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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

    I wonder what he thought about the most recent "neocons"?

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

    I'm a Kirk, Weaver and Nisbet man myself when it comes to late 20th century American conservatives, but RIP Mr Kristol. It is always sad to see a good man die.
    "It is written in the eternal constitution that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters." - Edmund Burke

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Fiddytree View Post
    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.
    I thank you.

    OBL 11/24/02

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

    Quote Originally Posted by The silenced majority View Post
    Neoconservatism is ideology & has very little to do with Conservatism.

    RIP
    I think Dr.Johnson put it best when he said of David Hume "The fellow is a Tory by chance." and Russell Kirk applied this to to Hegel. I would paraphrase that and apply it to the neocons and Burkean conservatism. They are to me far more the disciples of the likes of Machiavelli, Hobbes, Hume and Hegel than they are of the strictly Burkean, Christian conservative tradition. They intersect with us sometimes but they lack what Burke would have called veneration, imho, and often we come into conflict.
    Last edited by Wessexman; 09-19-09 at 10:39 PM.
    "It is written in the eternal constitution that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters." - Edmund Burke

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Wessexman View Post
    I think Dr.Johnson put it best when he said of David Hume "The fellow is a Tory by chance." and Russell Kirk applied this to to Hegel. I would paraphrase that and apply it to the neocons and Burkean conservatism. They are to me far more the disciples of the likes of Machiavelli, Hobbes, Hume and Hegel than they are of the strictly Burkean, Christian conservative tradition. They intersect with us sometimes but they lack what Burke would have called veneration, imho, and often we come into conflict.
    Don't forget the including the ancients as well.
    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 Fiddytree View Post
    Don't forget the including the ancients as well.
    Which ones? I think Plato and Aristotle and others influenced both groups, and others no doubt, in different ways. Platonic idealism for instance has an important place in mainstream Christianity, in perhaps an altered way, and has greatly influenced traditionalist or Burkean Conservatism.
    "It is written in the eternal constitution that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters." - Edmund Burke

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Fiddytree View Post
    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.
    You are one of those intelligentpeople who saw through the "palled around" scam. You were not a target of my tweak.

    You are correct that unfortunately the Jewish community, not only in the US but in Germany and Eastern Europe, fell into leftist and worse e.g. Bolshevik, Socialist, Marxist later Communist activities. I saw Irving Kristol as a 'conservative' with the social consciousness of almosta 'liberal'. That later philosohpy musthavebeen the carryover from his upbringing.

    ps: Gald you caught th "palled around" tweak too bad that someone did not clue Miss Clueless from Alaska about that fator.
    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 Fiddytree View Post
    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.



    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?
    But it was Strauss who pushed the idea of using "Noble Lies" to pull a country's citizens in the direction that the government wants to lead them. That says enough about him.
    The ghost of Jack Kevorkian for President's Physician: 2016

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

    Not really. From my understanding it is more of a philosophic pursuit than an American political guidebook, because Strauss was suspicious of many attempts to grandly shape politics, and furthermore, was worried about another Nazi Germany. But if you wanted probably some vague notion that politicians probably use white lies or omit things here or there for the benefit of the bigger picture, you could probably get it-but I would reply that anyone gasping for air at that suggestion is merely naive. It's a common accusation, with the primary source of that coming from Canadian academic Shadia Drury, who spent a great deal of energy crafting a grand narrative. The narrative was that somehow Strauss and/or his followers (some who follow this kind of narrative either hold up Strauss as a decent philosopher who had his message corrupted by his succeeding students or in line with the following accusation) were to take their insight into the esoteric writing style and use it against the American public. The idea was that they were a combination of elitists, misogynists (more on this and Kristol, later), who advocated the use of the noble lie to hide the amoral truths of power, religion, and politics so as to be philosopher kings.

    You know, at first Strauss was interesting to people, but then once he passed away in the 1960s, he kind of fell off the face of the earth, only to resurface at the time of the late Reagan or Bush Sr. era. Drury (and perhaps some others a bit earlier, but I can't quite recall anyone before her doing so) comes out with her critique of Strauss in 1988, arguing much of the above.

    Following the 1994 GOP takeover of the legislature and Gingrich's "Contract with America", Drury set out again to make similar arguments, but to begin connecting a whole host of contemporary political figures with the supposed intentions of the philosopher. In fact, Gingrich and Irving Kristol were connected to it. The former, I can barely even recall what the exact connection was (it is stuck in a notebook of mine back at my home) but I was personally not impressed. The latter, became immensely hilarious to read. Irving Kristol was often used in her work as a showcase of elitism and anti-women sentiments. I thought it was more acceptable to use the elitism notion, as Kristol had written in excess regarding the purpose of the intellectual classes (particularly in America), however, there was a great deal of examination of the lack of merit of intellectuals in thinking they could solve the world's problems with such grand notions of design. The other accusation was that Kristol had a personal history of being afraid of brilliant women. The story was one which Kristol told frequently enough, where during his Partisan Review days he was at a party, and sat down with a plate of food. I believe it was Mary McCarthy, Diana Trilling, and...some other woman, who basically surrounded him on all three sides. They were arguing with each other about Freud, and Kristol said he was paralyzed, looking for his wife to bail him out. Now, Diana Trilling did explain how the boys in the group would stick to one another for the most part when they were not particularly interested in flirting with the others or whatever, but the explanation from which I saw it painted a rather vague picture as to what precisely she could be referring to. In any event, if you do not really know much about Kristol's love life, it would be of interest to note that his wife is one of the most famous historians in the world, specializing in the Victorian age and its virtues-Gertrude Himmelfarb. It would be quite the stretch of my imagination to grant this grand conspiracy at which Kristol, the supposed generator of ideas for Gingrich, to be afraid of brilliant women when his own wife is perhaps one of the few people who could outwit him on a regular basis!

    In any event, conservatives were plotting the ideological take over of America by grand designs of the noble lie, esoteric writing, and instilling socially and religiously conservative virtues upon the republic so as to freeze them from becoming too morally corrupted by modernity's nihilism or cultural relativism. By the time the second Bush administration came to power, journalists, eager to produce material on the new comers, would stumble upon this juicy story of sex, power, religion, and secrecy. It was not that long into it that Adam Curtis and Anne Norton stepped into the fray, oddly following much of Drury's work, while each contributing their own understanding or plotline to the matter. Norton decided to include a few personal tidbits about her experiences in the University of Chicago-making the professors into idol worshipers of their patron saint Leo Strauss, Allan Bloom's homosexuality and possible frat house sex toys like Paul Wolfowitz, students into Sith-like creatures-foaming at the mouth to compete to out-do their professors. Of course, Norton felt like she was wronged by experiencing all of this discussion and gossiping, but she used it as a weapon, all without a single footnote in the whole work.

    It was only recently that people are really starting to fight back against the whole grand conspiracy theory, most of which I find nonsense anyway (though utterly fascinating nonsense if you are at all interested in conspiracy theories or dark tales). Steven B. Smith, Daniel Tanguay, Francis Fukuyama, and several others have come out to respond to these accusations. However, the more amusing thing is that should anyone come out in defense of Strauss or dare say he liked American democracy a great deal, it turns into one of those things where since Strauss studied esoteric writing, clearly anything defensible is a deception.
    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

    R.I.P Mr Kristol
    The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking.

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