David Brooks thinks so.
[...] …read more [...]
The original Brooks column is at the link below.
Thanks, Alex. Reading it, you shed a few of the obnoxious myths about neo-cons common opinion stuffs into your brain–it highlights, probably more than Brooks even wants, the commonalities between soc-cons and (non-mythical) neo-cons, and between both and the old “republican virtue” speeches of the Founders. Been reading good ol’ Abigail and John Adams today, so that’s what comes to mind.
Thanks, Alex. The word neocon, though, needs to disappear. THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE guys, for example, predictably attacked Brooks’ column for using it. For them, it just means invading Iraq and screwing it up.
How about neo-neo-con or über-neo-con?
Here’s a tip-top piece by a ‘trad’, former ‘Crisis’ editor, John Zmirak, who mentions the beloved Neo’s in an historical analysis!
Finally got a chance to read Brook’s article and Peter’s thoughtful comments on it. It seems the clear answer to Peter’s titled question is that as far as the brand is concerned, yes it’s dead. You can stick a fork in it. But, as Don Draper likes to say, if you don’t like the terms of the discussion change the discussion.
The death of Neo-conservativism as a brand simply leaves a space in political discourse that needs to be filled by an equally reflective, and prudential form of constructive conservatism, though one that ought to learn from Neo-conservativism’s mistakes. And I’m not talking about Iraq or Afghanistan here. I think the problem is latent even in Brook’s and Peter’s nastaligic statements.
It seems to me, whatever movement that is worthy of playing the role that Neo-conservatism played must give Hayek his due. There is in fact an inherent gravity in the logic of the entitlement state that pulls like a giant planet on whatever carefully balanced optima one has created between entitlements and the free-market in government policy. To think otherwise is to risk the same catastrophic mistake W. Bush and Rove made when they engineered Compassionate Conservatism.
What Bush and Rove proposed as a sensible role for entitlements hardly moderated our policy but became the trigger that added exponentially to an already exponentially increasing entitlement state culminating in the “crowning achievement” of the Obama administration – Obamacare
What I think is missing from Neo-Conservatism is a properly skeptical view of human nature. Neo-Conservatism needs to be tempered with a healthy dose of Calvinistic anthropology. As Calvin famously said, the human mind is an idol factory. The inability of containing the welfare state is really a symptom that the role of the welfare state plays in the minds of many of our friends on the left. What Bush hoped would be a pragmatic approach to policy, turned into a golden calf around which the liberal establishment has been dancing for many a decade at great cost to the future.
In short, my theory is taht Mr. Kristol never really liberated himself from the Utopian impulses of his communist past. I suspect he merely sublimated that impulse in his view of humanity as a species capable of resisting the tug of serfdom. In a phrase he replaced the classic leftist Utopianism with a kind of Utopian Anthropology (Euthropianism?) latent in the Neo-Conservative worldview.
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