The Cult of Neoconservatism

The word “cult” is a term often abused by Progressives, because it carries with it negative connotations. They like to us it to slander their enemies. Frankfurt School types convinced the world that Nazism, for example, was a cult, in order to make their case that anyone finding fascism appealing is not just mistaken, but crazy. Progressives picked up on this to brand their enemies as well. Still, it is a useful concept as the cult seems to be a feature of human behavior. We have records of cults going back to the Bronze Age.

In the modern sense, we think of a cult as having certain features, like a charismatic leader and a sense of isolation. A cult always has a set of beliefs that are so convincing to the adherents, in terms of defining their existence and their relationship to the world, that they almost seem brainwashed. It’s as if they are controlled by them. The identity of the cult and its purpose becomes the identity and purpose of the adherent. As a result they operate like an ant farm or a beehive. The suicide cult is the extreme example of this.

Neoconservatism has many of the features one would associate with a cult. The members are increasingly isolated from the rest of the world, both physically and emotionally. There is the sense of the embattled minority, ready to martyr themselves for the cause. The members seem to operate in an ideological fog, unable to recognize the massive disconnect between their beliefs and observable reality. Then you have the fact that to the neocons, their ideology is perfectly rational, but to outsiders it seems dangerously nutty.

The late great Eric Hoffer pointed out that all mass movements can get along without a god, but they always need a devil. You see that with the neocons. They don’t have the charismatic leader, like we normally associate with cults, but perhaps to the adherents, Bill Kristol is charming. Despite his unpleasant demeanor and long list of failures, they do seem to venerate him. Still, what holds the cult of neoconservatism together is their list of devils, that are all cast as a manifestation of the great authoritarian villain.

That comes through in this piece by Anne Applebaum in the Spectator. The piece is a good example of the paranoid fantasy. Mx. Applebaum is a neocon rage head, who specializes in scanning the eastern horizon for signs of Alexander III of Russia. The neocons all have an obsession with Russia that borders on the pathological, which leads many to assume it is biological. As a result, resistance to cosmopolitan globalism in the east is cast by the neocons as the return of authoritarianism and you know who.

A feature of neoconservatism that is shared by Progressive Jews is they are haunted by the thought of exclusion. Being left out is their greatest fear. This manifests as an abhorrence to limits, borders and clear definitions. This mania for formlessness has been picked up by other tribes of the Left. Feminists, for example, rage against biology, because definitions of sex are by nature exclusionary. The BLM activists toppling over statues do so because they hate whitey, but also because it is not their history.

This is why neocons favor open borders and recoil in horror at efforts to restore some sense of national unity. When the neocon thinks of borders, he thinks of fences and then starts to think about you know who. You’ll note that the the bad guys of the Visegrad are talked about by neocons as an implementation of the all-purpose bogeyman, the authoritarian Übermensch. The neocons, like liberal Jews, have this imaginary, all-purpose bogeyman, that manifests in the real world, but exists in the world for forms.

Another cult-like aspect of the neocons is their internalization of fundamentally irrational and contradictory ideas. For example, after 9/11, the neocons advocated importing millions of Muslims into the US, while at the same time advocating the bombing of Muslim homes and villages.  People can be forgiven for thinking the creation of the “home grown” terrorist, the pissed off Muslim living in the West, radicalized by US foreign policy, is intentional. To people inside the neocon cult, however, this all makes perfect sense.

What argues against calling neoconservativism a cult is how well it fits in with the other two pillars of the ruling orthodoxy. The heirs of William Bradford, with their neo-covenant theology and sense of communal salvation, fit in neatly with Progressive Jews and their paranoid fear of exclusion and anti-majoritarian animosities. Together, they domestically form the Progressive orthodoxy we see today. In a way, the neocons are a complimentary piece, that extends this mode of thought into the areas of foreign policy.

On the other hand, American Progressives are showing all the signs of devolving into a cult, with their strange siege mentality and bizarre internal logic. The fact that their pantheon of heroes are referred to by three initials may not a pointless affectation. It could be part of the ritual of sacralizing their former leaders. Perhaps the inevitable move by the neocons back to the Left, is the completion of some cosmic puzzle. Or perhaps like a UFO cult, they see it as the final piece of the cosmic puzzle, signifying the end times.

In a seriousness, there is a strong case that neoconservativism is now a cult, one based on an obsession with public policy and haunted by nightmares of the authoritarian bogeyman. Their inability to adapt to present reality, in fact they are becoming more extreme in the face of disconfirmation, is the sort of thing you expect from a cult. Perhaps it runs its course peacefully disappearing into the dustbin of history. Still, prudence suggests caution as end times cults tend to end with a bang, rather than a whimper.

48 thoughts on “The Cult of Neoconservatism

  1. Balance? Full Spectrum Dominance? A psychotic NeoCon murder cult on one side and the Progressive CULT of Projection Displacement Disorder on the other? The carrion eater needs two wings.

  2. Part of the Russia obsession is definitely former Trotskyites nursing a grudge. It’s not a mere accusation; the links are provable, the only debate is over whether or not they truly abandoned Trotskyism (answer: no – in the same sense that Richard Spencer followers never truly abandoned globalism and Rational Skeptics™ or “liberalists” never truly abandoned progressivism).

    But not everything they say is 100% wrong, either. America has a global empire, whether we like it or not, and abandoning that empire carelessly won’t usher in a golden age of Westphalian sovereignty, it’ll simply create a power vacuum where one of the other aspiring empires (Russia and China) can step in, putting the USA at a strategic disadvantage. Neoconservative fixation over Russia is one extreme of a continuum with libertarian isolationism forming the other pole. Neither are realistic options for the 21st century.

    Attention to foreign policy isn’t intrinsically a bad thing. The problem is, neocons are of the left, and the normally right-wing MIC let them in. The result is what we see: militarism infected with incurable leftism. The prototypical chickenhawk: people who don’t understand anything about war, don’t know what it costs, don’t care about rules of engagement, etc… they just know they want more of it. Instead of Sparta, we get the Praetorian Guard.

  3. Z: “…perhaps to the adherents, Bill Kristol is charming. Despite his unpleasant demeanor.”

    Funny you mentioned this. I used to catch glimpses of him on the morning talk shows while channel surfing about 15 years ago. He’d be smiling that sweet smile, and giggle-talking. I thought, I can’t truly hate this guy. He must hate having to bomb people. A decade later I started listening to the Weekly Standard podcasts where his underlings would interview him, and I got a totally different impression. He’s dry, mumbles, and is actually taciturn. Kind of a dick really. I could easily see him loving to bomb people.

  4. “The Jewish part, when they think about it at all, is an accident of birth for them. ”
    Exactly, Brooklyn.

    And, another angle (also for Gentile Progs) is that Putin is obviously *proud* to be Russian, and pays no/ minimal lip service to “we are the world” cosmo-ism.
    And, moreover, c. 5 years ago, the Duma passed an anti-gay-propaganda law.

    • I regarded the Neocons as allies back during the old Cold War days, and they were, sort of. But I hated the USSR because it was Communist, while, as it turns out, the Neocons hated it because it was Russian, and because it had betrayed “True Communism” ie, Trotsky. Never mind the fact that Trotsky was a bloodthirsty madman who actually made Stalin look like a moderate.

      And of course, in 1991 came the ultimate betrayal…

      • I agree re: Neocons hating the USSR b/c it was Russian. These same folks never hissed out the words “Soviet Union” with even a fraction of the disparaging tone they use in saying the word “Ruuu-sha”. That’s why they love the Fuhrer Mueller and his “Ruuuu-shan” Collusion investigation, b/c you get to say the word over and over! Remember a month or two ago when the Special Counsel came up with indictments against 15 or so Russians, how it was laughable to imagine that these folks would ever show up in a US court, but how each name on the list included the person’s patronymic (Ivan Ivanovich) middle name? Like that would REALLY identify them. Also, there are certain non-Jewish anti-Russian elements in the FBI/CIA. The nasty Pole Peter Strzok is one who immediately comes to mind. A fine mess we have here!

  5. “That comes through in this piece by Anne Applebaum in the Spectator. The piece is a good example of the paranoid fantasy. Mx. Applebaum is a neocon rage head, who specializes in scanning the eastern horizon for signs of Alexander III of Russia.”

    Applebaum has been howling about Russia for a while but I don’t think she fits as a good example of the standard neoconservative position; her focus on Russia can be summed up in two words: Radosław Sikorski.

    “A feature of neoconservatism that is shared by Progressive Jews is they are haunted by the thought of exclusion. Being left out is their greatest fear.”

    The popularity of the Left in the 19th and early 20th century for Jews was the potential to be included and in fact to assimilate out of existence. No borders and no distinctions in the glorious workers paradise was the end game. Of course it didn’t work out that way in practice; the problem for Progressives and especially Progressive Jews is that they are too invested in an idea (maybe its better to call it a religion) that utterly failed. You could say we are living in a prolonged secular version of the Great Disappointment.

    “For example, after 9/11, the neocons advocated importing millions of Muslims into the US, while at the same time advocating the bombing of Muslim homes and villages.”

    This knocked me over more than anything else after 9/11. I wasn’t surprised there would be wars but I was sure there would be some sort of Muslim immigration halt or at least a massive slowdown. And not only didn’t it happen, but we went into overdrive the other way. (I’d call it insanity especially for Progressive Jews; who do they think will be the first target anyway? But the position actually makes sense. Everything about them is Progressive or Liberal; that is the position, almost the religion they live their lives by. The Jewish part, when they think about it at all, is an accident of birth for them. Not something to be ashamed of but it’s low on the totem pole unless someone points it out to them. Its started to come out more these days because of the attempt to leverage space in the increasingly fractured by color Progressive sphere. It won’t work by the way; one or two may make it in – like the scene in Forrest Gump when he gets thrown out of the Black Panther meeting and its a dozen black militants and one fat lesbian Jewish chick – but all those Progressive Jews are in for a very rude awakening sooner or later.)

    “Perhaps it runs its course peacefully disappearing into the dustbin of history. Still, prudence suggests caution as end times cults tend to end with a bang, rather than a whimper.”

    You need youth to go out with bang; where exactly is the new blood in the neoconservative movement? Its mostly Bill Kristol and the same old crowd for the last 30 years. Everyone else is grifters like Ben Shapiro. I can’t picture midget Ben leading the faithful to a neocon Jonestown. He’ll just drift into the next con instead.

    • The continued importation of Muslims has a lot more to do with foreign policy that you might think. The military-intelligence complex has the belief that without an “integrated Muslim minority” in the US, we will have no pull with the “Muslim street”. These people are also valued as a source of intelligence agents and assets. The DoD also has a loophole in the immigration law that allows them to bypass normal restrictions for anyone they say is an “interpreter” in Iraq/Afghanistan. One would call this appeasement, except neocons normally claim to be against that sort of thing.

      • Baloney. It’s always some brilliant argument about why we need to bring in more third worlders. It always goes one direction is how you can tell.

        • I’ve always argued with conservatards – who over the last twenty years have supported war, and not having immigration from the Mideast – that you can have one but you can’t have the other.

          Without getting too much into the details – it’s pretty easy to notice that in the history of the US over that last 100 years or so – every time we get militarily involved with some part of the world – that part of the world starts immigrating here. The only exception I can think of to that is with the Japanese.

          You can trace it all the way back to the Phillipines and our wars there, we went to war in Korea – they came here. We went to war in Vietnam – they came here. Then we went to war in the Mideast – and they’ve been flooding in here. Now we’re militarily involved in Africa – and they’re coming in.

          • We should consider ways of getting people to leave this country. Not just illegals. The concept of a “refugee” is meant to be temporary in nature. In reality the word is used as a euphemism in place of the less positive “immigrant” or “settler”. Anyone admitted as a refugee should be expected to return at the end of the conflict. This should include the several million admitted to the US since 1980. Financial inducements would be a start, on the condition that citizenship is renounced.

      • The idea that we’re in such *desperate* need for pull with the “Muslim street”, that we need to bring that street here, is laughable.
        We’re better off ditching our “need” for such pull.

        Likewise with the idea that we’re in such dire need for translators etc., as if we can’t buy the few we need, as we’ve done for generations, via CIA $$.

    • Sikorski. Yet another Bullingdon Club member. I wonder if he saw Cameron do the thing with the pig’s head…..

  6. From NYT, with quotes from George Soros’ son:

    “[George Soros] had not been eager to advertise his Judaism because ‘this was something he was almost killed for.’ But he had always ‘identified firstly as a Jew,’ and his philanthropy was ultimately an expression of his Jewish identity, in that he felt a solidarity with other minority groups and also because he recognized that a Jew could only truly be safe in a world in which all minorities were protected. Explaining his father’s motives, he said, ‘The reason you fight for an open society is because that’s the only society that you can live in, as a Jew — unless you become a nationalist and only fight for your own rights in your own state.’

    Actually, they’re doing both of those last two things.

  7. For the Tribe, enemies are ranked on a scale of how useful they are as examples of real or supposed anti-semitism, today or generations ago. Nazis are by far the winners and still champions. Doubtless they always will be.

    But Russia also offers loads of opportunities to push emotional buttons. Pogroms! Cossacks! The St. Petersburg massacre!

    (((Neocons))) have learned the fine art of bending ordinary people’s goodwill and distaste for presumed oppression into support for spending money and blood to enable Israel.

    • It’s important to note that neoconservatism was wildly popular with non-Jews. The old WASP elite in the GOP embraced it wholeheartedly. It was the rather cynical ploy of using the Evangelical Bush the Minor as the figurehead of the cause that eventually blew up the whole thing.

      • A simpler read is that WASP dominion ended before the era of neocon prominence. Christian Zionism is far older than neoconservatives, they simply plug and play with those ideas when it suits.

        Per GreyEnlightenment, I think you might examine the notion that neoconservatives represent the most durable political constituency (the elite zionist donor class) and as such will probably never be truly expelled from US politics. Whether they are a delusional cult or simply giving and following orders germane to the Project for a New American Century, is more or less irrelevant. If they continue to propagate themselves through donor money and appointments the voting public has no recourse. If Trump is any indicator, nationalist candidates will not be able to operate without heavily compromising their interests to neocon movers.

  8. Interesting, but to me cult connotes marginalization. Can a group that dominated the foreign policy of at least two major administrations and launched wars to topple countries be considered a cult? How have they been disconfirmed? They have geopolitical objectives, however loopy these may be, the crusades were loopy too though, and they have achieved the objectives at least partially.

    Could the alt right (or wn or whatever label) be considered a cult? To me one could make a stronger argument for that being a cult. Charismatic leader are your Richard spencers, etc. Satan are your sjws, international Jews, neocons, whomever. Certainly this group meets the condition of marginalization! Devils advocate.

    An excellent recent article at counter currents on the Netflix series Angel, led me to this insight of which I am proud. The neocons migrated to the Republican Party during the 70s and played a major role in the Reagan administration which saw an escalation of the Cold War, ultimately leading to the collapse of the Soviet Union. The neocons’ objectives briefly overlapped those of the old anti communist right, finally something we could agree on! But how sudden and effective their power was when turned against a world empire! Also the oligarchs were termite guy from within. What brought this about? The Warsaw Pact supplied weapons to the Arabs during the 1973 war, which proved more effective than western weapons! That was the reason the Soviet empire had to be dissolved, they fought against “you know who.”

    • ” The Warsaw Pact supplied weapons to the Arabs during the 1973 war, which proved more effective than western weapons!”

      Huh? Cite some evidence for that.

  9. The use of the neocons was in winning over a subset of Reagan Democrats, who in any case should properly be described as “Eisenhower Democrats”. Their avatar was Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York. Thus they were described as “liberals mugged by reality”. Since our big cities have gentrified, not much remains of neoconservatism except Zionist imperialism.

    These days they only seem to be on the payroll out of the co-ethnic sentiment of the billionaires that fund them. Only liberals seem to interact with them, but they will never serve as the brain trust of a party swerving towards the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez types.

    The type of people needed to replace the niche of neocons would be secular-leaning Hispanic(?), Asian(Roaming Millenial, Andy Ngo), mixed-others. But how many Trotskyites willing to flip can be found among them? And how are white conservatives supposed to be lulled into rejecting self-determination by these people? Plenty of billionaire cash awaits the people that figure out this problem.

  10. Well, I think the Zman has successfully defined The Whole Game:

    The exclusionists/borderists vs. the inclusionists/no-borderists.

    Establishing border integrity is just the first step. Expulsion is the second, and harder, step. It may sound impossible, but recently there have been some hopeful real-world actions from both Israel and Italy that point the way.

    Although Trump’s walk-to-talk ratio is approaching zero, and I despair that he’ll ever build the damn thing, this article illuminates why The Wall was such an electrifying political symbol (for both sides).

  11. Clarity in language has great value to society, and also aids in promoting rationality among individuals. A more accurate term for neoconservative is warmonger. If people used that term more commonly, then those nuts would be exposed for what they are and their flock would disperse rather quickly.

  12. Back in the 30s, some historian remarked that the greatest threat to world peace was “huge, organized forms of self-righteousness.” He’s right, and the only difference between the lunatic beliefs of a cult and the Very Serious Stuff of an official ideology is the number of believers. Marxism, for instance, is as oogily-boogily a creed as you’ll ever want to see, but they won the war against the other oogily-boogily lunatics, so they must be right. That suggests a faint ray of hope, though — cause-heads switch seamlessly between different forms of lunacy. (cf. here in America, where all the abolitionists got hot and bothered about Women’s Suffrage before the ink at Appomattox was dry). If I were a deep-cover shitlord with a long-range plan, I’d try to infiltrate academia, steering the “ideology” of the terminally self-righteous in a more docile direction. Who knows? Maybe we can get them to go full Jonestown without taking the rest of us with them.

    • Ther are quite a few cults going around these days. Very similar to the time of the fall of the Roman republic. But this time around, mass communication allows them to form up into major religious and political movements, led around by the nose by the millions.

      BTW, when I hear the “Russia, Russia, Russia” argument, all I can think of is Jan Brady saying “It’s always ‘Marcia, Marcia, Marcia’”. Showing my age and demographic, I suppose.

  13. I freely admit that I haven’t wrapped my brain around the neocon and progressive hatred for Russia. I’m I wrong in the assumption that the US gave assurances that NATO wouldn’t encroach into the Ukraine and other border areas such as Georgia? We did, and Putin reacted. Given Russia’s history, their reaction seems understandable if not defensible. Yes, I am well aware of Putin’s manipulations and corruptions, but the response from the neocons seems, I don’t know, overly excited. If it was me, I’d rather deal with Russia than China.

    I have read, but really don’t understand, that the members of the tribe have a visceral grudge/hatred for Russia and Russians, but this seems to be too simplistic of an answer.

    • The American Jewish obsession with Russia goes back a long way. I think it was Paul Gottfried who described it as an extension of the rivalry between Eastern European Jews and German Jews. German Jews in America tend to be more conservative, interested in German history and not haunted by old Adolph. Eastern European Jews in America tend to be communists, obsessed with Russia and haunted by the authoritarian ogre.

      It’s a not a perfect model, as the Frankfurt School Jews were obviously German and Marxists. Like most generalizations, it’s a good starting point, but not a great end point.

      You also have to keep in mind that Jews in America have evolved into something very different from their European ancestors. This is true of Italians, Irish and even blacks. The world does not stop spinning just because you changed addresses.

      • They have “evolved” into Americans. At least the Italians and Irish did. BTW, what have you against the Irish or Italians?

        • ” At least the Italians and Irish did. BTW, what have you against the Irish or Italians?”

          Many of them still vote Democrat… archaic grudge against white Protestants.

      • The secularised Jews have evolved into Post-Jews. These post Jews worship themselves. Their religion revolves around the holocaust.

        In all other ways they are essentially indistinguishable from the WASPs they hate but strive oh so hard to emulate. Their Jewishness has been boiled down to nothing more than a hard core of tribal connections, power and privileges into which they dip at need.

      • “German Jews in America tend to be more conservative, interested in German history and not haunted by old Adolph.”

        The German/Russian Jewish divide was very much a feature of the 19th and pre-WW2 20th century. By the time you get to the post-WW2 era, there isn’t really a divide on those lines like that anymore.

        ” Eastern European Jews in America tend to be communists, obsessed with Russia and haunted by the authoritarian ogre.”

        I still think that most of the focus on Russia is less about history and more about going with what you know. Neocons came together as a movement by shifting against the Soviets. They then spent the later half of the Cold War focused on Russia and preparing to be the anti-Soviet face of the intellectuals in what they thought would be an endless condominium that suddenly collapsed on them. After that, they failed at absolutely everything else they tried their hand at so in their old age they’ve gone back to the same target they had at the height of their powers. If they had cut their teeth fighting China, they’d be howling about the Yellow Peril right about now.

        (Except Max Boot; he’s lost his marbles. Apparently Trump has managed to drive him completely bonkers; he really seems to see Trump on a white horse, with a band of Cossacks behind him about to run wild in Moldavia. Meanwhile every single actual Moldavian Jew I know has no clue who Max Boot is and are all on the Trump Train.)

    • Think Jews, Bolshevism, collapse of Communism, expulsions and removing certain oligarchs after collapse. That will lead you to reason for hatred.

      • Read my post below—I think I’ve cracked another chapter of it. I wonder if the Cossack/Jew war may be something spiritual and instinctive in Russian culture, not unlike our own cold civil war, which has been characterized as the old Puritan/cavalier dichotomy of the Anglo American cultural sphere?

    • Russia gave up the one true religion. That’s where the progressive hate comes from.

      There’s been accusations in the past that Neoconservatism has roots in Trotskyism – so that may be where some of the Neocon hate comes from. In either case – since Neocons are not really conservative in the American sense and have more in common with progressives – they can feed off of both for their Russia hate.

      Neocons are responsible for much of the shit this country has turned into IMHO. Their war mongering is what laid the foundation for BHO to get into office – and is therefore responsible for the shit show that American politics have devolved into. Since progressives have had control of the political machine for a long time – we were probably always going to get where we are eventually – but Neocon warmaking sped us down that road quite significantly.

  14. “The fact that their pantheon of heroes are referred to by three initials…”

    MLK: Marx, Lincoln, King


      • I always think of the “progressives” and other assorted and sundry leftists as a cult. To me a neocon is just a conservative who’s been left behind most likely because he’s hung up on racial equality.

        • I’ve never thought of neocons as conservatives in the traditional sense. Once I recognized their political strain of thought I just started referring to them as liberals who like to blow shit up.

          The fact that neocons infested the Republican party – and the party LET them continue their infestation, is I think a large part of the cause of the demise of the party. I also think their influence goes a long way towards justifying the description of the Republicans as the stupid party. I’ve been arguing for the better part of two decades now with people who call themselves conservatives and Republicans that the leaders they have followed and the path they chose to walk is anything but traditionalist conservative in the American sense.

          But good luck convincing most of them of that fact.

          One of the best examples I can think of in regards to the influence of Neocons and dumb Republicans – was the retard like panic about ISIS and Syria. I liked to taunt these people with descriptions of the ISIS blue water navy which has been spotted off the coast of Virginia – ready for the invasion. I don’t think most of them got the joke.

      • FDR, LBJ

        We also have GWB, but only to distinguish him from his father. Use of DJT is not common, WJC even less so.

        • It has certainly been interesting to see the left embrace her as a partisan justice. Usually they prefer to have Earl Warren/David Souter/John Stevens types render liberal decisions while maintaining the lie that judges aren’t partisan.

          • That ship sailed when Newsweek decided “We are all socialists now”. Cat’s out of the bag. The dems and “liberals” are commies in drag.

      • Snark or not, it’s the most provocative observation in this post. Highly original, with the ring of some mysterious truth. What seemed a mere affectation to me now seems sinister.

  15. Jeez Zman, do you have a background in psychology or are you just really good at noticing?

    Once I started figuring out the immediate visceral reaction by the left to anything that could be construed to be exclusionary, its impossible now to not hear Monty Python coconuts shells clopping in the background.

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