Skip to comments.The Neoconservative Cabal
Posted on 09/28/2003 5:06:39 PM PDT by William McKinley
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It is actually a name that they gave to themselves and use in self-reference when conversing with each other. Ironically they are almost always the first to object about pejorative connotations when somebody else refers to them with that same word.
Whether or not critics are right in general about neoconservatism and Trotskyism, they may well have Muravchik's number: his own "neoconservatism" may well be a continuation of his early socialist and revolutionary hopes. Given that he is a former head of the Young People's Socialist League, he is spectacularly ill-placed to refute accusations of radicalism made against neocons. Critics could well argue that he's never let go of his ambition to remake the world.
There's also plenty of room to question Muravchik's feeling that 911 confirmed the validity of neocon theories. It's to be expected that Muravchik would view it in that light, but he doesn't muster evidence to support his view. Force in international probably has been vindicated, if it ever needed to be, but just how, when, and where force should be applied is still a question for debate. Not every use of force will be successful, effective or appropriate.
"The main difference between them and leftists is what goals they want to achieve thru the power of government"What are these goals? that is what the second picked up on:
American religious, political, and economic freedom is at the forefront of human advancement and transcends cultural boundaries.It is this which he considers to be scary. I am not lying to you- he really does.
Freedom abroad translates to safety and prosperity for Americans.
America's global power should be used to promote and defend this freedom.
I can tell from the discussion here that many are ready to call me a neocon, despite the fact that I am not one. It has become a pejorative without meaning for entirely too many.
There's also plenty of room to question Muravchik's feeling that 911 confirmed the validity of neocon theories. It's to be expected that Muravchik would view it in that light, but he doesn't muster evidence to support his view. Force in international probably has been vindicated, if it ever needed to be, but just how, when, and where force should be applied is still a question for debate. Not every use of force will be successful, effective or appropriate.Couldn't agree with you more on every single point in that paragraph.
And non0nterventionist is not strong enough.
What scares you?
Clowns that think democracy is our future. I'm a believer in our republic.
Are you afraid that all the comfort and stability won for your generation
Whoa boy! -- I was born in '36 and served 3 years in the US 503rd & 502nd. Some of my generaton fought, just as some of yours did, I'm sure. Are you claiming you fought for me?
by hardbitten American warriors from Tripoli to Khe San might slip away because we anger a few Arabs?
Get off your bandstand son. I'm criticizing neo-con political policy, not the defense of our nation.
Imagine that reaction on December 7th, 1941. "Oh gee, we shouldn't have imposed the oil embargo on those poor, downtrodden Japs." You might be surprised to know that anti-American propaganda has resurfaced in Asia along those very lines.
I'm not surprised much anymore by any of the silly rhetoric the neos put out.. Why has a neo tough guy, as you seem to style yourself, -- become their patsy?
Here's my personal assessment of paleocons: They're the intellectual heirs of the Know-nothings, Copperheads and the America-Firsters.
In other words they're nativist, sympathetic to the Confederacy and isolationist.
Despite the antipathy between the two groups, both have certain things in common, including a respect for the role of religion in life.
The word I would have used instead of non-interventionist is isolationist.
That's precisely the issue. In fact I would add that the central and defining problem with neo-conservatism is not its view of foreign policy (In fact I find many things that I agree with in their alleged foreign policy such as taking out the islamotrash). It is not some abnormal love relationship they have with Israel (In fact I also support Israel in its own fight against the islamotrash of that region). And it is not their interests in the middle east (which, once again, are legitimately opposed to the islamotrash gutter religion that poses an openly hostile threat to Christianity, Judaism, and liberty itself). I'll readily concede that the neoconservative positions on each of these issues are not perfect and in some cases may be distorted by that which is wrong with neoconservatism but they themselves are not exclusively neoconservatism or its problems.
The central and defining problem is this: neoconservatism has no objection to the widespread and growing exercise of power by the state. In fact it becomes openly tolerant of the state's growing power when control falls into their hands, making them government's "caretakers." It does not matter what they use that power for as that is only incident to their open tolerance and embrace of big government. The great danger in this brand of "big government conservatism" is the fact that it is inherently a self contradiction that shuns the underlying principles of American conservatism as it has been historically known to its adherents:
"I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed in their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is needed before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents interests, I shall reply that I was informed their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can."
That famous statement by Goldwater has been the defining doctrine of American conservatives for almost half a century. It is the statement that our movement was founded on. It is the statement that the Republican Party gradually came to adopt as its own defining doctrine from roughly 1964 to 1995. And it is the defining doctrine that non-neoconservatives still adhere to at the present.
That statement, the Goldwater doctrine, is basis from which conservatism derives. Neoconservatism by its very nature seeks to eradicate the Goldwater doctrine from the conservative movement and in such has become a disease upon conservatism. It is a dangerous and threatening disease because it does not attack us from outside like the left. A strong tree's bark can generally defend it from external diseases and our tree does so with liberalism. But neoconservatism has infected our tree's roots and if those roots die the existing tree will topple. It matters not what policies they advocate as policies do not achieve this. It only matters that through their assault from within it is being achieved.
But I will admit to having to think a long time. I tend to not really look to recent politicians when looking for matches to my own ideology. I tend to look back further. I happen to share much of the outlook of McKinley, hence the name. I admired Robert Taft quite a bit. Edmund Burke and John Adams were even more influential on my outlook.
I much prefer the politics of George W. Bush to George H. W. Bush. I would vote for Arnold if I lived in California and felt like Bustamante would win; if I lived in California and didn't think Bustamante would win I would vote McClintock.
I will vote Toomey over Specter in the primary. Should Specter beat Toomey I will vote Specter over the Democrat.
I prefer Goldwater before he got old to Goldwater after he got old. I prefer Reagan to either incarnation of Goldwater.
Why do you ask?
Two names come to mind:
Ronald Reagan because he was elected to the presidency twice, and
William F. Buckley because he was hugely involved in the rise of conservatism as we know it today.
Either one could fill the bill admirably.
But if you ask me instead of putting words in my mouth, I would say that Reagan was a traditional conservative who had some pragmatism to him that led him to compromise certain conservative postions (and I do not think that is a bad thing- I think it is reality). And I think he took a view on fighting communism which was more along the lines of what the neoconservative view was; and the success of his efforts has made it so that it is now a conservative position to hold these views (since my definition of conservatism is the applied wisdom of history; what history has shown works is something conservatives should embrace).
The man who gave amnesty to millions of illegal aliens was an advocate of closed borders?
Or that the man who said these words was an isolationalist?
"The task that has fallen to us as Americans is to move the conscience of the world, to keep alive the hope and dream of freedom. For if we fail or falter, there'll be no place for the world's oppressed to flee to. This is not a role we sought. We preach no manifest destiny. But like the Americans who brought a new nation into the world 200 years ago, history has asked much of us in our time. Much we've already given; much more we must be prepared to give."
"This is not a task we shrink from; it's a task we welcome. For with the privilege of living in this kindly, pleasant, greening land called America, this land of generous spirit and great ideals, there is also a destiny and a duty, a call to preserve and hold in sacred trust mankind's age-old aspirations of peace and freedom and a better life for generations to come." -- Ronald Reagan
Reagan's politics were as far from a paleocon as you can get, the issues I brought up are the core ideals of the "paleo" movement. Those are by no means small differences.
The neoconservative ideology championed by Ronald Reagan brought about the fall of the Soviet Union, the elevation of the United States to the position of the lone world superpower, and the greatest period of financial prosperity in this nation's history.
Make mine a neoconservative.
Are you sayingNo, I said none of those things, which makes the rest of your post nothing but a strawman argument.
I do think Reagan was far from being a paleocon. By your definition then, not mine, he would be a neocon, since you said that ideologies are defined by their differences.
But I never agreed to that. I disagreed with it. I think that ideologies are defined by the beliefs- which can include similarities and differences.
I will confess to you that I have no idea where you are coming from nor going to with your arguments with me. Perhaps if you would state your point instead of trying to lead me into making your point with my replies, and perhaps if you would stop trying to put words in my mouth when I don't make your point with my replies, we could have a better debate or discussion. Because as it now stands, I don't know if you and I agree or disagree on anything in particular, other than I know I disagree with how you have characterized what I think.
Please, point it out to me. I would love to learn.
Actually they do know, but if the facts don't jibe with their political ideology they engage in malicious misinterpretation or just plain lying.
I am no Dixiecrat.
My conservatism is the conservatism (as I have said about four or five times on this thread alone) of Burke and John Adams. I think LewRockwell.com is garbage.
For one thing, if Reragan was able to still comprehend the issues he would never have dreamed of siding with Arabdom against Israel.
No such thing.
If you mean the website, then I will invoke Rummy. The website is a computer program. It has no views or opinions. People have views and opinions.
From what I can tell, you are ascribing to me views I do not hold. So I am asking you, to please clarify what you are saying, and if you are saying I believe something in particular, please substantiate your assertion.
Barry Goldwater, and Reagan would probably agree with me.