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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Libertarian conservatives regard neoconservative foreign policy ambitions with outspoken distrust

Neoconservatism From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia According to Irving Kristol, the founder and "god-father" of Neoconservatism, there are three basic pillars of Neoconservatism.[13]
Economics
"One of these policies, most visible and controversial, is cutting tax rates in order to stimulate steady economic growth [...] It is a basic assumption of neoconservatism that, as a consequence of the spread of affluence among all classes, a property-owning and tax-paying population will, in time, become less vulnerable to egalitarian illusions and demagogic appeals and more sensible about the fundamentals of economic reckoning."

Domestic affairs
"Neocons do not like the concentration of services in the welfare state and are happy to study alternative ways of delivering these services. But they are impatient with the Hayekian notion that we are on 'the road to serfdom.' Neocons do not feel that kind of alarm or anxiety about the growth of the state in the past century, seeing it as natural, indeed inevitable... Neocons feel at home in today's America to a degree that more traditional conservatives do not. Though they find much to be critical about, they tend to seek intellectual guidance in the democratic wisdom of Tocqueville, rather than in the Tory nostalgia of, say, Russell Kirk.
"But it is only to a degree that neocons are comfortable in modern America. The steady decline in our democratic culture, sinking to new levels of vulgarity, does unite neocons with traditional conservatives--though not with those libertarian conservatives who are conservative in economics but unmindful of the culture. The upshot is a quite unexpected alliance between neocons, who include a fair proportion of secular intellectuals, and religious traditionalists. They are united on issues concerning the quality of education, the relations of church and state, the regulation of pornography, and the like, all of which they regard as proper candidates for the government's attention. And since the Republican party now has a substantial base among people who consider themselves to be 'religious', this gives neocons a certain influence and even power. Because religious conservatism is so feeble in Europe, the neoconservative potential there is correspondingly weak."

Foreign policy
"First, patriotism is a natural and healthy sentiment and should be encouraged by both private and public institutions. Precisely because we are a nation of immigrants, this is a powerful American sentiment. Second, world government is a terrible idea since it can lead to world tyranny. International institutions that point to an ultimate world government should be regarded with the deepest suspicion. Third, statesmen should, above all, have the ability to distinguish friends from enemies...
"Finally, for a great power, the 'national interest' is not a geographical term, except for fairly prosaic matters like trade and environmental regulation. A smaller nation might appropriately feel that its national interest begins and ends at its borders, so that its foreign policy is almost always in a defensive mode. A larger nation has more extensive interests. And large nations, whose identity is ideological, like the Soviet Union of yesteryear and the United States of today, inevitably have ideological interests in addition to more material concerns.
"Barring extraordinary events, the United States will always feel obliged to defend, if possible, a democratic nation under attack from nondemocratic forces, external or internal. That is why it was in our national interest to come to the defense of France and Britain in World War II. That is why we feel it necessary to defend Israel today, when its survival is threatened. No complicated geopolitical calculations of national interest are necessary." QUOTE IS MISSING HERE

Usage and general views
The original neoconservatives were a band of liberal intellectuals who rebelled against the Democratic Party's leftward drift on defense issues in the 1970s. At first the neoconservatives clustered around Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson, a Democrat, but then they aligned themselves with Ronald Reagan and the Republicans, who promised to confront Soviet expansionism.
The term has been used before, and its meaning has changed over time. Writing in The Contemporary Review (London) in 1883, Henry Dunckley uses the term to describe factions within the Conservative Party; James Bryce again uses it in his Modern Democracies (1921) to describe British political history of the 1880s. The German authoritarians Carl Schmitt who became professor at the University of Berlin in 1933, the same year that he entered the Nazi party (NSDAP) and Arthur Moeller van den Bruck were called "neo-conservatives".[14] In "The Future of Democratic Values" in Partisan Review, July-August 1943, Dwight MacDonald complained of "the neo-conservatives of our time [who] reject the propositions on materialism, Human Nature, and Progress." He cited as an example Jacques Barzun, who was "attempting to combine progressive values and conservative concepts."
In the early 1970s, Socialist Michael Harrington prominently used the term in a manner similar to the modern meaning. He characterized neoconservatives as former leftists -- whom he derided as "socialists for Nixon" -- who had moved significantly to the right. These people tended to remain supporters of social democracy, but distinguished themselves by allying with the Nixon administration over foreign policy, especially by their support for the Vietnam War and opposition to the Soviet Union. They still supported the "welfare state," but not necessarily in its contemporary form.
Irving Kristol remarked that a neoconservative is a "liberal mugged by reality," one who became more conservative after seeing the results of liberal policies. The term "neoconservative" also refers more often to institutions like the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), Commentary and The Weekly Standard than to the Heritage Foundation, Policy Review or National Review.
Some observers name political philosopher Leo Strauss as a major intellectual antecedent of neoconservativism, mostly because of his influence on Allan Bloom and the influence of Closing of the American Mind.

Overview
Historically, neoconservatives supported a militant anticommunism [15], tolerated more social welfare spending than was sometimes acceptable to libertarians and mainstream conservatives, and sympathized with a non-traditional foreign policy agenda that was less deferential to traditional conceptions of diplomacy and international law and less inclined to compromise principles, even if that meant unilateral action.
There is a widespread impression that domestic policy does not define neoconservatism [citation needed]— that it is a movement founded on, and perpetuated by, an aggressive approach to foreign policy, free trade, opposition to communism during the Cold War, support for Israel and Taiwan and opposition to Middle Eastern and other states that support terrorism. [citation needed]
The movement began to focus on such foreign issues in the mid-1970s [citation needed]. However, it first crystallized in the late 1960s as an effort to combat the radical cultural changes taking place within the United States. Irving Kristol wrote: "If there is any one thing that neoconservatives are unanimous about, it is their dislike of the counterculture."[16] Norman Podhoretz agreed: "Revulsion against the counterculture accounted for more converts to neoconservatism than any other single factor."[17] Ira Chernus, a professor at the University of Colorado, argues that the deepest root of the neoconservative movement is its fear that the counterculture would undermine the authority of traditional values and moral norms. Because neoconservatives believe that human nature is innately selfish, they believe that a society with no commonly accepted values based on religion or ancient tradition will end up in a war of all against all. They also believe that the most important social value is strength, especially the strength to control natural impulses. The only alternative, they assume, is weakness that will let impulses run riot and lead to social chaos.[18]
According to Peter Steinfels, a historian of the movement, the neoconservatives' "emphasis on foreign affairs emerged after the New Left and the counterculture had dissolved as convincing foils for neoconservatism . . . The essential source of their anxiety is not military or geopolitical or to be found overseas at all; it is domestic and cultural and ideological."[19] Neoconservative foreign policy parallels their domestic policy. They insist that the U.S. military must be strong enough to control the world, or else the world will descend into chaos.
Believing that America should "export democracy," that is, spread its ideals of government, economics, and culture abroad, they grew to reject U.S. reliance on international organizations and treaties to accomplish these objectives. Compared to other U.S. conservatives, neoconservatives may be characterized by an idealist stance on foreign policy, a lesser social conservatism, and a much weaker dedication to a policy of minimal government, and, in the past, a greater acceptance of the welfare state, though none of these qualities are necessarily requisite.
Aggressive support for democracies and nation building is additionally justified by a belief that, over the long term, it will reduce the extremism that is a breeding ground for Islamic terrorism. Neoconservatives, along with many other political theorists, have argued that democratic regimes are less likely to instigate a war than a country with an authoritarian form of government. Further, they argue that the lack of freedoms, lack of economic opportunities, and the lack of secular general education in authoritarian regimes promotes radicalism and extremism. Consequently, neoconservatives advocate the spread of democracy to regions of the world where it currently does not prevail, most notably the Arab nations of the Middle East, communist China, North Korea and Iran.
Neoconservatives also have a very strong belief in the ability of the United States to install democracy after a conflict - comparisons with denazification in Germany and installing a democratic government in Japan starting in 1945 are often made - and they have a principled belief in defending democracies against aggression. This belief has guided U.S. policy in Iraq after the removal of the Saddam Hussein regime, where the U.S. insisted on organizing elections as soon as practical [citation needed]...
Conflict with Libertarian conservatives
There is also conflict between neoconservatives and libertarian conservatives. Libertarian conservatives are ideologically opposed to the expansiveness of federal government programs and regard neoconservative foreign policy ambitions with outspoken distrust. They view the neoconservative promotion of preemptive war as morally unjust, dangerous to the preservation of a free society, and against the principles of the Constitution. Rep Ron Paul, a Republican libertarian who holds a Texas district, and is a 2008 Presidential candidate, has spoken out harshly against the Bush Administration's foreign wars on fiscal, moral, and constitutional points advocating non-intervention.[28]

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