t My America before writing his piece.

We might also ask, why is it that the “liberals” who were so vocal in opposing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan when George W. Bush was president are overwhelmingly (although not entirely) quiet now that a purported liberal president is prosecuting them?

It’s neither “conservatives” nor “liberals” who love war. It’s authoritarians who do.

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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