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--Irving Kristol
Sorry but I'm not part of any group that considers FDR a hero. Never mind the 'foreign policy', if that's what you want to call the current actions by the Bush administration
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.