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WHAT EXACTLY IS NEOCONSERVATISM ?
The Neoconservative Persuasion - The Weekly Standard - From the August 25, 2003 issue. ^ | Explained by Irvin Kristol

Posted on 08/17/2003 3:43:43 PM PDT by BplusK

WHAT EXACTLY IS NEOCONSERVATISM?

Journalists, and now even presidential candidates, speak with an enviable confidence on who or what is "neoconservative," and seem to assume the meaning is fully revealed in the name. Those of us who are designated as "neocons" are amused, flattered, or dismissive, depending on the context. It is reasonable to wonder: Is there any "there" there?

Even I, frequently referred to as the "godfather" of all those neocons, have had my moments of wonderment. A few years ago I said (and, alas, wrote) that neoconservatism had had its own distinctive qualities in its early years, but by now had been absorbed into the mainstream of American conservatism. I was wrong, and the reason I was wrong is that, ever since its origin among disillusioned liberal intellectuals in the 1970s, what we call neoconservatism has been one of those intellectual undercurrents that surface only intermittently. It is not a "movement," as the conspiratorial critics would have it. Neoconservatism is what the late historian of Jacksonian America, Marvin Meyers, called a "persuasion," one that manifests itself over time, but erratically, and one whose meaning we clearly glimpse only in retrospect.

Viewed in this way, one can say that the historical task and political purpose of neoconservatism would seem to be this: to convert the Republican party, and American conservatism in general, against their respective wills, into a new kind of conservative politics suitable to governing a modern democracy. That this new conservative politics is distinctly American is beyond doubt. There is nothing like neoconservatism in Europe, and most European conservatives are highly skeptical of its legitimacy. The fact that conservatism in the United States is so much healthier than in Europe, so much more politically effective, surely has something to do with the existence of neoconservatism. But Europeans, who think it absurd to look to the United States for lessons in political innovation, resolutely refuse to consider this possibility.

Neoconservatism is the first variant of American conservatism in the past century that is in the "American grain." It is hopeful, not lugubrious; forward-looking, not nostalgic; and its general tone is cheerful, not grim or dyspeptic. Its 20th-century heroes tend to be TR, FDR, and Ronald Reagan. Such Republican and conservative worthies as Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, and Barry Goldwater are politely overlooked. Of course, those worthies are in no way overlooked by a large, probably the largest, segment of the Republican party, with the result that most Republican politicians know nothing and could not care less about neoconservatism. Nevertheless, they cannot be blind to the fact that neoconservative policies, reaching out beyond the traditional political and financial base, have helped make the very idea of political conservatism more acceptable to a majority of American voters. Nor has it passed official notice that it is the neoconservative public policies, not the traditional Republican ones, that result in popular Republican presidencies.

One of these policies, most visible and controversial, is cutting tax rates in order to stimulate steady economic growth. This policy was not invented by neocons, and it was not the particularities of tax cuts that interested them, but rather the steady focus on economic growth. Neocons are familiar with intellectual history and aware that it is only in the last two centuries that democracy has become a respectable option among political thinkers. In earlier times, democracy meant an inherently turbulent political regime, with the "have-nots" and the "haves" engaged in a perpetual and utterly destructive class struggle. It was only the prospect of economic growth in which everyone prospered, if not equally or simultaneously, that gave modern democracies their legitimacy and durability.

The cost of this emphasis on economic growth has been an attitude toward public finance that is far less risk averse than is the case among more traditional conservatives. Neocons would prefer not to have large budget deficits, but it is in the nature of democracy--because it seems to be in the nature of human nature--that political demagogy will frequently result in economic recklessness, so that one sometimes must shoulder budgetary deficits as the cost (temporary, one hopes) of pursuing economic growth. It is a basic assumption of neoconservatism that, as a consequence of the spread of affluence among all classes, a property-owning and tax-paying population will, in time, become less vulnerable to egalitarian illusions and demagogic appeals and more sensible about the fundamentals of economic reckoning.

This leads to the issue of the role of the state. Neocons do not like the concentration of services in the welfare state and are happy to study alternative ways of delivering these services. But they are impatient with the Hayekian notion that we are on "the road to serfdom." Neocons do not feel that kind of alarm or anxiety about the growth of the state in the past century, seeing it as natural, indeed inevitable. Because they tend to be more interested in history than economics or sociology, they know that the 19th-century idea, so neatly propounded by Herbert Spencer in his "The Man Versus the State," was a historical eccentricity. People have always preferred strong government to weak government, although they certainly have no liking for anything that smacks of overly intrusive government. Neocons feel at home in today's America to a degree that more traditional conservatives do not. Though they find much to be critical about, they tend to seek intellectual guidance in the democratic wisdom of Tocqueville, rather than in the Tory nostalgia of, say, Russell Kirk.

But it is only to a degree that neocons are comfortable in modern America. The steady decline in our democratic culture, sinking to new levels of vulgarity, does unite neocons with traditional conservatives--though not with those libertarian conservatives who are conservative in economics but unmindful of the culture. The upshot is a quite unexpected alliance between neocons, who include a fair proportion of secular intellectuals, and religious traditionalists. They are united on issues concerning the quality of education, the relations of church and state, the regulation of pornography, and the like, all of which they regard as proper candidates for the government's attention. And since the Republican party now has a substantial base among the religious, this gives neocons a certain influence and even power. Because religious conservatism is so feeble in Europe, the neoconservative potential there is correspondingly weak.

AND THEN, of course, there is foreign policy, the area of American politics where neoconservatism has recently been the focus of media attention. This is surprising since there is no set of neoconservative beliefs concerning foreign policy, only a set of attitudes derived from historical experience. (The favorite neoconservative text on foreign affairs, thanks to professors Leo Strauss of Chicago and Donald Kagan of Yale, is Thucydides on the Peloponnesian War.) These attitudes can be summarized in the following "theses" (as a Marxist would say): First, patriotism is a natural and healthy sentiment and should be encouraged by both private and public institutions. Precisely because we are a nation of immigrants, this is a powerful American sentiment. Second, world government is a terrible idea since it can lead to world tyranny. International institutions that point to an ultimate world government should be regarded with the deepest suspicion. Third, statesmen should, above all, have the ability to distinguish friends from enemies. This is not as easy as it sounds, as the history of the Cold War revealed. The number of intelligent men who could not count the Soviet Union as an enemy, even though this was its own self-definition, was absolutely astonishing.

Finally, for a great power, the "national interest" is not a geographical term, except for fairly prosaic matters like trade and environmental regulation. A smaller nation might appropriately feel that its national interest begins and ends at its borders, so that its foreign policy is almost always in a defensive mode. A larger nation has more extensive interests. And large nations, whose identity is ideological, like the Soviet Union of yesteryear and the United States of today, inevitably have ideological interests in addition to more material concerns. Barring extraordinary events, the United States will always feel obliged to defend, if possible, a democratic nation under attack from nondemocratic forces, external or internal. That is why it was in our national interest to come to the defense of France and Britain in World War II. That is why we feel it necessary to defend Israel today, when its survival is threatened. No complicated geopolitical calculations of national interest are necessary.

Behind all this is a fact: the incredible military superiority of the United States vis-à-vis the nations of the rest of the world, in any imaginable combination. This superiority was planned by no one, and even today there are many Americans who are in denial. To a large extent, it all happened as a result of our bad luck. During the 50 years after World War II, while Europe was at peace and the Soviet Union largely relied on surrogates to do its fighting, the United States was involved in a whole series of wars: the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the Kosovo conflict, the Afghan War, and the Iraq War. The result was that our military spending expanded more or less in line with our economic growth, while Europe's democracies cut back their military spending in favor of social welfare programs. The Soviet Union spent profusely but wastefully, so that its military collapsed along with its economy.

Suddenly, after two decades during which "imperial decline" and "imperial overstretch" were the academic and journalistic watchwords, the United States emerged as uniquely powerful. The "magic" of compound interest over half a century had its effect on our military budget, as did the cumulative scientific and technological research of our armed forces. With power come responsibilities, whether sought or not, whether welcome or not. And it is a fact that if you have the kind of power we now have, either you will find opportunities to use it, or the world will discover them for you.

The older, traditional elements in the Republican party have difficulty coming to terms with this new reality in foreign affairs, just as they cannot reconcile economic conservatism with social and cultural conservatism. But by one of those accidents historians ponder, our current president and his administration turn out to be quite at home in this new political environment, although it is clear they did not anticipate this role any more than their party as a whole did. As a result, neoconservatism began enjoying a second life, at a time when its obituaries were still being published.

Irving Kristol is author of "Neoconservatism: The Autobiography of an Idea."


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government; Israel; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: conservatism; irvingkristol; irvinkristol; neocons; neoconservatism
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In this article Irvin Kristol, sometimes called "the Father of Neoconservatism" in America (and the actual father of Bill Kristol who is the well known editor of the Weekly Standard) explains what is neoconservatism. According to his explantations, NEOCONSERVATISM is an ideology that...

- is a persuasion.
- is typically American.
- is healthy for American Conservatism.
- is hopeful, looking forward and cheerful.
- has helped make conservatism more acceptable to a majority of American voters.
- wants to see economical growth in a free market.
- believes that there are alternative ways to the Welfare State.
- supports strong government.
- shares common views with the religious conservatives (and NOT with the Libertarians) concerning moral values.
- wants to encourage patriotism.
- is suspicious about "one world government".
- wants to clearly distinguish enemies from friends.
- believes that it is the "National Interest" of America to have a strong involvement in the international affairs to promote American values (freedom, democracy, etc.).
- is pro-Israel.
- believes that America must use (wisely) its military power.
- is very attractive to the Bush Administration.

ANYONE RECOGNIZES HIMSELF/HERSELF HERE ?

1 posted on 08/17/2003 3:43:43 PM PDT by BplusK
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To: BplusK
IT IS CALLED THE CONSERVATIVE MOVEMENT

2 posted on 08/17/2003 3:47:04 PM PDT by ChadGore (Kakkate Koi!)
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To: BplusK
The term is used by anti-semites because it sounds better than "jew bastard".
3 posted on 08/17/2003 3:49:00 PM PDT by ChadGore (Kakkate Koi!)
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To: ChadGore
The term is used by anti-semites because it sounds better than "jew bastard". AND THAT'S WRONG.
4 posted on 08/17/2003 3:49:36 PM PDT by ChadGore (Kakkate Koi!)
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To: BplusK
Shut up Irving - Most Republicans were very content to call themselves Conservatives, until you came along and confused the hell out of everybody by creating a vague, nebulous, term "neoConservative" which nobody knows for sure what it stands for except that they believe it is our duty to spread democracy around the world through armed force (Something that is definetely NOT Conservative, It's more like Liberal Interventionism).
5 posted on 08/17/2003 3:52:26 PM PDT by Pubbie (Bill Owens for Prez and Jeb as VP in '08.)
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To: ChadGore
Can a "gentile bastard" be a neoconservative, or is that reserved for "jew bastards"?
6 posted on 08/17/2003 3:52:29 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: BplusK
Thanks, but no thanks.
I will remain a Goldwater Republican.
Fiscally Prudent, Socially Libertarian and Totalitarian/Colonialist in Foreign Policy.

So9

7 posted on 08/17/2003 3:57:48 PM PDT by Servant of the Nine (A Goldwater Republican)
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To: BplusK
Here's the readers digest version of definitions of the two dominant political ideologies:

Progressive - If they had the votes, would scrap the Bill of Rights, effective immediately....for the children.

Neo-conservative - Would view the "progressive" proposal to immediately repeal the Bill of Rights as "extreme" and would instead offer their own plan to phase it out over a 5 year period...for the children.
8 posted on 08/17/2003 3:59:42 PM PDT by Orangedog (Soccer-Moms are the biggest threat to your freedoms and the republic !)
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To: Pubbie
I imagine Rat must be a neoconservative.


9 posted on 08/17/2003 4:00:28 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: BplusK
- supports strong government. - shares common views with the religious conservatives (and NOT with the Libertarians) concerning moral values.

Nope. Smaller government, and Libertarian values for me.

- is very attractive to the Bush Administration.

Well, I'm not sure how attractive I am to the Bush administration. If GWB would give me a call, and let me know...
10 posted on 08/17/2003 4:01:06 PM PDT by Quick1
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To: Pubbie
People who believe that it is NOT our duty to spread democracy around the world (through force or otherwise) are called "Libertarians" and "Isolationists".
11 posted on 08/17/2003 4:01:54 PM PDT by BplusK
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To: Dog Gone
The Rat is right about Mexico and France though!
12 posted on 08/17/2003 4:03:10 PM PDT by Pubbie (Bill Owens for Prez and Jeb as VP in '08.)
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To: Pubbie
Notice the inconsistency, this guy admires Reagan, but not Goldwater? And he dares to place Reagan and FDR in the same pantheon, let alone mention their names in the same sentence? Neocons may share similarities to Reaganites, except the crucial difference, and that is the disdain for large government.
13 posted on 08/17/2003 4:03:28 PM PDT by Mr. Blond
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To: BplusK
"People who believe that it is NOT our duty to spread democracy around the world (through force or otherwise) are called "Libertarians" and "Isolationists".

The isolationist movement in the 20th century originated with the Republican party, but it died out after WWII.

The Republican's are no longer isolationists - they just want to use armed force ONLY to defend our national interests.

The NeoConservatives, as far as I can tell, want to intervene anywhere there is a dictatorship - again that is NOT conservative.
14 posted on 08/17/2003 4:07:07 PM PDT by Pubbie (Bill Owens for Prez and Jeb as VP in '08.)
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To: BplusK
BplusK asks: "ANYONE RECOGNIZES HIMSELF/HERSELF HERE ?"

...No...And these are some of the specific areas that I disagree with...

"...But they are impatient with the Hayekian notion that we are on "the road to serfdom." Neocons do not feel that kind of alarm or anxiety about the growth of the state in the past century, seeing it as natural, indeed inevitable. Because they tend to be more interested in history than economics or sociology, they know that the 19th-century idea, so neatly propounded by Herbert Spencer in his "The Man Versus the State," was a historical eccentricity. People have always preferred strong government to weak government..." [emphasis added]

...Many of the 'Neo-Cons' started out on the extreme 'left' of the political spectrum [Marxism, Trotskyism, etc.]...I fear that they may have simply traded one form of collectivism/statism for another...
15 posted on 08/17/2003 4:09:57 PM PDT by MayDay72 (...Free Markets...Free Minds...)
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To: BplusK
"ANYONE RECOGNIZES HIMSELF/HERSELF HERE ?"

I would hope not.

Mr. Kristol refers to "democracy" 10 times in his rumination.

The U.S. is not a "democracy." The U.S. is a "republic."

This forum is "FreeRepublic.com.

The U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights is about "liberty."

His only reference to liberty is disparaging remarks about Libertarians.

Mr. Kristol sums up it a best when he defines a neoconservative appropriately with his own words:

"...ever since its origin among disillusioned liberal intellectuals in the 1970s,..."

Let remind members of this forum who might be lured into Mr. Kritol's socialist based philosophy, that the term "liberal intellectuals" is an oxymoron and incongruent.

16 posted on 08/17/2003 4:19:58 PM PDT by tahiti
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To: MayDay72
So Neocons are Empirists, and Conservatives support the Republic?

I am not a Republican, but I am a die-hard republican.

However, it seems foolish to deny that the Republic has ended.

We are at a crossroad.
We will either dissolve, be overrun and fade away or be the next great empire, encompassing and controlling the entire world.

There's no middle path.
Given that, it's better to lead the empire than be subjected to it.

We have to decide soon.
17 posted on 08/17/2003 4:26:08 PM PDT by the gillman@blacklagoon.com (We're just a Clinton away from hell!)
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To: MEG33
bttt
18 posted on 08/17/2003 4:30:27 PM PDT by MEG33
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To: tahiti
Mr. Kristol refers to "democracy" 10 times in his rumination...The U.S. is not a "democracy." The U.S. is a "republic." -tahiti

...Good points...I'm glad that someone else caught the typical [and false] 'democracy' = 'freedom' and 'liberty' propaganda...'Democracy' is a means to an end [achieving and preserving freedom and liberty]...
19 posted on 08/17/2003 4:31:41 PM PDT by MayDay72 (...Free Markets...Free Minds...)
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To: BplusK
shares common views with the religious conservatives (and NOT with the Libertarians) concerning moral values.

Makes one wonder what a neo-liberal is. They believe in pushing their morals upon others through legislation, labeling anyone who does not bow to their 'priests' as haters, and use concerted efforts to spread their 'gospel'.

Most conservative christians I know take a view that the way to make changes is not through government, but through changing a man's heart. Laws are mainly to punish (or chastise if you wish). Abortion can be legal, but if people see it as wrong they won't do it (same with other things as well).

The left has made out the conservative christians to be control freaks who want to force people to do something, all the while they are passing (or trying to) more and more legislation telling others how to live. If being a religious conservative means living strictly within a religious philosophy (whichever one you choose) and working to pass laws to make others do the same than the real conservatives are the liberals themselves - they just do it without using a bible, making things up as they go along.

The term 'religious conservative' has come to mean something bad to many people, as the leftists try to scare people into thinking there is a group of christians trying to control their lives and tell them what to do - and while there may be some who fit this mold (and I am not one of them, Christ told his disciples to go and tell the good news, not make laws to make people obey it) most the people who fall into this category are liberals who use fractured groups and philosophies to force their beliefs onto others.

< /end rant>

20 posted on 08/17/2003 4:40:45 PM PDT by chance33_98 (WWJD - What would Jefferson Do?)
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To: BplusK
shares common views with the religious conservatives (and NOT with the Libertarians) concerning moral values.

Makes one wonder what a neo-liberal is. They believe in pushing their morals upon others through legislation, labeling anyone who does not bow to their 'priests' as haters, and use concerted efforts to spread their 'gospel'.

Most conservative christians I know take a view that the way to make changes is not through government, but through changing a man's heart. Laws are mainly to punish (or chastise if you wish). Abortion can be legal, but if people see it as wrong they won't do it (same with other things as well).

The left has made out the conservative christians to be control freaks who want to force people to do something, all the while they are passing (or trying to) more and more legislation telling others how to live. If being a religious conservative means living strictly within a religious philosophy (whichever one you choose) and working to pass laws to make others do the same than the real conservatives are the liberals themselves - they just do it without using a bible, making things up as they go along.

The term 'religious conservative' has come to mean something bad to many people, as the leftists try to scare people into thinking there is a group of christians trying to control their lives and tell them what to do - and while there may be some who fit this mold (and I am not one of them, Christ told his disciples to go and tell the good news, not make laws to make people obey it) most the people who fall into this category are liberals who use fractured groups and philosophies to force their beliefs onto others.

< /end rant>

21 posted on 08/17/2003 4:40:46 PM PDT by chance33_98 (WWJD - What would Jefferson Do?)
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To: the gillman@blacklagoon.com
Scratch the empire part. We better get our ducks in a row or we will become a third world country. Why? For the simple reason that we have to have a world class economy to support a world class military structure. Russia was a threat until it overspent its military budget and did not have the economy to back up its military. China has or will have in the near future enough foreign reserves to wreck our economy. This is where our weakness lies.
22 posted on 08/17/2003 4:42:25 PM PDT by meenie
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To: BplusK; Admin Moderator
apologies for the double post - admin can you removes on of my replies please?
23 posted on 08/17/2003 4:44:01 PM PDT by chance33_98 (WWJD - What would Jefferson Do?)
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To: BplusK
...Bump...
24 posted on 08/17/2003 4:48:45 PM PDT by MayDay72 (...Free Markets...Free Minds...)
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To: BplusK
shares common views with the religious conservatives (and NOT with the Libertarians) concerning moral values.

Not only shares but actively promotes Judaeo Christian values in Government and the public sphere of life in America and the world.

So I guess I am NEOCON.

25 posted on 08/17/2003 4:49:32 PM PDT by eleni121
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To: tahiti
Mr. Kristol sums up it a best when he defines a neoconservative appropriately with his own words:

"...ever since its origin among disillusioned liberal intellectuals in the 1970s,..."

Let remind members of this forum who might be lured into Mr. Kritol's socialist based philosophy, that the term "liberal intellectuals" is an oxymoron and incongruent.

............................................................

Worth repeating.

26 posted on 08/17/2003 4:54:50 PM PDT by Godebert
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To: BplusK
It is hopeful, not lugubrious; forward-looking, not nostalgic; and its general tone is cheerful, not grim or dyspeptic. Its 20th-century heroes tend to be TR, FDR, and Ronald Reagan. Such Republican and conservative worthies as Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, and Barry Goldwater are politely overlooked.

Looks a little childish, and more than a little superficial. What do you do with George Washington in such a simplistic "happy face" vs. "Mr. Grumpy" scenario? Sounds like Irving is responding to the surfaces of politics and not what lies beneath. A true statesman would be sanguine and cautious by turns as the situation demands. One can't be fundamentally pessimistic about one's country, but cheerleading isn't enough.

Some of what Kristol argues for is just conservative commonsense. But priorities are what's important. Most of those who've been identified as "neocons" in recent years have put foreign policy and foreign intervention first. An interventionist foreign policy looks to be the defining feature of today's neo-conservatives. The alliance with religious conservatives on moral issues, by contrast, is in the background, and may just be for show. How far the neocons would actually go to maintain the alliance is unclear. Finally, to outsiders it looks like neocons want to stay in the driver's seat more than to compromise and share real power with other conservatives from outside their faction.

27 posted on 08/17/2003 5:02:42 PM PDT by x
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To: eleni121
'Not only shares but actively promotes Judaeo Christian values in Government and the public sphere of life in America and the world.' -eleni121

...'Promoting' is one thing...But using 'force' and 'coercion' is another matter...Individuals are free to 'promote' any ideas the wish...However the state is the only entity that can legally initiate force against an individual...This is why I would be very skeptical about the state 'promoting' anything...Unlike me or you [individual citizens] the state can 'promote' it wishes [gun control, taxes, etc.] with the use of a prison cell or gun barrel...Do you really think that the most fair and efficient way of 'promoting' religious values is by using agencies like the IRS, DMV and US Postal Service to do your bidding?
28 posted on 08/17/2003 5:16:09 PM PDT by MayDay72 (...Free Markets...Free Minds...)
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To: BplusK
Neo-conservative = republican in name only still possesed with democrat demons...
29 posted on 08/17/2003 5:25:12 PM PDT by hosepipe
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To: the gillman@blacklagoon.com
We will either dissolve, be overrun and fade away or be the next great empire, encompassing and controlling the entire world. There's no middle path.

This is an extremely simplistic and dangerous generalization. Teddy Roosevelt articulated the most sensible approach to foreign policy when he said we should "walk softly and carry a big stick." We cannot possibly control the entire world. It's typical American jingoism to think we can. At best, we can make nations who antagonize the ointment of world order pay a heavy price. Even that has its limits. World domination and control is completely out of the question.

In the war on terror, we have embarked on nation-building escapades in two countries: Afghanistan and Iraq. We are already spread too thin and we haven't yet taken on the greater long-term threats to our security. We are hoping against hope that North Korea and Iran will acquiesce based on what they saw us do to Saddam. We'll probably end up paying the North Koreans for a nuclear-free Korean penninsula. We likely have no choice but to accept a limited nuclear capability for Iran. That's hardly what I'd call "control."

We are the world's largest economy. But, relative to the economies of the rest of the world, we have been shrinking for decades. So economically, our power is actually diminishing over time. This may be a good thing as markets open up for our goods and services, but it gives us diminished clout in terms of our ability to dictate economic matters to the rest of the world.

Militarily, we are way out ahead, but military advantage has its limitations. At most, the military can be used to facilitate a stable environment for global trade. It can't realistically control the world.

Generally, neocons tend to accept and promote the role of America as keeper of world order. To claim Reagan as a standard-bearer for their philosophy is somewhat of a stretch, since Reagan tended to shy away from conflicts in which we had no compelling national interest. Reagan cut and ran in Lebanon, which may have been the first in a string of actions that led the terrorists to conclude we were weak and indecisive.

As far as government spending is concerned, Reagan supported tax cuts for the two-fold purposes of limiting politicians' ability to spend and stimulating the economy. Today's neocons simply cut taxes and increase spending, which makes them bigger panderers than the liberals, and fiscally more irresponsible than any political ideology on the scene today.

30 posted on 08/17/2003 5:26:16 PM PDT by massadvj
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To: MayDay72
The "state" is nothing more and nothing less than a collection of individuals elected by their constituents - hopefully the more neocons the better.
31 posted on 08/17/2003 5:42:17 PM PDT by eleni121
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To: BplusK
Far as I can see, neoconservatism is a codeword for subversion of traditional conservatism by so-called "former liberals".

Read or listen to William Kristol, the neocon par excellence. I don't trust that man one little bit.

32 posted on 08/17/2003 6:00:15 PM PDT by witnesstothefall
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To: eleni121
'The "state" is nothing more and nothing less than a collection of individuals elected by their constituents...' -eleni121

...True...But 'promoting' your ideas by the use force and coercion isn't any more justified just because those ideas are supported by a democratically elected body...Hitler was elected by a democratic process...We have natural individual rights enshrined in the founding document of this country [the 'Declaration of Independence'] and limitations of the power and scope of the federal government enumerated in the 'Constitution' and its ammendments...Would a complete disarming [i.e. a ban on all firearms] of the American public be okay if it were democratically supported? Don't you think that some of our rights are 'inalienable' and should not be taken away simply by the whims of bureaucrats, politicians, or even the majority of the voting public? Using the powers of the state for your own ends may be justified...But you should always be wary that powers that you give [away] to the state now may be used by others against you later...

...Don't get me wrong...I do respect your wish to promote such things as morals and religious values...I just believe the the state is a poor tool to use for this purpose...It would be best to channel you resources into voluntary/private organizations [churches, private schools, non-governmental charities, etc.] for that purpose...These institutions would be much more efficient at these tasks anyway...
33 posted on 08/17/2003 6:16:59 PM PDT by MayDay72 (...Free Markets...Free Minds...)
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To: eleni121
Me too....

How are ya

Rus
34 posted on 08/17/2003 6:19:53 PM PDT by The Mayor (God uses ordinary people to carry out his extraordinary plan. I am willing Lord, use me!)
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To: Orangedog
I agree with your tag line completely.
35 posted on 08/17/2003 6:41:55 PM PDT by FourPeas
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To: eleni121
The "state" is nothing more and nothing less than a collection of individuals elected by their constituents - hopefully the more neocons the better.

I don't agree at all. The state is a contract between generations, past, present, and future. The elected representatives at any given time are mere custodians.

36 posted on 08/17/2003 6:59:16 PM PDT by NutCrackerBoy
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To: Pubbie
The NeoConservatives, as far as I can tell, want to intervene anywhere there is a dictatorship - again that is NOT conservative.

First, a dictatorship is not bad in and of itself, unless it is brutal and repressive.

Second, neocons, like anyone else, have no desire to intervene anywhere unless necessary.

A world order is seen in which freedom-loving nations preserve their own against such Hitlers and Stalins and bin Ladens and Saddams who arise from time to time. Holding power by depriving freedom is regarded as illegitimate.

Free nations, for pragmatic reasons, won't oust dictators who do not threaten their interests.

37 posted on 08/17/2003 7:13:21 PM PDT by NutCrackerBoy
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To: FourPeas
Glad I'm not the only one who sees the big picture.
38 posted on 08/17/2003 7:27:35 PM PDT by Orangedog (Soccer-Moms are the biggest threat to your freedoms and the republic !)
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To: BplusK
Yes I do count myself in this school of thought. We must have an American, optimistic, politically appealing, patriotic, and national security minded conservatism. One that accepts the need for economic growth and the existence of the welfare state, though not in its liberal incarnation. This is the essence of conservatism in the Republican Party today. It used to be called "neo" and due to the way things have become, the prefix no longer matters, justifiably so since conservatives stand opposed to liberals in the view of America, its prospects, love of country, and on national security. Our enemies and opponents inside the conservative movement express alarm at the triumph of "neoconservatism." All conservatives should in fact rejoice since its made this country stronger and healthier. Europe has nothing like it. And its in no small part thanks to conservatives that as Martin Seymour Lipset has noted, America is "the exceptional nation."
39 posted on 08/17/2003 7:51:49 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: BplusK; 4ConservativeJustices; billbears; PeaRidge; BUSHdude2000
"Neoconservatism is the first variant of American conservatism in the past century that is in the "American grain." It is hopeful, not lugubrious; forward-looking, not nostalgic; and its general tone is cheerful, not grim or dyspeptic. Its 20th-century heroes tend to be TR, FDR, and Ronald Reagan. Such Republican and conservative worthies as Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, and Barry Goldwater are politely overlooked." - Irving Kristol

Pardon my asking but does anybody else see something seriously wrong with who Mr. Kristol defines as a conservative hero?

40 posted on 08/17/2003 9:06:06 PM PDT by GOPcapitalist
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To: BplusK
What is a neo-con? That's pretty simple, a neo-con is a traditional liberal who has become disenchanted with the Democrat Party since the take-over by the socialists and had moved to the Republican party because they realize that they have more in common with the social conservatives than they do the socialists.
41 posted on 08/17/2003 9:08:59 PM PDT by Eva
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To: Eva
Good one. And that includes over 500 elected Dems switching parties in recent years.
42 posted on 08/17/2003 9:15:32 PM PDT by Consort
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To: GOPcapitalist
Somebody posted this the other day but only a partial article over here. Same article, same response

Viewed in this way, one can say that the historical task and political purpose of neoconservatism would seem to be this: to convert the Republican party, and American conservatism in general, against their respective wills, into a new kind of conservative politics suitable to governing a modern democracy.

How is anything in the neocon playbook conservative? More government, interfering in world situations that have nothing to do with the safety of this nation, spending on the level that would make FDR and LBJ balk?

Neoconservatism is the first variant of American conservatism in the past century that is in the "American grain." It is hopeful, not lugubrious; forward-looking, not nostalgic; and its general tone is cheerful, not grim or dyspeptic. Its 20th-century heroes tend to be TR, FDR, and Ronald Reagan.

Forgot one. Wilson. Without him we may have never had a neoconservative movement. At least not one involving foreign policy. Or else it would have been quickly relegated to the trashpile where it belongs

AND THEN, of course, there is foreign policy, the area of American politics where neoconservatism has recently been the focus of media attention. This is surprising since there is no set of neoconservative beliefs concerning foreign policy, only a set of attitudes derived from historical experience.

That has to be the most ridiculous thing I've read today. No set of beliefs? From 'liberating the masses' to 'spreading democracy' I'm beginning to wonder when they'll have time to defend this nation of states.

(The favorite neoconservative text on foreign affairs, thanks to professors Leo Strauss of Chicago and Donald Kagan of Yale, is Thucydides on the Peloponnesian War.)

Well at least he admits it

These attitudes can be summarized in the following "theses" (as a Marxist would say): First, patriotism is a natural and healthy sentiment and should be encouraged by both private and public institutions. Precisely because we are a nation of immigrants, this is a powerful American sentiment. Second, world government is a terrible idea since it can lead to world tyranny. International institutions that point to an ultimate world government should be regarded with the deepest suspicion.

Well unless it's under the 'right' leadership, eh Irving?

Of course, the United States must be prudent in how it exercises its power. But we cannot safely avoid the responsibilities of global leadership or the costs that are associated with its exercise. America has a vital role in maintaining peace and security in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
PNAC Statement of Principles
43 posted on 08/17/2003 9:31:36 PM PDT by billbears (Deo Vindice)
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To: billbears
These attitudes can be summarized in the following "theses" (as a Marxist would say): First, patriotism is a natural and healthy sentiment and should be encouraged by both private and public institutions.

In the words of the great satirist Ambrose Bierce:

"PATRIOTISM, n. Combustible rubbish read to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name. In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit that it is the first."

He had Irving pinged dead on.

44 posted on 08/17/2003 9:45:29 PM PDT by GOPcapitalist
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To: billbears
There is a difference between being a hegemon in an alliance and leading a world government.
45 posted on 08/17/2003 10:25:39 PM PDT by rmlew ("Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute.")
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To: goldstategop
'[Conservatism] that accepts the need for economic growth and the existence of the welfare state, though not in its liberal incarnation.' -goldstategop

...Huh...By 'liberal' I assume you mean 'socialist' [and not the more classical/European definition: 'libertarian' or 'free-marketer']...Please enlighten me as to another 'incarnation' of the 'welfare state' that would be possible, not socialist, produce 'economic growth' and is supposedly compatible with your definition of 'conservatism'...

...Have you read Hayek's 'The Road to Serfdom'? Have you been following the recent govenmental/labor union events unfolding in the welfare state utopia of France? Have you been following the economic decline in the socialist paradise of Sweden?

...Empirical data and work by economists like Hayek and Mises are in agreement on this point...Welfare statism is not compatible with economic growth...And the fact that I have to say this to a 'conserative' at the FreeRepublic is very weird...
46 posted on 08/17/2003 10:37:22 PM PDT by MayDay72 (Welfare Statism = Socialism)
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To: NutCrackerBoy
'The state is a contract between generations, past, present, and future. The elected representatives at any given time are mere custodians.' -NutCrackerBoy

...Hmmm...Interesting definition for the 'state'...Haven't seen this one before...Is this your defition or a quote from another source? I'm not sure if I agree with this or not...I will have to think about this for a while...You are either a genius or quite daft...I will have to get back to you...Thanks... ;-)
47 posted on 08/17/2003 10:46:42 PM PDT by MayDay72 (Welfare Statism = Socialism)
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To: MayDay72
Any one who thinks the welfare state is going to disappear is dreaming. The aim of conservatives should be to use it to promote conservative ends. There are proposals from various think tanks to suggest the best means of making sure social policy promotes less dependence on government, favors marriage, strengthens the family, and provides a path for the poor and the elderly to have choices in how they get basic needs fulfilled. In other words, conservatives don't think a liberal welfare state which is top down with a one size fits all model works. We need a different approach in which there are other ways of developing the right social policy than through a centralized government bureaucracy. So yes, conservatives accept the welfare though not in the sense liberals look at it.
48 posted on 08/17/2003 10:47:42 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: billbears
What ruined "Conservatism" and made the way possible for "Neoconservatism" was the irresponsible anti war and anti military rhetoric of the "New Left" that came of age in 60's and was motivated primarily by the Viet Nam war.

The "New Left" so over it did it with their love of Communism in Viet Nam and then in Cambodia and their disgusting hate filled screeds about American Servicemen that they made "militersim" a "conservative" position. Thus- somehow- it is "conservative" to blindly support the military and the President. It is "conservative" to never question our foreign policy and only "left wingers" do that anyway.

Neoconservatism is not conservative in any sense. It is perpetual war or "creative destruction" as Michael Leeden likes to say in his fevered screeds.

That younger college type Republicans think being "conservative" is wearing a Bush T-shirt depresses me.

49 posted on 08/17/2003 11:20:48 PM PDT by Burkeman1 ((If you see ten troubles comin down the road, Nine will run into the ditch before they reach you.))
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To: goldstategop
goldstategop: Any one who thinks the welfare state is going to disappear is dreaming.

MayDay72: ...Then I am a 'dreamer'...And I don't think that is a bad thing...

gs: The aim of conservatives should be to use it to promote conservative ends.

MD: ...As I've said to 'eleni121' above, I don't see how negative forceful/coercive actions of the state can achieve positive results...Or why you would prefer welfare statism when when private/voluntary [i.e. free-market] institutions [churches, private schools, charities] can do these things more efficiently and fairly...

gs: There are proposals from various think tanks to suggest the best means of making sure social policy promotes less dependence on government, favors marriage, strengthens the family, and provides a path for the poor and the elderly to have choices in how they get basic needs fulfilled.

MD: ...See my last statement...These are all worthy goals but the state is a poor tool for this task...We are talking about the same government that runs Amtrak, the postal service, the DMV and the IRS...Do you trust these guy to teach your children about 'family values' or care for your elderly mother?

gs: In other words, conservatives don't think a liberal welfare state which is top down with a one size fits all model works. We need a different approach in which there are other ways of developing the right social policy than through a centralized government bureaucracy.

MD: ...It seems to me that we a have an 'different approach' that is 'bottom up' rather than 'top down'...And has multiple solutions to every problem rather than 'one size fits all'...Adam Smith wrote about it 200 years ago, though it is much older than that...The free-market...
50 posted on 08/17/2003 11:25:09 PM PDT by MayDay72 (Welfare Statism = Socialism)
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