We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
In praising the source of ancient Athens’s greatness, Pericles most of all lauded Athenians’ “sense of duty”. The weakness of this sense of duty is what characterizes the contemporary American political debate. The left sees a duty to care for the sick and needy, but fails to temper that with attention to the affordability of that care. The right praises those who take up the duty of national defense, but rejects the notion that paying for soldiers’ salaries and weapons through taxes is also a patriotic duty. Instead, the “me generation” rules, demanding that the conservatives give “me” a tax cut, that the liberals give “me” government benefits, and if something must be sacrificed, let it be duty to future generations.
This climate will leave the U.S. with two grand strategic options. The first is to attempt to maintain existing commitments with declining resources at increasingly higher risk against rising challengers. This approach would be an exact parallel to recent fiscal policy, but when it was tried in the Pacific in the early 1940s, its costs were measured in blood and destruction as well as money. The alternative is to retrench from some overseas commitments, following blueprints like the Cato Institute’s plan for a strategy of “military restraint” that would be sustainable at 3 percent of GDP. Such a grand strategic retrenchment may seem attractive, and it is certainly better than overextension. While it may lead to political instability and even increased wars abroad, it saves money and does not cost American lives if the U.S. does not to intervene. On the other hand, retrenchment is foolhardy if the result is likely to be increased terrorism and piracy, wars in which the U.S. must intervene, or lost diplomatic leverage that yields closing commercial opportunities and defeat for American ideals.
It would be useful to have the debate on the tradeoffs before the retrenchment becomes reality, but if the consensus of left and right is on the absence of a national will to pay for primacy, the decision may already have been made.
Is Kaufman's characterization of conservatives true in general? Apart from Ron Paul supporters, who would be radical Libertarians, I think not. The argument begins with strawmen caricatures and builds from that imaginary basis. I don't find it interesting.
As a conservative I do not have a problem paying for a soldiers costs...I was a soldier once, a RVN veteran. For those that can read, write, and understand english, the part of the Constitution where"provide for the national defense and promote the general welfare" is mentioned is not that hard to understand. There is a difference between the meaning of "provide" and the meaning of "promote". Not really that hard to understand unless you are Dr. Kaufman.