They’re baaaaack.


Not that they ever really went away.  The neoconservatives, that is.  I mean, Richard Perle tried to declare they never existed, but nobody took it seriously.  So now they’re back in the news because 3 of them — Bill Kristol, Bob Kagan, and Dan Senor — have started a spanking new think-tank called the Foreign Policy Initiative.

Allow me to give you the dime tour of neoconservative history.

It all started back before the war.  No, no, not that war; the big one.  Back in the 1930s, there was this group of mostly Jewish students at the City College of New York who were very cerebral and took themselves very, very seriously.

These folks were all communists.

Trotskyites, specifically, but they were big supporters of the USSR in general.  They studied philosophy and read Karl Marx and thought he was right.  Communism was going to save the world.  They were sure of it.

There were 3 of them who were really the leaders: Irving Kristol (Bill’s dad), Gertrude Himmelfarb (Bill’s mom), and Norman Podhoretz (no relation).

They stayed ardent communists — and the ardence of their belief, their absolute certainty, is key –until enough news escaped the USSR about what Joe Stalin was really doing in “the workers’ paradise” that they became disillusioned with communism.

Disillusioned is really too weak a word.  Embittered.  They felt betrayed and, as ardent and certain as they had been in their support of communism, they became just as ardent and certain in their belief that communism was the ultimate evil and must be defeated at all costs.

As newly hatched anti-communist zealots, the company they kept influenced them, and they gradually became ardent, certain conservatives.

They still had vestiges of their old leftism, though.  They favored fairly liberal domestic policies.  It was mostly on foreign policy and cultural issues that they were conservatives.  Ardent, absolutely certain conservatives, and the thing they were most ardent and certain about was that the US could save the world through its military might (backed by its economic might); just as they had once been ardent and certain that the USSR would save the world through its military might (backed by the might of communist economics).

That — the combination of center-left domestic policy, cultural conservatism, and avidly hawkish foreign policy is neoconservatism.

Let’s review, shall we?  First they were communist zealots, then they were anti-communist zealots, and now they’re just zealots about militarism in general.

In short, these people are not that bright.  Enthusiastic as heck, but not too bright.  And that’s a dangerous combination.



2 Responses to “They’re baaaaack.”

  1. unicorntx Says:

    Thanks for the history lesson. I knew I was “agin’ ’em”. Now I know better why!

  2. It’s How They Do « Hungry Hungry Hippos Says:

    […] — neoconservatives, especially — are just demonstrably — demonstratedly — not very bright.  (But see […]

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