Modern conservatives constantly rail against left-wing collectivism and central planning.

Well pot…meet kettle.

Recently, Donald Trump suggested America should just “take the oil” out of Iraq. Now, anybody who values liberty should recoil at such a suggestion. After all, the oil doesn’t belong to America. Normal people call taking things from others theft. But in modern conservatism, this apparently passes as a good idea.

Writing for Punching Bag Media, Joe A. Gilbertson jumped to Trump’s defense, suggesting “we” should take control of the oil, sell it on the global market and put the money in escrow. Gilbertson offers two reasons for this theft – I mean strategy.

First, he says it would deny those funds to ISIS and other corrupt government officials in the region. From a purely strategic sense, this has some merit. But Gilbertson’s second point drills down to the real reason he and other neo-cons would love to get their hands on Iraqi oil.


It has always been said ‘he who has the gold, makes the rules.’ If we agree to rebuild a country after a devastating war,  we (or the U.N. or other arbiters) can bring in professional project managers to manage rebuilding the nations infrastructure.  No more channeling funds to the cousin of the mayor, or diverting to buy extra shoulder fired rockets…It might very well be a bad idea to keep the money ourselves, but if the locals believe the money may never be released to them, they have no option but to cooperate. We call the shots, we release the money only where it can be accounted for.”

Gilbertson perfectly illustrates the dangerous arrogance of the political central planner. The good ol’ USofA knows best, so it will take the oil and then use it to manipulate the poor ignorant locals into doing what’s best.

Here’s a question: how exactly is this any different than levying a”tax” on not buying health insurance to ensure the poor ignorant plebes get the health coverage they really need?

Answer: none.

The same impulse that makes progressives want to intervene in every area of domestic life (for the people’s own good) drives the neo-cons’ desire to intervene around the world (for the people’s own good).

On a side-note, I love the way Gilbertson acts like war just happens in some kind  of vacuum and the U.S. comes in benevolently to “rebuild.” I mean, when one nation rolls in and destroy another country, don’t you think it might take on some kind of moral obligation to fix what it wrecked? Not that moral principles have anything to do with U.S. foreign policy – but I’m just sayin’.

The bottom line is there exists zero difference between the foundational philosophy driving the modern conservative movement and the foundational philosophy driving modern progressive movement. Both find their roots in collectivism (note Gilbertson’s use of “we”), authoritarianism and central planning. They may want to project their power toward different ends, but both sides share the same core belief – manipulate, coerce and control.

For all their talk about freedom and liberty, many modern American conservatives are just a different brand of progressive.