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5 Myths About Those Nefarious Neocons
Washington Post ^ | February 10, 2008 | Jacob Heilbrunn

Posted on 02/11/2008 12:13:41 PM PST by forkinsocket

As the Bush administration winds down, neoconservatism has become the most feared and reviled intellectual movement in American history. The neoconservatives have become the subject of numerous myths, mostly spread by their numerous detractors. They're seen as dangerous heretics by livid liberals as well as by traditional conservatives such as William F. Buckley Jr. and Patrick Buchanan.

So "neocon" has become a handy term of condemnation, routinely deployed to try to silence liberal hawks such as Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut or right-wing interventionists such as former deputy secretary of defense Paul D. Wolfowitz and the former Pentagon official Richard N. Perle, who's been nicknamed the "Prince of Darkness." That moniker aside, the neocons insist that there's nothing sinister about them; they simply believed that after 9/11, the United States should use its power to spread democracy throughout the Arab world, just as it had done in Eastern Europe and Central America during the Cold War. Their critics aren't so sure -- and the misconceptions grow.

1 The neocons are chastened liberals who turned right.

This is the self-mythologizing version that the neocons themselves like to spread. Don't believe a word of it. They weren't ever really liberals.

The one thing the movement's founders carried away from the sectarian ideological wars of the 1930s in New York was a prophetic temperament. Back then, Irving Kristol and a host of other future neocons were Trotskyist intellectuals who loathed their rivals, the vulgar Stalinists. Kristol and his comrades believed in creating a worker's paradise that would reject the totalitarianism of Stalin's Soviet Union in favor of a true Marxist utopia.

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Philosophy; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: iraq; jewish; jews; myths; neocons
.
1 posted on 02/11/2008 12:13:47 PM PST by forkinsocket
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To: forkinsocket

“Neocon” is one of those mindless names you get called by the left when you’ve beaten them in a debate.


2 posted on 02/11/2008 12:15:48 PM PST by Slapshot68
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To: forkinsocket

Great post.

Neocons are awesome and history will prove them the ultimate Victors.


3 posted on 02/11/2008 12:18:27 PM PST by lonestar67 (Its time to withdraw from the War on Bush-- your side is hopelessly lost in a quagmire.)
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To: forkinsocket

pat buchanan is not a conservative...pat buchanan is a moron


4 posted on 02/11/2008 12:18:43 PM PST by joe fonebone (Screw McPain....J. Fred Muggs for POTUS)
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To: forkinsocket

This just goes to show you how little help labels are in advancing meaningful debate about complex matters.


5 posted on 02/11/2008 12:19:01 PM PST by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: lonestar67
Neocons are awesome and history will prove them the ultimate Victors.

Neocons are flawed conservatives.

No real fidelity to fiscal or social conservatism, they don't even come close to Blue-Dog Democrats.

They are only useful to the conservative cause on Defense, National Security, and WOT issues. Otherwise they are a major waste of time.
6 posted on 02/11/2008 12:20:27 PM PST by SoConPubbie
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To: USFRIENDINVICTORIA
This just goes to show you how little help labels are in advancing meaningful debate about complex matters.

Unless of course you are a "real" conservative. ;-)

7 posted on 02/11/2008 12:20:28 PM PST by rhombus
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To: forkinsocket

Hey, the “neolibs”... the ones that call democracy spreading conservatives (that used to be liberals? makes no sense anyway) like Bush?... are “global warming” alarmists that have to have everything politically correct, would “sell their soul for a jelly roll” if they knew they had one.


8 posted on 02/11/2008 12:20:57 PM PST by CIDKauf
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To: forkinsocket

*


9 posted on 02/11/2008 12:21:27 PM PST by Sam Cree (absolute reality)
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To: joe fonebone

neomoron perhaps?


10 posted on 02/11/2008 12:21:36 PM PST by CIDKauf
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To: forkinsocket

Whatever a neo-con is, it is not conservative.


11 posted on 02/11/2008 12:22:25 PM PST by ex-snook ("Above all things, truth beareth away the victory.")
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To: forkinsocket
The neocons are chastened liberals who turned right.

[...] Irving Kristol and a host of other future neocons were Trotskyist intellectuals who loathed their rivals, the vulgar Stalinists. Kristol and his comrades believed in creating a worker's paradise that would reject the totalitarianism of Stalin's Soviet Union in favor of a true Marxist utopia. [...] Kristol and his fellow travelers briefly embraced liberalism in the late 1940s.

Yep...they'renot "chastened" liberals, but they're flat-out lefties. It's no wonder they are big nanny-statists, believing they know better than anyone else (including you) how to run your life.

Authoritarianism with new clothes. Too bad we don't all crave living in a Marxist utopia!

12 posted on 02/11/2008 12:23:35 PM PST by Gondring (I'll give up my right to die when hell freezes over my dead body!)
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To: USFRIENDINVICTORIA

“This just goes to show you how little help labels are in advancing meaningful debate about complex matters.”

Good point. One interesting thing about the current debate over McCain’s candidacy is that the so-called “neo-cons” seem to be teaming up with some of the establishment types that so opposed them on the Iraq war, while the so-called “movement conservatives,” who supported the neo-cons on Iraq are now disgusted with them.


13 posted on 02/11/2008 12:23:38 PM PST by dinoparty
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To: ex-snook
Whatever a neo-con is, it is not conservative.

So true.

Neo-Khan is a better term, I think. Or neo-con-artist.

14 posted on 02/11/2008 12:24:24 PM PST by Gondring (I'll give up my right to die when hell freezes over my dead body!)
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To: forkinsocket

There is no such thing as a “neocon”. That’s a word made up by liberals to insult Conservatives, and perpetuated by liberal leaning “conservatives” as a way to make themselves appear normal.


15 posted on 02/11/2008 12:25:33 PM PST by Rick.Donaldson (http://www.transasianaxis.com - Visit for lastest on DPRK/Russia/China/Etc --Fred Thompson for Prez.)
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To: SoConPubbie
They are only useful to the conservative cause on Defense, National Security, and WOT issues. Otherwise they are a major waste of time

And even in these issues, they aren't providing true "Defense"...as they weaken the country via fiscal irresponsibility.

Just wanting to fight the WoT makes a liberal a neocon, but it doesn't make him a conservative.

16 posted on 02/11/2008 12:26:23 PM PST by Gondring (I'll give up my right to die when hell freezes over my dead body!)
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To: SoConPubbie
Neocons are flawed conservatives.

Buchanan was ron target when he called them "Right-wing Trotskyites". They have the naive, wide-eyed, fantasy-based optimism of the left without the solid grounding in historical reality of the traditional right.

17 posted on 02/11/2008 12:27:00 PM PST by E. Cartman (Huckaboob will never be Vice President.)
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To: SoConPubbie

“Neocons are flawed conservatives.
No real fidelity to fiscal or social conservatism, they don’t even come close to Blue-Dog Democrats.
They are only useful to the conservative cause on Defense, National Security, and WOT issues. Otherwise they are a major waste of time.”

You forget that Bill Kristol was one of the primary forces behind the defeat of Hillary Care in the early Clinton years. He has also has been strong on life issues, from abortion to stem cells to cloning.


18 posted on 02/11/2008 12:27:03 PM PST by dinoparty
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To: forkinsocket
Neocons are really really smart people who know what is best for everyone.

If we don't listen to them and do what they tell us to, then we will be worse off.

Please read all the back issues of Commentary so you all know how to think properly about foreign and domestic policy.

19 posted on 02/11/2008 12:27:12 PM PST by who_would_fardels_bear
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To: who_would_fardels_bear
Neocons are really really smart people who know what is best for everyone.

That's only the most obvious hallmark of their leftist pedigrees.

20 posted on 02/11/2008 12:29:07 PM PST by E. Cartman (Huckaboob will never be Vice President.)
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To: forkinsocket
I'd be careful with this. Heilbrunn definitely has his own agenda and it shapes what he writes. He's very much against the neocons and very much in favor of some of their policies. So he ridicules them worse than they deserve, but defends them when he thinks that necessary.

The fact that the label is so slippery helps him out. But his own record is also pretty slippery. At one point something of a neocon himself, at another point perhaps a liberal hawk, now that those positions are less fashionable he backs away and mocks idea that he may once have held himself.

Interesting snippet on his book here

21 posted on 02/11/2008 12:31:26 PM PST by x
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To: E. Cartman

I always considered WFB to be the founder of the Neo-Con movement. I also thought I was one of them.


22 posted on 02/11/2008 12:32:13 PM PST by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: lonestar67
Neocons are awesome and history will prove them the ultimate Victors.

True. Societies tend to slog their way to self-destruction.

23 posted on 02/11/2008 12:33:00 PM PST by Gondring (I'll give up my right to die when hell freezes over my dead body!)
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To: lonestar67

When the USA goes to war, I want neocons in the Pentagon. Unfortunately with the Iraq war, nobody reminded the neocons about the history of the people in that region. They are a warring people who need an iron fist type of government to keep them from killing each other.


24 posted on 02/11/2008 12:33:48 PM PST by gettingoldernwiser (The White House isn't a church)
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To: Slapshot68

Interesting history lesson, anybody in Freepland able to prove or disprove? A counter or expansion in agreement would be quite edifying, I think.


25 posted on 02/11/2008 12:34:19 PM PST by TheKidster (you can only trust government to grow, consolidate power and infringe upon your liberties.)
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To: joe fonebone

joe fonebone??? are you Ringo’s Brother???


26 posted on 02/11/2008 12:37:46 PM PST by JG52blackman
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To: forkinsocket

They aren’t Neocons, they’re just cons.


27 posted on 02/11/2008 12:39:32 PM PST by farmer18th (Conservatives who vote McCain are like abused dogs who keep licking their master's hand...)
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To: massgopguy
I always considered WFB to be the founder of the Neo-Con movement. I also thought I was one of them.

Being part of a new conservative movement does not necessarily make one a neo-con (new conservative). WFB is much more of a paleo-con: someone who remains grounded in history and historical perspective; sets modest, realistic goals; and does not embrace the fantasy so many share with their leftist brethren: if we just try hard enough, we really can create heaven on earth.

28 posted on 02/11/2008 12:48:34 PM PST by E. Cartman (Huckaboob will never be Vice President.)
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To: forkinsocket

I doubt I’m a neocon because for 56 years I’ve believed in small government, strong defense, lower taxes, RKBA, and secure borders. I favored Ike in ‘52 when I was a little kid watching the convention on a black and white set with a round picture tube.


29 posted on 02/11/2008 12:54:57 PM PST by CholeraJoe (Super What? How much longer until Nascar starts?)
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To: forkinsocket
Neo Con is ever the trendy term these days. I have a very good friend who's book has been picked up by a legendary film director (the lucky SOB) and he was saying, "The only people to get the hidden meaning of my film have been the French... and the Neo Cons..." I hear the term a lot these days, but still can't figure out what it supposedly means.

And just the other day, I was at my gym when one of the trainers half-jokingly referred to me as a Neo Con. I said that since I had never been a liberal, I couldn't exactly be a Neo Con.

Took a political quiz online once, they said I was a PaleoCon -- whatever that is -- so can anyone explain the differences between the two?

30 posted on 02/11/2008 12:56:56 PM PST by RepoGirl ("Tom, I'm getting dead from you, but I'm not getting Undead..." -- Frasier Crane)
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To: ex-snook

When I first heard the term, it was describing the advocates of a big government, militarist socialism. When I suggested that wasn’t very conservative, I was called an anti-semite.

These policies and the associated shouting down of detracters remind me of another group from the dustbin of history, those who invented Politcal Correctness.


31 posted on 02/11/2008 1:06:15 PM PST by the gillman@blacklagoon.com (And close the damned borders!)
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To: massgopguy
I always considered WFB to be the founder of the Neo-Con movement. I also thought I was one of them.

In the 1950s liberals assumed that conservatism had died with Herbert Hoover, so anybody who defined himself or herself as a conservative was assumed to be a "neoconservative." For some, that meant Buckley, for others it meant people like Russell Kirk, who were bigger on community and tradition than free market capitalism.

In the 1970s, when a new group of liberal New Yorkers became disillusioned with Johnson, Lindsay, and McGovern, the socialist Michael Harrington revived the term to apply to them. And that's the usage which stuck, even though the second-generation "neocons" didn't go through that process of being on the left and moving right.

BTW, while we're on the history, Heilbrunn's a bit off the deep end in denying that the neocons were "liberals" before they went right. A lot of people were leftists or socialists in the 1930s. If they voted for Adlai Stevenson or Lyndon Johnson in the 1950s and 1960s, it's no stretch to call them "liberals."

One can hate the "neocons," but the idea that they were at one point more socialist than most of their opponents on the left is as much a "mythology" as anything they said about themself. It's also debatable whether they really had a greater "penchant for abusive invective and zest for combat" then their bitterest opponents, right or left.

32 posted on 02/11/2008 1:28:57 PM PST by x
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To: RepoGirl

Depends which version of neocon you use. The actual version, coined by Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz, is basically a pro-war global love cop liberal (Trotskyite in extreme cases). They were far left but became Republicans (note I didn’t say conservatives) during Vietnam because of support for the war. In some ways, they are modern day Rockefeller Republicans. Big government, globalism before patriotism, ect. Of course, the left now calls anyone who supports the war a neocon, which is totally ironic considering the architects of the war are their own. Also, in just about any Tinfoil Times “news” site a neocon is basically a warmongering jew controlled by big oil, big banking, ect.

I tend to stick with the original meaning myself, but the meaning has become so muddled it’s irrelevant.


33 posted on 02/11/2008 1:36:04 PM PST by Rob112586 (All I ask is a tall ship, and a strong wind to steer her by)
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To: E. Cartman

I don’t consider myself a neocon but people have tried to impugn me with the term. I’m very conservative after spending the first half of my life as being very liberal on a handful of positions. I have seen Pope Benedict labeled as a ‘neocon’ because the 1968 student riots caused him to re-think his liberalism and embrace a more orthodox Catholicism. Of course, anyone that a leftist doesn’t like is either a neocon, a fascist, a Nazi, bigot/racist/sexist/homophobe, so I don’t think the term means a whole lot...


34 posted on 02/11/2008 1:49:07 PM PST by philled ("Pacifism ... can only be preached behind the protective cover of the Royal Navy."-- Orwell)
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To: forkinsocket

When France and Russia (and China) signed multi-billion dollar contracts with Saddam in the late-nineties that would not be valid while sanctions were in place, and would similarly not be valid if Saddam were overthrown, I realized that the game was rigged. Sanctions would be on their way out, and Saddam would soon emerge from his box with UN and EU and Russian support.

You can’t expect much from the UN, for example, when the UN Security Council is in his pocket, and UN management is laundering his money for him.

Thats when I realized that our best choice was to take him down quickly. I voted for Bush in part because, reading between the lines, I thought he saw the same thing I did. And, reading between the lines, I believed he arrived in DC fully planning to take Saddam down at the first opportunity.

When we were hit on 911, I decided, and said frequently, that we would not be able to effectively wage war against all of Bin Ladin’s allies while leaving Saddam in place. That was my belief then, and remains my belief.

People who didn’t agree, and don’t agree, can call me anything they like.

As for the whole democratization thing, and the general rebuilding of Iraq and Afghanistan, no one questioned it when we rebuilt Germany and Japan, and democratized them after defeating them. Its part of the process. You defeat them, and then you install a government that preferably you won’t have to fight again in five years time.


35 posted on 02/11/2008 2:01:50 PM PST by marron
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To: Rob112586
Hmmm... okay.

I'd always operated under the impression that someone like David Horowitz or Ronald Radosh were NeoCons. Basically, red diaper babies who saw the light.

It does seem that Neo Con has taken on a much broader context. My friend (who's book was 'gotten' by said NC's) -- who's a flaming lib I don't dare discuss politics with (literary blacklist, my 'colleages' think I'm one of them, I'm ashamed to say) -- describes them as this sort of shadowy, uber fascist right leaning outfit. I guess that's the basic liberal take on 'neo con' these days, since the term crypto-fascist is just too much of a mouthful.

36 posted on 02/11/2008 2:09:19 PM PST by RepoGirl ("Tom, I'm getting dead from you, but I'm not getting Undead..." -- Frasier Crane)
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To: SoConPubbie

neocons are conservatives without borders

Government does kill. Rj rummel is right

Lincoln vision was global

Too bad for border bots


37 posted on 02/11/2008 2:46:20 PM PST by lonestar67 (Its time to withdraw from the War on Bush-- your side is hopelessly lost in a quagmire.)
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To: Slapshot68
“Neocon” is one of those mindless names you get called by the left when you’ve beaten them in a debate.

Debating liberals is like shooting fish in a barrel ... so, being who they are, they resort to name calling. Fact is, I'm warming up to the term "Neocon" ... may need a bumper sticker.

38 posted on 02/11/2008 2:57:42 PM PST by BluH2o
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To: forkinsocket

So, “Neocon” is just another way to say Jew.

I watched this guy on C-SPAN with his new book but I can’t figure out what the hell he is talking about. I had never heard of ‘neocons’ until we took over Congress in 1994. Newt, Delay, Lott and Limbaugh were suddenly neo-cons. None of them are Jews. And none of them were ‘form Trotskyites in the 1930s’.

Either ‘neocon’ is just a retarded myth like ‘evangelical democrats’ or it is a perjorative used by the Left to try to make us all sound like Nazis (which is exactly what it sounds like to the general public).

I don’t care about Irving Kristol. I don’t care about William Kristol. Neither one of them had anything to do with our invasion of Iraq and neither of them caused us to win the House & Senate in 2004. So I just consider anybody who seriously discusses it to either be uninformed or somebody with an agenda involving blaming Jews for everything.


39 posted on 02/11/2008 3:17:00 PM PST by bpjam (My party has fallen and it can't get up)
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To: Gondring
It all depends how you define neo-conservative.

The Kristols are cheerleaders for some of this admin's most failed polices---INCLUDING the amnesty atrocity. The Kristol crowd also backed abortion worshipping, gun grabbing gay lover RINO Giuliani.

When Giuliani kept tanking, his daddy called him and said, "Hurry up and do something Billy, or I'll take the magazine away from you."

Little Billy had to act fast----so Billy called all the neos and clued them in---Giuliani's 15 minutes were up.

"The lisping sucker won only one delegate, after all we did for him," Kristol whined. "The zipless wonder married a whore who wanted to sit in on Cabinet meetings, fer God's sake."

So now everybody was on the same page---the neos were switching to All-McCain, All The Time----just as long as McCain said something nice about a Hundred Year War in the Mideast at least once a day.

FReeper ex-snook said it better than I ever could: "Kristol showed McCain the Queen of Diamonds."

40 posted on 02/11/2008 3:37:32 PM PST by Liz (I spent $60 million and got one lousy delegate. Rudy Giuliani)
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To: the gillman@blacklagoon.com
The so-called "neo-conservative" movement as we know it today was exposed as a farce back in 2003-04, when just about every prediction those morons in the Defense Department made about Iraq turned out to be wrong, and when Richard Perle was forced to resign in disgrace twice from positions he held in the Pentagon (first as head of the Defense Policy Board when his previous statements about the war effort in Iraq revealed his abject ignorance about the matter, and then from the Board entirely when it was revealed that he was working in the Pentagon with top-level security clearances EVEN WHILE HE WAS WORKING AS A PAID LOBBYIST FOR A RED CHINESE FRONT COMPANY THAT WAS SEEKING DEFENSE DEPARTMENT WAIVERS FOR TECHNOLOGY TRANSFERS.
41 posted on 02/11/2008 3:39:11 PM PST by Alberta's Child (I'm out on the outskirts of nowhere . . . with ghosts on my trail, chasing me there.)
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To: bpjam

“I don’t care about Irving Kristol. I don’t care about William Kristol. Neither one of them had anything to do with our invasion of Iraq and neither of them caused us to win the House & Senate in 2004. So I just consider anybody who seriously discusses it to either be uninformed or somebody with an agenda involving blaming Jews for everything.”

I think you forgot your sarcasm tag.


42 posted on 02/11/2008 5:04:35 PM PST by Rob112586 (All I ask is a tall ship, and a strong wind to steer her by)
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To: BluH2o

Neo-con and neo-liberal extend back to the 1970s at least. The neo-cons supported both military and public spending (think Scoop Jackson) as well as a militant foreign policy (esp. as it pertained to supporting Israel). The neo-liberals supported a sort-of third way; big public sector but trying to harness markets (think Paul Tsongas or Bill Bradley) I think that Tsongas wrote a book of the name neo-liberal in the late 1970s, and the New Republic was a neo-liberal magazine.


43 posted on 02/11/2008 5:09:40 PM PST by sobieski
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To: x

Has anyone read David Horowitz’s current blog on this Heilbrunn character? Seems that he has a proclivity for lying and distortion. Why is everyone taking him so seriously?


44 posted on 02/11/2008 10:58:05 PM PST by RussP
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To: x

Has anyone read David Horowitz’s current blog on this Heilbrunn character? Seems that he has a proclivity for lying and distortion. Why is everyone taking him so seriously?


45 posted on 02/11/2008 10:58:16 PM PST by RussP
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To: All

Neocons are the thinkers of the XXI century who understood the threat of radical islam and rogue states years before others.

God bless them


46 posted on 02/12/2008 11:52:50 AM PST by drzz
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To: Rob112586

only very partially sarcastic. very partially.

For all I know, people think I’m a neocon. And that I don’t think they are saying it with any love in their hearts.


47 posted on 02/12/2008 2:46:17 PM PST by bpjam (My party has fallen and it can't get up)
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