"landmarks in the destruction of a free society"As a United States Senator, Barry Goldwater -- closely advised by a pair of up-and-coming conservative lawyers, young guys named Rehnquist and Bork -- voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There were some interesting tensions at work between conservatives in this one: Rick Perlstein, a leftist scholar and the author of Before the Storm, notes that Rehnquist "had aggressively fought local antidiscrimination laws in Phoenix, where Goldwater had fought for them as appropriate and morally imperative." Goldwater gave a speech on the floor of the Senate laying out his opposition to the civil rights bill, Perlstein notes, "rapidly, tonelessly, head down, as if reading into the record."
So Goldwater, we gather, supported the outcome, but couldn't bring himself to support the means to that end. His objection, as stated in that Senate speech, is that the bill would
require the creation of a federal police force of mammoth proportions. It also bids fair to result in the development of an "informer" psychology in great areas of our national life -- neighbors spying on neighbors, workers spying on workers, businessmen spying on businessmen, where those who would harass their fellow citizens for selfish and narrow purposes will have ample inducement to do so. These, the federal police force and an "informer" psychology, are the hallmarks of the police state and landmarks in the destruction of a free society.So: Compare and contrast. Daniel Pipes is delighted that Michelle Malkin has the courage to argue that "civil liberties are not sacrosanct." Is this argument consistent with the conservative tradition? Is any of this?
Pipes, Malkin, John Leo, Thomas Sowell, and many other "conservatives" now offer warm support for the WWII internment of American citizens of Japanese descent, and call for aggressive, if carefully vague, state security measures against American Muslims. Malkin calls for the militarization of the border, and the growth of a massive federal police state dedicated to rooting out illegal immigrants: "Every measly 'No Entry' sign should immediately be replaced with an armed National Guardsman--at least until 100,000 new Border Patrol and interior enforcement agents are trained and ready to be deployed."
I propose a new bumper sticker acronym: WWBGD? (What would Barry Goldwater do?) If these folks are "conservatives," then we have some serious rethinking to do. Because Goldwater, and many other "conservatives," saw the world in exceptionally different terms.
Malkin and Pipes would undoubtedly argue, as they often do, that normal rules don't apply, because "we're at war." But we're at war in the same sense that the British were at war with the IRA, or that Israel is at war with Hamas, Hezbollah, and the PLO; we're in a war potentially not of years but decades, against shadowy, non-state actors. Call me crazy, but wouldn't cancelling the Constitution for broad classes of putative internal enemies because of a war of that nature look a great deal like this scenario?
Again: not conservative. Authoritarian, fascist, Stalinist, you name it. Michelle Malkin and Daniel Pipes -- and their unfortunate fans -- are not conservatives, and can't reasonably be called that. Granting them the use of the label grants them a dangerous kind of cover.
(btw, The block quote is from "Before the Storm," page 364, and the quote before the block quote is from 363.)