This is how neocon Lincoln idolaters would respond to Scottish secession if given the chance.
HT: Doug Mataconis
This is how neocon Lincoln idolaters would respond to Scottish secession if given the chance.
HT: Doug Mataconis
David Frum doesn’t want the Scots to govern themselves. You remember Frum, don’t you? He’s the whiny little Neocon who hates the South and once smeared conservatives who opposed the illegal and counter-productive invasion of Iraq as “unpatriotic.” (Because the definition of “conservatism” is blind obedience to the Commander in chief, you see.)
It’s no surprise this girly-man disapproves of Scottish independence. His rationale? It would harm “American interests” by diminishing Britain’s “contribution to global security.” London has long depended on Scottish pluck to fight its wars, and the Scots have had enough. The union of England and Scotland was the foundation of the British Empire. Well guess what, Frum? That empire is no more. Ceased to be. Changing circumstances require changing political arrangements, and Scottish independence recognizes that the imperial project is shattered and cannot be patched back together.
I hope Frum’s shrill, schoolmarmish sermon to vote “No” incites the thrawn Scots to do the opposite.
We probably haven’t been covering this ISIS situation as much as we should have. Here are a couple of links.
This article by Justin Raimondo demonstrates the foolishness of us supporting any side in this Middle Eastern mess. Beheaded Journalist Steven Sotloff was allegedly sold to ISIS by moderates in Syria that we support. What fools we are.
Here is Raimondo on the President’s less than inspiring ISIS speech.
Here is Andrew Bacevich suggesting that Obama is missing the point. He is right. Read the article. I don’t want to give away the main point because I think it is important and something I want to elaborate on in detail in the future.
I don’t know. When he’s not featuring R-rated porn to boost his numbers on what he imagines is a “serious” political site, Donald Douglas is cheering on yet another war that he doesn’t have to fight. Clearly desperate to get a job with a Neocon think tank, he eagerly smears those who oppose DC’s agenda of perpetual war or who question US taxpayer subsidies to the Israeli government.
But Douglas’ hit piece on William Lind is pure slime scraped from the bottom of a third-world sewer. Douglas not only maligns Lind, but tosses in links to other hit pieces that slander the South and Jefferson Davis.
And notice that those pieces he links to favorably mention the Southern Poverty Law Center and the ADL, two leftist hit squads. You know a man by the company he keeps.
Li’l Lindsey Graham is once again doing what he does best, and that’s to terrify Americans into supporting yet another war. From Fox News:
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM sounds the alarm about the growing threat of the Islamic State, the militant group formerly known as ISIS, launching an attack on American soil unless President Obama takes more decisive action to stop terror group’s surge across Iraq and Syria.
And as we all know, by “decisive,” Li’l Lindsey means “doing what Bill Kristol and Bibi Netanyahu want us to do.” So let’s all run around the room screaming, then take DECISIVE action and beg our Congress to do the one thing it’s capable of doing, and that’s to vote money for Israel and the Pentagon. Otherwise the Islamic State armored division will sprout wings and swoop out of the skies and spray Des Moines with 30mm shells.
What will the outcome be? We know that: Armaments industries and AIPAC will shower Li’l Lindsey and his friends with generous campaign contributions. After a decade or so, the guerrillas will out-maneuver the invaders, and we’ll have NO CHOICE but to grant citizenship to the Syrian and Iraqi Muslims who collaborated with US forces.
One of the loudest and least reflective of the armchair generals demanding Obama go back into Iraq calls herself “neo-neocon.” She’s a competent writer but is wedded to the notion that all problems, whether they be Putin in Ukraine, ISIS in Iraq, or Miley Cyrus in concert, can and should be solved by military action. (I might be persuaded about Miley Cyrus.)
Anyway, her latest post chides Obama for not taking more decisive action in Iraq (“decisive,” of course, meaning “doing whatever Bill Kristol and Bibi Netanyahu demand.”). In neo-neocon’s eyes, Obama is an out-of-touch idealist who thinks he can hug and dialogue his way out of every problem instead of having to wage war. Says neo-neocon:
Turns out that America as cowboy wasn’t so bad after all. The worldwide events of the last few years underscore how putting the “can’t we all just get along?” crowd in charge is one of the surest paths toward chaos and war. That is a terrible paradox, one that has been amply demonstrated in the past, particularly in Munich, 1938.
Ah, yes. It’s Munich, I tell you! Because anything other than shock and awe is capitulation.
But the kicker is that neo-neocon cites Rudyard Kipling’s “The Gods of the Copybook Headings” with this comment:
It is a profoundly realistic, resigned, and anti-liberal statement of human nature and its follies, and the futility of “hope and change.” The Gods of the Copybook Headings laugh at Nobel Peace Prizes, recognizing them as temporary illusions.
Talk about unclear on the concept. When Kipling wrote this powerful poem, he had just lost his son in the mindless meatgrinder we today call WWI. The poem is about the empty-headed slogans people let themselves be fooled by. (“Global Democratic Revolution,” anyone?) It’s laughable that the same post that urges Obama to go back into Iraq quotes a poem with this verse:
As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;
Read that last line again about going back to the fire. That’s exactly what neo-neocon and the rest of her ilk want us to do in Iraq.
Neocons. They never learn from their mistakes. Worse, they never admit they make mistakes.
Just how insane and detached from reality are Neocons? Apparently, they’re sufficiently delusional to call for putting American boots on the ground in a country the US Embassy is now evacuating. And for what purpose? Why, to enforce “inclusiveness.” Sound like a worthy military goal to you? It does to Fat Freddy Kagan:
The U.S. has been pushing for an inclusive political settlement in Iraq that brings the Sunni into the government and denies ISIS popular support. The current crisis has resulted in considerable part, in fact, from Maliki’s sectarian actions and systematic exclusion of Sunnis from political power and influence.
Like all apologists for empire, Kagan is mortified at the prospect of self-determination. “Inclusion” is how proponents of Big Government justify their one-size-fits-all ideology. What people like Kagan cannot comprehend is that the people of the Middle East had little to say about the borders they have to live in, and are resorting to violence to win what has been denied them. The brutality going on now is the direct result of past interventions by those who thought they knew what was best for the people of the Middle East. Kagan thinks we haven’t done enough harm to these people, and like the kid with nothing in his tool box but a hammer, wants to intervene yet again:
Immediately sending air support and Special Forces to Mosul might shock ISIS and embolden the population enough to rout the jihadis from the city. But if it does not, the Iraqi Security Forces may well prove unable to regain Mosul on their own.
In that case, a small contingent of U.S. ground forces would be required.
Why not? Why, it’ll only take a few regiments. It’ll be a cakewalk. Iraqi oil will pay for the invasion. And the American people will cheer on the troops once news of easy victories come rolling in. Yeah.
Fat Freddy Kagan is calling for an unwinnable fight for an impossible goal that has no popular support.
From Tony Blair’s website:
Tony Blair: However there is also no doubt that a major proximate cause of the takeover of Mosul by ISIS is the situation in Syria. To argue otherwise is wilful. The operation in Mosul was planned and organised from Raqqa across the Syria border. The fighters were trained and battle-hardened in the Syrian war. It is true that they originate in Iraq and have shifted focus to Iraq over the past months. But, Islamist extremism in all its different manifestations as a group, rebuilt refinanced and re-armed mainly as a result of its ability to grow and gain experience through the war in Syria.
My comment: In other words, US support for the Syrian rebels has ended up in the hands of al-Qaeda and other Sunni extremists. The Iraqi militants are also Sunni, Blair and Obama’s allies against Assad.
Tony Blair: Already the security agencies of Europe believe our biggest future threat will come from returning fighters from Syria. There is a real risk that Syria becomes a haven for terrorism worse than Afghanistan in the 1990s. But think also of the effect that Syria is having on the Lebanon and Jordan. There is no way this conflagration was ever going to stay confined to Syria. I understand all the reasons following Afghanistan and Iraq why public opinion was so hostile to involvement. Action in Syria did not and need not be as in those military engagements. But every time we put off action, the action we will be forced to take will ultimately be greater.
Tony Blair: The moderate and sensible elements of the Syria Opposition should be given the support they need; Assad should know he cannot win an outright victory; and the extremist groups, whether in Syria or Iraq, should be targeted, in coordination and with the agreement of the Arab countries. However unpalatable this may seem, the alternative is worse.
My comment: Assad is an enemy of al-Qaeda! He is supported by the Christians and other minorities within Syria. It is Blair and Obama who have supported the Sunni terrorists. Al-Qaeda is Sunni. Assad is not Sunni.
Tony Blair: The first is there was no WMD risk from Saddam and therefore the casus belli was wrong. What we now know from Syria is that Assad, without any detection from the West, was manufacturing chemical weapons. We only discovered this when he used them.
My comment: It remains unproven who used the WMD. Assad certainly had nothing to gain from it: The timing was worst-possible for Assad, with UN inspectors to review it.
This is another example of how Blair etc. write a false history and of how vital it is to record a true history, based on facts. While perfect objectivity is impossible, wilful propaganda is inexcusable. Blair would have us teach outright lies to future generations of children.
Tony Blair: In Syria we called for the regime to change, took no action and it is in the worst state of all.
My comment: Again, support has been given to the rebels, who are Sunni.
Tony Blair: Assad, who actually kills his people on a vast scale including with chemical weapons, is left in power.
My comment: Again, this is speculative, unfounded.
Tony Blair: I speak with humility on this issue because I went through the post 9/11 world and know how tough the decisions are in respect of it.
My comment: 9/11 would have been prevented had US immigration policy been enforced. The hijackers were in the US illegally.
Not only is the border crisis worse today, but the US has imported Muslim refugees since then. US policy has once again made matters worse since 9/11.
Tony Blair: It will affect the radicalism within our own societies which now have significant Muslim populations.
My comment: Here’s an easy solution: Deport them and cease importing more!
Because Russian women have the biggest boobs. I kid you not. It science.
Someone needs to show this map to all the war crazed neocons. Surely they won’t want to bomb Russia once this factoid is brought to their attention.
**** SPOILER ALERT ****
#JackisBack was all the rage yesterday on FaceBook, Twitter, etc. I says screw Jack. I’m rooting for the new blonde chick!
Kidding aside, I do think there is some truth to the criticism that 24 operates on neoconish/security state premises. That its routine to subvert laws against torture by turning captives over to extra-national entities for “enhanced interrogation techniques.” That the release of classified information in an attempt to bring transparency is bad. That major existential terrorist threats exist and are plausible/likely. That beefed up intel can prevent such things. Etc. I did find it interesting that they cast the generally well like and sympathetic (if annoying) character of Chloe in the Edward Snowden role.
That said, sometimes you just have to put politics aside and relax and enjoy something for what it is. I like 24 and will no doubt watch and enjoy it. I think the first couple of seasons of 24 was some of the best series television ever. It did get repetitive after a couple of seasons, so I think this extended break has been good for the series.
One thing’s for sure: The U.S. most definitely has a “special relationship” with Israel. It’s similar to the kind of relationship you see in the beaten wife syndrome, as this nauseating news nugget makes clear:
An Israeli spy serving a life sentence in the United States and groups of Palestinian prisoners could be freed under an emerging deal to salvage Middle East peace talks, sources close to the negotiations said on Monday.
The sources, who spoke as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry prepared to meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders, said under the proposed arrangement that Jonathan Pollard, a former U.S. Navy analyst caught spying for Israel in the 1980s, could be released by mid-April.
In addition, Israel would go ahead with a promised release of a fourth group of Palestinians, among the 104 it pledged to free in a deal that led to the renewal of peace talks last July. Another group of jailed Palestinians would also go free – and the peace talks would be extended beyond an April 29 deadline, the sources said.
What a deal – Israel gets its hero, the Palestinians get their people, and we get the greatest prize of them all: We get to maintain our “special relationship” with Israel. Win-win-win!
In case you’ve forgotten, here’s what Jonathan Pollard – an American citizen, at least on paper, if not in terms of loyalty – did to his country:
Pollard did more damage to the United States than any spy in history. And it was genuine damage, not just a mass of documents that had been routinely classified. Pollard’s Israeli handler, aided by someone in the White House who has up until now evaded arrest, was able to ask for specific classified documents by name and number. The Soviets obtained US war plans, passed to them by the Israelis in exchange for money and free emigration of Russian Jews without any regard for the damage it was doing to the United States. The KGB was able to use the mass of information to reconstruct US intelligence operations directed against it and a number of Americans and US agents paid with their lives. Pollard also revealed to the Israelis and Soviets the technical and human source capabilities that US intelligence did and did not have, which is the most critical information of all as it underlies all information collection efforts. Compounding the problem, the United States has never actually been able to accurately ascertain all of the damage done by Pollard because the Israeli government has refused to cooperate in the investigation and has not returned the documents that were stolen.
But what do you want to bet that the Israel-Firsters will meekly accept this outrage while screaming for Edward Snowden’s head?
The most vivid illustration of how unnatural and unstable the DC regime has become was the orgy of mutual recrimination that followed the collapse of the Iraq and Afghanistan adventures. As the flimsy lies that united the bizarre coalition of war supporters became too glaring to deny, public support evaporated. Those who had convinced their constituencies to overlook their differences and rally ’round the flag quickly resorted to demonizing their former bedfellows. It got nasty at times.
You can deny reality for only so long. Really now: How long could we pretend the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan could hide behind such fantasies as Andrew Sullivan’s War of Global Gay Liberation, Charles Johnson’s Crusade against Tradition, and Free Republic’s Great Patriotic War?
Little wonder that the War Party is descending these days into increasingly shrill and unhinged attempts to revive public support for perpetual war. The silliest in recent memory is Michael Gerson’s warning that Americans have “overlearned” the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan. In other words, to paraphrase Gerson, “Americans made a huge mistake in 2003: They trusted us Neocons. But that doesn’t mean you should never trust us again when we want to attack another country that has not threatened or attacked us.”
Even worse, says Gerson, by not invading Libya, Georgia, and Syria, just to name a few countries begging for another US-led “liberation,” Americans are increasingly showing “tolerance of crimes against humanity.” Yes, that’s what he said.
If we really cared about the people in other countries, we’d bomb them. Keeping out of other people’s wars demonstrates a lack of compassion.
Of course, Gerson somehow forgets the ACTUAL results of past US interventions. Just to list a few:
- Vietnam, 1960-75 — Two million Vietnamese killed in longest US war.
- Indonesia, 1965 — CIA-backed overthrow of Sukarno in 1965 resulted in estimated death of one million people.
- Cambodia, 1969-75 — US carpet bombing killed two million people.
- El Salvador, 1981-92 — troops and air power assisted death squads, 75,000 people killed.
- Serbia — Clinton’s ‘Wag the Dog’ Air War in 1999 killed 6,000 Serbian troops and 2,000 civilians.
- Iraq — US-led sanctions result in the estimated deaths of over one million civilians, from 1990 to 2003. And the Iraqi invasion and occupation has killed over 700 US troops, 5,000 Iraqi troops, and 8,000 civilians.
But Neocons, like the leftists from which they mutated, are at war with reality. We’re supposed to focus on the nobility of their theories, not the real-world consequences of their policies.
In case you haven’t been following this, there has been a bit of a dust up in non-interventionist circles. Students for Liberty President Alexander McCobin publically criticized Ron Paul over his statements on the Crimean situatuion. Since then, it has been time, as they say, to “get the popcorn.” I’m working on a longer response to this. As you probably guess, I side with Ron Paul. But I figured I need to cover this situation so here is a list of links.
Here is the original McCorbin post that got it all started.
Here is the original, as far as I can tell, reaction from BuzzFeed.
The (anti-Paul) Washington Free Beacon quickly picked up the story.
Reason chimes in.
Ron Paul’s Institute responds. (Perhaps too harshly?)
Dave Weigel of Slate opines. (Weigel is interesting in cases like these. Weigel currently has anti-paleo biases, but because he once traveled in our circles before going a different dirrection, he gets the subtext better than most.)
Justin Raimondo is his typical firey self at Anti-War.com.
John Glaser says not so fast.
Raimondo steps on the gas.
Anthont Gregory calls for a truce.
Robert Wenzel sides with Ron Paul at LewRockwell.com
Whew! See what I mean about getting the popcorn?
As a Southern paleocon who has often argued with Unionist neocons over the virtue of the Union invasion of the South and the merits of Lincoln, the current events taking place in Ukraine and the neocons’ reaction to it has me scratching my head. Let’s see…
Neocons, especially those of the Straussian variety, allegedly oppose secession. They oppose the historic secession of the South and reject secession as a legitimate political option for US states at present.
As a result of their inherent nationalism and opposition to secession, neocons venerate Abraham Lincoln above any other American.
Ukraine is a product of a quiet recent, historically speaking, secession from the former Soviet Union.
Putin is reoccupying part of Ukraine.
Therefore, if neocons are to be intellectually consistent, shouldn’t they support Putin as a Lincolnesq figure attempting to restore a political entity, the USSR, that traitorous upstart secessionist in Ukraine have recently ripped apart? And just as they should view Putin as a modern day Lincoln, shouldn’t they view the Russian Army as a modern day equivalent of the Union Army, and the Ukraine military as a modern equivalent of the Rebel Confederate Army?
But instead, the neocons are supporting the former secessionist Ukrainian revolutionaries and opposing Lincolnesq Putin’s attempt to reoccupy a former Soviet territory.
In a similar situation, Bill Clinton’s ordered American troops to intervene in the Balkans.
In the Balkan intervention, American troops were facilitating the secession of Bosnia from part of the former Yugoslavia.
If neocons are to be intellectually consistent, shouldn’t they have opposed the secession of Bosnia? Shouldn’t they have likened the US forces in the Balkans to the Confederate Army for facilitating secession and Clinton to Jefferson Davis?
Instead, neocons enthusiastically supported Clinton’s Bosnian intervention even while many conservatives at the time were returning to their non-interventionist roots and opposing the action.
Perhaps it isn’t really secession that neocons oppose. They seem quite happy with secession when it is breaking up countries that they view as challenging US hegemony. Perhaps the real problem they have with the secession of the South or the modern secession of US states is that it challenges their (mistaken) conception of America as a unitary modern state with a special mission to spread the values of liberal democracy across the globe.
Originally posted at Intellectual Conservative.
This pleasant news. Read the rest here.
“The Yankee is compelled to toil to make the world go around.” Admiral Raphael Semmes, CSN
Pat Buchanan has a must-read piece that is perfect in every way except for its inappropriate title, “Why Neo-Isolationism Is Soaring.” My nit-pick is that “isolationism” is what interventionists use to slam those who question their endless wars. It’s the equivalent of the use of “racist” to put down anyone who objects to socialism — which is exactly what that term means. And as I’ve argued before, the interventionist abroad validates and reinforces the interventionist at home. Both have an other-worldly ideal that mere humanity never quite lives up to, requiring the noble idealists to spill a little more blood. All in the name of doing good, you see.
Pat points out that the interventionists have directly harmed this country. The facts he presents cannot be argued:
We invaded Panama, intervened in Haiti and Mogadishu, launched Desert Storm to liberate Kuwait, bombed Serbia for 78 days to force it to surrender its cradle province of Kosovo.
Came then the blowback of 9/11, following which we had the Afghan war to overthrow the Taliban and create a new democracy in the Hindu Kush, the invasion and occupation of Iraq to strip Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction he did not have, and the air war on Libya.
Others may celebrate the fruits of these wars but consider the costs:
A decade of bleeding with 8,000 U.S. dead, 40,000 wounded, $2 trillion sunk, Iraq and Libya disintegrating in tribal, civil and sectarian war, Afghanistan on the precipice, and al-Qaida no longer confined to Tora Bora but active in Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, Yemen and Syria.
While America was caught up in these wars, China swept past Britain, France, Germany and Japan to emerge as the second largest economy on earth. Using her $250-$300 billion annual trade surpluses with the United States, she has been locking up resources across Africa, Latin America, Australia and Asia.
Now Beijing has declared its own Monroe Doctrine to encompass the East and South China seas and all islands therein and to challenge the United States for hegemony over the Western Pacific.
The Afghan and Iraq wars, we should note, were supported by big-government interventionists of both the left and right. What’s scary is that the same coalition is still at it today, demanding war on Iran, and blasting those who courageously uncover illegal surveillance by the federal government. Despite their differences, the left and right interventionists are united in their support of a powerful centralized government and the demonization of dissent.
The bottom line is that they’re both cheering while the federal government chips away at what’s left of our liberty. That makes them part of the problem, not the solution. Let’s not forget that.
David Brooks is frustrated. Congress won’t grant amnesty to all those potential Americans “hiding in the shadows,” it can’t pass gun control, and it hasn’t given us any fun wars lately. Brooks is also disappointed by the American public’s lack of enthusiasm for DC’s military adventures. Members of Congress, always mindful of the next election, aren’t about to further alienate voters. That makes Brooks sad. Brooks, a thorough Neocon, gleefully backed the Iraq War as a means to achieve “national greatness.” To him, a strong central government is the answer to everything, since, in his own words, “ultimately, American purpose can find its voice only in Washington.”
The solution? Brooks says it’s time for the president to assume more power and get things rolling again. Here’s his argument, from an opinion piece entitled Strengthen the Presidency:
Here are the advantages. First, it is possible to mobilize the executive branch to come to policy conclusion on something like immigration reform. It’s nearly impossible for Congress to lead us to a conclusion about anything. Second, executive branch officials are more sheltered from the interest groups than Congressional officials. Third, executive branch officials usually have more specialized knowledge than staffers on Capitol Hill and longer historical memories. Fourth, Congressional deliberations, to the extent they exist at all, are rooted in rigid political frameworks.
What should Obama do, in Brooks’s opinion? Simple: “So how do you energize the executive? It’s a good idea to be tolerant of executive branch power grabs and to give agencies flexibility.”
Yeah — nothing like a few “executive branch power grabs” to liven things up.
Don’t dismiss this as just the ravings of a typical government supremacist. What Brooks is advocating is a very real, very frightening possibility. Obama is already taking steps to do exactly what Brooks is talking about. Obama has appointed long-time DC insider John Podesta to his senior staff. Podesta has long been an open advocate of a powerful chief executive. In a Center for American Progress paper in 2010 entitled, “The Power of the President: Recommendations to Advance Progressive Change,” Podesta wrote: “Concentrating on executive powers presents a real opportunity for the Obama administration to turn its focus away from a divided Congress and the unappetizing process of making legislative sausage.”
Liberty activists should fear this man. Podesta’s progressive ideology is a blueprint for the welfare-warfare state:
In 2008, Podesta authored his book The Power of Progress: How America’s Progressives Can (Once Again) Save Our Economy, Our Climate, and Our Country. In it, he articulates a vision of progressive values based on four core lessons: 1) Progressives stand with people, not privilege; 2) Progressives believe in the Common Good and a government that offers a hand up; 3) Progressives hold that all people are equal in the eyes of God and under the law; and 4) Progressives stand for universal human rights and cooperative global security.
(Catch that last line? And some people don’t believe me when I argue that civil rights and militarism are DC’s yin and yang.) Like all DC insiders, John Podesta knows how to deploy his noble-sounding ideals to turn a buck:
Since President Obama entered office in 2008, Boeing has spent $840,000 on The Podesta Group’s services, relying on the firm to lobby in favor of lucrative defense appropriations at the White House and on Capitol Hill.
What can we expect from Obama in the coming months? More wars, more forced multiculturalism, more authoritarian government.
In other words, what we can expect from ANY administration.
In his very generous, widely distributed review of my book on Leo Strauss and Strauss’s effect on the American conservative movement, Jack Kerwick observes that amidst our ideological division, my study stands out as “model of civility.” Apparently this judgment didn’t sit well with some commentors at freerepublic.com who weighed in against me as a nasty controversialist. Among my transgressions is to have defended the notorious anti-Semite Joe Sobran. Further, in my presumed attacks on Leo Strauss in a book that my ungrammatical critics never bothered to read, I besmirched a true patriot, who loved our liberal democratic government. Since Strauss defended what he thought America had been set up to represent, he must have been an authentic conservative, and it was therefore wicked on my part to challenge his political credentials. One critic even went so far as to describe me as driven by “anger,” that is, as someone who is no longer capable of rational judgment. This rant replicated almost word for word the unprofessional opinions that had been sent by a referee for an outline of my (then unwritten) book on Strauss that had been submitted to Yale University Press three years ago. Although my alma mater was about to give me a contract for the book Cambridge later brought out, after the receipt of the poison pen letter, the editor broke off negotiations.
These comments occasion certain thoughts, or more accurately, force me to revise certain preconceived notions. Up until a few days ago I had assumed that my adversaries in the conservative media simply ignored my critical writings. They treated me as an inconsequential rightwing kook, whom they had no interest in calling attention to. Last week I encountered a young gentleman who told me how at “conservative” youth conferences he attended, he was warned against my uncooperative attitudes. I was certainly a presence at these events, in the same way that Goldstein was in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four. And I suspect I enjoyed about the same degree of popularity among the organizers as Big Brother’s straw man.
For the record, my well-prepped critics are wrong on two points, in addition to their egregious syntax. One, I never defended Joe Sobran as an “anti-Semite” or as a critic of the policies of the Israeli government, which for some of my critics are the same. I simply noted somewhere that Sobran was unjustly treated by the movement to which he had devoted his life. I never expressed approval of his judgments about Israel, which I do not happen to share. Two, my work on Strauss, which my detractors obviously never looked at, is every bit as civil as Jack Kerwick suggests it is. One would be hard pressed to find a single snide comment about my subject and in fact one encounters in the biographical sections many empathetic remarks about Strauss’s treatment as a scholar in Germany before he was forced by the Nazis to leave. I note parallels between my family’s experiences and those of Strauss and stress repeatedly the breadth of Strauss’s erudition. I have absolutely no idea how anyone but a driven fanatic could find anything demeaning about my descriptions.
My downfall with this book is that I’m not a Straussian or someone who interprets Strauss and his disciples as “conservatives.” Since as an intellectual historian I treat even classical Marxists with sympathy, the fact that I don’t characterize the Straussians or their master as conservative should not be viewed as an insult. But it may be a costly faux pas. Strauss’s more prominent disciples are used to being slobbered over in certain magazines conventionally associated with the right. Unfortunately for my sales, I don’t follow this party-line.
Recently I asked if Townhall’s publication of an anti-neocon article represented progress? Now they have published a review of Paul Gottfried’s Leo Strauss book (which is now available in paperback and reasonably affordable.) I don’t know if Townhall just likes Jack Kerwick and publishes most of what he sends them, or if this demonstrates some sort of progress. Thoughts?
One thing that I think is hurting the neocons with the activist base, is that they are being increasingly associated with the Establishment faction in favor of moderation, compromise and coming to terms with big government. This association is not at all unfair as most of the notable neocon spokesmen sided with the Establishment against Cruz and the defund ObamaCare effort. I don’t believe that most of the base has abandoned interventionism in theory, but I do think they now have little stomach for actual wars as demonstrated by their strong opposition to intervention in Syria. And I do think they are becoming increasingly aware of the budgetary consequences of our current policy. This linkage of the strongly interventionist faction with the centrist faction can only help the cause of non-intervention.