Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Defining, Understanding Neoconservatism

One could argue that the Bush #43 administration is not traditionally conservative per se, with the expansion of government programs and other matters, but instead a variation of it, what political analysts term “neoconservatism.” Neoconservatives are marked by a more aggressive foreign policy than previous isolationist conservative policies (but was Reagan really isolationist?), at least that’s how they are differentiated. One conservative analyst compares neoconservatives to a French revolutionary movement: “The new Jacobins see themselves as on the side of right and fighting evil and are not prone to respecting or looking for common ground with countries that do not share their democratic preferences." (Ryn 2003: 387)Meanwhile, academic freedom martyr and liberal witch-hunter defines neoconservatism thusly: “Today "neo-conservatism" identifies those who believe in an aggressive policy against radical Islam and the global terrorists.” This fits perfectly with the Bush-McCain-Wolfowitz doctrine in Iraq, and possibly, in the future, Iran. To them, there is no moral grayness and instead only clearly demarcated lines between good and evil; those who are evil are fair game for regime change, with a violent overthrow of a given government a very viable option.

Between the various branches of conservatism that threaten democracy and egalitarianism – business conservatives, who favor no regulation of business and are pro-environmental destruction; social conservatives, who favor a single moral creed that all must adhere to; and neocons, who favor bombs over diplomacy – I can’t help but think that they are all equally pernicious.


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