What’s Wrong with the World

The men signed of the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark.

About

What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Random Reflections, Post-Election

Yesterday's election was anticlimactic, in my experience, the culmination of something I anticipated early in 2006 - that the GOP would lose the Congress and then the Presidency. The cadres of the conservative movement, such as they are, and it is, were hellbent on riding the policies and ethos of the Bush administration headlong into the abyss, and this political suicide has now received its formal ratification. There is so much to be said about this occurrence, and this moment in our history, that of the nation and of conservatism, or what remains of conservatism; of the weaving of narratives there is no end, however, and that being the case - and being exhausted and wracked by a state of irritable boredom - I'll simply gesture in the direction of a narrative by citing some of the more interesting things I've read this week.

First is Noah Millman's lengthy disquisition justifying his vote for Obama in the election, a piece which dissatisfies in both its conclusion and in some of its reasoning, but which also contains the following passage, leading into a discussion of the two issues which sealed the deal against McCain in his mind:



Because McCain’s changed, I’ve changed, and the world’s changed.

How has McCain changed? In a nutshell, he’s gotten older. As we age, we get more set in our ways, less mentally flexible, more inclined to rely on narrative structures that we absorbed long ago. And the structures that dominate McCain’s brain are an almost perfect mismatch with our country’s needs at this time.

How have I changed? In a nutshell, I’ve gotten more conservative and less right-wing. (I’m using conservative in the sense of skeptical and cautious as well as in the sense of seeking permanence and valuing rootedness, and right-wing in the sense of believing in the importance of rewarding success more than in ameliorating failure.) More specifically, I’ve decided I was wrong about a bunch of things, and some of those things are Republican Party dogma, and much of that dogma is now central to the McCain campaign message.

How has the world changed? In a nutshell, the Bush Administration happened. We can’t pretend it didn’t. And whoever is the next President has to be responsive to that legacy. Perhaps, if McCain had been President in 2001, things would have gone better – or perhaps not. But we don’t get a do-over; we have to deal with the world as we have it and have made it, and not as we’d like it to have been.



In a nutshell, I’ve gotten more conservative and less right-wing. (I’m using conservative in the sense of skeptical and cautious as well as in the sense of seeking permanence and valuing rootedness, and right-wing in the sense of believing in the importance of rewarding success more than in ameliorating failure.) Millman does not elaborate on these thoughts, but I'd suggest that the GOP became wedded to destabilizing policies on a variety of fronts, and that these policies reflected the ideology side of the prudence/ideology divide. Enough.

Second is Tom Piatak's comment on the repudiation that was the 2008 presidential election:


Much can and will be said about this election, but one thing that is indisputably true is that it represents a massive repudiation of George W. Bush, who governed as the neoconservative president par excellence and whose failure as president stems in large measure from a war that the neoconservatives had lobbied Bush to wage. Bush came to define this war as a neoconservative enterprise to bring “democracy” to the Middle East, part of the larger messianic project to end “tyranny” that he announced in his Second Inaugural. The repudiation of Bush should, in justice, mean the repudiation of neoconservatism, and it is the task of those of us who never accepted neoconservatism to help make this dream a reality.

The path to the GOPocalypse began with the fetishistic devotion to the Iraq war and the larger conceptual apparatus in which it figured, an approach which dogmatically disdained any reckoning with the objective nature and scale of the threats, but instead sought to apply a pre-existing template, derived from the post-Cold War atmosphere of self-celebration, to different circumstances. And, to double down upon the hubris, this strategic error was magnified by calamitous mismanagement. Compounding this further was the strident insistence, continuing among some to this very day, that opponents of this folly detested America. I know, I know - we're all weary of discussing the war. But any account of November 4, 2008, which leaves Iraq out of the reckoning is merely self-serving.

Third is Daniel Koffler's latest missive in the unedifying Palin Wars, which includes the following, to my mind unduly harsh judgment - a judgment, however, which touches upon the truth:


I imagine it requires a fairly extraordinary commitment to maintaining cognitive dissonance to hate elite putatively conservative putative intellectuals — and indeed, education itself — as much as The Other McCain does while simultaneously proclaiming unconditional fealty to Governor Palin, the reductio ad absurdum of some of those intellectuals’ efforts to manipulate the conservative base to advance their foreign policy agenda, to be a necessary condition for membership in the Republican party.

Palin entered the campaign as a cipher on national-level policy questions, and could have been brought up to speed in any number of ways. However, on the day following the convention, when Palin had been planning to meet with some or other pro-life organization, her handlers in the McCain campaign compelled her to cancel that meeting in order to take the foreign policy crash course with some of the usual suspects. And so, when Palin made her first post-convention appearances, and the conversation turned to foreign policy, we were subjected to the cringe-making spectacle of Palin enacting the Eternal Return of the Same, as though the foreign policy failures of the Bush administration had not, in fact, happened. The campaign then proceeded to follow this template, promising a profound identification on cultural grounds, but planning to deliver, to all appearances, the same sort of belligerent nationalism that ruined the Bush administration.

How, exactly, does this two-step work? Well, my theory is also that of Matt Feeney, who discusses the Kantian historicism of the Bush administration's foreign policy, and muses


I have a hard-to-prove theory that it was something quite domestic that effected the idealist turn in conservative foreign policy thinking: the culture war. Suddenly, after The Closing of the American Mind, we had a strong sense of what the greatest enemy was: relativism. And the conclusion to the Cold War seemed to elevate this anti-relativitism from a cultural to a global mission. It was, after all, Reagan’s moral clarity vis-a-vis the Evil Empire etc. etc. etc.

Or, in other words, the New Fusionism, the mutual assimilation of social conservatism and neoconservative militarism, such that the former incorporates all of the reflexes of the latter, as extensions of sound values and human rights, while the latter repackages its principles as elements of the social conservatives' anti-relativist crusade. The Bush rhetoric, and the tone of many of Palin's campaign stops, was veritably infused with this sort of thing, which explains the admixture of moralism, foreign-policy positioning, and cultural identity politics characteristic of the post-Clinton GOP. Of course, the neoconservative ingredient in this fusionist cuisine is considered rather unpalatable by majorities in America nowadays, and this has, I believe, contributed to the increasing revulsion among many (you really ought to hear my fellow Gen-Xers around the office discuss the Bushian rhetoric, even though none of it is safe for work) Americans for anything redolent of these 'small-town Americans' and their social conservatism. Social conservatives yoked themselves to the GOP on the Bush administration's signature issue, and will now share in the suffering, perhaps even to the point of being assigned the scapegoat role in the coming internecine warfare. The crowning irony will be that this fusionism, and its rhetoric, was the achievement of the neoconservatives themselves, many of whom are scrambling to distances themselves from the calamity. For Palin's sake, I can advise only that she distance herself from these political incubuses if she is desirous of a national political future; the New Fusionism will not be any more of a political winner four years hence than it is now.

These observations lead me to the fifth piece, in which Paul Gottfried reflects on the possibility that neoconservative attempts at self-preservation may hasten the disillusionment on the right, creating space for a renovated conservatism. The entire essay is worth reading and pondering, at least for those sympathetic towards the paleoconservative interpretation of conservative intramural maneuvering, but I'll spotlight a passage from the concluding paragraph:


The criticism of the 1960s that is still permissible on the respectable right has been limited to epiphenomenal fluff, such as the failure of hippies to apply sufficient body deodorant or to brush their teeth often enough or the predilection of certain unidentified antiwar protestors for dead Teutonic critics of democracy.

Finally, with respect to the future of the conservative movement and the GOP as a vehicle for conservatism, the options are limited, if success, and not mere self-satisfaction, is the objective. Either a populist, middle-American conservatism:

Regardless of how one views Sarah Palin herself, the phenomenon of enthusiasm for Palin, like the grassroots mobilization for Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul we saw in the primaries, shows the powerful hunger in Middle America for someone to speak for them and defend their interests. Except perhaps on immigration, institutional conservatism and elected representatives in the Republican Party have largely failed to do this. During the primaries, institutional conservatism was content to foist two rebranded Northeastern liberal Republicans on conservatives as their champions while denigrating the two candidates with the strongest grassroots support. As the enthusiasm for candidates as different as Huckabee and Paul shows, Christian conservatives and libertarians are looking for representation. These voters are not going to find it in a mainstream movement that loathes Huckabee and Paul, nor will they find what they seek among the “reformists,” so their support is up for grabs. What populist conservatives need to do in the coming years is to make sure that Middle Americans are presented with a credible, substantive populism from the right that provides a genuine alternative to the left’s agenda and does not settle for the false comfort of empty anti-elitist rhetoric.

Or the sort of reformist conservatism promoted by Ross Douthat, Reihan Salam, and Ramesh Ponnuru - because not even this policy vision will suffice, as I have already argued. Long-time readers will readily intuit where my sympathies lie.

Comments (38)

I'd be able to take these posts on neo-conservatism more seriously if someone would take the time to define exactly what they mean by neo-conservatism.

I've written reams of posts on that theme; some of which may be found here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

But if you want the Cliff's Notes version, it would be that neoconservatism is the unholy union of an interventionist foreign policy aimed at the perpetuation of American military supremacy and the hegemony of American managerial/finance/'free trade' capitalism, the embrace of the modern, managerial state, and the instrumentalization of social and cultural issues, their reduction to semiotic exercises referring ultimately to Benevolent Global Hegemony and Democratic Capitalism.

"Neo-conservatism" has had several incarnations. Bill Buckley and the original National Review were sometimes called "neo-conservatives" because of their repudiation of the old paranoid anti-semitic right. The Heritage Foundation and the Claremont Institute are affiliated with this strand. There is strong emphasis on social issues, anti-communism, free institutions, and free markets. (Intellectual godfather: Russell Kirk). Neo-conservativsm has also referred to "liberals mugged by reality." Mostly cold warrior staunch anti-communist ex-Democrats who became disenchanted with American social policy especially concerning welfare and racial preferences. Commentary Mag, AEI, and the Hoover institutions are usually associated with this part of the movement. (Intellectual godfathers: Irving Kristol, Norman Podheretz). Neo-conservatism also refers to the rise of intellectual religious conservatism. Ethics and Public Policy Center and First Things Magazine are often linked to this part of the movement.

Of course, many of these folks overlap with each other given their common interests and concerns.

Today, "neo-conservatism" is used as a thoughtless slur in the Pat Buchanan edition of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Frank,
Neocons are for big government, pro-war in the pursuit of global hegemony, pro-open borders and with some exceptions at First Things, not interested in abortion and euthanasia. Except as sops to those foot soldiers of the Chrisitian Right who are beholden to a strange eschatology that holds the Middle East to be where the world ends and the rapture begins.

Kirk famously said neocons mistake Tel Aviv for our nation's capitol. I guess you could have included him in your smear of Buchanan too.

Those who might want to see neoconservatism in action need only look at the past 8 years of the Bush Administration. Limited government, trade policies favoring American workers and a modest and prudent foreign policy are clearly not part of its dogma.

Many of the founders of the movement began as Trotskyites before taking up the mantle of Thomas Paine. Creative destruction is a favorite term of theirs and some say that best describes what they have inflicted on conservatism.

Yes, I've forgotten. Shame on me. Only devotees of the old Czarist forgery, or those intent upon creating a new one, have ever criticized the aforementioned policies of the American establishment.

In fine, however, the Old Right was not at all monolithic, let alone monolithically anti-semitic, and the right established by Bill Buckley included many intellectuals whose work is today honoured primarily by those who trace their intellectual lineages to the Old Right. While Buckley's right may have been referred to as 'neo-conservative' for a time, even in the standard conservative historiographies, the term applies primarily to the 'liberals mugged by reality' and their preoccupations, and no amount of cheap equivocations should be permitted to obscure this reality.

To return to the standard ad hominem which is always thrown around in these discussions, I'd say that anyone who is minimally conversant with paleoconservative discourse, and does not already subscribe to the mentally primitive and Pavlovian reductionism, according to which the merest whiff of skepticism concerning the interventionist consensus in American foreign policy is tantamount to "waving the white flag of surrender", would acknowledge that "neoconservatism", in the mouth of a paleoconservative, means the doctrinaire embrace of a militaristic and interventionist foreign policy, globalization in economics and finance, and the cynical and manipulative deployment of social issues (which are used to mobilize the base, and nothing more, ever). Insofar as Israel figures in this, it does so not with respect to "the Jews" qua "the Jews", but with respect to a rejection of the neoconservative perception of an identity, or close correspondence, between the respective national interests of Israel and the United States. The equation of talk of "neoconservatives" with invidious talk of the Jews is merely a way of smuggling into the discussion the presupposition of this identity, so that it need never be defended, and critics can be dismissed as bigots. This is every bit as dishonest and despicable as the left's quick recourse to accusations of "homophobia" and intolerance whenever the subjects of marriage and sexual ethics are broached.

Or, more succinctly and specifically, where Israel is concerned, paleoconservatism is the conviction that, say, Bibi Netanyahu is a lunatic, that the infliction of collective punishment upon Lebanon for the actions of Hizbollah is unjust, and that, if Israel truly desires peace with the Palestinians, it's all about those third rails, the settlements. Such specificities, it should go without saying, may be arrived at by means utterly unrelated to animus, such as just-war doctrine and realist policy analysis, as demonstrated satisfactorily, to all except the paranoid and question-begging, by the fact that many Jews espouse them.

But perhaps I am mistaken, and perhaps conservatives of the mainstream should continue to 'disappear' substantive discussions of policy, regarding them not as valid questions in their own right, but as mere signifiers for "character" or "moral clarity", perfectly mirroring the left, for whom there are only people who agree with them and evil people.

By the way, the neoconservatives are still moving left, more or less as they have always done, if anyone cares to notice. "Less polarizing on social issues" is essentially code language for "make your peace with gay "marriage" and gradually whittle away the pro-life planks of the GOP platform."

Ah yes, "less polarizing on social issues." How best to win elections? Well, suppose we gut the fundamentals of our social platform? Now that's what I call 'leadership'!

By the way, the neoconservatives are still moving left, more or less as they have always done, if anyone cares to notice.

They really should go find a nice home in the Democratic party, where they have always belonged. A leaner, actually-conservative Republicanism might be an interesting change of pace.

Vox Day tears into Frum's little mash-note to the cultural left:



In my opinion, David Frum's analysis is factually incorrect and logically incoherent, and an intelligent observer will note that while the Republican pragmatists and moderates were obliterated - again - on Tuesday, it was culture war issues that not only triumphed in Democratic strongholds such as California, but downright dominated in battleground states that went for Obama such as Florida. This isn't to say a cultural approach is a certain vote-winner in all circumstances; voters tend to be skittish of altering state constitutions and usually prefer to steer clear of the more comprehensive abortion bans, but there's no question that the anti-homogamy, anti-abortion wing of the Republican Party is far more popular than the banker's bail-out wing or the Israel First feather. (Snip)

It's worth noting that the same Republican squishes who are now inaccurately claiming that social conservatism is the problem simultaneously cling to three of the most widely unpopular policies in politics today: the military occupations, the Wall Street bail-outs, and open migration. If the Frum faction remains influential in the Republican Party, they will ensure its return to the tiny minorities of the FRD era. Followership is not a functional strategy in any field of life, least of all national politics.



Setting aside the question of the bailouts, on which I disagree, it remains that Frum dares not mention either foreign policy or the effects of his preferred immigration policy, which has the certain effect of pushing the nation to the left - this, despite a number of gesticulations at the truth of the matter in his own column. In other words, never mind that immigration is pushing the country to the left, let's solve the problem by jettisoning the social conservatives.

This man is considered a strategic genius by many. God help us.

"Frum dares not mention...the effects of his preferred immigration policy..."

Uhhh...Frum is an immigration restrictionist, isn't he?

I think you're wrong in several ways.

In the first place, the repudiation of the Bush administration is much, much more about social bipartisanship, fiscal irresponsibility, and Republican corruption than it is about the Iraq war. McCain's loss was mostly due to a failure to energize his own base -- contrary to noise and expectations, Obama did not rewrite the map -- and his base was demoralized because the conservative revolution had been hijacked by a large-government, socially moderate President who gave liberals what they wanted on the home front, and championed by Congressmen who feathered their own nests rather than accomplish the conservative agenda. The revulsion is against massive, intrusive government, out-of-control spending, and pork barrel politics, not against neo-conservative foreign policy.

In fact, I maintain that there was nothing particularly new about President Bush's Iraq policy, that it was nothing but a continuation of American foreign policy consistent not only with recent Presidents but also with mid-to-late 20th century politics as well. Iraq never attacked us directly; neither did Germany in WWII. Neither did Grenada, Panama, North Korea, or North Vietnam. Since WWI, America has been willing to take pre-emptive, defensive action where her interests were threatened. The Iraq war, coming after 15 years of violent hostilities with Saddam Hussein, was par for the course.

Furthermore, since the Iraq war no longer appears lost, the majority of Americans are content with it. The opposition to the war came from two groups: 1) people who would have opposed any war for any reason so long as it was waged by a Republican President; and 2) people who hate getting involved in a losing proposition. Group 2 is now satisfied; Group 1 never could be. Little or none of the principled opposition to the war came because of some new, unacceptable "neo-conservative" doctrine that has since been repudiated. That's just a smokescreen generated by Group 1; if it hadn't been that, it would have been something else. They make up reasons out of thin air.

Finally, a few decades from now, history is likely to regard the Iraq war and the corresponding War on Terror (don't blame me, I didn't pick the name) as the one, positive achievement of the Bush administration. It's still too early to tell, but there's at least a reasonable probability that the primary goal of the war, a stable, prosperous, free republic influencing the middle east toward peace, will have been achieved when all is said and done. Historians will agree, I suspect, that Bush's domestic policy was uniformly disliked, and that his greatest failure was his inability to sell his own programs.

The Right will recover when it rediscovers its roots, which were abandoned by the Bush administration and the Delay-led conservatives in Congress: small, unobtrusive government, fiscal restraint, free markets, honest governance, low taxes, and an end to government-led social meddling. Foreign policy need not change, because it never did.

Steve, you are absolutely correct. Frum is a moderate restrictionist at present; I've confused him with David Brooks, who is otherwise either saying, or likely to say, much the same thing with respect to jettisoning the social conservatives as the path to revival.

Bob, all I have to say in response is that, if the GOP believes that a reversion to a sort of small-government, free-market fundamentalism is the ticket to victory, they are welcome to attempt it. They will - and here I must nod to Frum, who is correct on this count - only appear completely irrelevant to the vast swathes of the middle class suffering from a variety of contemporary instabilities, many of which can be connected to the very economic policies the GOP has promoted. For the love of God, Jim Manzi recognizes as much, though I find his remedies inadequate. But, as I said, they are welcome to attempt it, and lead it to the equivalent of the 1932-1980 permanent GOP minority.

As regards foreign policy, yes, pointless interventions are a hoary American tradition, but what the American people, inclusive of the so-called Jacksonians, cannot abide is the interminable sort of conflict that Iraq has become. And no, the war is not now a source of contentment. We ought not confuse the displacement of the war from the national consciousness by economic anxieties with a reconciliation of the American people with the Bush Doctrine.

Among the many contradictions conservatives will have to resolve is their purported desire for, "small, unobtrusive government, fiscal restraint, honest governance, low taxes," , while maintaining the world's largest military industrial complex with 700 plus bases dotting the globe and an endless array of dubious alliances and treaties. "Foreign policy need not change" if one lives in a fantasy of unlimited financial resources and thinks Iraq constitutes a victory, the nation-building in Afghanistan a success and our national prestige in good estate.

Hear, hear, Kevin!

Quite frankly, based on previous interactions & a plethora of historical comments, I think the only persons here that come closest to views aptly befitting of the old conservatism are Maximos & Kevin.

There have been several folks on this blog that may claim to be of similar conservatism but have actually expressed views that run egregiously contrary to the rigid ideological purity of that old conservatism and, in retrospect, are ironically more reflective of views from the Hard Left prevalent at the time of ole Bill Buckley.

(Those past threads that engendered a peppery touch of disagreement had been quite revealing.)

In spite of our current national distaste for outright assertions, I'll just say that nobody here, with the exception of the two aforementioned individuals, would even come close to fitting central casting's notion of the prototypical conservative.

However, given that frame of mind popular nowadays that precedes every statement with a pseudo-similizing 'like' and accompanies it with an ever ingratiating 'you know', it is not surprising why such a label would come to find its place even amongst the most unlikely of individuals because these too are 'like' conservatives, 'you know'.

Sounds like a weak attempt at irony, Ari. But, since I am not a nominalist, I am obligated to state that all of the arguments to the effect that Bush's policies have been conservative cannot make it so.

Actually, Maximos, that was my point (at least, one of them).

contrary to the rigid ideological purity of that old conservatism

Pardon me, but is this a joke? Ideological purity is, and always has been, the domain of the left. "Old conservatism" is not much more than an urge, disposition, or instinct... standing athwart-n-all that: A crotchety old reactionary who may finally have managed to trouble himself to give rational voice to his perception of loss. Maximos and Kevin should be offended by the very assertion.

I believe that's one of the things that clued Maximos in on the irony.

At any rate, I don't know why certain folks here claim to be 'Bill Buckley' when they are more 'Jacob Javits'.

And I'm not actually talking about Maximos & Kevin either.

The only thing I beg to differ with Maximos in his definition is his more isolationist bent; more specifically, not all conservatives then in the good ole days took part in "America First" rallies.

They were more for Churchill, in my opinion, rather than against.

Ideological purity is, and always has been, the domain of the left.

Well said, Steve and why conservatism is in such disrepair; conformity reigns. Contemporary conservatism has been reduced to little more than a market niche thrown-up by a news/entertainment complex adept at dumbing–down its audience. Maybe a technological civilization with all its intrusive contrivances and incessant stimulants makes it impossible for original thought and genuine dissent.

Ari, I wasn't offended, just a little worried. National Review used to be home to a bunch of bright, fun-loving ecentrics, cranks and anti-modernists. Now its a carpool of men in gray flannel suits studying market research reports and writing ad copy.

Kevin:

Speaking of NR -- don't you know they're still, in fact, 'conservative'???

Bickering Republicans Cast about for Answers

Future of GOP: reaching out to new voters or consolidating the base?

Top Republicans echoed the assessment of the National Review, a leading organ of conservative Republicanism, which thundered in a post-election editorial that “the public has ... clearly rejected the Republican Party in its present configuration.”

SOURCE: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27578157/

So far Francis Beckwith's answer is the only one that bears any resemblance to reality regarding neo-conservatism.

"neoconservatism is the unholy union of an interventionist foreign policy aimed at the perpetuation of American military supremacy and the hegemony of American managerial/finance/'free trade' capitalism, the embrace of the modern, managerial state, and the instrumentalization of social and cultural issues, their reduction to semiotic exercises referring ultimately to Benevolent Global Hegemony and Democratic Capitalism."

I'll stick with Professor Beckwith's answer. When I see the words "holy" and "hegemony" that close together, I don't think I'm dealing with someone who wants to seriously discuss Xenophon.

Oh well.

When I see the words "holy" and "hegemony" that close together, I don't think I'm dealing with someone who wants to seriously discuss Xenophon.

I believe the term was "un

holy".

contrary to the rigid ideological purity of that old conservatism

Pardon me, but is this a joke? Ideological purity is, and always has been, the domain of the left. "Old conservatism" is not much more than an urge, disposition, or instinct... standing athwart-n-all that: A crotchety old reactionary who may finally have managed to trouble himself to give rational voice to his perception of loss. Maximos and Kevin should be offended by the very assertion.


If conservatism is simply an attitude toward liberalism, then what use is it? Not much at all, apparently, as the now concluding 40 years of conservative ascendancy have demonstrated. The 'movement' serves only to ratify liberal innovations some time after the fact. It is functionally liberal, whatever the rubes who faithfully send their money and cast their votes think, in that it blunts and channels the forces of reaction into a political game rigged on liberal terms. Through the magic of partisan spirit, the hearts of the reactionary lumpenproles are converted to slightly passé (ten years, perhaps, out of date) progressivism in a way more subtle and profound than could easily be accomplished by direct hectoring and reeducation from the progressive élite itself.

If conservatism is simply an attitude toward liberalism, then what use is it?

If conservatism is simply a race to grab more of the goodies that fall from liberalism's table, then what use is it? Cyrus, I think we're agreed, except perhaps in thinking that the "movement" you refer to as "conservative" actually is.

I blame Joe the Plumber. Bush's 25% approval rating didn't help either.

More to the point, the neocons formed a little club called PNAC and this is their declaration:
http://www.newamericancentury.org/statementofprinciples.htm

"neocons formed a little club called PNAC"

Having read it, I fail to see what your point is. What do you disagree with on their Statement of Principles page?

BTW, if I don't respond to your post right away, I'm in my back yard taking delivery of a huge pallet of gold ingots from Fort Knox from a Karl Rove piloted black helicopter that's on its way to Crawford.

http://www.newamericancentury.org/balkans_pdf_04.pdf

Do you disagree with their letter on Kosovo as well.

I am simply supporting Maximos in saying that the neocons are an identifiable group with a militaristic foreign policy agenda.

I, too, wish that I could have swelled with pride over witnessing a black man elected to our Presidency, but I did not and I cannot. Of course, my reasons for an absence of enthusiasm is not because the President Elect is, in fact, a black man, but because I believe him to be little more than a black man--I believe many voted for him for no other reason, and frankly, there were far too many excellent reasons not to vote for him. Settling for the ilk of a Barrack Obama to feel 'pride' in electing a black man as President, to me, isn't pride at all, but a clearing of one's conscience.

The day will come when I, too, feel that welling of pride when another black man is elected as President, but not this day.

Indeed, this idea of beaming with politically correct pride over our first President Elect being black is completely lost on me as well.

A very sad day, I thought, considering the substance, or I should say, the lack of substance, of the man.

While populism and conservativism aren't the same thing, there are places where they overlap. Some of these ideas are what drew both conservatives and non-conservatives towards Paul and Huckabee. Conservatives need to give this a solid look, then go after the middle class hard, with those concerns firmly in view.

I heard conservative scholar Mark Henrie state that what differentiates neocons from other conservatives is that the former have made peace with modernity. Makes perfect sense, really.

Otis, keep in mind that his leftist views were moreso the catalysts for his nomination and subsequent election. Had he been conservative, he would have been duly attacked by both the MSM and the Democratic left much along the same lines as Palin had been.

Had he been conservative, he would have been duly attacked by both the MSM and the Democratic left much along the same lines as Palin had been.

Indeed!

Had it been a black conservative, there would hardly have been any such support for the candidate nor the ceremony or fanfare you see presently; in fact, I doubt such a candidate to be even electable.

"...what differentiates neocons from other conservatives is that the former have made peace with modernity."

Rob G,
The neo's have a symbiotic relationship with modernity - they are its offspring. The real disappointment is mainstream conservatism's inability to penetrate beneath our culture's surface and address the roots of our crisis. Instead the "conservative movement", which expired last Tuesday as an electoral coalition, is only able to spew forth a tired series of often contradictory knee-jerk nostrums left over from the Reagan years. Fortunately we can refuse to reside within the sharply restricted confines of the Liberal Tradition. Henrie's ISI provides a great antidote to the shallow thought and cultural conformity that has engulfed the co-opted Right.

"Henrie's ISI provides a great antidote to the shallow thought and cultural conformity that has engulfed the "

I agree, though I'm mystified by the comment that neo-conservatives have "made peace with modernity".

"I'm mystified by the comment that neo-conservatives have "made peace with modernity"."

Neocons breakdown into roughly 2 groups; those who view democratic capitalism as modernity's saving angel, or as its apotheosis. Either way, they are the last ones to challenge our cultural assumptions and current modes of living.

I'm mystified by the comment that neo-conservatives have "made peace with modernity".
Hmm. That has always seemed to me to be one of the most obvious features of neoconservatism: neoconservatism's project can be summarized as a movement to legitimate and conserve modernity, and to make it pervasive. The End of History and all that.

"That has always seemed to me to be one of the most obvious features of neoconservatism"

Yes, in hindsight it does seem rather obvious, doesn't it? But I had never heard it put so starkly or succinctly. I guess that's what made it memorable.

"Either way, they are the last ones to challenge our cultural assumptions and current modes of living."

I've had a number of discussions with neocons wherein if I challenged any aspect of modernity I was accused of being a Luddite and basically wanting to return to the days of pre-anesthetic dentistry. There seems to be no sense among them that "progress" involves any trade-offs.

Post a comment


Bold Italic Underline Quote

Note: In order to limit duplicate comments, please submit a comment only once. A comment may take a few minutes to appear beneath the article.

Although this site does not actively hold comments for moderation, some comments are automatically held by the blog system. For best results, limit the number of links (including links in your signature line to your own website) to under 3 per comment as all comments with a large number of links will be automatically held. If your comment is held for any reason, please be patient and an author or administrator will approve it. Do not resubmit the same comment as subsequent submissions of the same comment will be held as well.