January 02, 2006

Conservatism = authoritarianism

The wiretap scandal (if it's not a scandal yet, wait until civilization restarts tomorrow) and its apologists has, I think, offered a great deal of support to my earlier thesis, that contemporary conservatism has become the intellectual heir to the likes of Thomas Hobbes' authoritarianism.

The following, from Jon Carroll's gloss on the pro-wiretap arguments, is precisely the logic Hobbes uses to claim the people can never have a grievance against their sovereign. I don't know whether Carroll's more directly paraphrasing Hobbes or some wiretapping apologist, but it sounds like it could have come out of either situation.

The president was elected by the people. They chose him; therefore he represents the will of the people. The people would never act against their own interests; therefore, the president can never act against the best interests of the people.

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