Talk:Neoconservatism/Archive 5

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


I believe in calling a manually operated earth-reconstructor a spade. ¿Why not just state that neocons are fascists?

Ŭalabio 03:18, 2004 Nov 15 (UTC)

Well, because of what you said in the first part of your statement :-) Mscudder 19:48, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Indeed. Orwell himself had this to say:
"It will be seen that, as used, the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley's broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else." --George Orwell, "What is Fascism?" 1944

Is this a reminder that we should check your edits closely? -- Jmabel | Talk

Motion to revert any and all edits made by Walabio to this article, past, present and future. 11:15, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)

No, except for the few hard-banned users, we usually accept or reject edits on their merits. In fact, Walabio has never edited this article, unless he/she did so anonymously. -- Jmabel | Talk 23:53, Dec 3, 2004 (UTC)

In all seriousness I would like to know if there is an answer to this question. Is it politically correctness that makes this question not fit to be asked, or is it just so "obvious" that anyone who doesn't see the answer is just dumb? Many critics have charged there is no difference between fascism vs. neoconservativism. If there is a difference, someone might want to consider actually addressing the issue, because it's not obvious to a lot of people. --Frazzi 23:34, 30 September 2005 (UTC)

It is very obvious, but this indeed is not a debating society; this is a wikipedia. In a nutshell, Fascists seek to have government be used to further the ends of an elite, as do many forms of totalitarianism, and conservatism regards government as a dangerous genie, we would prefer to government be as small as possible. Neoconservatism is a moderate movement, serving up a larger genie than many classical conservatives trust. Dominick 23:44, 30 September 2005 (UTC)
The two have so little in common that it is hard to believe that anyone could argue in good faith that they are the same. For starters, fascism glorifies the state (or in some cases, the race) over individuals; neoconservatism does nothing of the sort. Fascism centers on the cult of the leader; neoconservatism does nothing of the sort. Fascism is closely associated with certain economic structures (notably a corporatism that specifically denies valid separate interests of management and labor) about which neoconservatism holds no opinion at all. Etc. -- Jmabel | Talk 06:19, 1 October 2005 (UTC)
Pardon me; I've not followed this closely, but Jmabel's comment caught my eye. presents some reasons why people might sincerely see similarities. Of course this depends to what extent you equate the current administration's goals and actions with neoconservatism; certainly many consider the Bush administration to be following neoconservative policies, and a number of self-identified neoconservatives are part of the administration, so it does not seem far-fetched to me to view the adminstration's actions in terms of neoconservatism. Evidently there is a disconnect between a theoretical political philosophy and the effects which actually happen when adherents actually have power (e.g. most self-identified communists don't advocate the terrible things which occurred in the name of communism under Stalin et al). (It's unclear to me whether an article about a political philosophy should discuss both the espoused goals and the actual effects of the philosophy.) Also the term neoconservative means different things to different people who identify as such, just as other such labels do, e.g. does "conservative" mean anti-gay-rights (see most modern self-labeled conservatives) or pro-gay-rights (see "traditional" conservatives like Barry Goldwater.)
In any case, if you view the Bush administration as neoconservative, there are certainly reasons to legitimately disagree with Jmabel's assertion that no one in good faith could argue that neoconservatism and fascism are the same: in the US today state is glorified over individuals: respect to loss of privacy and liberty in the name of homeland security; people imprisoned for years with no charges, no access to lawyers, tortured, etc; increased prosecutions for consensual crimes like pornography and drugs; etc. There is a visible cult of Bush. (E.g. "Thank God for Bush" bumper stickers on cars; administration lawyers writing that "the power to set aside laws is inherent in the presidency"; etc.) There are strong ties between the administration and corporations, e.g. Halliburton continuing to receive lucrative contracts despite scandals, and various policies which help corporations while hurting workers and the environment, etc. Additionally, there are the explicit aggressive military expansionist goals of many neoconservatives (e.g. Project for a New American Century) which are similar to famous examples of fascist states, and the use of perceived threats to justify wars, reduction of liberty, etc. Goulo 18:27, 1 October 2005 (UTC)
In all seriousness, claiming Bush bumper stickers are hiscult, would aplly the same to a Cult of other popular presidents. One other thing, because I am in the business, if Halliburton didn't do what they do, then who would? They are unique for supplying those services under those conditions, with the terms they provide. The closer competitor would be Raytheon, and they are not willing to perform many of those same services. Dominick 18:53, 1 October 2005 (UTC)
I don't recall many other presidents getting such explicit linkages with God and religion as Bush does. Re: Halliburton: surely you're not seriously asserting that no other companies are capable of helping Katrina-stricken New Orleans? Probably you were just talking about Iraq, though, in which case I'd point out there were plenty of local businesses that were doing a lot of the reconstruction for a fraction of the cost, then we decided to start paying Halliburton a lot more and quit using the local businesses, often shutting them out by requiring tons of paperwork which only a large corporation like Halliburton has the lawyers to process. I talked on a plane with a guy who was heading to Kuwait where he worked at an ice plant which he said replaced the services of a local ice plant serving our troops, even though by his own admission the local one gave just as good service at a much lower price (but he was happy to be profiting by the military's decision...). Possibly some specialized services uniquely require Halliburton, but you can't seriously be proposing that no one else but Halliburton can cook and serve meals, for instance, and that some cushy convenient dealmaking that unduly benefits large US corporations isn't going on. Goulo 19:24, 1 October 2005 (UTC)
Not a debate society here, but Carter did a lot of religeous linkage and so did Clinton. I guess if you have the idea that Bush is uniquely doing this, I can't dissuade you.
You are correct local companies can provide thos eservices, but the can't guarantee them, and yes the mountain of peperwork is required, but not by the government, but by our mountain of lawyers sueing the government.
You should not tell me what I can serious or not seriously say. I have been in this business, and in all seriousness, it isn't the service you provide, it is the verification and assurances you provide when delivering those services. As far as Katrina goes, once you get one contract, you get a lot more due to government people coming to you with repeat business. I know I like repeat business myself. Dominick 19:37, 1 October 2005 (UTC)
So the "good faith" argument is that the Bush administration is neoconservative and the Bush administration is fascist and therefore neoconservatives are fascists? Wow. If that's good faith... As far as I can tell, the Bush administration mixes several rightist and right-of-center ideologies, of which neoconservatism is only one. If this makes the neocons fascists, then it does the same for all other factions of a Republican Party that has, at least until very recently, been solid in its support of this administration. While I am no lover of Bush, I would comfortably say that anyone who calls this government fascist must never have spent any time in a fascist country, probably not even two weeks as a tourist. Mercifully, these days there is not much opportunity to do so. -- Jmabel | Talk 20:03, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

The religous linkage would hardly be definitive. The derivation of the 14 points is pseudo scholarship, and mere rhetorical devices. Any society could be placed some place on each of the 14 scales as if they were continuoums. While the Bush administration would appear someplace on each scale, don't be surprised if you find most of other nations closer to the fascist end on many of these scales. For instance, the corporativism scale would find many nations where the governments actually have part ownership of the corporations, etc. Many European nations still have conscription and higher tax rates, and fewer checks and balances on government power, etc. --Silverback 10:27, 2 October 2005 (UTC)

Ok, to clarify: my goal was not to start a debate or to definitively prove whether or not neoconservatism = fascism (a question about which there will surely always be bitter disagreement). I was simply responding to Jmabel's sweeping dismissal and implication that anyone who draws connections between them is not arguing in good faith. I have seen many informed thoughtful people who in good faith see similarities and have presented reasons why. Whether they are correct or not is a separate issue. (And since it's been brought up a couple times: no, I don't think very many people would claim that the US is right now literally a fascist state like Nazi Germany, but a lot of people are concerned that the US is heading in that direction in various ways. Again, whether they are right or not is a separate issue from whether they are saying this in good faith and presenting reasons why.)
The preceding unsigned comment was added by Goulo (talk • contribs) 2 Oct 2005.

Use of "chickenhawk"

The following is unsourced:

"This charge is most frequently levelled by younger Baby Busters or members of Generation X, leading to the creation of a derogatory label – that of chickenhawks – directed at these neoconservatives, and also at President George W. Bush. Baby Boomers however, recognize that even Vietnam War hawks were critical of the way the war was being fought and did not want to fight in a war America was not trying to win. The neo-cons have been consistent with this experience, in their support of a voluntary professional military and staunch opposition to any reinstatement of the draft."

I've deleted it, as no evidence is offered in support of the contention that it is mostly "Baby Busters" or members of Generation X who level the accusation of "chickenhawk" at prominent neoconservatives; or that Baby Boomers are more sympathetic to the neoconservatives on this issue than younger people are; or that if they do tend to sympathize with the neoconservatives it is specifically because they identify with the feelings of Vietnam-era hawks on the "way the war was being fought."

It is an interesting standard that you are selectively applying. After all, several people are discussed as neoconservatives, without documenting who is calling them such, or whether they self-identify as such. For instance, is Cheney's support for some of Kistol's positions enough to make him a neocon, rather than a paleoconservative or a moderate?--Silverback 05:10, Jun 19, 2005 (UTC)

Clear POV

"MacDonald's views of neoconservatism are not widely accepted in the United States, though similar theories have found a more receptive audience in some Arab media, such as Al Jazeera." The first part of the statement may not be a POV but the second surely is. How do we know that Al Jazeera likes MacDonald's views? Is there a report that was broadcast from this media organization that stated their support this person's theories or similrar theories? By audience, we are clearly saying that the Arab viewers like this person. Simpy because arabs may have a bias against jews does not mean they identify with this person. We can't just say because their reporting may or may not be against the jews they like this person's idea still if they do. We can't tell readers what a news organization thinks or what entire races think if we do not have clear evidence supporting it such as reports from arab intelllectuals, writings and columns from arab newspapers. If we do not have explicit evidence then this a POV and i suggest taking out the second part of the phrase. We can't conlude something (here that audiances we more receptive to his ideas) from simple reports on different issues in the media.

BBC link removed

Can someone explain why the following was removed:

Jmabel | Talk 15:16, July 12, 2005 (UTC)

Have you seen it? It is absolute propaganda and not a credible source. It's a documentary in the sense Fahrenheit 9/11 is a documentary, i.e.: not at all. --M4-10 17:46, 12 July 2005 (UTC)
Are you kidding? You're comparing Michael Moore to Adam Curtis? Are you daft? Feel free to disagree with the points presented in the documentary, but please understand that unlike Moore's work, PoN contains more then just speculation. --Anonymous person who added the link to the Internet Archives, 08:07, July 14, 2005 (CMT)
I actually came on this page to make sure that this documentary was linked to because I believe it to be the most prominent TV programme that attempts to explain some aspects of Neoconservatism. It's NOTHING like Moore's "documentary" which is a bit rubbish really! No, I don't have any political motives in saying this 17:04 18th November 2005

Free Markets and Neo-Liberalism

Several uses of the term "free market", especially with regard to imposing it through regime change, is rather inaccurate; although it may very well be a phrase used by neoconservative pundits. True free market supporters and economists specifically frown upon the global political regulation by organizations such as the World Bank, World Trade Organizaiton, International Monetary Fund, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, etc. as well as the use of hawkish militant foreign policy. Instead, neoconservativism in the United States shares many of the same values as Neoliberalism in South America, in which a government-business partnership controls the "commanding heights" of a national economy (or not unlike Eisenhower's "military-industrial complex"). "Globalization" may be a more suitable, yet still overly-loaded, term. Any suggestions before I "be bold"? (anon 12 Aug 2005)

  • My main suggestion is just to be aware that "free market" is, itself, a contested term. In particular, libertarians (disproportionately represented in Wikipedia) use it differently from almost everyone else. I see you have linked Austrian School, which is decidedly in the libertarian camp: they are "true" free market supporters only in the sense that each of a hundred sects claims to have the "true" Christianity. "Open markets" may be the relevant term, since it refers to the ability of many to enter the market, rather than to the degree of (non-)regulation; saying that they advocate "globalization" is rather polemical (probably true, but there are a few POV leaps involved). -- Jmabel | Talk 07:14, August 12, 2005 (UTC)

Kevin MacDonald

What is the Kevin MacDonald material doing in this article? It is, at best, an anti-Semitic attack on a political faction, but it is handled here as if it ought to be taken seriously. This is like quoting Madeleine Murray O'Hare (We should have an article. We don't.) on a particular member of the clergy, or quoting Osama bin Laden in Politics of the United States. -- Jmabel | Talk 18:58, August 14, 2005 (UTC)

Cleanup / Rewrite

This article is very messy with an overly long introduction and poor organization. It is also riddled with anti-semitic drivel like the MacDonald stuff and over emphasis on policy on Israel and the nonsensical "as a Jewish movement section" - ludicrous considering that most US Jews voted for Kerry and the fact that the Bush regime has pressurized Israel to screw the "settlers", destroying their homes, exiling them and handing over the land to PLO terrorists the Palestinian Authority.

The illegal "settlers" deserve to be "exiled" from their stolen homes. It's just one of life's great ironies that the same man who put them there illegally (Sharon) is the one who forced them to leave. 13:57, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

I attempted a reogranization but Silverback insists on reverting and putting back MacDonald hogwash that was removed before I reorganized. Kuratowski's Ghost 21:40, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

Frankly, since neoconservatism is used mostly as a pejorative term. Having those doing the pejoration tainted with anti-semitism lends a proper perspective to the article. A lot of the anti-americanism in Europe is mirrored by the huge pro-palestinian weight of opinion there, which probably has a basis in anti-semitism, especially in France. The anti-semitic stuff that remains has been well balanced in the text, and attempts to put more in this article have been resisted several times.
I think the perspective above on Europe is a little off. Firstly, neoconservatism is commonly used in the European press as a descriptive term, such as liberal, it does not have to imply a negative image. Secondly you are right that Europe is generally less pro-Israel than the US, however this may be influenced by the lack of a powerful Jewish political lobby (or Arab for that matter). Finally I find the suggestion that France, a strongly anti-arab nation as seen in the recent upheaval, is hugely pro-palistine is a little off the mark. Does this perhaps reflect American dislike towards France? The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) 16 Jan 2006. Note that this is interspersed into a comment from five months earlier
Did you know what you were doing when you reorganized? If you did, you didn't let us in on it, and it was impolite to make it so hard for us to figure out on our own. Your edit summary was not quite honest "re-organized, more sensible headings", because you slipped in several edits as well, so it was difficult to tell what you had changed, since the compares did not line up.--Silverback 22:08, August 14, 2005 (UTC)
The only edits in the reorganization were the addition of the word "alleged" regarding connection with supposed Jewish thinking and a move of the introduction of Lind to fit in with the reordering of paragraphs. Most of it was grouping history of neoconservatism with subsections on origins, Reagan and Bush, placing all criticism of the term in the appropriate section, grouping descriptions of the neoconservatist viewpoint into a single section with a subsection on foreign policy with a single Middle East division (could be expanded in the future to include divisons on policy on Africa, China etc). Kuratowski's Ghost 23:17, 14 August 2005 (UTC)
Thanx, that helps, based on your assurances, I have adopted your organization. I still prefer Neoconservatism as a "Jewish" movement to your new Anti-semitic charges against neoconservatism, so I have added it. This results in a temporary duplication, so it is easier for the community to see them together and compare. I invite you to reconsider your original opinions on these sections. I believe that the original handles this issue in a skillful and NPOV manner. I agree that Israel is over-emphasized in the article. We had this same problem in the PNAC article, which we handled by pointing out that the positions regarding Israel were consistent with the neocon positions on Taiwan, and in fact there was even more focus on taiwan in the PNAC publications. Perhaps something analogous will correct this imbalance here.--Silverback 08:38, August 15, 2005 (UTC)

Previous edit's deletion of information

He who deleted the information wrote this in its place.

Deleted references to 1. Shachtman 2. and Trotsky


1. There should be a supporting article on Shachtman's "Trotskyism", since the notion of any Western democratic political thinker advocating any form of Marxism is too bizarre to stand on a mere assertion.

2. The link to Trotsky's bio does not contain any information linking him to Neoconservatism.

I'm just moving it from the article to the discussion page.

Anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli overkill

Can someone explain to me why this article looks like it was written by someone with an anti-Jewish and or anti-Israeli perspective. That is why I put the NPOV tag on the article...where did so much misinformation come from? Enlighten me...--MONGO 02:40, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

I have tried to limit all discussion and description of the Jewish conspiracy theory stuff to the one section, and even there have it well balanced and mostly dismissed and criticised. It is surprising how a fringe scholar like MacDonald, publishing opinion essays, and clearly anti-semetic can gain traction in the progressive and European communities. While these communities may explicitly reject the anti-semitic elements, they seem to have adopted the the conspiracy and other elements, that emphasize the Strauss lineage. I think it is adopted because it fits well with their pre-existing antipathy to Israel and support for the palestinians. They insist this is not based on antisemitism, and I think it isn't, I think it dates from the time that the US and NATO viewed Israel as a bulwark against communism in the area. So this conspiracy theory appears to be riding on the strong leftist, progressive, communist legacy present in Europe and in the American left.
MacDonalds work is "researched" (footnoted, wow!) but many non-fiction authors do that in books, that may make them masters of a body of material (evidence?) they have assembled, and the human mind is good at seeing connections in noisy data, and those connections are even easier to see when the material has been selectively assembled. Frankly, I think there is nothing to it, and it is clear that there are many traditional conservative paths to neoconservatism taken by persons who have never heard of Strauss. However, having that one section in there, I think is encyclopedic and helpful to understand some of the origins of the Strauss and conspiracy pejoration that has created and attached itself to this term. On the PNAC site, there has been a tendancy of some contributers to want to emphasize the PNACs support of Israel, almost at the expense of everything else. I have been careful to point out that the PNAC has even more references to Taiwan, and so respect for the sovereignty of beleaguered democracies and a legacy from the cold war may explain the support for Israel better than a Jewish conspiracy.--Silverback 17:43, 27 September 2005 (UTC)
Okay, that's what I needed to hear. I've never doubted that U.S. support for Israel is due to the fact that they're the only democracy in the region and to a lesser degree a wish to see the country's survival in conjunction with said democracy due to the emotional factor of the holocaust. Not being Jewish, I find it all humorous and, well, a completely bigoted ideologue and I would normally write it off, but since we're trying to build an encyclopedia here, such bigoted and far out rhetoric is altogether very sad and is preposterous to the extreme. Thanks for your enlightenment.--MONGO 18:24, 27 September 2005 (UTC)
  • Safe, then, to remove the NPOV tag? It seems that since June 2005 there has been remarkably little contention about the article contents. I haven't been a part of the discussion (I just read the article today), but it seems sufficiently well-balanced to me. -Joshuapaquin 20:47, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

Anti-semitic edit?

This edit seems to me to amount to a deliberate insertion of POV into the article (and no small amount of anti-Semitism). However, I see that Mirv, whose work I generally respect, edited downstream of it without reverting. I suspect that may have been an oversight, but for the moment I will not revert (and right now I'm not on a fast enough connection to do so easily). I'd appreciate hearing from Mirv (or anyone else) on this. I think we should basically revert to before that edit. -- Jmabel | Talk 06:48, 3 October 2005 (UTC)

Done. Mirv's work did not seem particularly noteworthy in this instance.--Silverback 07:35, 3 October 2005 (UTC)
You are both correct; I edited over that without noticing it, and my edits were fairly minor: rearranging some out-of-order sections and adding one cross-reference—easily repeatable if necessary. —Charles P. (Mirv) 08:06, 3 October 2005 (UTC)

The Power of Nightmares

I am going to oppose the Power of Nightmares addition. That page is too POV, it just uncritically summarizes the propaganda piece. If you will check the history, you will see that attempts to balance that page have been met resistance from fans.--Silverback 09:10, 3 October 2005 (UTC)

I am going to oppose the deletion of relevant cross-references because one editor dislikes the shape of the linked article. The documentary is well-known, and U.S. neoconservatism is one of its central subjects; ergo it should, at the very least, be linked as a cross-reference from this page. If it has POV problems, then it should be brought to the attention of more editors, not hidden away. —Charles P. (Mirv) 19:28, 3 October 2005 (UTC)
The article is essentially a summary of the documentary, and if it was well known, I'm sure I would have heard of it. The article doesn't critique the documentary (not that it should) but placing it here as a "see also" is pure POV.--MONGO 19:54, 3 October 2005 (UTC)
The so-called "documentary" is allowed to be uncritically summarized at extensive length in its wikipedia article. It is no more authoritative than the footnoted "research" opinion paper than MacDonald published in The Occidental Quarterly. Keep in mind, that we are rejecting the MacDonald work, not because it is anti-semitic, but because it is not real research, but the selective assembly of evidence and then the overgeneralizations and inferring of "links" from mere associations, etc. This is the way conspiracy theories are built. The documentary is actually less academically conservative in its overgeneralizations and inferring of links than the the MacDonald papers, and has the added persuasive power of dark lighting and a really good musical score (I thoroughly enjoyed it), but although powerfully, emotionally suggestive, it was intellectually weak and unpersuasive to the skeptical mind.--Silverback 20:28, 3 October 2005 (UTC)
The comments Silverback backs here are totally POV. It is better to include information than it is to remove it. Adam Curtis has won numerous awards for his documentary work. In fact using the argument that it isn't neutral as a reason to delete is in violation as the principle outlined here [1] --Ben Houston 22:47, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

PoV problems

This page went from bad to worse. A whole mythology is being developed right here. This isn't what the wiki is for. Dominick 18:37, 6 October 2005 (UTC)

I agree. I'd been taking a break from editing this article for about a year now, so I was disappointed to see it in its current state. To start, the new intro served much more to mystify matters than to circumscribe the domain of the topic. I inserted a new one somewhat along the lines of an older version. [2] It is not the most engaging writing, but it at least it is a start in clarifying the matters of who, what, when, and where of the subject.

To paraphrase a thinker admired by Sydney Hook, who is often called a neoconservative, this article needs to be brought down from the heaven of abstraction to the real earth. In other words, it should focus on individuals like Irving Kristol, who deserve credit for their highly successful abilities in institution-building, and the institutions and publications associated with them like Commentary and in later years the AEI and PNAC. [3] Right now, though, the heavy focus on ideology is seeming to reify the term.

Sections like 'criticism of neoconservatism as a Jewish movement' should be removed immediately. These views are not worth consideration in accordance with NPOV because they are outside the realm of reasonable discourse on the subject. Neoconservatism is not a "Jewish" or a "Zionist" movement; it just grew out of places like City College, which just happened to have high Jewish populations because of the demographics of NYC. These views should be relegated under the sections mentioning dealing with the conspiracy theories propagated by neofascist types and various cult outfits. 172 | Talk 08:54, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

I agree and have been fighting the jewish conspiracy stuff, whenever the ever vigilant mongo and jmabel don't get there first. However, I do wonder if it can be removed completely. Many aspects of the jewish conspiracy theory seem to have gained currency in Europe and in progressive circles. How else to explain the complete overemphasis on the influence of Max Shachtman and Leo Strauss? Most people that get labeled necons probably have never heard of them, the connections are few, although notable, expecially since they are to one of the few people who self identify with the label. Even the neocons that came over from the liberal side of the fence have probably been more influenced by study of the Soviet Union, Jesus Christ, Ayn Rand, von Heyak and Milton Friedman that by these two obscurities.
On a separate note, I disagree with the apparent blanket labeling of people associated with American Enterprise Institute as neocons. There are also strong paleoconservative and libertarian presences there, as well as some purely free market economists that don't merit a more specific political classification. I suggest removing the AEI reference in the intro unless some less blanket wording can be found.--Silverback 09:51, 16 October 2005 (UTC)
With proper citation, it would indeed be worth noting the commentary on the alleged influence of the Jewish conspiracy theory in 'progressive circles' in Europe. I say that with the caveat that a proper citation is required. I agree with your point on some in the European left, especially in France; but our conjectures cannot be inserted in the article without citation in accordance with the NOR policy... Regarding the AEI, you are correct in pointing out that it is not necessarily a "neoconservative" think-thank. Although neoconservatives have become more influential within the AEI in the past couple of decades, the AEI's roots are in the business-oriented circles of the conservative movement. I'll go ahead and make things more specific in the intro. 172 | Talk 10:27, 16 October 2005 (UTC)
It now says that "neocons" are associated with some of the policy iniatives of the AEI. [4] 172 | Talk 10:35, 16 October 2005 (UTC)
As you may notice, I have cited the claims of connection to Shachtman et. al. to Michael Lind, himself a self-described former neoconservative, and certainly not in any sense an anti-semite. I have no problem with the fact that these remarks are immediately followed by other citations questioning the validity of the connection, but Lind's is certainly not a viewpoint to be tossed away lightly. -- Jmabel | Talk 02:30, 17 October 2005 (UTC)
The biggest problem is that there is no real definition of this term by self idetified participants, only by outside observers. The anti-semitism struck me as the most opdd part of this, and what progressive circles have to say about this group means nil to the definition, except by way of criticism. The term should be defined by self identified neo-conservatives, not by groups seeking to paint them with a particular PoV. Dominick 12:50, 17 October 2005 (UTC)
You are correct in stating that the term should be defined by the self-indentified neoconservatives, which follows from elementary encyclopedic conventions. However, you're mistaken in saying that there is no real definition offered by the participants with which to work. See Irving Kristol's article The Neoconservative Persuasion [5] Other works include the collection of essays called "The Neoconservative Imagination" in honor of Kristol. The principal work in definining neoconservative thought is Kristol's Neoconservatism: The Autobiography of an Idea. Free access excerpts of the said works are easy to find online. 172 | Talk 18:50, 17 October 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps I should restate it, there is no agreed on "manifesto" among the people whom the tag has been pasted. An elementary definition is not what is presented in the article. The main reason this article is so poor is the establishment of the term neo- as being a synonym for psuedo-. This article needs a serious clean up, and a sifting of the term as it is relayed by writers like Kristol. The commentary from liberal sources can be placed after that, with a rebuttal. Dominick 18:59, 17 October 2005 (UTC)
Now I better understand your point. There certainly is no agreed on "manifesto" among the people often described as neoconservatives. But when we consider the core group of policy intellectuals associated with Commentary, The Public Interest, The National Interest (Kristol, Bell, Glazer in particular), and later their own work or the work of their associates in better established conservative institutions like the AEI, the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board and in ever newer institutions like The Weekly Standard and PNAC, the boundaries of the topic start to become a bit more clear. With the focus on this core of individuals, we can then start to describe the policy agenda-- probably best defined in Kristol's work-- underpinning their work and then chronicle their success at institution-building.
Your point on the "establishment of the term neo- as being a synonym for psuedo" in this article is well taken. The whole debate on whether or not neoconservatism is really conservatism is a red herring that has no business being ingrained in the structure and organization of this article. For the purposes of this article, neoconservatism is conservatism, as that is what the neoconservatives say. The point on "paleoconservatism" should just be a passing remark stuck somewhere in the article just for the sake of illustrating the success of the neoconservatives' institution-building. For the sake of this article, the argument that 'neo is pseduo' only serves to illustrate that the work of a small circle of policy intellectuals has become so influential in the past two decades that some much older conservative groups affiliated with publications that had much larger circulations than either National Interest or Public Interest are now starting to define themselves in negatively in constrast to the neoconservatives.
In short, I completely agree with your point that this article needs serious clean-up, with a 'sifting of the term as it is relayed by writes like Kristol'. The only point on which I'm having some doubts is the one on putting commentary from "liberal sources" toward the end with a rebuttal. I doubt that it is helpful to include a section on liberal criticism. On Wikipedia these 'criticisms' sections often degenerate into the 'supporters say, critics say' stuff that begins to sound like rhetoric on online discussion forums. This is also the kind of structure that invites in conspiracy theorists and cultists, like the anti-Semites trolling this article; POV-pushers would see such a section as a dumping ground for their own rhetoric on what neo-con means to them. Instead, a better structure would focus on the specific instances of political opposition to neoconservative policy indicatives. On that note the huge, heterogeneous volume of polemics against the neoconservatives in response to the Iraq War can get briefly mentioned in passing.
I'd favor rewriting the article with the following structure: (i) the New York intellectuals and the origins of the term, where we start to get a picture of who the "neo-cons" are (ii) their policy agenda (iii) institution-building, which can go on to deal with the influence of their work in the Reagan and Bush administrators (iv) opposition, where specific instances of criticism can be traced. BTW, thanks for the insights. 172 | Talk 21:17, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

With sources online, the following would be helpful in rewriting the article:

  • Irving Kristol, "The Neoconservative Persuasion." From the August 25, 2003 issue [6]
  • Irving Kristol, "American Conservatism 1945-1995" [7]
  • The AEI Irving Kristol Award and Lecture [8] September 12, 2002
  • "Arguing the World" PBS [9]
  • CSMonitor series [10]
  • Max Boot, "Q&A: Neocon power examined" [11]
  • CSMonitor, "Spheres of influence: Neoconservative think tanks, periodicals, and key documents." [12]

172 | Talk 22:33, 17 October 2005 (UTC)


There is a lot of interesting history and detail here, but the article has no linear flow. I have just subdivided the "Origins" section and am attempting to put it into a coherent chronological order (I'm still a bit confused what the relationship w/the New Left is). There are also FIVE! Paragraphs devoted to Lind's opinions and opinions about Lind's opinions (currently labeled as such) which probably could be cut back or re-integrated into the "Neocon. viewpoints" section. Kaisershatner 21:47, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

Nice work. The article's finally startign to have a coherent chronology. I made some suggestions for restructuring this article which may be of use, if you're interested in taking a look at the discussion thread above. 172 15:17, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

Some removed text

Talk:Neoconservatism in the United States/removed

I moved some text there to preserve it. If anyone thinks it is important to this article, please feel free to restore it, but to me the main subjects appeared to be Bush, bin Laden, Hussein, Cheney, etc. Kaisershatner 21:55, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

External links

At best these are ordered badly: 2 blogs at the top? Surely some of these links are more important than that. More likely, they could use some pruning. -- Jmabel | Talk 20:01, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

Zapped the blogs. Totally irrelevant. One has become the "GOPinion" website, the other was written from Australia, for crying out loud. -Joshuapaquin 16:35, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
We could probably limit them even further to weed out the rest of the left-wing muckraking, and just lift the main online sources I listed under the "Pov problems" heading started by Dominick. 172 16:32, 16 November 2005 (UTC)
An intereting idea... certainly six or seven links, say, should be plenty I think. -Joshuapaquin 20:14, 16 November 2005 (UTC)

Thames! Changes are to remove POV

I put my changes back in (I used to be IP before registering). Please compare the before and after. I have made three changes:

1. I removed the statement "Nevertheless, many of the prominent people labeled as neoconservatives are actually registered Democrats." I believe this is trying to obscure the fact that the neocons are now firmly emeshed into the Republican, not Democratic, party. If there are REALLY "many prominent neoconservatives", then state who they are. This may have been true historically (I couldn't even find any evidence of THAT), but it is irrelevant and misleading in the current climate.

2. I changed the statement that the war in Iraq is a test of neocon "thinking and democratic principles" to "thinking and planning". If Iraq fails it will not disprove the "democratic principles" of the neocons. The failure of a policy disproves NOT the principles behind the policy - it disproves the practicality of the thinking and planning behind that policy. They strongly argued for the necessity and prudence of this war. If they are wrong, and if the war makes things worse and not better, then they have been shown to be inadequate thinkers and planners. But that does not mean that their "democratic principles" would be disproven.

3. I changed the statement that the neocons will lose power and clout IFF (if and only if) Iraq leads to a "new regime which funnels oil revenues to terrorists". This is patently absurd. Failure in Iraq will be judged by the costs to America vs. the benefits to America. On the cost side will be the dollars and lives and prestige lost (if any); on the benefit side will be the improvement to American, Iraqi and world security (if any). Therefore I wrote that the test will be whether it leads to a "drawn-out conflict requiring the continued expenditure of American lives and money, and a weak and ineffective Iraqi government unable to control terrorism"

Note: since this is my first discussion, I'm not sure how to do this edit, (for example I manually edited the string below).

User:Gui2u 03:18, 2004 Nov 18 (UTC)

Hi Gui2u, thanks for joining Wikipedia. Welcome.
You say: I believe this is trying to obscure the fact that the neocons are now firmly emeshed into the Republican, not Democratic, party. This is your assertion, not a fact. What this record shows is the most neocons were Democrats, switched the the Republicans, but are not entirely welcome in the Republican party, and have openly discussed the possibility that someday they might switch again. They are not, as you assert, firmly enmeshed. I don't really care if the article says "democratic principles" or if it says "planning". But I disagree with your final assertion, and I think you ought to discuss something as crucial as that on the talk page before pushing it in the article text.
Finally, when making edits, please try to write an edit summary to explain why you've made the changes. Also, you can sign your name by typing four tildes, like so: ~~~~.And when you want to put a new topic on a talk page, there is a little tab at the top with a "+" sign, use that to make a new talk page section. All the best! —thames 18:57, 18 November 2005 (UTC)

Thank you for the welcome. I couldn't find that most neocons were democrats. Certainly few if any of the neocons put in power by GWBush were democrats - and this is a section about neocons under GWBush. I looked up the political contributions of a few of them, and they are all Republican.

Not sure which of my assertions you disagree with?

As far as putting a discussion into talk page first, I am new here and don't know the protocol. I will say, though, that the discussions I have read seem to be mostly after the fact and not prior to making changes.

Thanks for pointing out the edit summary - I didn't know what it was for. I will try the tildes below.

Gui2u 19:15, 18 November 2005 (UTC)

Paul Wolfowitz was a democrat who worked for Jimmy Carter. I believe Jeane Kirkpatrick was a Democrat as well. Irving Kristol was a socialist in his youth. If you look up the history of most of the core neoconservatives, they began their political careers on the left. It was under Reagan that they switched to the Republican party. Fascinating really. —thames 20:34, 18 November 2005 (UTC)

Thames, it looks like you disagree with my first and third changes, since you put the text for these two back in essentially unchanged.

Let me expand on my earlier comments:

1) If you want to include a statement implying that the neocons are actually closet-Democrats, then it does not belong in this section talking about GWBush, since only one of your examples has ever worked for GWBush. Furthermore, such an allegation is highly misleading and does not belong anywhere in this document. Of the three neocons you cite (which hardly qualifies as "many of the prominent [neocons]"), each of them (Wolfowitz, Kirkpatrick and Kristol) has given thousands of dollars to Republicans, for a total of $18,000 thousands dollars to Republicans and a total of exactly $250 to Democrats since 1977 (Kristol to a New York senator in 1979 - see IF any of them was ever really a Democrat, it was LONG LONG LONG ago and therefore irrelevant and misleading. It is much more likely that each of them completely changed their political leanings, than that neocon thinking is somehow allied with the thinking in the Democratic party.

3) Are you seriously arguing that the ONLY way that the neocon idea of invading Iraq with the lack of international support and using the battle and occupation strategy that was used will be considered a failure to the American people, and the Republican party which is part of and elected by the American people, will be if whatever government ends up governing Iraq is directly using its oil dollars to fund terrorists? This is not credible.

The American people will look at the net costs and benefits of the war when deciding whether it is a success or failure. They certainly do so when considering the Vietnam war. In fact when does someone NOT do that for any act they have taken? What basis do you have for suggesting they would do otherwise for the Iraq war?

(Kaisershatner had nicely moved this section to the bottom where it belonged, but someone moved it back up to the top and deleted the above comment of mine, and I don't know enough to know how to move it back, but someone probably should).

Gui2u 01:02, 19 November 2005 (UTC)

My compromise text did not imply that Neoconservatives are "closet democrats". But it does acknowledge a fact that numerous commentators have noted: the core neoconservative group began on the left and switched sides during the Carter-to-Reagan transition. Pick up a copy of Rise of the Vulcans by James Mann, which goes into this transition in some detail. It's a historically significant piece of information. Neoconservatives are a unique faction within American politics, and have the appelation "neo" precisely because they are not traditionally conservative or republican. It is far more misleading to censor this part of the neoconservative historical development than it is to include it.
On the third point, we seem to be talking past each other. The original text is talking about how the Iraq venture would be judged by neocon standards--i.e. if their beliefs that democracy will transform Iraq and prevent Iraq from supporting terrorism. You are talking about how Iraq will be judged on more general standards--i.e. cost-benefit analysis. I think both are right, but it's a mistake to delete the original text and replace it entirely with you own. I'm going to rewrite the paragraph to include both. —thames 01:20, 20 November 2005 (UTC)

Section on the Iraq War

Thames, I removed that sentence "nevertheless...liberal background" because it doesn't belong in the Iraq War section, and is already repeatedly stated in the intro and other areas describing the origin of neoconservatism. The other sentence you changed back wasn't one of my edits, and I don't have a strong preference either way (except maybe for deleting that section altogether - speculation about the future of Iraq isn't really relevant to a discussion of neoconservatism except for the simple point that win/loss in Iraq could be used to justify/undermine support for the philosophy in general). Kaisershatner 20:57, 18 November 2005 (UTC)

User:Thames, I removed this sentence from the section on Neoconserv/GWB: "Nevertheless, many of the prominent people labeled as neoconservatives began their political careers on the left, and continue to identify with some traditionally Democratic policy positions." Here's why: (1) the point that many neocons are former liberals or socialists is made at least twice earlier in the article - to me it's redundant to restate it again in this section, (2) it is a pretty general statement to make, for example, how are you defining "traditionally Democratic policy positions?" (3) When it is clear what you mean by that, for example, if C. Rice is vociferously pro-choice or something, then it should be sourced because it might add interesting depth to the article. But in the end, if the main point you're trying to make is that many neocons are former liberals/leftists, then isn't that already well-stated above? Respectfully, Kaisershatner 14:58, 21 November 2005 (UTC)
Oh, and just wanted to add, User:Thames, good work on a compromise para between you and Gui2u. Kaisershatner 15:00, 21 November 2005 (UTC)
K.: I like the change to add a new section. I edited it to tease out the two issues: the effect of the war on Neocon philosophy in general, and the effect of the war on Neocon influence in the Republican party. I *wanted* to change Thames' statement about the war being a failure to the neocons IFF it leads to oil dollars for terrorism. I think it would be more accurate to say it will be considered a failure it it leads to an overall increase in terrorism. Do you or Thames agree? Anyway I left it as is. - Gui2u 15:53, 21 November 2005 (UTC)

Neoconservatism a "reaction to the Civil Rights movement"?

This doesn't begin to make sense. I can't think of any identified neoconservative who opposes the results of the civil rights movement. On the contrary, the racists, anti-immigrationists, and southern apologists tend to hang out in the paleoconservative camp, e.g. Pat Buchanan, Samuel Francis, Joseph Sobran, Charley Reese, Michael Peroutka, Paul Gottfried, Thomas Fleming. Gazpacho 10:22, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

Mostly agree, although Charles Murray, for example, is generally counted as a neocon, and often considered racist. -- Jmabel | Talk 07:06, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
Of course there will be examples like Murray, but do we have any reason to believe that there's a substantive trend of anti-civil rights neocons who switched parties as a result of that social change? I don't think so. I wonder if the individual who submitted the quote is clear on the distinction between a neoconservative and a recent convert to conservatism. -Joshuapaquin 07:21, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
Jmabel, Charles Murray self-identifies as a libertarian. Who counts him as a neocon? He speaks and writes frankly about racial research and while that gets him pejoratively called a racist, it doesn't make him one. Even if he were a racist, if he is a libertarian, then he certainly doesn't advocate any government role based on race and wouldn't initiate force to harm a person of any race.--Silverback 07:41, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
First, let me reiterate the more important part of what I said above: I "mostly agree". Second, I don't believe I or anyone else said anything about a "government role based on race" or "initiat[ing] force" in racially related matters, and it seems even more tangential to the article than my possibly tangential remark. Third, for whatever it's worth, just Google Murray's name and the word "neoconservative" and you can easily find dozens, maybe hundreds, of places where he is called a "neoconservative", and I suspect that this is a topic where there is more offline than on. I turned up three quite relevant hits out of Google's first dozen: [13], [14], [15]. The second is a bit "bloggy", but I picked it because it is pro-Murray and states that "The Bell Curve marked the climax of first-generation neoconservatism." -- Jmabel | Talk 04:05, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
I think there are a lot of pejorative uses of neoconservative that limit the usefulness of the term and it even can be used in a way that renders it less meaningful by those that embrace the term. I've seen Charles Murray on CSPAN2 booktv. He openly identifies as libertarian. He is misrepresented and daemonized by those that don't want his ideas to be discussed. I happen to think his interpretation of the research in the Bell Curve misunderstands the evidence, but I don't doubt his good faith and I don't think the topics he discusses should be off limits. In his publications, of course, he is not specifically addressing a libertarian issue, just what he believes is a need for intellectual honesty about the evidence. It is the evidence, not whether he is a racist or not that should be discussed, if ones curiousity runs in that direction. Frankly, I find group differences interesting from an evolutionary and anthropological point of view, but irrelevant for relations between individuals.--Silverback 06:01, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

Suggestion for massive simplification

It seems to me that suggesting that the term "neocon" (as used in the mainstream media) incorporates the notion of "rejecting smaller government" as a core value, or suggests somehow being in favor of continued runaway social spending is absurd.

This definition has become very clumsy in an effort to define an overall philosophy where it appears to me anyway, that the divergence from the mainstream Republican agenda is quite narrow. Neocons are simply another facet of the conservative front - their influence on the overal direction of conservative thought is similar to that of the religious right in that "a push in my direction need not imply a retreat in your direction, we're carving out new space here." Broadening the base, not making a new base.

A viewpoint of the world tending towards US Nationalism and US interests coming first, decreased reluctance to resort to military tactics, becoming more comfortable with our role as the only superpower, being strongly in favor of pre-emptive intervention in Iraq and elsewhere, summarized neutrally "a generally hawkish view of the world and of America's interests" - this seems to be the consistent meaning of the word as used in the popular press.

Don't make things more complicated than they are. The need to simplify seems to be emerging.

To suggest that somehow this movement was founded by former liberals or social progressives seems incredibly disingenous. To imply that it is a coherent and well structured conservative movement on the verge of releasing a party manifesto is inaccurate. All of this in my opinion, of course.

I'm beginning to wonder whether the vandals have control of the ship.

lest my input seem anonymous, I can be reached easily at The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) 12 Dec 2005.

This, in turn, is in my opinion. Much of what you say about the neo-cons seems erroneous; the idea that they promote a "world tending towards nationalism," for example, flies in the face of their demonstrated contempt for the idea of national sovereignty. Their movement was in fact founded by a combination of ex-Trotskyites and outright fascists (see Michael Ledeen,) and I would venture to predict that they will shortly be expelled from the conservative movement altogether, as an errant weed, to paraphrase Yitzhak Rabin. --HK 15:34, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Shadia Drury

This paragraph was deleted by User:172, with the claim that Drury is not a suitable source. I would like to hear from other editors on this matter:

It should be noted, however, that among the noted neo-cons who are reported by Strauss critic Shadia Drury to be Strauss' protégés are William Kristol; Paul Wolfowitz; Supreme Court Justic Clarence Thomas; Judge Robert Bork; former Secretary of Education William Bennett; National Review publisher William F. Buckley; former Reagan Administration official Alan Keyes; Francis Fukuyama, author of The End of History; and former Attorney General John Ashcroft.

--HK 15:39, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Well, the article on Drury makes 172's position understandable, but doesn't preclude bona fide scholarship. Do you have a citation to support the paragraph? Preferably from an academic work? -Joshuapaquin 15:52, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
First question: is there a specific citation even to Drury so we can verify that she is being quoted accurately? And is this from something peer-reviewed that she published, or just from something like remarks during an appearance on the radio?
I'd tend to consider as citable something that she published as an academic. On the other hand, I'd insist on having something verifiable, because (besides the questions in the preceding paragraph) at least one of these names looks very unlikely to me: How is Yale-educated Buckley a Strauss protégé? (For that matter, how is he a neoconservative?)
I think that demonstrable academic "lineages" are more relevant than a hostile writer's characterization as a "protégé" (assuming it is hers; if not, there is even less here), unless she backs up "protégé" with specifics like "Strauss wrote to such-and-such and got him his first job as a lawyer" or something like that. Also, is "protégé" in this context her word, or Herschel's? In any event, just studying under someone doesn't make you a "protégé", let alone studying under one of their students.
Laying aside the word "protégé", I believe that most (though possibly not all) of these people either studied under Strauss or under people who, in turn, studied under Strauss. (Buckley seems the least likely, and I'd like to see an independent citation for Ashcroft.) But so did several thousand other people, so the importance of the connection is open to question.
FWIW, this article on Strauss co-authored by William Kristol clearly shows Kristol to be at least an admirer of Strauss. Wolfowitz, while rejecting the "Straussian connection" as "a product of fevered minds", says he "took two terrific courses from Leo Strauss as a graduate student". [16] Those both seem perfectly citable; in the latter case I think the "product of fevered minds" quote would probably also belong. -- Jmabel | Talk 06:10, 14 December 2005 (UTC)