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ZEITGEIST: The New Paleolithic Age

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NEW YORK TIMES: Paul is a libertarian, certainly, but more importantly he’s a particular kind of a libertarian. He’s culturally conservative (opposing both abortion and illegal immigration), radically noninterventionist (he’s against the Iraq war and the United Nations), and so stringently constitutionalist that he views nearly everything today’s federal government does as a violation of the founding fathers’ vision. This worldview goes by many names, including “paleoconservatism,” “the old right” and “paleolibertarianism.” But its adherents — Paul and his father, Ron, included — view themselves as America’s only true conservatives, arguing that the modern conservative movement has sold out to both big government and the military-industrial complex. Instead of celebrating the usual Republican pantheon, paleoconservatives identify with the “beautiful losers” of American history, to borrow a phrase from the paleocon journalist Sam Francis — the anti-imperialists who opposed the Spanish-American War, the libertarians who stood athwart the New Deal yelling “stop,” the Midwestern Republicans who objected to the growth of the national security state after World War II. And they offer an ideological synthesis that’s well outside either political party’s mainstream — antiwar and antiabortion, against the Patriot Act but in favor of a border fence, and skeptical of the drug war and the welfare state alike. MORE

RELATED: The Tea Party is not merely an inchoate expression of a political mood, or an amorphous ragtag band of diverse elements, or a bipartisan cry tea-party-gadsdenmodernvertical.pngof dissatisfaction with the supposed “government takeover” of health care. The Tea Party is a right-wing populist movement with a specific ideology. It resides in the aging white base of the Republican Party and wants to purge that party of leaders who veer from its dogma. But divisive as the Tea Party may be within the G.O.P., it’s hardly good news for President Obama and the Democrats either. Paul is articulate and hard-line. When he says he is antigovernment, he means it. Unlike McConnell, he wants to end all earmarks, including agricultural subsidies for a state that thrives on them. (He does vow to preserve Medicare payments, however; they contribute to his income as an ophthalmologist.) He wants to shut down the Department of Education and the Federal Reserve. Though a social conservative who would outlaw all abortions, he believes the federal government should leave drug enforcement to the states. It’s also in keeping with this ideology that Paul wants the federal government to stop shoveling taxpayers’ money into wars. He was against the war in Iraq and finds the justification for our commitment in Afghanistan “murky.” He believes that America’s national security is “not threatened by Iran having one nuclear weapon.” No wonder he didn’t get Cheney’s endorsement; Paul also opposes the enhanced government surveillance mandated by the Patriot Act. The Tea Party is a rolling rebuke to the neocons’ quarter-century dominance of the G.O.P. MORE

PREVIOUSLY: ATLAS MUGGED: Rand Paul’s Foot-In-Mouth Disease

RELATED: Last Night I Sneaked Into The Tea Party

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