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.
I have long disagreed with what I considered to be Bill Buckley's sanctimonious distancing himself from those Conservatives who were not considered intellectually respectable in some eastern circles, where Buckley was accepted as the Conservative you could invite, to make your gathering more interesting. But it is not fair nor right to suggest that he is a "neo-Conservative." He wrote "God and Man At Yale," half a Century ago, and started his Conservative Magazine shortly thereafter.
While he could have been more helpful to other Conservatives, had he not been so quick to find fault with their approaches, he has basically fought for traditional American values. Since I have not read National Review for some years, I cannot vouch that he has not strayed. But if he has, that would make him a "neo-Liberal," or a "neo-moderate." It would certainly not make him a "neo- Conservative."
Even as Buckley was wrong to apply litmus tests to other Conservatives, so we would be wrong to apply litmus tests to Buckley. Taken all in all, he has helped our cause immensely. Let us not degenerate into a bunch of inquisitors, insisting upon perfection before we will associate with natural allies.
William Flax Return Of The Gods Web Site
No, it isn't simple at all, since no one can agree on what "neo-con" even means. Ergo, the term itself has been rendered meaningless through misuse.
Just look at the comments on this thread. One person thinks the term describes the McCainiacs, while another thinks it defines anti-McCainiacs. Some thinks it refers to William F. Buckley while others think it refers to any conservative who is also a Jew (I've heard that explanation on FR). To some it means hard right, to others it means religious right, to others it means leftists, or moderates or Marxists... etc., etc.
Until we all agree on a brief but accurate definition, it is impossible to say what any of us are. And I'm not holding my breath on any agreement. :-)
Do you recall the budget deficits when Reagan was obligated to play swap politics in order to get the things which were really important to him?
Reagan is one of the greatest leaders this country ever produced, but you are grossly mischaracterizing how he accomplished it. There were a number of trades which he made in order to focus on those policies most important to him.
There are plenty of liberal programs, statutes and policies which are perfectly appropriate under the documents set forth by the founding fathers, and your job is to convince people otherwise without hyperbole.
You're always just so danged reasonable! LOL!
I guess that means that in this day and age, I should be committed to an asylum run by those who aren't. But thanks. I try to help young Conservatives take a purely reasonable approach to the debate. (See Introduction--Debate Handbook.)
Just a random comment.
When you use the word "change," you fall into the same conceptually imprecise error as those who embrace the greatly over-worked term "progress." I always used to use the example of a rat riding a bit of trash into the sewer in a thunder-storm, as an example of "progress." There is no virtue in progress, and none in change. The devil or virtue is in the details, the specifics of your direction, not the embracing of an action word.
Conservatives do not fear change as such. To the Conservative, however, change is a building on a firm foundation. To the Leftist--the Socialist egalitarian, bent upon levelling Society and collectivizing control--change is a disruption, a destruction of the foundation, not a building upon past achievement. We are the builders; they are the destroyers.
You are, of course, correct in your references to classical "Liberalism." However, in America those values are a part of our tradition; a part of our tradition springing directly out of the dynamic achievements of the original settlers, and the lessons that they learned in building a new Society from the ground up. It was not, as in Europe, a matter of sitting around and philosophizing about what might be nice. It was the tradition here. So there is no dichotomy, when American Conservatives seek to preserve their tradition, with the best of classical "Liberalism."
I make these points not to attack you, but in the interests of seeking greater clarity in a cause common to most of us at this forum.
William Flax Return Of The Gods Web Site
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