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Thread: Irving Kristol (89) "Godfather of Neoconservatism" Passes Away

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    Re: Irving Kristol (89) "Godfather of Neoconservatism" Passes Away

    Quote Originally Posted by Jackboot View Post
    I didn't realize that conservatives needed a "new conservative", did anyone check with the originals?
    The interesting fact is that Irving Kristol was a Marxist / Trotskyite before he became enchanted with Neoconservatism and became 'born-again' . One needs to wonder if anyone who "palled around " with Trotsky o Marx can be trusted.
    Last edited by F107HyperSabr; 09-18-09 at 11:40 PM.
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    Re: Irving Kristol (89) "Godfather of Neoconservatism" Passes Away

    Quote Originally Posted by F107HyperSabr View Post
    The interesting fact is that Irving Kristol was a Marxist / Trotskyite before he became enchanted with Neoconservatism and became 'born-again' . One needs to wonder if anyone who "palled around " with Trotsky o Marx can be trusted.
    Did you read my post? If so you will see how he came to conservatism.

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    Re: Irving Kristol (89) "Godfather of Neoconservatism" Passes Away

    Quote Originally Posted by bhkad View Post
    Did you read my post? If so you will see how he came to conservatism.
    No, I did not have to read your post because I already knew a lot about Irving Kristol and why/how he became a neocon.
    I do not recall the Viet Cong asking me if I was a natural born or Naturalized American before they shot at me, they just shot at all of us f107HyperSabr

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    Re: Irving Kristol (89) "Godfather of Neoconservatism" Passes Away

    Quote Originally Posted by bhkad View Post
    Did you read my post? If so you will see how he came to conservatism.
    Well, Adam Curtis borrowed far too much from Straussian critics like Shadia Drury to come to that conclusion. Irving had always stated that he never really felt comfortable belonging to one group or another throughout his youth and adulthood, hence the "neo" designations he famously joked about so often.

    Strauss did have a profound impact upon him, but so did Lionel Trilling and many others (include fellow Partisan Review members, fellow Alcov 1 classmates, early supply side economics proponents, fellow Public Interest writers, etc). Irving Kristol was the product of many intellectuals, family members, Jewish culture, and his own natural intuitions. This is why he stresses that neoconservatism is not a doctrine, a dogma, but rather a impulse.

    You really get a sense of that by reading his writing. That is why I have this real distaste towards Adam Curtis' documentary, no matter how many times I see it. He simply looks at the Straussian angle in the wrong way and presupposes that it essentially is neoconservatism rather than one wing of an incredibly complex label. I mean, if you think about it carefully, everything Curtis does with that documentary (besides grabbing content from copyrighted sources without really communicating enough with said copyright holders, thus making it difficult to ship his content through mainstream vendors) is to create this really nice and clean narrative about how to seemingly extreme characteristics of international relations are confusing the reality of the human existence, and that everything should be just fine if we simply accept that these leaders are shaping us towards a paranoid existence and we deny their premises. If you start to spend time examining one person in the theory, and expand outward, his whole documentary seemingly falls apart.

    I spent my time focusing on the neoconservative front, and bit by bit, I discovered how Curtis really just put together a shoddy product of others' work and once I examined the originators of that interpretation, you could find countless amounts of holes. But, you know, it's on the internet, it's spread quickly, it's promoted by the BBC, it has fantastic music, impressive visuals (again, taken from other sources), and has a fantastic narrative, but it's a really poorly examined thesis when you get down to it.
    Last edited by Fiddytree; 09-19-09 at 04:04 AM.
    Michael J Petrilli-"Is School Choice Enough?"-A response to the recent timidity of American conservatives toward education reform. https://nationalaffairs.com/publicat...-choice-enough

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    Re: Irving Kristol (89) "Godfather of Neoconservatism" Passes Away

    Quote Originally Posted by F107HyperSabr View Post
    The interesting fact is that Irving Kristol was a Marxist / Trotskyite before he became enchanted with Neoconservatism and became 'born-again' . One needs to wonder if anyone who "palled around " with Trotsky o Marx can be trusted.
    It's a complicated issue, but since I never really bought into the idea of "palled around" (as was said in the 2008 election) being the end all, be all of how one analyzes an intellectual's political identity, the whole Trotskyite thing could miss the point or complexity of someone.

    Irving Kristol got exposed to the Marxist movement through his older sister, when he was a young person. Expanding outward, there was an extraordinary amount of emphasis on leftwing politics, particularly one school of socialism or another in the Jewish community at around the time of the Great Depression. When we think about that and the time at which he was growing up, it could be really easy to suppose how one would teeter towards that intellectual direction. But over time, Kristol thought to himself, after he got exposed to more average Americans and the end of World War II, that this whole socialism experiment seems to be a fantasy, both not possible, and an "organic" (I believe that is what he labeled it as) connection to Stalinism (which he never liked to begin with). The triumph of America in the war, the growing economy, it all seemed like a confirmation that one could be completely disillusioned with Marxism, Trotsky, the whole nine yards in at least most ways.

    After that, I would agree that Trotsky or Marx helped impress upon Irving the power of ideas and how they can be spread, the nature of the intellectual class, a mode of thinking with how to view the measurement of society, etc, but there was something intrinsic in the man to quickly make Irving Howe basically think the man was a complete mistake in incorporating into his little group of Trotskyists believing in the power of socialism.
    Last edited by Fiddytree; 09-19-09 at 04:29 AM.
    Michael J Petrilli-"Is School Choice Enough?"-A response to the recent timidity of American conservatives toward education reform. https://nationalaffairs.com/publicat...-choice-enough

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    Re: Irving Kristol (89) "Godfather of Neoconservatism" Passes Away

    Neoconservatism is ideology & has very little to do with Conservatism.

    RIP

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    Re: Irving Kristol (89) "Godfather of Neoconservatism" Passes Away

    I never knew the guy.
    "He who does not think himself worth saving from poverty and ignorance by his own efforts, will hardly be thought worth the efforts of anybody else." -- Frederick Douglass, Self-Made Men (1872)
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    Re: Irving Kristol (89) "Godfather of Neoconservatism" Passes Away

    Quote Originally Posted by bhkad View Post
    Did you read my post? If so you will see how he came to conservatism.
    By deciding that the individual freedom should be quashed to serve the state?
    How incredibly conservative.
    ymmv
    Also note that he favored big-government--another solid conservative value there.
    Not worried about the growth of the welfare state--pretty much as conservative as it gets right there.

    A proponent of big-govt who felt individual liberty should be strictly regulated by the govt. Yep that's as conservative and American as it gets. Yessiree, Bob.
    I may be wrong.

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    Re: Irving Kristol (89) "Godfather of Neoconservatism" Passes Away

    By deciding that the individual freedom should be quashed to serve the state?
    How incredibly conservative.
    It is a conservative notion. It just is not classical American liberality. Also recall that Curtis is relying upon a predisposed interpretation of the philosopher Leo Strauss's writings, while in all actuality the exact nature of Strauss' political beliefs are not known, and political leanings of his students may also not be the same as the teacher.

    Also note that he favored big-government--another solid conservative value there.
    Not worried about the growth of the welfare state--pretty much as conservative as it gets right there.
    He was not afraid of the use of government to improve the human condition. Rather, he was wary of falling into the notion that the state could improve the human condition to some idealistic end like that of Plato's republic or so forth. If he was not worried about the growth of the welfare state, why suppose you that he was so interested in curbing the expansion of the welfare state and exposing liberalism's ill-considered weaknesses?
    Michael J Petrilli-"Is School Choice Enough?"-A response to the recent timidity of American conservatives toward education reform. https://nationalaffairs.com/publicat...-choice-enough

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    Re: Irving Kristol (89) "Godfather of Neoconservatism" Passes Away

    Oops. Forgot to explain something about a great majority of the neoconservative foregone conclusion with the welfare state.

    The creation of the welfare state by FDR was a welcome triumph of American politics. However, to Irving Kristol and others (disagreeing with each other about which program or mentality specifically was okay or needing to be stopped or curbed), what was being seen as the next big step of the New Deal (the Great Society) carried with it many problems or delusions. The motto of Kristol in this regard was essentially, "help people to the point at which they could be helped, but do no more.". That meant that the welfare state via FDR was the point where humanity for the most part could be helped, and the Great Society was a delusional practice that in some areas could have actually harmed the American public and its virtues. To which reason Reagan became a hero of neoconservatism (to whatever extent, because Reagan is like Tocqueville or the Bible, all sorts of people, conservative or neoconservative claim the man as one of their own, when in reality it is not so clean cut-which is where a lot of conservatives here would not appreciate what I just said) when he became the first Republican President, or conservative president for that matter, to stop fighting the fight against The New Deal and publicly hail the achievements of FDR.

    By the time of the 1990s, neoconservatives to a certain extent felt like they were apart of the conservative mainstream and declared the 'neo' designation dead. Of course, Irving later said he was wrong to give it a funeral.
    Last edited by Fiddytree; 09-19-09 at 08:04 PM.
    Michael J Petrilli-"Is School Choice Enough?"-A response to the recent timidity of American conservatives toward education reform. https://nationalaffairs.com/publicat...-choice-enough

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