You know, it used to be that “conservatives” (with a small “c”) were the ones who wanted the Constitution to be adhered to strictly and stringently. It was conservatives who wanted limited government, a balanced budget, and a government that was most assuredly made up of three coequal branches. It was conservatives who said, “Government isn’t the solution; government is the problem.” It was conservatives who told us not to trust the government.

Not any more, I guess.

In an article in the “Weekly Standard,” Michael Goldfarb instead tells us what the new Conservative (big “C”) position is: we should all shut the heck up and do whatever the government tells us to do, because it’s the “patriotic” thing. Because now we can trust the government. And of course it doesn’t matter that they’ve stripped habeus corpus away; these good ol’ boys that are in charge couldn’t possibly want to jail and arrest anyone but “bad guys.” These folks are good people, and will always do the right thing!

Forgive me if I bear in mind this idiotic war in Iraq, the fact that these “good people” were illegally spying on folks for years, and the fact that they now want to bomb Iran to “smithereens.” (Hey, Norman Podhoretz said it; I ain’t making it up).

How on Earth are we going to make it through the next year intact with these nuts in charge? Tom Paine would have started shooting people by now. I think Heinlein put it well in “The Cat Who Walks Through Walls,” believe it or not:

I sat down and shut up. I felt that I now understood the new regime: absolute freedom . . . except that any official from dogcatcher to supreme potentate could give any orders whatever to any private citizen at any time.

So it was “freedom” as defined by Orwell and Kafka, “freedom” as granted by Stalin and Hitler, “freedom” to pace back and forth in your cage. I wondered if the coming interrogation would be assisted by mechanical or electrical devices or by drugs, and felt sick at my stomach.

I’m not one for hysterics and crying “Wolf!”; I’ve got friends who do it a lot better than I do. But in this case, how can I help it? I hope we make it through the next year intact.