Saturday, September 25, 2010
Unravelling the Puzzle of Neo-Conservatism
The War Party, a BBC documentary about American neo-conservatives and their influence on the Iraq War.
But what it fails to provide is the context for the neo-conservative belief in evil.
As it turns out, neo-conservatives were originally anti-communist liberals who joined the conservative movement because they found contemporary liberalism to be too soft on communism.
While the Holocaust does weigh heavy in the mind of neo-conservatives (who, despite the protestation of modern contemporary liberals, recognize that it was born of a left-wing regime), Stalinist atrocities like Holodomor weigh heavier.
That communism -- and its sister ideology, national socialism (with particular emphasis on the socialism for the benefit of the wilfully ignorant) is evidence to many neo-conservatives that evil very much does exist in the world.
More contemporary conservatives may be more likely to question the prospect of evil's existence at all.
Just as "neo-conservative" was coined as an insult by that era's contemporary conservatives, it has been embraced as an insult by this era's contemporary liberals, who are often all too unaware of what neo-conservatism truly is.
Neo-conservatives embraced the label because there's nothing shameful in it. Neo-conservatives recognize that there are various threats in the world. During the Cold War it was communism. Today, it's terrorism.
They also recognize that evil often manifests itself through these threats.
Unlike the contemporary liberals of the 1970s and '80s, neo-conservatives intend to never understimate the danger posed by those threats, and intend to never forget the kinds of evil acts that can be prepetrated in their advancement.
This isn't to be said that neo-conservatives themselves don't pose any dangers. As the Iraq War demonstrates, their inability to practice restraint in the course of implimenting this agenda often harms it.
In the war on terror, the key front is in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Iraq has only been a wholesale distraction from this -- something that neo-conservatives in the Democratic party have seemingly recognized better than those among the Republicans.