TCS Daily

NeoConservatism vs. NeoFukayama

By Michael Brandon McClellan - March 3, 2006 12:00 AM

Francis Fukuyama's widely heralded recent critique of the neoconservative paradigm, titled "After Neoconservatism" in the New York Times seems to stem more from a change of heart in Fukuyama than an actual changing of circumstances on the ground in the Middle East. The long term necessity of injecting freedom into the Middle East remains unchanged. Has it been a hard road thus far? It has. Will it continue to be? Yes. Indeed, as I write this, many fear a possible Iraqi civil war along sectarian lines. But as a clear thinking friend of mine recently said, you can't tuck and run because a Sunni thug punches you in the nose. No one should have ever believed that combating Jihadism would be easy.

The perilous facts that made democratic construction the best choice among insufficient alternatives in the Spring of 2003 still remain valid today. Three years ago, when the United States military toppled Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime in Iraq, the Bush administration recognized two things: 1) the status quo in the Middle East characterized by authoritarian dictatorships presiding over rabid Islamist dissenters marked an acute security threat for the United States, and 2) democratization and liberalization marked the uniquely effective means of altering that status quo in a manner capable of creating a viable long term solution to Jihadist terrorism.

While progress in Afghanistan and the great success of the Iraqi elections have served to emphatically validate democratic construction, augmented Iranian belligerence under the "elected" Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the election of Hamas in Palestine have brought the nay-sayers forward with a vengeance. As Fukuyama noted, such developments have summoned some to advocate a realpolitik that favors the support of friendly dictators and the scrapping of democratizing efforts. Many are now overtly arguing that the idea of democratizing the Middle East is just too darn dangerous.

Such a policy of dictator promotion is as shortsighted now as it was in 2003, or as it was on September 10, 2001. Dictators are band-aids, loosely placed over a festering wound of Jihadist rage. Band-aids always fall off. Band-aids do not heal wounds. If we support the band-aids, we ally ourselves with the status quo that continues to promote Islamism as the only viable alternative to corrupt authoritarian rule.

There is one institution that an authoritarian regime cannot ban in a Muslim country -- the mosque. It should come as no surprise that the mosque serves as the primary non-regime power center in the authoritarian Muslim world. It should also come as no surprise that Islamists constitute the most organized and powerful interest group in the immediate wake of liberalization -- and they have a considerable head start.

Secular, rational opposition and dissent can be, and is, crushed by Middle Eastern "friendly" regimes on a daily basis; the same friendly regimes that brought us the 9-11 hijackers.

Consider the plight of the eleven Middle Eastern journalists who dared to inject common sense into the debate over the international Danish cartoon crisis. As the New York Times reported, Jordanian reporter Jihad Momani dared to write the following in conjunction with reprinting the cartoons, "What brings more prejudice against Islam, these caricatures or pictures of a hostage-taker slashing the throat of his victim in front of the cameras, or a suicide bomber who blows himself up during a wedding ceremony?"

Momani's point is a very good one. It is eminently reasonable, and it is essential that such a message is disseminated to combat the insanity of the Islamist rioting and embassy burning in response to the cartoons. However, such messages are not proliferating under the current Middle Eastern status quo. How was Momani rewarded? He was arrested. Indeed, the arresting of Momani and the ten other journalists who dared challenge the cartoon propaganda points clearly to the danger of the Middle Eastern status quo and the folly of propping up dictators who simultaneously crush rational dissent while permitting Jihadist opposition.

Thus, Fukuyama correctly recognizes the imminent danger of any "realism" that allies the United States with forces that are committed to preventing democratization and liberalization in the Arab world. However, he does so in a way that evidences his fealty to the eminently ineffective Woodrow Wilson. Wilson foolishly believed that peace could be promoted and that freedom could be defended in the absence of force. It is worth remembering that his brainchild, the flaccid League of Nations, demonstrated its non-military peacekeeping worth by permitting Mussolini to crush Ethiopia, Hitler to occupy the Rhineland, and Japan to forcibly steal Manchuria. Wilson leads to Munich.

Fukuyama advocates the "demilitarization" of the war on terror, and the augmentation of organizations such as the State Department and multilateral international organizations. Such a sentiment would make Woodrow Wilson proud. However, given the historical record, it is hardly a sufficient prescription. Indeed, it is ominous. A policy that is limited to diplomatic engagement with the very authoritarian beneficiaries of the Middle Eastern status quo cannot reasonably be expected to alter the terror producing status quo.

Let us therefore lay it out clearly -- Fukuyama is merely arguing a nuanced liberal internationalism. His conclusion is as follows:

"Neoconservatism, whatever its complex roots, has become indelibly associated with concepts like coercive regime change, unilateralism and American hegemony. What is needed now are new ideas, neither neoconservative nor realist, for how America is to relate to the rest of the world -- ideas that retain the neoconservative belief in the universality of human rights, but without its illusions about the efficacy of American power and hegemony to bring these ends about."

Therein rests the difference between neoconservatism, which is democratic realism, and the Wilsonian idealism of Francis Fukuyama. Both groups believe in the essentiality of promoting freedom as a matter of policy. Only one however, recognizes the vital relationship between the promotion and protection of freedom and the wielding of hard power. As I wrote in TCS back in 2004, those who abide by the law of the jungle will not voluntarily accept the rule of law in the absence of force. Make no mistake about it; American withdrawal would leave the Middle East to the control of thugs and terrorists. While America is powerful, it must strive to change the heretofore disastrous Middle Eastern status quo for the better.

The core problem with the liberal internationalism Fukuyama advocates is that it establishes, by default, what dictator-propping realism establishes by intent - a preservation of the Middle Eastern status quo. As the Wall Street Journal aptly noted, the period of 1981 to 2001 coincided with "the rise of al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah, the first World Trade Center bombing, the bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa and the USS Cole, the outbreak of the terrorist intifada in Israel, and September 11. Mr. Fukuyama may or may not be right that promoting democracy does not resolve the problem of terrorism in the short-term. What we know for sure is that tolerating dictatorship not only doesn't resolve the terrorist problem but actively nurtures it."

Let us also not naively forget that Jihadist terrorism has the potential to bring a far worse attack than September 11th. We must continue to strive to change the status quo of the Middle East, and neoconservatism is of far more value in that capacity than is the new Fukuyama.

Michael Brandon McClellan is an attorney and writer living in Southern California. He runs the blog Port McClellan (


Democracy or pressure tactics?
The only clear alternative to propping up these fossilised old dictatorships is to usher in a period of strongly Islamic regimes and see what comes in their wake. Any nation of the Near East today, when given free and fair elections, will be voting for the religious party. In nations like Egypt and Syria the embedded dictatorships destroyed the liberal, secular parties many years ago. This gives parties that may genuinely be pro-Western no chance of winning. It seems apparent that in Morocco and Algeria also, not to mention a place like Pakistan, in any fair election the mullahs would win by overwhelming margins.

In Iran there can be little bickering over the fairness of the election. Some sort of winnowing process is needed there to reduce the over 200 contenders to a manageable set of options, and their process is not like our conventions and primaries. But what are the results? Last time out, the reformer Khatami won. And in the recent elections the final five choices included no fewer than two reformers, one moderate, a right winger and a radical right winger. I think all Iran was surprised when the radical right winger won-- they were assuming the post would go to Rafsanjani. But obviously the public chose Ahmedinejad as a response to America's radical right wing regime. Look for some such candidate to come to power in any fair election across the Crescent, for obvious reasons.

The neoconservative strategy is an expensive one-- to stay in place at all costs and act as a spoiler, so we can prop up some ostensibly pro-American candidate and show off a veneer of respectability. It's expensive to maintain such a presence, in both gold and blood, and it just won't work. We could be there forty years and the year we left, our stooges would still be pulled down by the crowd.

No, it's best to let the people have their say. Given time, their religious zealota can evolve. In fact they must, given that the demands of ruling a country are quite different than the talents displayed in stirring up the crowd.

The one thing that will destroy our chances to influence the region will be to continue our military presence, and be seen as the oppressor. The author notes accurately that the period 1981-2001 was the period that saw the rise of violent Islamism. Please recall that it was also the period that saw the rise of American meddling in Near Eastern politics. The two are sides of the same coin.

Upgrade Military Capabilities to Meet Mideast Goals
“ideas that retain the neoconservative belief in the universality of human rights, but without its illusions about the efficacy of American power and hegemony to bring these ends about."

It is true that American power has been less that adequate in controlling violence in Iraq. US forces have only limited capability to prevent IED’s, suicide bombers and car bombers from destroying life and property. But this does not imply that the US goal of Democratization is wrong, only that our tools are not up to the task. If US military and intelligence departments would place top priority in developing the technologies needed for “Peace Keeping”, the US goals in Iraq and elsewhere in the middle east would be very doable.

No To NeoFukayama
Just finished reading "The Pentagon's New Map" (thank you Tech-Central for bringing it to my attention), and it seems clearer to me that what is needed in the Middle East is BOTH an initial American military presence to bring down the bad guys who have run those nations into the ground AND a -- preferably international - effort to bring those nations into the 21st Century. Just because the New York Times and the rest of the old, liberal media insist that we're wasting our treasure, blood, sweat and tears there, doesn't make it so. True, the jury still is out. But the people of Iraq and Afganistan have, for the first time in modern history, a chance to step into future with hope and freedom. If they don't choose to take that step, it will be their fault, not ours. I think they will step foreward.

A basic misreading of Fukayama
I believe Michael McClellan has seriously misread or misunderstood Fukuyama's argument. Or he's misrepresenting it in order to attack what is, instead, a cogent argument against the basis of neoconservative foreign policy.

This belief rests on two arguments.

First, McClellan ignores the heart of Fukuyama's article, which points out the incorrect conclusion the neocons drew from the collapse of the Soviet Empire. Fukuyama argues the lesson the neocons took from the fall was that dictatorships require only a simple push and a repressed love of freedom and democracy will burst forth; with little trouble or birthing pain. In no time at all, fully functioning republics would blossom among formerly oppressed people.

Fukuyama argues that the neocons accepted this lesson without resorting to their usually hard-nosed analysis of what truly creates and develops human improvement. This analysis served the neocons well in analyzing the effectiveness of government in combating poverty and other domestic ills. As Fukuyama describes it:

"If there was a single overarching theme to the domestic social policy critiques issued by those who wrote for the neoconservative journal The Public was the limits of social engineering. Writers like Glazer, Moynihan and, later, Glenn Loury argued that ambitious efforts to seek social justice often left societies worse off than before because they either required massive state intervention that disrupted pre-existing social relations (for example, forced busing) or else produced unanticipated consequences (like an increase in single-parent families as a result of welfare)."

But starry-eyed over the rapid change in the Soviet Empire, they overlooked the important role that history and culture play in building and sustaining freedom and democracy. This led the mistaken belief that all that was needed was to apply a little force and the benighted regions of the world could just as easily be transformed. Fukuyama describes it this way:

"This overoptimism about postwar transitions to democracy helps explain the Bush administration's incomprehensible failure to plan adequately for the insurgency that subsequently emerged in Iraq. The war's supporters seemed to think that democracy was a kind of default condition to which societies reverted once the heavy lifting of coercive regime change occurred, rather than a long-term process of institution-building and reform. While they now assert that they knew all along that the democratic transformation of Iraq would be long and hard, they were clearly taken by surprise. According to George Packer's recent book on Iraq, "The Assassins' Gate," the Pentagon planned a drawdown of American forces to some 25,000 troops by the end of the summer following the invasion."

This leads to my second argument that McClellan is not accurately reflecting Fukuyama's critique. He would make it seem that Fukuyama is a toothless Wilsonian who would rather prop up dictators, stick his head in the sand when faced with islamofascist, or some combination of the two. Otherwise, why try and hang the hackneyed connection that Wilsonianism leads to "Munich" around Fukuyama's neck?

Nothing could be farther from the truth. Fukuyama argues that it takes more than "hard" force to establish democracy. It also requires the long-hard investment of "soft" resources. However, that doesn't mean he rejects the need to use force when necessary. He is not a toothless Wilsonian; but instead clearly states that there are hot wars we must fight and win. But changing the Middle East, and building democracy, is not done through military force alone. As he writes:

"Now that the neoconservative moment appears to have passed, the United States needs to reconceptualize its foreign policy in several fundamental ways. In the first instance, we need to demilitarize what we have been calling the global war on terrorism and shift to other types of policy instruments. We are fighting hot counterinsurgency wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and against the international jihadist movement, wars in which we need to prevail. But "war" is the wrong metaphor for the broader struggle, since wars are fought at full intensity and have clear beginnings and endings. Meeting the jihadist challenge is more of a "long, twilight struggle" whose core is not a military campaign but a political contest for the hearts and minds of ordinary Muslims around the world."

Fukuyama's argument, similar to Niall Ferguson's, is that hard force alone is not sufficient to build democracy. It requires the development of, and investment in, American foreign development agencies that can help build the desire and habits of democracy. That is why Fukuyama argues for increases to the State Department and USAID; not as a replacement for "hard" force but as a compliment to it.

Fukuyama argues that America, without question, has the force to impose its will anywhere and at any time. But the imposition of will is not the same as creating democratic institutions or habits. As he writes:

"By definition, outsiders can't "impose" democracy on a country that doesn't want it; demand for democracy and reform must be domestic. Democracy promotion is therefore a long-term and opportunistic process that has to await the gradual ripening of political and economic conditions to be effective."

To sum up, Fukayama roots the problems we face in Iraq on a fundamentally wrong conclusion that the neocons drew from the collapse of the Soviet empire. This conclusion, that all dictatorships need is a little push and democratic nations will rapidly appear, led to the overconfidence and poor planning self-evident in the way the US conducted the war and occupation.

Fukuyama argues that, had the neocons applied their own hard-headed analytical tradition it would have led them to question the ability of any government to impose democracy through force alone. And a wiser course is to use force when necessary, but only as an adjunct to the soft investments in building democracy.

For some reason McClellan chose not to address the main theme or arguments of Fukuyama's article, and instead paint him as some wooly-headed Wilsonian more comfortable appeasing dictators and avoiding fights. For those who actually read Fukuyama's article, nothing could be further from the truth.

Scott Hawkins

The best thing I've ever read on TCS
Thank you, Mr. Hawkins. You are a breath of fresh air.

Nicely framed
Masterful, Mr Hawk. You're too good for this crowd.

What Fukuyama has discovered is the obvious: if instead of merely invading and knocking an already-flat Afghanistan even flatter (for instance) we had decided to go in and institute a serious infrastructure rebuilding effort utilizing local labor, what would have been the result?

Principally there would have been bona fide employment there, for probably the first time since the 1960's. People would have quit their old choices (the opium fields and warlords) in droves to flock to places where they could actually get paid for making the country work better.

But, of course, that was never the point. Such moneys as are allocated to infrastructure projects only go to American contractors, to spend on American help. Thus the locals, untouched by any whiff of progress, get grumpy and in time go back to their old ways. Sad... you can emply fifty Afghans with shovels at far greater savings than you can import one driver and D-9 Cat from Tennessee. And the ripple effect of the money going out into the community is incomparably beneficial.

A cheaper, more effective solution to fighting a losing war on drugs would have been simply to outbid the drug lords in buying up the crop. Which then could have been burned in place by a monitoring team. The farmers would get paid, the drug lords would be out of business and the job would be done. Again, money going into the community.

Militarization of the problem has produced the same result in Iraq as in Afghanistan: a stalemate is quickly achieved, whereby our garrisons are surrounded by ***** Territory. There's still a no-man's land between the Green Zone and the airport. If the American press were actually concerned with bringing the true picture to all of us stay-at-homes, the troops would be back by now from their failed errands abroad.

And the locals could wave at them departing, saying "When you come back, bring fewer guns and more money".

I find it very interesting, that the same people who for decades condemned the US for propping up dictators in the middle east, when the policy was the containment of Communism, are now demanding that we prop up dictators in the Middle East.

Roy's misconceptions
As usual, Roy manages to get everything wrong.

Afghanistan and Iraq have elected decidely non Islamic govts.

Roy declares the Iranian election to be completely fair, despite the fact that the only candidates who were allowed to run, were those that got the seal of approval from the hard line clerics.

Prometheus accelerated
Instead of a debate about Liberal vs Conservative foreign policy, it should be a debate about the Bush Doctrine.

The Neocon Temptation
by Patrick J. Buchanan
Human Events, March 3, 2006

...America has made many blunders in this war. The greatest was to invade Iraq on the pretext it was a threat to the United States and inflame 300 million Arabs and a billion Muslims against us.

...Our fate, it seems, is to be that of Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods and gave it to man. As punishment, he was chained to a rock, as vultures ate at his liver. And so, too, are we CHAINED BY OUR OWN RESPONSIBILITY for what is about to happen -- to the rock of Iraq.

...Were this a financial investment, IRAQ WOULD HAVE BEEN WRITTEN OFF AND OUR LOSSES CUT a long time ago. But for Bush to write it off is to write himself off as a failed president who committed the greatest strategic blunder in U.S. history.

And so the president is now being OFFERED A WAY OUT BY HIS NEOCON COUNSELORS: ESCALATE. Take the war to the enemy, as we should have from the beginning. Use U.S. air power to wipe Iran's nuclear facilities off the map. Go all-out for victory...

What nonsense
In politics, one either frames one's opponents and oneself in juxtaposition, or vice versa. How is "America to relate the world"? Well, that's either up to America or the world. Realpolitik requires agitprop.

Next, democracy is a lousy tactic for a violent minority that will never get its way by political persuasion, and frankly, doesn't deserve to. So what other options are left the Sunnis? Check out the news at six.

International politics is a pile of manure with only a rumour of a pearl of wisdom burried in its noisome mass. This is why no wisdom comes out of the mouths of the pundits who discuss it, but only crap.

The Iranian election
You're entitled to your opinion, M-t-G, but I don't find the Iranian system to be less democratic than the American. They have one Supreme Council deciding who is a viable candidate, while we have two-- the Democrats and the Republicans. Do you imagine that undesirable candidates have a chance of even being mentioned in the caucuses? By the time the choices are offered to the public, the exact same winnowing process has been applied to the field as was done in Iran.

Under your theory, only candidates reflecting the Council line would be offered, as is the case in undemocratic societies. But in fact Rafsanjani was a moderate with long experience in accomodating to the US, and was quite popular with the voters. Why did they admit his candidacy?

Moeen was far further to the left-- a real radical. Why did they allow his name on the ballot?

For that matter, explain Khatemi. How come he managed to be elected and stay in office for his full term? Can it be that the Iranian system has checks and balances built in, much like our own system?

I think we should all take a dose of reality from time to time, just to keep our thinking caps on straight. In that spirit, please consider reading this non-ideological view of the election:,_2005

Persuation anyone?
So it is not ok for the USA to use extreme coercion in defense of the the country, but it is ok for the USA to use coercision within the USA to promote "social welfare"?
What is the difference:
Neocons want to apply force to achieve their goals and the 'progressives' want to apply force at home to acheive their goals.
Anyone argue for persuasion?

Friendly persuasion
You say "So it is not ok for the USA to use extreme coercion in defense of the the country, but it is ok for the USA to use coercision within the USA to promote "social welfare"? What is the difference"

The technique being employed. Liberals recommending that the Social Security program not be scuttled, for instance, don't employ waterboarding. For us, reasoned argument is more appropriate.

This is merely a hypothetical, but do you suppose our practises such as waterboarding and sexual humiliation have resulted in the creation of fewer, or more anti-Americans?

Grand Scheme
Water boarding and sexual humiliation (which some pay for, especially in more liberal cities) I would argue are minor coercive methods compared to B2 bombers, JSOW, M1 tanks, Javelins, M-60s, Tomahawks, etc.
I would submit that when resonable people compare the few incidents of 'waterboarding'and sexual humiliation with televised beheadings, and when the US government conducts extensive investigations and convicts perpetrators in courts of law, resonable people might wonder why those who employ extreme forms of torture, like cutting of a person's head with a knife, on TV, or intentionally attacking civilians, why there is little or no condemnation by their governments or people or their or our press?
Or why does the liberal believe that the rich person's money could be better spent by the liberals and uses the government to take it? Or when the liberal can't convince his fellow citizens, he uses judges to make laws the majority oppose like bussing and abortion and homosexual marriage?
No, liberals know nothing of coercion do they?

I would challenge the liberal press in the USA to start a montage of images, assigning equivalent time, say 5 seconds per death, to each act committed by the terrorists and by US forces. Show the planes flying into the the Pentagon, and the WTC, show those killed on the Cole, show all those victims of bombings in Isreal, show Nick Berg getting his head cut off, show the sholdiers in Abu Grab treating some who have committed these acts like the animals they are. A lot of time is spent showing US abuse, don't see much detail of abuse caused by the terrorists do we?

Propping up dictators
Who would that be? Isn't it mostly the same people who advised that we should be propping up dictators, who are now saying we should be propping up dictators?

When you advocate actual (not sham) democracy, you can't act too surprised when the people exercise their will. And that's not always how you would want them to be.

So where's the coercion?
Pardon me for saying this, but I think you're a little mixed up. If instead of B-52 bombings, the destruction of cities and indefinite detention of individuals without trial we were cutting off the heads of hostages, I think the same folks would be objecting.

You won't find anyone in my neighborhood admiring or condoning those behaviors. That they are inhuman and despicable should go without saying.

You will, however find a great many who say that the kind of person who excuses "our" behaviors whil loudly condemning "theirs" is a hypocrite. I guess that's why we are so unpopular.

As for liberal coercion, it is the case that 64% of us still believe abortion should be legal but rare, while only 31% think it should be illegal. (ABC poll) Overwhelmingly, we also believe that if two loving people want to marry the state shouldn't have the ability to interfere. That seems almost libertarian, doesn't it?

We also believe that if anyone gets taxed we should all get taxed-- excepting only those with a reduced ability to pay. So when we see the largest corps getting a free ride through their enjoyment of the right of special legislation, while smaller businesses get taxed through the nose, we think it unfair and disloyal to the principles the nation was founded on.

By the liberal press, of course, you mean the corporately owned press. Those who print whatever sells, because their goal is to maximize profit. It is they who give the public what it wants.

That corporate press rarely shows American abuses because they don't want to alienate their access to people who grant them interviews. Neither do they often show the abuses of terrorists-- because they don't know any. Many small fry, like the young reporter currently still held hostage, become the victims of such abuses.

A clarification
You said " In nations like Egypt and Syria the embedded dictatorships destroyed the liberal, secular parties many years ago."

No such institutions existed in either of those two countries. Egypt went from being a puppet monarchy administered by the British to being a dictatorship under Nasser. Syria went from being a posession of the French to a dictatorship under Assad. It was the dictatorships which were secular, with no "liberal" movement to speak of.

Not every state supports abortion on demand and most Americans do not support partial birth abortion. In any case, the court 30 years ago took away a state's right to choose by finding a right that did not exist. Abortion should have been left to the states to decide or a Constitutional amendment should have been drafted. The court continued to find rights that did not exist and force us into school busing and many other situation they had no constitutional authority to order.

"You will, however find a great many who say that the kind of person who excuses "our" behaviors whil loudly condemning "theirs" is a hypocrite. I guess that's why we are so unpopular."

So to you there is no difference between murder and killing?
And with whom do you want to be popular? Those who threaten to kill you and your family and neighbors?

" Overwhelmingly, we also believe that if two loving people want to marry the state shouldn't have the ability to interfere."

If the state chooses to grant special status and privelege to those who are married, they have the obligation to define marriage. If the state does not have any ability to interfere, then it should not grant any legal status to marriage.

BTW, why limit marriage to only two people? Why not three or four or ... why limit to people? Why not dogs or cats or horses or...?

"That corporate press rarely shows American abuses because they don't want to alienate their access to people who grant them interviews. "

Those pictures from Abu Grab stayed in the corporate press a long time and offened lots of people, but those cartoons were only printed in two or three US papers. Guess they wanted a chance to interview some rioters.

Most Americans want an accurate and balanced presentation of the news. Fox News beat CNN because they do present more sides than thier competition.

Liberal movements in the Arab world
To be sure, Colin. There were never liberal parties so strong they had any chance of winning. And the dictatorships that became fossilized in amber across the Arab world were all secular.

What I intended was to convey that in all of these countries there were aspiring liberals running newspapers, speaking out publicly, writing books or otherwise being a nuisance. Those people all disappeared in the cellars years ago. Therefore the only viable opposition candidates in these countries are the Islamists. Hold a fair, democratic election in Jordan, Syria, Algeria, Morocco or the big one, Egypt, and the Brotherhood or something like it will sweep the board in all of them. Saudi Arabia will never, of course, have elections. Only stasis or revolution for them.

The strategy of encouraging this sort of thing is unclear to me. But a strategy there must be. I'm less and less buying the notion that our leaders are just really stupid people. Maybe they just want to keep the fear alive, since fear wins elections.

Rights that don't exist
"Not every state supports abortion on demand."

States are only collections of individuals. Among individuals, about twice as many are pro-choice as they are pro-life. To minimize the states' interference with the personal rights of its citizens, abortion should not be an option for those who oppose it. It should be an option for those who condone it.

As for this finding of "rights that do not exist", all rights are invented by human beings that seek a "more perfect union" every time they add a new right.

I intuit that you are a fan of the Founding Fathers. But they felt that humans had no inherent right not to be bought and sold by other, more prosperous human beings. In response to their omission, men and women of good will just decided to add that right. So they wrote it in.

Are you saying that since it wasn't in the original Constitution, it shouldn't be a right? That's a little like saying that if it ain't in the Bible, it just ain't so. Time moves on, and we add things to scripture whenever we find it to be deficient in some respect.

On the right to marry whom one wants, let's suppose you want to get married and I tell you I have a problem with it. Don't you have every natural right to tell me to go to hell?

Please continue watching Fox News. I hope you understand that what you're watching is info-tainment, but won't be disappointed if you disagree. In my own occasional flips of the channel it seems to me that 90% of the time they're just trading opinions. And since they all agree with each other, no new ground is ever broken, opinion-wise. I say this despite Hannity's having hired on a paid stooge, Colmes, to play the part of a moronic liberal. In this role he is no more convincing than a white man in black face playing an addled "negro".

If you want the real thing, discussions on Jim Lehrer's News Hour, Meet the Press, Face the Nation and the like normally feature guests from all perspectives. Frequently something worth listening to results. But that's just my opinion.

I don't disagree with your right to hold opinions of your own. Just stay offa my freedoms.

The purpose of the Constitution was to define the limits of the power of the Federal Govenment.
Rights enumerated are not meant to be the only rights permitted, hence the 9 and 10 Amendment. (That was the fear of listing a Bill of Rights.)
The Constitution does not grant the authority of federal government via the courts to grant rights not listed in the Constitution. Those are left to the States.
The Constitution has an amendment process if you want abortion (infant murder) or marriage to be a federal right, then pass an amendment.
Your freedoms stop at the tip of my nose.

"On the right to marry whom one wants, let's suppose you want to get married and I tell you I have a problem with it. Don't you have every natural right to tell me to go to hell? "

Sure you and I can marry anyone we wish, but our neighbors (the state) has every right to deny legal recognition and any tax benefits. If you want the state to recognize your marriage then you must follow thier rules.

Before Fox I used to watch Sunday interview shows, but the host would never challenge any of the responses of their guests or force them to answer the question. Chris Wallace does a pretty good job as do many other Fox interviewers. They don't let officials get away with out answering the question. I notice I don't see some major liberals on any Fox interview shows. Are they afraid of answering questions?

sauce for the goose..
>If you want the state to recognize your marriage then you must follow thier rules.

What do you mean, "their rules." Thos are our rules. If the state does recognize the marriage, don't you have to do the same? Or is it only when the state does what you want it to?

No Subject
All states have marriage laws. Some now have laws more clearly defining marriage.
If people want to be recognized by the state that they are married they need a license from the state.
If you want a homosexual or polygamous marriage and your state does not recognize that marriage, then you are not considered married in that jurisdiction.
If the state is going to grant special rights and responsibilities to a married couple, then the state must define marriage.
And I agree, the state is us and lets bring it to a vote. Every state that has taken a vote has defined marriage as between one man and one woman.

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