Back in the heyday of the Fondanistas, the Tom Haydens and the other assorted leftist tripe in our country, there was little to glean from the newspapers that was not worthy of publication in Pravda or Uncle Ho’s party newspaper. After all, the Dhimiratz had a monopoly on the media. In a divided country such as we had then, truth was hard to come by.
For a conservative kid growing up in such a world, finding alternative voices that embraced American exceptionalism and the brilliance of the Founders could rarely be found outside of the Public Library or the Encyclopedia Britannica.
However, there were voices of dissent out there. The Greatest Generation thankfully was alive and well. Patriotism to them was still more about asking what you can do for your country. It was not the last refuge of a scoundrel; as it was then, and still is today, to the left.
As to TV, well, Walter Cronkite was still the most trusted man in America, while David Brinkley was just the other news channel dude.
Into this morass of liars, commies and supporters of Uncle Ho, Che and Mao, came the voices of reason and conservatism. They were in no special order: Adam Smith, William F Buckley, Ronald Reagan, and Irving Kristol.
Yeah, that’s what I said…Irving Kristol. Now here’s a man that trod a similar path to David Horowitz. A man who morphed from a Trotskyite to a conservative. Gertrude Himmelfarb (Kritol’s wife) attributed his change of heart to his ‘neo-gene’. It just means that people can change.
This philosophical change is best described in Irvin Kristol’s cultural views:
“In his later years, he wrote less about literature, religion, and philosophy and more about politics, economics, and foreign affairs, not as separate disciplines but as parts of a whole, imbued with a common purpose and disposition. Thus he reminded economists of the political and ethical dimensions of their subject—“political economy,” as Adam Smith (himself a professor of moral philosophy) had termed it. He urged politicians to embrace a “new economics,” supply-side economics, which would invigorate the polity and society as well as the economy. He cautioned statesmen and foreign policy experts to be wary of the simplicities and ideologies that pervert the best-intentioned policies and subvert the national interest. And he advised all of them that the success of their endeavors depends on an ethos, a culture, and—that enduring token of “American exceptionalism”—a religious disposition that make for a stable and decent society.”
Well now, is the author saying that Irving Kristol embraced American Exceptionalism?
Oh yeah. She is. Nice definition by the way.
Kristol – “Meanwhile, for myself, I have reached certain conclusions: that Jane Austen is a greater novelist than Proust or Joyce; that Raphael is a greater painter than Picasso; that T.S. Eliot’s later, Christian poetry is much superior to his earlier; that C.S. Lewis is a finer literary and cultural critic than Edmund Wilson; that Aristotle is more worthy of careful study than Marx; that we have more to learn from Tocqueville than from Max Weber; that Adam Smith makes a lot more economic sense than any economist since; that the Founding Fathers had a better understanding of democracy than any political scientist since; that. . . . Well, enough. As I said at the outset, I have become conservative, and whatever ambiguities attach to that term, it should be obvious what it does not mean.”
Sounds good to me.
Now to the crux of the matter. What exactly is neo-conservativism anyways?
“From the article - Persuasion” is also a “most apt term” for neo-conservatism. If neo-conservatism is not, as he repeatedly insisted, a movement or an ideology, let alone a party, it is something more—a “moral perspective” deriving from a broad spectrum of ideas, beliefs, and sentiments that inform politics, to be sure, but also culture, religion, economics, and much else.
Those who use the term neocon as a pejorative are implying by their use of the term that they have an alternate agenda. Maybe they do not embrace the Founders, Tocqueville or Adam Smith. Or perhaps instead, they like to use the term pejoratively, to decry Zionists whether they be Christian or Jewish. Those that support the state of Israel, who wish to uncover the dark secrets of the Jihad, those that would rather take monies from the Ikwan in Egypt, Hamas, and the PLA and put those monies where they’d be better spent, and with a greater return …in the only real ally that we have in the ME which is God’s people Israel.
The term is also used by the left as a pejorative to describe what those on the right call “ultra conservatives” which are those whose views are built upon the cornerstone, the very foundation of the tenants of the noble “I Am”. As such, these so-called “ultraconservatives” abhor the sin of the Canaanites; to the utopian left and the half-stepping right’s everlasting contempt.
In my estimation, the very reason why Ronald Reagan was so successful in bringing so many disparate groups together was because he understood something that Mrs. Kristol hit on in her piece.
“Parties do not have anything so formal as an ideology, but they do—and must—profess something more explicit than a general ethos. “Persuasion” is a most apt term for what in fact issues from this predicament.”
Persuasion is the emotional commitment – yes the very “moral perspective” – which must tie our party together; which can then be presented to the American public, in order to convince them also, that we are the better alternative to the leftist utopia as envisioned by Barack Obama.
You can call that “moral perspective” by anything that floats your boat. But whatever word one chooses to describe such a movement, it had better be the direct opposite of the totalitarian leanings of the left.
Read the whole article here.