Skip to comments.Why Neo-Conservatives Are not Real Conservatives
Posted on 09/26/2002 2:36:29 PM PDT by jstone78
I have always tried to figure out how real conservatives differ from neo-conservatives. I have listed a few points, with which you should feel free to agree or disagree with, and if you like, you can mention other ways in which you feel real conservatives and neocons differ.
1. Real conservatives (whether Old Rightists or New Rightists) are motivated by high moral principles and deep conviction, that the role of government in people's lives should be minimized, and people should be allowed to run their own lives. But Neo-conservatives are actually liberals and Marxists who pretend to be conservatives, and are motivated by nothing more than opportunism and hypocrisy, and have no moral principles worthy of mention.
2. Heros of real conservatives include individuals such as Gen. Douglass McArthur, Gen. George S. Patton, former Sen. Robert Taft, Robert E. Lee, Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Alan Keyes. Heros of the neo-cons include Harry Truman, FDR, Woodrow Wilson, Leon Trotsky, Nelson Rockefeller, Henry "Scoop" Jackson, and Sen. John McCain.
3. Real conservatives always put the interests of America first, ahead of other nations. They also believe that institutions not elected by American voters, have no right to make decisions affecting the lives of Americans. But neo-conservatives support globalization, mass immigration, the WTO, the United Nations, and most other forms of globalism.
4. Real Conservatives often win elections on fundamental moral and constitutional issues like defending the lives of the unborn, the restoration of school prayer, the right of ordinary citizens in a democracy to defend themselves through protection of Second Ammendment rights, and the rebuilding of the Christian foundation that made America a great nation. Neo-cons win elections on materialistic issues like government entitlements, tax privileges for some, and whining about the dangers of the "religious right" and other "extremists" in an attempt to discredit real conservatives.
5. Real conservatives oppose New Deal policies which resulted in big government. Neo-Conservatives support the New Deal.
6. Real conservatives oppose political correctness and victimology. But neo-conservatives are the greatest promoters of victim politics in America, as a result of finger-pointing habits they developed when they were still marxists and liberals. Neo-cons are fond of slandering their enemies using liberal buzz words such as "sexist", "racist", "anti-semitic", "homophobe", "isolationist", "bigot", "nativist", "xenophobe", etc.
In 1981, neo-conservative attack dogs ganged up and destroyed a prominent Southern conservative, the late M. E. Bradford. Bradford, a highly distinguished scholar, had been nominated by Ronald Reagan to be chair of the NEH, and smears by vicious and hateful neo-conservatives forced Ronald Reagan to withdraw the nomination. Many other real conservative scholars and columnists have had their reputations destroyed by hateful and vindictive neo-conservatives. Ironically, one common smear used by neo-cons, the "anti-semitic" smear, disregards the fact that many defenders of the old right are Jewish. Men like the late Murray Rothbard, Howard Phillips, and Paul Gottfried are strong defenders of old fashioned conservatism.
7. Liberals and Marxists hate old fashioned conservatives, whether in America or Europe, because they see real conservatives as a huge obstacle to the imposition of their socialist one-world agenda. Have you all noticed how European conservatives who oppose the European Union and the EU's liberal immigration policy are treated by the media? On the other hand, Liberals, Socialists, and Marxists, love neo-conservatives, whom they see as allies. Maybe the "ex-liberal" and "ex-Marxist" labels that neo-conservatives are often given, are nothing more than a sham (i.e. the "ex" part).
8. There is broad intellectual diversity among real conservatives, and they express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Some are Old Rightists, while others are New Rightists. Some are paleo-libertarians who are very anti-statist, while others are less hostile to the state. Some support Israel, while others do not. Some support free trade, while others are protectionist. Some want the IRS abolished entirely, while others favor reform of the IRS. But almost all oppose New Deal policies, and are strict constructionists in the various ways they interpret the US Constitution. Neo-cons on the other hand, do not tolerate dissent in their ranks, and all match in lockstep. The dictatorial nature of neo-conservatism can be traced to the authoritarian style of one old neo-con hero, Leon Trotsky.
These days, it's not often that a topic appears on Free Republic that I can really sink my teeth into. You have to strike while the iron's hot.
The nature of this forum has changed considerably since Clinton is no longer the main spleen-venting target. Some of the folks here who call themselves conservatives are anything but and have not a clue as to their intellectual underpinnings. I sort of consider it a challenge to remind them from time to time.
Amazon doesn't list this book. Do you know if it's still available?
The paleos, by contrast, opposed our adventures in Somalia, Haiti and the Balkans as much as they oppose the current plans for war.
I don't think it's a so much a case of right and left ganging up on Israel, as simply wanting to back off somewhat and encourage more compromise, and not automatically identitifying our interest with that of Israel or Bosnian Muslims or other groups that they regard as dubious. Maybe compromise is impossible now, but it doesn't seem to me that they advocate treating Israel differently from other countries in the same position. For some people, it seems to boil down to whether Israel is "us" in the way that we thought Europe or Japan or Canada was us, or whether we ought to pursue a more distanced policy towards that country, but I don't think that those who are critical of our current Middle East policy are scapegoating Israel or that they aren't critical of other interventions elsewhere in the world.
There's a generalized support for a "forward policy" among neo-cons and a generally more restrained attitude among paleos. Perhaps paleos are less supportive of Israel than they would be of South Africa, and neos are more supportive of Israel than they would be of Taiwan or East Timor, but attitudes towards Israel alone isn't the governing factor.
I wouldn't attack the paleos for their inconsistency on Israel, but for the cursed consistency they show in attacking pretty much all the wars we've fought in, even the justified ones.
In the 70s and 80s I would probably have been more favorable to neo-conservatism because of its strong anti-communist bent, and more down on stick-in-the-mud Bob Dole-type Republicans or moderate Republicans. Since the end of the Cold War, I don't see much reason for prefering the neo-con camp. The differences seem to be more those of style than of real positions on the issues.
Maybe it also matters whether one regards neo-conservatism (or paleo-conservatism) as something bigger than the people who represent it to the public. I don't think the New Deal will be undone in our lifetime or that if it were it would be a wholly good thing, but I can't help associating "neo-conservatism" narrowly with Kristol and Bennett and their associates and not wanting to share a label with them.
That seems to come from an end-justifies-the-means mentality among the neocons that makes constitutional issues irrelevant.
That is the result of not having or wanting power. When you aim at getting power or winning office your options are limited.
I agree with this characterization of neo-conservatives, but surely it also applies to paleo-conservatives now. What Rothbard was describing was a collection of unconnected dissenters. When groups congeal to the point of forming a clique or coterie, an orthodoxy develops.
Go to lewrockwell.com and see how much dissent there is from the site's silly orthodoxy. In Rothbard's day, free marketeers, isolationists and Southern regionalists or nationalists were three very different and unconnected groups with different views on different issues. Fuse the three groups into a common ideology and eventually ideological conformity will be demanded.
Rockwell apes the neo-conservative tactics of creating centralized organs to spread an ideological orthodoxy and he's done a fairly good job with his brainwashed troops. Though they play at being mavericks and iconoclasts they stick pretty closely to the script.
The point should be to get away from clique or coterie or group think, whether it calls itself "neo" or "paleo."
Didn't you just utterly destroy the premise of your own vanity with this statement? You, and many others, never hesistate to liberally (no pun intended) toss around the term "neo-con" at the drop of a hat. Yet you now say that intellectual diversity is not with neos but with the Old Right?
Read it again: "The most important difference between Old Rightists and Neo-Cons, is that great ideological diversity existed in the Old Right, while all (or most) Neo-Cons seem to read from the same script."
The script written for FR's own "Old Right" is to label EVERYTHING with which they disagree with as "neo-con." It is a script in which the lines are NEVER forgotten.
You just blew your own argument to hell! You can not have it both ways.
My results, 1.Conservative, 2. Paleo-Conservative, 3. Neo-Conservative, 4. PaleoLiberterian.....10. Liberal.
Sane Walker signed up 2002-09-27.
Who were you before Sane?
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