Deep Stupid


Sullivan call this column by neoconservative Danny Finkelstein “smashing.”  I’m not sure why.  It strikes me as continuing to partake of the very same recalcitrant naivete that is one of neoconservatism’s deepest flaws:

A democratic Iran would stop financing world terrorist movements, it would stop obsessing about external enemies and foreign conspiracies, it would stop threatening its neighbours.

Really?  How’d that work out in the Palestinian territories?  Did they suddenly stop doing all those things because they held democratic elections?  How about Pakistan?  They just fairly elected a new leader.  Did the ISI suddenly cut all ties to terrorists in the Northwest Territories?  Did the military suddenly stop obsessing about a threat from India and demilitarize that border?

Israel is a democracy of long standing, but it still obsesses about external enemies and foreign conspiracies, and continues to threaten its neighbors.  America in the Bush years likewise did all of those things; yet, presumably, Finkelstein would consider us a democracy.

The irony is that those things are also core policies of neoconservatism itself.  Is there anybody more obsessed with external enemies and foreign conspiracies than American neocons?  Anybody more systematically belligerent to the rest of the world?  Those are practically the whole point of neoconservatism.

There’s a word for people who can’t learn, despite repeated, unmistakable lessons.



3 Responses to “Deep Stupid”

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

    […] Hungry Hungry Hippos A Group Discussion Blog « Deep Stupid […]

  2. jazzbumpa Says:

    I kind of like Sullivan, and I have some grudging respect for him, because he seems to have integrity.

    But he’s still a conservative – possibly even a REAL conservative, come to think of it. So, he lapses into these inexplicable fits of non-rational conservative thinking.

    Russel Kirk claimed that conservatism was a mind set, which is true, and not based on adherence to any particular ideology, which is also true in a universalist-abstract kind of way. But when you get down to cases, the conservatives are mired in whatever the most backward-looking local ideology happens to be, If Jesse Helms had been a Soviet, he would have been among the most hard line ideologues in the Politburo.

    It’s so damned sad.

  3. urbino Says:

    The best definition I know for chemistry, as a field of study, is that it’s whatever chemists do. Sometimes chemists do things that look an awful lot like physics. Sometimes they do things that look an awful lot like biology. But it’s still chemistry.

    The same thing applies to political philosophies, I think. Conservatism is whatever conservatives do. In Russell Kirk’s day, a good argument* could be made that his definition was right; there was no conservative ideology, per se. But that’s clearly no longer true. Conservatism is extremely ideological.

    Sullivan and others can grumble about ideological conservatism not being real conservatism, but that’s just another way of saying, “It’s not my kind of conservatism.”

    I think you’re dead right about Helms, btw, and about conservatism being fundamentally backward-looking. I did a post about that a while back. Can’t remember if it was before you started hanging out here, or not.

    [* But still not a convincing one, I think.]

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