View Poll Results: Neoconservatives?

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  • They're conservatives

    5 31.25%
  • They're centrists/moderates

    7 43.75%
  • They're liberals who call themselves conservative

    3 18.75%
  • Once a Trotskyist, always a Trotskyist

    1 6.25%
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Thread: Is Neoconservatism a form of centrism or conservatism?

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    Is Neoconservatism a form of centrism or conservatism?

    You've doubtlessly read and seen quite a bit of neoconservatism by now. They're former liberals/Trotskyists who grew disenchanted with the liberal movement in the 60s and became conservatives. Like most conservatives, they're ardently anti-Communist and oppose excesses of the welfare state, though they tend to find some portions of the welfare state to be acceptable and call organized religion a "noble lie" that exists to maintain social order.
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    Re: Is Neoconservatism a form of centrism or conservatism?

    They're none of the above, really. Historically speaking, the neocon movement was an outgrowth of a segment of liberals who became disillusioned with the welfare state, and for whatever reason made their hallmark an interventionist foreign policy. At the end of the day it's really just a name, a label that has little to do with conservatism or liberalism. And whatever Kristol may have been in his earlier years, neocon certainly bears little resemblance to Trotskyism.
    Last edited by StillBallin75; 03-21-11 at 10:43 PM.
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    Re: Is Neoconservatism a form of centrism or conservatism?

    Neoconservatives are an outgrowth of the 50s and 60s liberals who abandoned the Democratic party over issues like abortion and civil rights. There is very little conservative about neocons.
    There is nothing demonstrably true that religion can provide the world that cannot be achieved more rationally through entirely secular means.

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    Re: Is Neoconservatism a form of centrism or conservatism?

    Since you grouped "centrist" and "moderated" incorrectly together I couldn't vote in the poll.

    Centrist is actually likely the best term out of the normal American "Left, Right, Moderate, Centrist" definition. They are individuals who have moderate to strong views that come from both sides of the spectrum. This is different than a moderate who is someone generally views that are not strongly towards either side of the spectrum.

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    Re: Is Neoconservatism a form of centrism or conservatism?

    The way I normally think of "neoconservative" is someone who favors using military might and intervention in other country's internal affairs to make the world a better place. That is fundamentally a liberal/progressive mindset, although most liberals and progressives do not support anything nearly as aggressive as the neoconservatives do. I don't think it's inherently conservative, as I typically think of "conservative" to mean someone who either favors tradition / status quo, or someone who actively works to make society more like it was at a previous point in time. Neither of those are accurate descriptions of neoconservatives.
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    Re: Is Neoconservatism a form of centrism or conservatism?

    Quote Originally Posted by mgblack View Post
    You've doubtlessly read and seen quite a bit of neoconservatism by now.
    There is no such thing as neoconservatism. It is fascism.

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    Re: Is Neoconservatism a form of centrism or conservatism?

    [reposted yet again]

    Re: What is Neo-Conservative?

    Neoconservatism is primarily concerned w/ foreign policy. Conservatism is concerned w/ every aspect of America. W/ neoconservatism, one can gets the oxymoronic "big-government-conservative."

    When it comes to neocons, I consider them liberal entryists. Some of them were communists, Trotskyites, and socialists. Also, they tend to think that the problems caused by govt intervention will be fixed w/ even more govt intervention. This sort of things shows in their conviction that they can socially engineer places on the other side of the globe.

    I'll provide some words from the horses' ... mouths (what else?):

    From the Godfather of NeoConservatism:

    The Neoconservative Persuasion
    From the August 25, 2003 issue: What it was, and what it is.
    by Irving Kristol

    ...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.

    ...an attitude toward public finance that is far less risk averse than is the case among more traditional conservatives.

    Neocons do not feel that kind of alarm or anxiety about the growth of the state... seeing it as natural, indeed inevitable. Because they tend to be more interested in history than economics or sociology, they know that the 19th-century idea, so neatly propounded by Herbert Spencer in his "The Man Versus the State," was a historical eccentricity. People have always preferred strong government to weak government, although they certainly have no liking for anything that smacks of overly intrusive government. Neocons feel at home in today's America to a degree that more traditional conservatives do not.

    The upshot is a quite unexpected alliance between neocons, who include a fair proportion of secular intellectuals, and religious traditionalists.
    Because religious conservatism is so feeble in Europe, the neoconservative potential there is correspondingly weak.

    And large 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. Barring extraordinary events, the United States will always feel obliged to defend, if possible, a democratic nation under attack from nondemocratic forces, external or internal.
    No complicated geopolitical calculations of national interest are necessary.

    Irving Kristol is author of "Neoconservatism: The Autobiography of an Idea."
    And from William Kristol
    "If we have to make common cause with the more hawkish liberals and fight the conservatives, that is fine with me... If you read the last few issues of the Weekly Standard, it has much more in common with liberal hawks than traditional conservatives."
    From Benador Associates: What the Heck Is a Neocon?
    by Max Boot
    Wall Street Journal
    The original neocons were a band of liberal intellectuals who rebelled against the Democratic Party's leftward drift on defense issues in the 1970s. At first the neocons clustered around Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson, a Democrat, but then they aligned themselves with Ronald Reagan and the Republicans, who promised to confront Soviet expansionism.

    ... support for Israel -- a key tenet of neoconservatism...

    So is "neoconservatism" worthless as a political label? Not entirely. In social policy, it stands for a broad sympathy with a traditionalist agenda and a rejection of extreme libertarianism.

    On economic matters, neocons...embrace a laissez-faire line, though they are not as troubled by the size of the welfare state as libertarians are.

    But it is not really domestic policy that defines neoconservatism. This was a movement founded on foreign policy, and it is still here that neoconservatism carries the greatest meaning...

    One group of conservatives believes that we should use armed force only to defend our vital national interests, narrowly defined. They believe that we should remove, or at least disarm, Saddam Hussein, but not occupy Iraq for any substantial period afterward. The idea of bringing democracy to the Middle East they denounce as a mad, hubristic dream likely to backfire with tragic consequences. This view, which goes under the somewhat self-congratulatory moniker of "realism," is championed by foreign-policy mandarins like Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft and James Baker III.

    [Neocons] ...think, however, that "realism" presents far too crabbed a view of American power and responsibility.
    The term is used in more than one sense. On one hand, it refers to a specific, historical set of folks who were "newly conservative," and on the other hand it refers to folks who have adopted the ideals of these folks.
    I may be wrong.

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    Re: Is Neoconservatism a form of centrism or conservatism?

    Well, they may not be conservatives as they do advocate radical change and are critical of maintaining the status quo for the sake of it. They don't believe there is anything essentially untouchable about many social institutions. They are moral relativists rather than absolutists.

    They are not moderates because they advocate radical change and the use of violent coercion to impose their will.

    They are not liberals because they do not believe in the liberty of peoples to disagree with their view of the best form of democracy or liberal capitalism to impose. Likewise they do not believe in equal rights; they believe that the rights that they advocate are the only ones that deserve respect. They are enthusiastic capitalists and hence egalitarianism is not on the agenda.

    They are not Trotskyites because they do not believe in the overthrow of the capitalist system, but it's no surprise that given so many Neo-cons are ex-Trots, their violent commitment to imposing a strict orthodoxy, their campaigning tactics and their tendency towards secrecy and clandestine activity and their ludicrous levels of factionalism and internecine warfare make them true inheritors of the Trotskyite mantle. In addition, Trotskyite ideas of the internationalism of the revolution can be identified in the way in which neo-cons argue the morally superior Western values can be applied.

    Look at this:
    Trotsky agreed that a new socialist state and economy in a country like Russia would not be able to hold out against the pressures of a hostile capitalist world, as well as the internal pressures of its backward economy. The revolution, Trotsky argued, must quickly spread to capitalist countries, bringing about a socialist revolution which must spread worldwide. In this way the revolution is "permanent", moving out of necessity first, from the bourgeois revolution to the workers’ revolution, and from there uninterruptedly to European and worldwide revolutions.
    That's from the wiki entry for Trotskyism. How much sense does it make with a few cosmetic alterations?
    The neo-cons agreed that a newly democratic state and economy in a country like Iraq would not be able to hold out against the pressures of a hostile Islamic world, as well as the internal pressures of its divided demography. Democratic values must quickly spread to Islamic countries, bringing about a democratic upsurge which must spread throughout the Middle East. In this way the change is "permanent", moving out of necessity first, from dictatorship to Western-style democracy, and from there uninterruptedly to all regions of the globe.
    I think that works, don't you?

    I'd argue that the values and goals of Neo-cons are different to those of Trotskyites, but that their instincts, methods and moral dynamics are at least comparable.
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    Re: Is Neoconservatism a form of centrism or conservatism?

    Depends upon when you are referring to and what form of policy, philosophy concern you speak of. Part of the reality of the term is used by the left to isolate particular individuals who no longer share their views in at least one social or political issue, and are eventually to some small degree likely to be embraced by the right. Some of the ideas are conservative, some are liberal, some are centrist. Some of the conservative ideas are too conservative for American libertarians, as some of them reject some notions of the Enlightenment era and embrace earlier truths.
    In American politics many of them are moderates of either liberal or conservative camps, some having more social democratic grounds than others.
    Last edited by Fiddytree; 03-23-11 at 05:40 PM.
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    Re: Is Neoconservatism a form of centrism or conservatism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon W. Moon View Post
    W/ neoconservatism, one can gets the oxymoronic "big-government-conservative."
    Perhaps toward American conservatism, that tendency is more there. However, American conservatism, even should it not necessarily had been labeled such, has always had big government tendencies as well as small government tendencies. Much of that depends on time and place.

    But it is not really domestic policy that defines neoconservatism. This was a movement founded on foreign policy, and it is still here that neoconservatism carries the greatest meaning...
    That is what always amused me about this essay of Boot's. If Boot said that toward many other "neoconservatives" twenty or thirty years ago, he would ignite another infamous argument between intellectuals/academics/policymakers. Many who became so-labeled could not in any way agree upon foreign policy.
    Last edited by Fiddytree; 03-23-11 at 05:44 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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