Thousands of college students such as Steve Macias will be descending on Washington this week for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Last year they propelled Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) to a huge victory in the presidential straw poll, and it is about to happen again. The Congressman will be speaking at the event on all three days, and similar to last year, he will receive a rock star welcome.
Traditional conservatives were appalled last year to hear Libertarians loudly booing Israel, the CIA, Abraham Lincoln and the U.S. military missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was obvious Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) was completely startled. He had never encountered opposition to Israel from a right wing audience.
It is easy to dismiss the radical views and isolationism of the Libertarians, but they are making significant inroads in GOP circles. Congressman Paul is not going to run for the U.S. Senate but his current strength in the Texas opinion polls is staggering. The Congressman raised $36 million in 2008, and my prediction is that he will have a $100 million warchest for 2012.
He will do far better than anyone expects in the first-in-the-nation Iowa presidential precinct caucuses, and the Libertarians are already well organized in South Carolina and Nevada.
With CPAC in mind, I spent Saturday night talking to two enthusiastic and committed Ron Paul supporters. David Limperes is an atheist from Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin, and Steve Macias, who is a devout Christian college student at Liberty University. I eagerly talk to Paul supporters all the time, and I have been successful in breaking many of the away from the Libertarian cult. I completely failed with David and Steve.
David is an isolationist who wants to end our system of collective security. He is opposed to the Civil Rights Act, and advocates the southern viewpoint regarding the Civil War. Steve does not want homosexuals at CPAC and is a vigorous pro-life and home schooling advocate. He is a youth representative to the Board of the California Republican Assembly.
While David wants the U.S. army back in the United States, Steve wants the military abolished. He points to the founding fathers who were against “a standing army.”
Steve’s arguments are similar to what I hear from many of the young Paul boosters. They are not only against the U.S. military missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, but they are also opposed to Operation Desert Storm of 1991, and America’s role in World War II. Steve sites Ron Paul as his inspiration on these topics.
The arguments against America’s entry into WW II are similar to the 9/11 conspiracy claims. They try to blame America for the attack on the Twin Towers because of U.S. support for Israel.
In a similar manner, isolationists such as Steve claim Japan was provoked into the attacking Pearl Harbor. They defend Japan because America was sending aid to the United Kingdom, and we had placed sanctions on Japan in response to its invasion of China and French Indo-China.
The isolationists say these sanctions forced Japan into its membership in the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis. They believe the aggressor was America, not Japan.
Despite the claims of the conspiracy theory crowd, Franklin Roosevelt did not know Japan would attack Pearl Harbor.
What is obvious with nearly 70 years of hindsight was not obvious in 1941. Even if FDR thought Japan would try an aggressive move, he never imagined it would be a full frontal assault on American forces in a sneak attack on the Pacific Fleet.
In most events like this it is easy to look back and find puzzle pieces which allow conspiracy theory advocates to jump to a conclusion. It is much harder, however, to do this in real time without the blessing of hindsight.
Many now say we should have known 9/11 was going to happen, but at the time it was unimaginable.
After the fact we can see evidence indicating it was going to take place. The conspiracy theories of the Libertarians continue to grow despite the massive evidence demonstrating that George Bush did not bring down the twin towers. LBJ and the CIA did not assassinate John F. Kennedy. Adolf Hitler did not escape to Argentina, and the British Royal family did not have Lady Diana killed.
There was no conspiracy at Pearl Harbor and the Japanese were not duped into war by manipulative Americans.
America made the right decision in liberating Europe and overthrowing the totalitarian regimes in Germany, Japan and Italy. The Libertarians are among the few people who have reservations about our victory.
David and Steve now want the United States to ignore all of the state sponsors of terror. Congressman Paul’s repeated insistence that “There is no risk of somebody invading us” is just what the isolationists of the 1930s believed — right up until Pearl Harbor.
He is wrong and they did attack us: 1993 (WTC I), 1996 (Khobar Towers), 1998 (African Embassies), 2000 (USS Cole), and 2001 (WTC/Pentagon). His logic would have caused the US to lift not a finger to help Europe against Hitler (remember: “non-intervention”), nor help the West Berliners (1948), nor help the South Koreans (1950), nor help the Grenadians (1984), nor help the Kuwaitis (1990).
Paul’s idea that we can maintain peace by halting our projection of military strength has been proven wrong by history.