Posted under NeoCons
Check out this video from our friend, the Southern Avenger, and the long but interesting discussion that follows.
I engage in a debate with a few others on the nature of the neocons and the utility of hyperbolic neocon demonization. There are two seemingly conflicting characterizations of the neocons. One is that they are true-believing ideologues blind to reality, profoundly misguided but not necessarily base in their motivations. Utopian maybe. Cavalier about the use of force certainly. But not base. (War for oil. That type of thing.) The other that they are ruthless manipulators who may hide behind ideology but who really are just self-interested and whose primary motives are base. (Power, enriching Halliburton, making the world safe for global capitalism, etc.) I lean toward the former explanation. The later strikes me as more Michael Moore territory.
While long, I think the discussion is worth wading through, if I do say so myself.
It is certainly possible that both characterizations could have elements of truth, but taken as a whole they seem rather mutually exclusive to me. Either the neocons actually believed their own ideology and misstepped because of it, or the ideology is pure window dressing and the missteps were calculated. What strikes me as odd, is that both characterizations seem to have equal currency on the anti-war right, and I haven’t really seen a lot of discussion of the inherent contradiction. I think a lot of anti-war conservatives become a bit irrational when discussing the neocons. But if Claes Ryn is right, for example, that neocons are modern day Jacobins, then they can’t also be purely self-interested Machiavellians and vice versa. They could be Machiavellians in the services of Jacobinism. They could even feel that Jacobinism serves their own self-interests. (I accept this characterization.) But that isnâ€™t really what is often argued. What is being argued is that War was pursued for the advancement of purely base and self-interested motives.
Thoughts? Harrison, our resident expert on the neocons, any thoughts?