Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Problem With Neoconservatism

When I moved back to the States after 16 years in Chile I noticed that conservatism had changed course 180 degrees. How did a political movement that proposed perpetual war, huge deficits and ballooning government grow out of American conservatism? How did it happen without anyone noticing?

Well it must of been like boiling a live frog. When you heat the water up a bit at a time, the little creature doesn't notice. That is one reason that nobody talks about the transformation of conservative ideology. But I have been studying the change and the principal actors behind the change and have come upon another, graver reason that we don't talk about the problem with neoconservatism. Incredibly we are hesitant to discuss the change because we rapidly enter into a subject that is taboo in America. I have been to cowardly or too prudent to blog about this topic up until now.

But today I ran across an article by Dr. Kevin MacDonald that poses the important questions about neoconservatism. Where did this transformation of American conservatism come from? Who does it benefit? Why is it taboo to talk about this subject? So I am going to let Dr MacDonald, who is braver than I, talk about Neoconservatism:

Over the last year, there’s been a torrent of articles on neoconservatism raising (usually implicitly) some vexing issues: Are neoconservatives different from other conservatives? Is neoconservatism a Jewish movement? Is it “anti-Semitic” to say so?

The dispute between the neocons and more traditional conservatives — “paleoconservatives” — is especially important because the latter now find themselves on the outside, looking in on the conservative power structure.

Hopefully, some of the venom has been taken out of this argument by the remarkable recent article by neoconservative “godfather” Irving Kristol (“The Neoconservative Persuasion,” Weekly Standard, August 25, 2003). With commendable frankness, Kristol admitted that

“the historical task and political purpose of neoconservatism would seem to be this: to convert the Republican party, and American conservatism in general, against their respective wills, into a new kind of conservative politics suitable to governing a modern democracy.”

And, equally frankly, Kristol eschewed any attempt to justify U.S. support for Israel in terms of American national interest:

“[L]arge nations, whose identity is ideological, like the Soviet Union of yesteryear and the United States of today, inevitably have ideological interests in addition to more material concerns… That is why we feel it necessary to defend Israel today, when its survival is threatened. No complicated geopolitical calculations of national interest are necessary.”

If the US is an “ideological” nation, this can only mean that the motivations of neoconservative ideology are a legitimate subject of intellectual inquiry.

To read the rest of Dr. MacDonald's article click here.

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