Monday, January 5, 2009

The Seductive Danger of Neocon Arguments

It was always my basic premise,  when beginning any argument,  to start with the morality questions.  I suppose even in my adolescense,  I was something of a deontological theorist:  rights and duties seemed to me to be the underpinnings of any question.  Now,  it seems,  the NeoCons have come along with their books and their OpEd pieces and muddied the waters for me.  In a Nietzschean sense,  they are sedudctive.  Whether discussing warfare or economic matters,  they are all about strategic moves and pragmatism.  Their coolness,  their impatience with emotions or moral questions, is startling in its power to persuade.  If I am reading one of them on the Gaza crisis,  I begin to see Israel's side.  On the economy,  I begin to understand their lack of interst in the poor.  For this reason alone,  they are dangerous.  They make too much sense,  and threaten to undermine years of caring and sensitivity which I had unquestionably made the foundation of all my discourse.  I consider Gertrude Himmelfarb to be among the NeoCon philosophers.  She goes back,  she retells the story of FDR,  Charles Dickens and the workhouses,  and shines a dispassionate light on all.  Is anyone as affected by them as I am?  Do others find their foundations shaking ?  I think I always had some neocon tendencies in that I was always suspicious of the "'60s movement"  in America.  Even as a child,  I viewed the hippies and the pacifists as decadents.  In any case,  I find some of the neoconservative premises to be very convincing, and continue,  with an almost morbid fascination,  to seek their blogospheric mutterings out as if something true, some kernel of sense and reason,  is there to be found.  But it would be foolish to ingnore the self-serving nature of so much of their ideology,  not to mention the horrible outcomes (just look at the economy and Iraq post-W).  Their bellicosity and hypocrisy are rampant,  and I think it is best ,  for me at least,  to view them as a tool in sharpening more leftist  -  or I should say slightly left of center  -   premises and arguments. For an interesting read,  check out My Big Rant blog;  he frames this dilemma in terms of core values,  and their lack of representation,  and calls for a Neo-neo conservatism:   
and to even things out,  this piece from,  In a Party of Hypocrites ,  NeoCons are King:

*But this is the best analysis, and the most clarifying,  that I have encountered:(In brief,  this piece asserts that Neocons are simply American Tories,  in the sense of that term in the days of the American Revolution.  They believe in monarchy and aristocracy,  unfettered by enlightenment reforms.  I think it may be the aristocratic pride of tone which seduces,  and the admiration naturally evoked at free and independent individuals.  But their ideology  is at odds with principles of morality and knowledge of human psychology and the duties and rights of democracies  in this time. )
 "The NeoCons are neither true republicans nor "true Republicans at heart" since they  don't believe  in our form of government. . . or in an independent judiciary. They should form a new party to be called the American Tory Party." ~from,  "The Key to Understanding NeoCons"  posted by jcflemming at,  feb 2006

And here is an interesting twist on things,  from the Blog,  "Lenin's Tomb":  NEOCONS LOVE OBAMA! 

And Patrick Buchanan's book,  "Where the Right Went Wrong:  How NeoCons Subverted the Reagen Revolution and Hijacked the Bush Presidensy"  ,  Sep. 2004 certainly looks like something I would like to add to my own reading list,  if I could find the time.  

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