Conservatism Isn`t What It Used To Be


When
I was in the

Reagan administration,
America had a lively press
that never hesitated to take us to task. Even the

"Teflon President"
received more brickbats than Bush and
Cheney.

The
lively press disappeared along with its independence in
the media concentration engineered during the Clinton
administration. Shortly thereafter all the liberal news
anchors disappeared as well. Today the US media serves
as propaganda ministry for the government`s wars and
police state. Yet, some conservatives continue to rant
on about "the liberal media."

That
other conservative bugaboo, liberal academia, has also
been crushed. Universities once controlled their
appointments, but no more. Recently, the political
science faculty at DePaul, a Catholic university, voted
to give tenure to the courageous scholar and teacher

Norman Finkelstein
. The department was unable to
make its tenure decision stick over the objections of
the Israel Lobby and their conservative allies, who were
able to reach in over the heads of the political science
department and the College Personnel Committee and force
DePaul`s president to block Finkelstein`s tenure.
Finkelstein, a Jew, had angered the Israel Lobby with
his criticisms of Israel`s misuse of the holocaust
sufferings of Jews to oppress the Palestinians and to
silence critics.  

On
September 14, 2007, the Los Angeles Times
reported that the appointment of the distinguished legal
scholar Erwin Chemerinsky as the Dean of a new law
school at the University of California at Irvine had
been withdrawn by the university`s chancellor, Michael
V. Drake, who gave in to the demands of conservatives
outside the university. Conservatives are outraged at
Chemerinsky because he criticized Attorney General
Gonzales. In withdrawing Chemerinsky`s appointment,
Drake told him: "I didn`t realize there would be
conservatives out to get you."
   [Furor
disrupts plans for UCI school of law
, By Garrett
Therolf, Rebecca Trounson and Richard C. Paddock,
September 14, 2007]

Gonzales is

the attorney general
who wrote memos justifying
torture and

denying
that the Bush administration was bound by
the Geneva Conventions. Gonzales told a

stunned Senate Judiciary Committee th
at the US
Constitution did not provide habeas corpus protection to
American citizens.

To
experience an attorney general of the US fiercely
attacking the US Constitution, rending its every
provision, is the most frightening experience of my
lifetime. That the head of the legal branch of the
executive, sworn to uphold the Constitution, would turn
against it in order to enhance unaccountable executive
power is a clear impeachable offense. If anyone anywhere
in the world deserved criticism, Gonzales did. But when
Chemerinsky unbraided the despicable Gonzales,
conservatives rushed to Gonzales` defense, not to the
defense of the American Constitution.

It
seems only yesterday that conservatives were complaining
about the liberties that liberals took with the
Constitution. Liberals were expanding rights, fancifully
perhaps. But today conservatives are curtailing long
established rights, such as
habeas corpus
and

protection against self-incrimination
. Conservatives
abandoned "original intent" and all of their
constitutional scruples once they had a chance to cram
more power into the presidency.

In my
conservative days as an academic, I experienced some
liberal blackballs. But liberals did not attack academic
freedom per se. The new conservatives despise academic
freedom and have created organizations to monitor
departments of Middle East studies in order to lower the
boom on scholars who follow the truth instead of
neoconservative ideology or Israeli policy. Today
academic freedom has disappeared just like the
independent media. No one but powerful organized
interest groups has a voice. In the media truth can only
emerge on comic shows like The Colbert Report and
Jon Stewart`s The Daily Show.

In
years past, conservatives were often shouted down on
university campuses by left-wing students. But today
speakers disapproved by powerful interest groups are
simply disinvited in advance. Even Harvard University
has fallen to the new censorship. On September 14, 2007,
the

Harvard Crimson reported
that the Israel Lobby was able to force
Harvard University to disinvite three speakers, an
Oxford University professor, a DePaul professor, and a
Rutgers professor, because they had criticized Israeli
policy.

In
America today, speaking your mind in the media or in
academia is a thing of the past. A country that has no
voices independent of powerful interests is a country in
which freedom is dead.

COPYRIGHT

CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.


Paul Craig Roberts

[
email
him
] was Assistant
Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration.
He is the author of


Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider`s Account of
Policymaking in Washington
;
 Alienation
and the Soviet Economy
and

Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy
,
and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of


The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and
Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name
of Justice
. Click

here
for Peter
Brimelow`s
Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts
about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.