The NeoCon Persuasion

The late Irving Kristol, considered the godfather of neoconservatism, said his project was “to convert the Republican party, and American conservatism in general, against their respective wills, into a new kind of conservative politics suitable to governing a modern democracy.” Kristol further went on to describe his vision as uniquely America, despite the fact it had no roots in American history. The implication was that neoconservatism would be the new Right of the new America ruled by the new ruling class.

It was a rare example of honesty from a collection of intellectuals and advocates seemingly incapable of candor. In recent times, people like Bill Kristol argued in private that the wars in the Middle East were for the benefit of Israel, while in public he claimed it was a vital American Interest. At the same time, neocons pushed for the importation of Muslims, many from lands bombed in neocon wars. The predictable consequences were then offered as an excuse for more wars.

Going abroad to find monsters to slay and then inviting their orphans into America looks like madness, rather than a new ruling ideology. The inability to grasp this obvious problem suggests the neocon persuasion is built on a foundation of self-deception and decorated with a perfidy of convenience. The former is the natural affliction, while the latter is the effort to remedy it. That or what it takes to be a neoconservative is an endless well of shameless disregard for how others judge your integrity.

While it is possible that neoconservatism is a cult that attracted high-functioning sociopaths, the more plausible answer is these people have a long developed lack of self-awareness. The inability to make an honest appraisal of themselves and their coevals creates a massive blind spot in which they are always standing. In righteous indignation they accuse others of crimes the neocons have fully embraced. A good recent example of this is the latest post from Jonah Goldberg.

The tag line of his post, under a picture of President Trump, is “The problem conservatism faces these days is that many of the loudest voices have decided to embrace the meanness while throwing away the facts.” The obvious point he is making is that Trump and his supporters are a bunch of unthinking meanies. This is a popular refrain from the neocons, who fashion themselves as intellectuals, despite working from a small inventory of talents. Their critics are just stupid meanies.

The general thrust of the Goldberg post is strangely similar to what we have always heard from the left side of the Progressive orthodoxy. That is, their side is dealing in facts and reason, doing so in a sober minded fashion. The other side, in contrast, is dumb and enraging in the worst sorts of behavior. Goldberg is doing this while he calls the writer Chris Buskirk stupid and dishonest for the crime of pointing out that neoconservatism is headed to the dustbin of history.

Of course, what vexes Goldberg about the critics of neoconservatism is not their tone or their handling of facts. It is the personal insult. Neoconservatism is more like a tribe at this point, where the lines between individual identity and group identity are blurred. Goldberg is lashing out at Buskirk, because he sees his observations about his tribe as a personal insult. Again, this has been a feature of the left side of the Progressive orthodoxy since before Gettysburg. Politics is always personal.

There’s also the fact that Goldberg has been an egregious smear merchant for a long time. He invested a lot of time talking about Trump and the KKK during the 2016 primaries, hoping the implication would stick. He has worked hard to associate the critics of neoconservatism with neo-Nazis and white supremacists, mostly as a distraction in order to avoid addressing the dreadful consequences of neoconservatism. Goldberg is the neoconservative version of David Brock.

A sleazy dimwit like Goldberg accusing anyone of being mean spirited or stupid reveals a breathtaking lack of self-awareness. That is the very essence of the neoconservative, when you look at the shabby cast of characters flying the flag. Bill Kristol has been wrong about everything for decades, yet he shamelessly waddles around lecturing everyone, as if he is brilliant wise man. A normal man, possessing even a shred of decency, would be in hiding now if he had the record of Bill Kristol.

This strange lack of self-awareness revealed in the words of Irving Kristol when he wrote, “Neoconservatism is the first variant of American conservatism in the past century that is in the “American grain.” It is hopeful, not lugubrious; forward-looking, not nostalgic; and its general tone is cheerful, not grim or dyspeptic.” Nothing about that is true in the least, but even now, in the bitter twilight of their final days, they continue to claim they are the happy warriors in the political fight.

In reality, the neocon persuasion was always a bitter reaction to having lost the struggle with their more radical coevals on the Left. Neoconservatism is a great example of the “elaborate, plausible, and intellectually very challenging systems that do not, in fact, have any truth content.” At its heart was always an irrationality born out of frustration at having been shut out of the Progressive elite. If the paleocons were the beautiful losers, as Sam Francis put it, then the neocons were the ugly losers.

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Bill Johnson
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Bill Johnson

“While it is possible that neoconservatism is a cult that attracted high-functioning sociopaths, the more plausible answer is these people have a long developed lack of self-awareness.” In practice, what is the difference?

Vegetius
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Vegetius

There is also the possibility that they they are completely self-aware and simply do not give a fuck.

Member

This whole blog post is like an expanded version of my new favorite aphorism which I’m 90% certain is from Thomas Huxley

Ugly facts destroy beautiful theories

Member

“Neoconservatism is more like a tribe”…
Hmmm, I wonder what kind of, ..never mind.
World revolutionaries for “democracies”. Just a different shade of a Trotskyite Commie.

Babe Ruthless
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Babe Ruthless

The neo-cons, and the gatekeepercons in general, are not the right, but the right of the left. By this they create a monstrous optical illusion: they try to make people mistake the left for the whole of the political spectrum: that your political choices range from, say, George Soros on the left, to Bill Kristol and National Review on the “right.” Anything to the right of them is in the unknown dark regions–the “here be dragons” part of the map–that good children should never explore. This system is designed to keep people from finding the real right. And I’ve got… Read more »

Member

I still have a visceral distaste for Pat Buchanan because of the childhood brainwashing from my mother. I know she was wrong and I’m wrong to feel this way but it’s still there

Bruno the Arrogant
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Bruno the Arrogant

You’re not the only one. I generally dismissed Buchanan as a crank. Right up until the Iraq war, when the neocons started acknowledging openly exactly what he’d been accusing them of for decades. Turned out the nutcase was the last man standing who had any idea what was going on.

Member

Welcome home.

Random Dude on the Internet
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Random Dude on the Internet

They call it the kosher sandwich: an acceptable, agreed upon range of opinions that are carefully curated by certain, echoey people. The right end of things was recently set by Bari Weiss (a master of myspace angles, btw) who defined the right end of the sandwich to be “intellectual dark web” by guys like Ben Shapiro and Joe Rogan.

Member

One of my biggest regrets is never voting for Pat Buchanan when I had the chance to.

calsdad
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calsdad

You must have been reading the wrong libertarians. It was years of reading Lew Rockwell’s site – which regularly includes people like Pat Buchanan and Gary North, which made it VERY easy for me to understand where guys like Jared Taylor were coming from. It was the writers on Lew Rockwell where I first read about the truth about Neocons. Fred Reed regularly brings up nasty truths about race and IQ. Multiple writers bring up the nastiness of the globohomo overlords – even if they don’t call it that by name. Over the years I’ve run across a number of… Read more »

Dirtnapninja
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Dirtnapninja

The Neocons are the right flank of the Jewish Raj

Hoagie
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Hoagie

I’ve always considered Bill Krystal the conservative version of Paul Krugman. Never right, never moral, never sane and above all never in doubt of his correctness and his own genius.

Member

Always wrong, never in doubt.

A five word summary of the neocon filth.

Din C. Nuffin
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Din C. Nuffin

Kristol was a commentator on TV after the 2000 Presidential debates and said “Al Gore is annoying”. That fit my perception perfectly, and I subscribed to the Weekly Standard the following week. Unfortunately, after enjoying the mag for years, i got tired of every article every week critical of Trump leading up to the 2016 election. I wasn’t a real fan of Trump either, but I let my subscription lapse. I do miss the occasional article by P.J. O’Rourke.

Yves Vannes
Member

Great Column. It could have been written in Assyria, Babylon, Persia,
Arcadia, Egypt, Canaan, Greece, Rome, 100s of European nations, duchies, fiefdoms, Middle Easter Caliphates, and Korean corporate boardrooms.

A weak disjointed strategy doomed to failure…that has managed to keep a group on the pages of history for more than 3000 years. Ever met a Hittite?

Parasites can always find new hosts.

Dutch
Guest
Dutch

Trump has established a whole new angle to the neocon question. “Where do you stand on ending the wars in Syria and Afghanistan?” Anyone who fights back against him needs to be asked why they support the wars. Anyone who claims things will go wrong if the troops come home needs to be called out on that one, because no one knows what is going to happen after the withdrawal, and anyone who does is simply making things up. The likely result is mostly more of the same over there, except that we won’t be in the middle of it.… Read more »

dad29
Guest

That is (reportedly) the question he asked Bolton, and Bolton had no answer. At the time, Trump was on the phone with Erdogan.

Erdogan is detestable, of course, but that seems to be The Qualification for ‘leading’ a Mideastern State.

Anyhow, when Bolton was tongue-tied, Trump made the decision.

This is an opportunity for the War Party/NeoCons, of course. They can all buy a set of fatigues and an M-16, and make sure
of Middle Eastern peace all by themselves.

Member

Heck, I’d pack a lunch for them if they would just go.

calsdad
Guest
calsdad

I still remember WAY back when Ron Paul was running and talking about getting out of the Mideast. When the neocons started screaming ‘we can’t do that!!’ – he responded with ” We just walked in – we can just walk out ” Which I thought was a great way of pointing out that the neocon nutters were just full of Shiite. Sounds like Trump might have a similar attitude….. “Since you have no good answer – we’re leaving!”. Seems like another good way of making his enemies call themselves out – since I’m willing to bet that vast majority… Read more »

PawPaw
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PawPaw

“Where do you stand on ending the wars in Syria and Afghanistan? ”
Let’s see how the media dances around “See what happened when we pulled out of Iraq? ” Oh, that’s right. That was the Chocolate Jesus did that. Forget we mentioned it. Nothing to see here.

Rcocean
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Rcocean

I’ve been very disappointed in Jonah’s behavior since Trump announced for President. Name calling isn’t an argument. I’m beginning to suspect that he isn’t capable of reasoned discussion when it touches his favorite topics. Too bad. Kristol, OTOH, has always been an idiot. His position of power on the Right, says a lot about the lack of intelligent people on our side.

Heresolong
Guest

Me too. I thoroughly enjoy listening to Jonah much of the time as he is intelligent and has interesting perspectives on much but he has a blind spot when it comes to Trump. I start to tune out when he begins his rants as there will never, ever be any credit given. Even when Trump does something that Jonah supports there are reasons why it wasn’t really Trump that did it or reasons why it won’t turn out as well as we might expect.

Member

” I thoroughly enjoy listening to Jonah much of the time as he is intelligent and has interesting perspectives on much”
I do like well done satire.
Please play again soon.

james wilson
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james wilson

You were disappointed only because you never actually understood who he was. But he always knew who you were. That’s the neocon gig, conning. This is a familiar experience, btw, but the medicine is the same so you may as well take the whole cure.

calsdad
Guest
calsdad

If somebody is stupid – who do you blame…….. the victim or the con man?

You see you’re pointing out a problem with a lot of “conservatives” – they really don’t have any fundamental basis for their beliefs – so they get “conned” by neocon turds simply because those turds happen to be floating in a Republican pool.

Some of the shit these guys were saying were red flags to me twenty stinking years ago.

How come it took so goddam long for the rest of you to figure it out?

THAT is the real question you should be asking yourselves.

Sleepy
Member
Sleepy

Once you are over your disappointment, please consider the upside. His mask has slipped, and now we see what really matters to him. In fact, there are masks slipping all over, as Z Man would call them, the “rear guard of the progressive movement.” The “invade the world, invite the world” (and open our markets to the world) folks have been forced to reveal themselves, and this is a good thing that Trump has accomplished.

LineInTheSand
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LineInTheSand

I agree with your general sentiment but want to add that the neocons are not “progressive” in some universal sense, like the American progressives from a century ago. Rather, they are a specific ethnocentric group advancing the interests of a specific people, which use universal appeals to a proposition nation as a camouflage for their attempt to overthrow the traditional Americans.

Rcocean
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Rcocean

Yes, its amazing how many of them have turned out to be total Frauds. I loved when Erick Erickson and George Will declared that a Kagan run SCOTUS for the next 12 years was unimportant, all that mattered was defeating Trump!.

calsdad
Guest
calsdad

What is “amazing” – is that the right wing in this country didn’t pick up on the neocon bullshit at least twenty years ago and throw their asses to the curb.

There’s far – FAR too many people who call themselves conservative or right wing….. who, if a circumcised penis is waved in front of their face – will come up with all manner of justifications to shove it down their throat.

That goes right up to and includes selling out their own country in order to do it.

Random Dude on the Internet
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Random Dude on the Internet

The death of neoconservatism has been very interesting to watch. If Trump wins a second term, expect most of them to defect to the Democrats. They will do it in the most maudlin and unintentionally funny way but they will defect.

If Trump loses, expect most of them to rally in strength as they try to get another wind out of neoconservatism. They might even bring back the weekly standard!

james wilson
Guest
james wilson

Neocons are Republican defects but you really can;t call the act of neocons going over to the Democrats defecting. The Republican Party has two useful options–shrinking the tent, and extinction.

Member

Hereditary monarchs tend toward genetic idiocy at times. I used to read Kristol’s dad. He would be ashamed.

Dr. Mabuse
Guest
Dr. Mabuse

I have most of his mother’s books. She must also be ashamed.

calsdad
Guest
calsdad

Why are you disappointed that a turd smells?

That seems like more of a reality acceptance problem on your end than it does a problem with the turd.

LineInTheSand
Guest
LineInTheSand

Z writes, “… people like Bill Kristol argued in private that the wars in the Middle East were for the benefit of Israel, while in public he claimed it was a vital American Interest.”

Do you have any sources to support your assertion about what was “argued in private?” Such sources would be very helpful in persuading doubters.

For example, my normie conservative brother says we’re in the ME to prevent Iran from building ICBMs aimed at us, which he hears from Mark Levin (oh gawd!). Any sources you have that support your assertion would be useful in persuading him.

Member

Agree. a cite on the shite would be good.

Nathan
Guest
Nathan

I have read that Tuckuh has the goods on Kristol in his book, Ship of Jews—er—Fools. He was tight with that bunch back in the days of their plotting “The Clean Break”—another good source. I don’t think Kristol was directly involved in that paper, but one can’t argue that he isn’t part of that Cabal.

Rod1963
Guest
Rod1963

Use Pakistan as a counter example, they have something like 60 nuclear tipped missiles that can reach all over the ME and Asia. They support the Taliban, protected OBL and AQ.

But we considered them our ally throughout the GWOT and funded them to the tune of billions a year.

Just say to him: “if it is dangerous for radical Muslim states to have nukes then why does the U.S. and Israel have no problem with Pakistan having enough nukes to make the ME glow in the dark?

Toddy Cat
Guest
Toddy Cat

The current generation of Neocons are one of the best examples of regression to the mean I’ve ever seen. Say what you will about the first generation of Neocons, they were often men of genuine ability, no matter how one might disagree with them. Comparing Norman to John Podhoretz, or Irving to William Kristol, is quite astonishing.

Lance_E
Member

The self-awareness of neocons can be summed up in just two words: “please clap”.

Member

Meanwhile, from the other bunch of cultists,
brought to you by the “You couldn’t make this shit up department”
Now available on Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/Hope-Never-Dies-Mystery-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B075HY5NPF/ref=pd_typ_k_rtpb_1_154606011_1/143-3739375-7683909?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=08DMPB1K1XT7JYJYZQ7T

Merry Christmas.

BestGuest
Guest
BestGuest

To be honest that looks like a hoot. And it would be funny to pull faces while reading it on a plane or train in the northeast corridor. I wonder if it’s available at Dollar Books or Goodwill yet?

A.B. Prosper
Guest
A.B. Prosper

This was heavily promoted at my local Barnes and Noble along with countless bios of Ruth Bader Ginsberg that no one will ever read given I live in Red State California

As always with these people , ideology before everything .

Member

And it’s getting worse for them. Unsurprisingly, The Weekly Standard is no more. The wildly unpopular “war in Syria” to depose Assad for which Obama flatly rejected Congressional approval knowing he would lose and lose big, is over. They have tried ridiculously hard to keep the war going, even trumpeting questionable chemical attacks. Notice no chemical attacks this week. Trump seems to be onto the scam.

Libya was their Waterloo.

Dutch
Guest
Dutch

I figured some big chemical attack in Syria would be forthcoming. Maybe The Donald caught them all flat footed and out of bleach.

Andy Texan
Guest

Libya was the second most disgusting use of American power with Serbia bombing being the first.

Member

“The inability to make an honest appraisal of themselves and their coevals creates a massive blind spot in which they are always standing.”

I think this may be a tribal, genetic trait. It would be like calling foxes “evil”, when, in fact, they are just doing what foxes do. Foxes are not evil. They are what they are. And I note with pleasure that Trump recently called Michael Cohen a rat. Freudian slip?

Dutch
Guest
Dutch

Funny how “sh*thole countries” goes around the world and Dick Durbin probably invented the whole thing, while “Cohen the rat”, which DJT actually stated, went nowhere.

BestGuest
Guest
BestGuest

OT: I finally got around to listening to the latest “Happy Homelands” last night. It really cheered me up. We have Z, Derb, RamzPaul, and a host of other lovely people on our side. I’ll take that lineup over the neocon fraudsters any day. I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and Santa is good to you. (Z-man, it cracked me up when you talked about the pleasure of throwing stuff out as my family has definite hoarding tendencies.)

Vegetius
Guest
Vegetius

This movement cannot afford to have any of these people as members, advisors, or contributors.

Reparations for the sand wars, opioid epidemic, bank bailouts, fake news and media portrayals – in the form of a 90% exit tax on all wealth plus extensive genetic samples – will be accepted.

The sooner this is understood, the better it is going to be.

Rod1963
Guest
Rod1963

Indeed. The tribe poisons everything it touches. They are best to be viewed as plague bearers and treated as such.

Abelard Lindsey
Guest
Abelard Lindsey

The Buskirk article in the American Greatness is really good and a nice summation of why people like myself stand by Trump. even if he does not always do what we want (no president is ever going to do 100% what I or the rest of you want). Of course Trump is imperfect. So was Reagan. The point is if Trump gets it right 50% of the time, he is still 100% better than his last four predecessors. I hated the neocons during the Bush II period. I especially hated Max Boot around 2004 when he wrote his article advocating… Read more »

Member

I think it was Fred Barnes, but they could have been writing essentially the same stuff in different organs.

Nathan
Guest
Nathan

I remember Fred Barnes advocating the “National Greatness” conservatism after 9/11. He had that show with Mort Kondracke on Faux News, in which they basically agreed on everything. It was NeoCon foreign policy, open borders, big government spending, and an occasional bone for the Christian conservative yahoos in flyover country, all wrapped in the flag. It was like that awful segment on PBS with David Brooks and Mark Shields–the “conservative” and the “liberal” whose greatest disagreement is how we implement GloboGayplex.

Member

Funny we never get blowback from intervention in Europe, Asia, or Africa. For that matter neither do many other countries who intervened in the Middle East.

Member

“In righteous indignation they accuse others of crimes the neocons have fully embraced.”

The neocon cries out in pain as he strikes you?

Member

My come to Jesus moment with regard to “conservatives” playing for the progressive side came in the 2005-2006 era with the Mohammed cartoons. Neither the George Bush Jr. state department nor National Review wanted any part of defending the freedom of speech of the cartoonists. Goldberg is a particular joke, because I reached out to him in particular, thinking he was one of us and would rally to the obvious cause of American liberty. But he’s a typical neocon Jew – He plays the “I’m white and cool card” (G-files) until it comes time to actually take a stand, at… Read more »

MichiganWave
Guest
MichiganWave

Merry Christmas Z,
Thanks for many great reads, & sharp insights in 2018.
Much gratitude for the Big Brain Nibba analysis.

Member

My position is that we stay the hell out of other nations’ business. We don’t try to change their form of government. We deal with them at arm’s length and if they mess with us they are met with an overwhelming overreaction. And bring the troops home.

Member

The key for neocon success lay in having a neocon president whenever the Republican Party was in office. But notice the difficulty in being able to keep on doing this. Whenever a Democrat is in office, he can basically do 90% of their bidding without anyone taking notice, and without opposition. When it is a Republican doing even more of their bidding, the Democrats make use of their vast antiwar contingent and press to make a big deal out of everything the Republican President does, making it difficult for him to accomplish much of anything else. All his political capital… Read more »

TomA
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TomA

Progressives and neocons both function as social pathologies because they are divorced from reality. In a natural competitive fitness environment, neither would survive more than a few generations and consequently would self-terminate eventually. Our modern society has been perverted so as to sustain these diseases well beyond their normal life cycle and they have now become chronic maladies and a bane to normal society. Once upon a time, diseases like this were viewed as undesirable.

Frederick V
Member

I guess my days of civility are behind me. And man, I tried really, really hard for all of my 54 years. Now just too damn tired after a lifetime of being bludgeoned in the culture wars, losing every time, watching my country slide into the abyss. Correction – PUSHED into the abyss by a small, yet well esconced little tribe of douchebags. “Debate” is way over-overrated, especially when the game is rigged. Being factually correct gets you NOWHERE, while appealing to the deadly sin of envy and identity politics wins the prize. Guys like Tucker Carlson like to say… Read more »

Mike_C
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Mike_C

>”high-functioning sociopaths” vs. “long developed lack of self-awareness” Why can’t it be both? Okay, that was a joke. But there is a deep psychological aspect to it that explains (but does not justify) much of Neocon behavior and policy. It has to do with victimhood mentality, eternal victimhood mentality at that. Once you cast yourself and your people as victims, then you can justify any action to yourself as not only valid, but righteous. This underlies a good part of the antisocial (if not frankly sociopathic) behavior of both the least and most successful ethnic groups in these United States.… Read more »

Johann Amadeus Metesky
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Johann Amadeus Metesky

” In recent times, people like Bill Kristol argued in private that the wars in the Middle East were for the benefit of Israel, while in public he claimed it was a vital American Interest. At the same time, neocons pushed for the importation of Muslims, many from lands bombed in neocon wars.” Care to provide something like evidence for those assertions? If the U.S. was going to wage a war on behalf of Israel, it would have been against Iran, not Iraq. Iran poses a strategic and existential threat to Israel. As for neocons pushing for more Muslim immigration,… Read more »

UpYours
Guest
UpYours

“neocons are the ugly losers”. Good riddance. Too bad 4,000 fine young men had to be sacrificed for that to happen.