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By: Carol Devine-Molin

I telephoned Ether Zone publisher Bob Momenteller out in corn country about a month ago, since I was very concerned regarding the radical direction that Ether Zone has recently taken -- a sharp turn into rather narrow camps of conservatism. In my estimation, there is growing besmirchment of any stripe of conservatism that is not paleoconservatism or ultra-libertarianism, the two in tandem now being dubbed "hard right". Specifically, there has been: 1) notable highlighting of the John Birch Society philosophy (well, at least the "old guard" vantage point) and other fringe, highly negative, conspiratorial forms of conservatism; and, 2) cogent Bush bashing, Republican bashing, and assiduously labeling, and then bashing, of so-called "neoconservatives". The GOP is far from perfect, and I have voiced criticisms myself, but the unrelenting and vicious invectives aimed at the Republican party, and President Bush, are unwarranted. It's really the level of unmitigated venom that I protest, which clearly goes beyond the pale. What ever happened to "fair and balanced", and objective assessment that takes into account all pertinent facts? There is little in the way of positive support for our President who is truly under siege. Remember, he has inherited both a "terror war", which really had its inception in the 1990's, and a difficult financial market, from the Democrats.

Bob, a paleoconservative himself, rightly advised that Ether Zone is all about free-speech and presenting all stripes of conservatism. And I certainly agree with his stance that exploration of the various camps within the conservative movement is a good thing. But, that really didn't address my true dismay regarding Ether Zone's elevation of fringe factions to new heights, and the consistent ridicule of what amounts to mainstream conservatism. And in a recent follow-up email, I relayed to Bob that it was not wise to "have a sort of a group think' (dynamic) take over this website. It is antithetical to what you want to achieve. It will purge out dissent and real debate. You will wind up with an in-house group that all reinforce each other, bad or good."

As to "neoconservatism", this issue has been further complicated by varying definitions floating about, and much controversy regarding what really constitutes the new conservatism. One significant view on the subject is this: The new conservatism that has emerged over the past 30 years has now solidified into today's mainstream conservatism. Succinctly put, the new conservatism and mainstream conservatism are one in the same. You don't have to be an old hippie or an ex-Democrat to qualify as a new conservative. Aptly, there are calls for the "neo" prefix to be altogether eschewed. Similar points have been made by journalists Franklin Foer (New Republic), John Podhoretz (NY Post and Fox News Channel contributor), James Nuechterlein (FirstThings.com), and others. In his 7/11/02 piece for the New Republic, "Home Bound: Buchanan's Surefire Flop", Franklin Foer states, "The way the Buchananites see it, they're still battling the neocons, the largely Jewish group of former Leftists who migrated Right after the Vietnam War. But the neocons are no longer a wing of the conservative movement; they ARE the conservative movement. Supply-side economics, Israel, welfare reform, vouchers, all the old neocon pet causes have become enshrined in conservative conventional wisdom. As Norman Podhoretz triumphantly declared in The New York Times in 2000, The time has come to drop the prefix and simply call ourselves conservatives'". Moreover, journalist James Nuechterlein noted, "Neoconservatism departs the scene not because it has failed, but because it has, in large part at least, succeeded in what it set out to accomplish...This pattern of convergence means that neoconservatism has lost its ideological distinctiveness", ("The End of Neoconservatism",1996).

It's important to understand that mainstream conservatism is now comprised of a variety of camps, and that Bill Kristol (political commentator, McCain advisor, and editor of the "Weekly Standard") actually represents only a small faction within the overall movement. I would describe myself as a Reaganite, or a Rush Limbaugh conservative, for want of a better expression. In terms of further bona fides, I ran on the ballot in early 1996 as a delegate for "flat tax" advocate Steve Forbes in the NY Republican primary, I can't stand McCain, I think our military should withdraw from the Balkans forthwith (leave it to the Europeans), and I probably better exemplify mainstream conservatives in background and ideology than Bill Kristol.

On the other hand, the Paleoconservatives are the old-fashioned conservatives with a significant libertarian/isolationist bent, and which are somewhat represented by the Buchanan wing, a relatively small group indeed. And many in that camp don't have a true grasp of mainstream conservatives whom they regularly denigrate with considerable vitriol, labeling them such things as "liberals", "neoconservatives", "warmongers", and "scribbling shysters" who reflect a "fanatical Israel First attitude" . On the Internet, the Paleos love to point fingers, "bitch and moan" and generally rail against the ostensibly inferior "neoconservatives", touting that they, the Paleos, are the "true patriots". You think I'm exaggerating? Note the blinking "NeoCon Watch" at the right hand bottom of the Ether Zone homepage. It's linked to a website, Original Dissent, where you can find various screeds, which are virulently anti-neoconservative in content, authored by Sartre, Lewis Goldberg, Paul Fallavollita, Max Shpak, among others. (Poor Paul Fallavollita! On the EZ Daily Blogger, I was compelled to cite my amazement that he believes September 11th was orchestrated by elements within the US and Israeli governments, a true testament to the fringe mentality that I am referencing in this article). At Original Dissent, they wildly spew forth, and sadly, Alan Keyes, who is clearly a wonderful conservative, was targeted for derision. And there was even an advertisement for a book that assails Bill Buckley ("William F. Buckley, Pied Piper of the Establishment", a publication associated with the John Birch Society). For heaven's sake, if Bill Buckley isn't a Paleoconservative, then nobody is! But this speaks to the finely tuned sensibilities of some fringe Paleoconservatives that are always on the attack, the purists and elitists that think they are better than anyone else. Do you really want to know who are genuine patriots? Look no further than members and ex-members of the military, my brother included.

And here's another concrete example of profound viciousness that emanates from the radical Right. In his piece that ran this past weekend entitled "Bushwhacked", Alan Stang, stated, "George W. Bush is arguably the worst President in American history. We are aware that zombie Republicans, yellow dog conservatives, political and ideological opportunists and other brown-noses seeking careers will not agree; hasn't Dubya' done some good things? Yes, he has, the usual cosmetic changes the Republicans invoke after the Council on Foreign Relations rescues' us from another Democratic maladministration, for which we duly applaud him". Excuse me, but will somebody kill the giant bug that's stuck up Mr. Stang's butt! The vast majority of us that do volunteer work for the GOP have gotten diddlysquat in return; nor do we expect anything. We believe in the salient notion of civic duty; that it is important to give back to the community. In the same article, Mr. Stang further espoused that "the Republican Party is a slimy, bootlicking coward", pursuant to the Bush administration's one-year interim agreement with the UN's International Criminal Court, exempting US troops from their jurisdiction. Stang's scathing criticism of the Bush administration is unwarranted. "Dubya", as Stang refers to him, did not capitulate; this is just the preliminary agreement pending the final outcome. At a recent speech at Fort Drum, NY, President Bush underscored his commitment to preventing the International Court from acquiring any prosecutorial power over our military personnel, since the Court's actions would likely be politically motivated. The Bush administration is in control of the situation and continues to negotiate and hammer out the details of a final agreement that will protect our members of the Armed Forces, and other citizens, at risk of prosecution by the UN entity.

Mr. Stang was a longtime writer for the John Birch Society, one of the quintessential fringe groups that believes an international cabal runs the world. And, make no mistake, they see a conspiracy under every rock. On a positive note, the organization was comprised of anti-communist stalwarts during the cold war era. Unfortunately, Mr. Stang is a johnny-one-note who refuses to believe that the Soviet Union has collapsed, as per his writings. True, Russia continues to experience notable problems and cannot be altogether trusted by the United States, but clearly its "evil empire" has been largely obliterated. And it has made considerable forays into capitalism, having adopted a 13% flat tax, and selling much needed oil to the US. Mr. Stang's ongoing obsession with Russia as a "communist" menace appears somewhat bizarre to those familiarizing themselves with this work.

Lastly, congratulations to Bob Momenteller on the considerable traffic that Ether Zone is generating, as noted by the "Friends Of Liberty" website. It was further stated that "neoconservative outlets are flatlining, authentic Constitutional venues (such) as Ether Zone, LewRockwell, Strike-the-Root, Anti-State, et al are roaring". Well, if this analysis is correct and the public is now in the mood for "hard right" politics, then Bob is a masterful businessman who has initiated changes at just the right time.

"Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact."

Carol Devine-Molin is a Republican District Leader, a community activist, and the host of "On The Right Side", a local program sponsored by the Republicans, and seen throughout most of Westchester County, New York. She is a regular columnist for Ether Zone.

Carol can be reached at DevineMolin@aol.com

Published in the July 30, 2002 issue of  Ether Zone.
Copyright 1997 - 2002 Ether Zone.

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