The Neocon Mind

One of the things that struck me when I read Whittaker Chamber’s book Witness, was the point he made about his thinking, before and after his conversion from communism. He said he still thought like a Marxist. That is, the mental processes were still the same, despite his efforts being aim at combating Marxism. David Horowitz made a similar point about his own conversion. The way in which he thought, his rhetorical inclinations, they remained radical, but in service to the goal of stopping radicalism.

The man of the Left is one who puts everything into service of the cause. The morality of the Left is that the ends justify the means. The mere existence of the Clinton Crime Family is a testament to the utility of this ethos. There was no rule Progressives could champion that the Clintons would not violate. In fact, it has often seemed like the Clintons exist merely to make hypocrites of everyone who supported them. Yet, through it all, after every indignity, the Left finds some way to twist the truth to support them.

That is the Progressive mind. The cause comes ahead of everything. When Barak Obama won in 2008, he could have demanded a human sacrifice at his inauguration, and the Left not only would have supported it, they would have claimed only racists opposed human sacrifice. We are seeing the same thing play out with the neocons, who have made their loony “NeverTrump” cause into something close to a cult. Every event is spun into some weird conspiracy or bizarre outrage. Hating Trump is their reason to exist.

Jonah Goldberg has been a particularly oleaginous Trump hater. Back in the primary, his game was to play the guilt by association gag on the NRO blog. For instance, when NeverTrump loons claimed David Duke was a Trumper, Goldberg made the claim that Trump’s dismissal of it was proof he was in the KKK. It is the oldest ploy. One lies and the other swears to it. That is because the Progressive mind sees no clear line between the truth and a lie. One is as good as the other, as long as it furthers the cause.

You see that with this post from Jonah Goldberg at National Review. Ostensibly it is a post about sexual misconduct. In reality, it is a game of moral equivalence so he can denounce Roy Moore, a proxy for Trump.

Whenever popular passion swamps politics, true-believing zealots and opportunistic demagogues will exploit that passion. The zealots will overreach. The demagogues will demagogue — using a good cause to destroy political enemies and defend unworthy allies. Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore is credibly accused by nine women of preying on teenagers, one as young as 14. Harvey Weinstein is credibly accused by at least 50 women of a long list of offenses, including rape. Democratic senator Al Franken has been accused by two women of inappropriate advances or groping.

Notice the slight of hand. Calling the Moore accusers credible is what people in the business call a lie. The best you can say about some of them is they are not obviously insane. The worst you can say about Moore, is he wanted a young wife forty years ago when he was still a relatively young man. Franken and Weinstein, in contrast, are admitted degenerates. There is a mountain of corroborating evidence to support the claims against them. Goldberg knows this, but he lies anyway, because that serves the cause.

That is the thing to keep in mind with the neocons. Neoconservatism was never a right-wing phenomenon. It was a Progressive heresy, and only a very narrow one. Their dispute with the Progressives was never over ideology. It was over tactics. The neocons wanted to aggressively wage jihad against the Soviets. After the Cold War, they wanted to use the American Empire to make the world safe for global Jewry. Otherwise, they were perfectly fine with the Progressive social project, as long is it did not harm the war effort.

This circles back to the way Chambers and Horowitz described their thinking after they came out of the darkness. The neocons may have, out of necessity, aligned with conservatives to achieve certain goals, but they were always men of the Left. As such, they think like men of the Left. That old habit of the ends justifying the means is still central to who they are. It’s why a Bill Kristol can manipulate his son-in-law into conspiring with foreign agents in the Never Trump conspiracy. Anything for the cause.

The funny thing about this is many neocons over the years have made this argument about Progressives. Jonah Goldberg was fond of pointing out that the Left was an ends justifies the means ideology, while the Right was a means justifies the end ideology. That was just another lie to further the cause. When the game is to trade away the culture for a free hand in foreign affairs, they needed a way to explain away their failure to conserve anything on the domestic front. Principled failure was the answer.

The truth is, conservatism is the rejection of ideology, and therefore a rejection of both sides of the neocon coin. Roy Moore, like Donald Trump, is no one on the Right’s idea of the perfect candidate. There is no such thing. Moore serves a purpose, faults and all, that no other candidate serves. He will vote the right way on the important issues. The same is true of Trump. He can be vexing, but he has a knack for finding the best answer when it matters the most. That is conservatism. Muddling through from one thing to the next.

Jonah Goldberg can never understand that.

57 thoughts on “The Neocon Mind

  1. “That’s the thing to keep in mind with the neocons. Neoconservatism was never a right-wing phenomenon. It was a Progressive heresy, and only a very narrow one. Their dispute with the Progressives was never over ideology. It was over tactics. The neocons wanted to aggressively wage jihad against the Soviets. After the Cold War, they wanted to use the American Empire to make the world safe for global Jewry”

    This is an exaggeration. I wouldn’t recommend reading too much of Norman Podhoretz or Irving Kristol, (because, after all, you only have one life to live), but if you did you would see that their conservatism, so to speak, extended to a lot more areas. Essentially, what they wanted to do was preserve 1950s era Leftism minus the racism. One of their main pet peeves was affirmative action, another was ‘the fatherless household’. Basically, they were just one of the thousands of groups of people who were shed from the Left a the Left got ever more radicalized since 1800.

    What is going on with the Never Trump crows is actually more banal. They are all writers who inherited a role in family business and illustrate dramatically the principle of regression to the mean. They are basically Leftist because they went to the same universities as everyone else and lack the intellect to come up with their own opinions, but their career interests were best served by mustering up enough phoney conservatism to take over at their Daddy’s magazine. Then Trump came along and they started freaking out and assumed everyone else would freak out with them, and when they didn’t they threw a tantrum.

    As far as I know, all the original generation of Neocons who are still alive voted or Trump.

  2. Goldberg: “Whenever popular passion swamps politics, true-believing zealots and opportunistic demagogues will exploit that passion.”

    Wow. Thanks for that deep red pill, guy. This is why normie conservatives have become unreadable. Boilerplate.

    “The demagogues will demagogue — using a good cause to destroy political enemies and defend unworthy allies.”

    This isn’t even proper English. For a Professional Writer, must you really use a noun like a verb? Demagogue is not a verb, and merely because all da kidz do it doesn’t excuse you.

    Goldberg should write a sequel to Liberal Fascism: CR²P – Conservatives Are The Real Progressives

  3. Why stop at one?
    The Tribe conquered two continental States- one noisily, one quietly. The Cold War was a family tiff.

    Actually, why stop at two?
    Churchill owed Baruch a lot of money- and not one member of the Long March was on Mao’s inner circle of advisors. Those advisors were a different ethnicity- the same one that controlled Delano Roosevelt’s opium operation, the one his great-nephew went to war with Japan over.

    • Just thought of something-
      Virtually every European royal ruling family are descendents of William the Conqueror- wasn’t William an orphan? Should I say (((orphan)))?

      • Further, Middle Ages Europe never had enough money to build big grain storage temples (seven years of fat cattle followed by seven years of lean) –

        but they had plenty of war loans.
        Enough for continuous warfare, yet with no consolidated Empire to feed.

        Almost as if such a thing were to be prevented- with certain ‘tax farmers’ creating what would become Semitic Islam to make sure it would be prevented.

    • LOL! That’s Code Pink’s truck, which takes residence in my Berserkeley ‘hood for weeks at a time a few times a year. Atlanta? I guess that’s why I haven’t seen it for awhile. They repaint it periodically with whatever Leftist bilge is current; I have pics of that very truck dating back to 2004 with anti-Bush slogans, etc.

  4. What this blog post actually illustrates is that these people are playing for keeps and they understand that, at it’s root, this is an existential battle. To view this as merely a deceitful communication is to blind yourself to the potential threat that waits in the wings. A true-believer uses words as camouflage to mask the lethality of the actual intent.

  5. NeoCons are (mostly) Jewish Trotskyists who have managed to fool a significant part of the American public by adding the word “conservative” to their name. There is nothing conservative about them.

  6. Jonah is selling copy and advertising … not ideology, Z. He won’t make any money off the dissident right, most of us are smarter than he is, and write better commentary than he does – for free. He has to take his market where he finds it, and he is a product of that market the same way proggie media slobs are with theirs. And like them, he is slowly being forced to troll his own readership to keep them interested. I would love to see their numbers. I suspect Jonah and his crew are expecting pink slips any day now. The NRO no longer is the voice of conservatism.

    • I think you are spot on about NR now having to troll their readers to get clicks. I’ve been having the exact same suspicions myself. All of their writers – even the snot nosed interns generating half their content – will write a column one day to the effect “Trump voters are a bunch of half-witted cousin-humping Nazi morons who can’t even wipe their asses.”. When that gets a rise out of someone, the column to follow says “Trump voters are just unreasonable and emotional and can’t discuss things rationally.”. I can’t imagine a more obvious and irritating way to troll than that. I assume they think that anything that draws a click is a positive. I do hope you’re right that their all waiting around for their pink slips. I’ve grown to despise them so that I’ll be popping champagne corks in celebration if that day arrives.

    • NRO is not all that market savvy. They don’t have to be. The neocon “market,” is not in their readership, it is in the deep pockets of donors like Singer and Adelson. They are not, in fact, trolling their audience. They are spreading the gospel of the donor class neocons.

    • Clickbait is how every advertising dependent web publication works now. You cannot find any that won’t write WHATEVER IT TAKES to get clicks and drive advertising revenue.

      NR is not alone. CNN does it. The NY Times does it. WaPo does it. Drudge Does it. Your local dead fish wrapper does it.

      It’s the #1 reason why all news is considered FAKE until proven otherwise.

    • If I’m not wrong, I remember that Jonah G. takes 250k out of that place. What I’d like to see is espn type layoffs there.

  7. Conservatism is a temperamental disposition. Rightism is a metaphyisical position that affirms reality.

  8. It’s a fitting thing that Jonah is married to an old ugly hag. Would not want to be a potted plant in the Goldberg household. The hebes will be surprised — again — when they are purged (from America) and no other group speaks up for them. Best thing for them and the world is if all the hebes are rounded up and put back into Israel, like a jin back into its bottle.

  9. Moore serves a purpose, faults and all, that no other candidate serves. He’ll vote the right way on the important issues.”

    That completely nails it as far as I’m concerned. Who cares about the 80% I agree with Mitt Romney on if he screws me with that 20% on things I really care about?

    • It doesn’t matter how many scoops of the best ice cream in the world you have in your sundae if there is a scoop of human feces mixed in.

    • Franklin Roosevelt purportedly said about a South American dictator “He may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch”.

      I think that is an appropriate attitude in re Moore and perhaps Trump.

  10. It was never in dispute by the founder of neoconservatism, Irving Kristol, that neoconservatism was a movement by men of the left who used leftist tactics. Jacob Heilbrunn’s “They knew they were right: The Rise of the Neocons” makes this very clear. The goal of the Comintern was to spread communism across the globe. The goal of the neocons is to spread democracy as they define it (mainly deregulated markets, remove threats to Israel, and a weird laundry list of left-wing social issues related to sex and race and the dismantling of existing morality). We know their program of violence didn’t work out for the Middle East, but their economic meddling in Russia (i.e. shock therapy capitalism as worked out by Jeff Sachs and others at Columbia) killed a lot of people and concentrated power in the hands of five or six ultra-corrupt Jewish billionaires. I’m a moderate on the Jewish question, but these guys should be tried for war crimes, not on the basis of their religion, but on the basis of their crimes.

  11. I read Witness in the 80s. His remark that he knew, or felt, that by leaving the left he was joining the losing side still sticks with me. So far I can’t argue with that.

    Your statement that conservatism is a rejection of ideology might be Kirk’s assessment but if not, it goes way back and it still the way I look at it.

    I see many on the Right wanting to forego the rules and play by the Left’s tactics. Since we lose most of the time, why not. Talk me out of it. And don’t consider electing Trump and others like him winning if in the end the Left’s agenda moves forward.

    • I recall being jarred by the line about joining the losing side too. I still recall my grandfather telling me s a boy that communism was probably going to win. He was an anti-communist, but men of his age were convinced they were on the wrong side of history, so to speak. I re-read Haldane a couple of years ago and was brought up short by similar statements.

      I’ve always associated the “rejection of ideology” line with Burke, but I could be wrong.

      As far as winning, I’m in the camp of doing what works. Principles are the stories you tell after you win.

        • Why, they have made great inroads into the West. Just imagine what our ancestors would call our present governments, even in the US.
          Of course after they got over their vomiting attacks when they see our culture.

      • Kirk used a quote from H. Stuart Hughes: conservatism is the negation of ideology, in The Conservative Mind. The rejection of ideology doesn’t begin until after Napoleon, who coined the term, then the first person in Kirk’s conservative canon who writes about it as such is John Adams. Kirk rejected Hamilton as a conservative.

        I hadn’t thought about the Hughes quote in a long time, the only thing I knew was that he was an historian of sorts. When the subject came up yesterday I suddenly realized that the use of the word “negation” was sort of Fuerbachian/Marxist, so I looked him up. Indeed he was a leftist, and a buddy of Dr. Spock in the anti-nuclear movement, and in favor of unilateral disarmament.

        I think Kirk used the quote–and I haven’t yet looked up what writing or speech it came from–because it confirmed his own impression of what conservatism is, and coming from a leftist professor may have given him a sort of dispassionate observer’s endorsement.

        • I should say, though, that it is obvious that ideological abstraction was at work in the French Revolution, and that Burke was against it, but his use of the word “abstraction” could everywhere be replaced with “ideology” today without loss of meaning, only the word was not in use prior to his death.

          Kirk attributes the origin to Napoleon. I recall looking it up, and he did not actually use the word for the first time, but I can’t recall right now who did.

        • The way in which i have always thought of it as a scale with extreme belief at one end and extreme skepticism at the other. The conservative is down at the skepticism end. Not cynicism, just not inclined to accept anything on faith, with regards to human relations and society. The other end of the scale is where you find Utopian dreamers, including the hyper-religious.

          Conservatism rejects the dialectic.

          • There are worse mottoes for Our Thing (I think we can use that, now that the Mafia is no more) than “Alt-Right: We Reject the Dialectic.” Marx to Engels, on his prognostications re: the 1857 Indian Mutiny (paraphrase): “It’s possible I will look like an ass. But I have worded my propositions such that, with a little dialectic, I can look right either way.” Tells you all you need to know about Uncle Karl’s intellectual integrity. (And if you disagree with me, well, that’s false consciousness, comrade).

  12. Where in Witness does Chambers say that? I read the book last year …

    I did notice that while a Commie he saw actual Commie-networks as driving History and that as an anti-Commie he still sees things this way.

    Horowitz thinks the same way.

    A friend of mine who grew up in Romania under Ceausescu thinks that actual Commie spy-networks are behind American Progressivism.

    Reading Witness, I thought it was weird that Chambers said that the Problem of War was one of his reasons for becoming a Commie. Can that really have been the case? (The other reason was the Problem of Economic Crises, I believe — an almost equally weird reason.)

    Also weird that he became a Quaker.

    He makes a big deal about his virtuous farming after quitting the Commie business, but doesn’t seem to have done much work on this farm.

    Nixon’s a hero in his book, which is kind of cool.

    In general I didn’t find Chambers to be very likable but thought that the book was interesting and valuable. Kind of a document of a lost time, like Thucydides.

    • I could be confusing Witness with his other writing. It’s been a long time. Chambers wrote a lot, beyond his magnum opus.

  13. Back to Russell Kirk’s critique of neoconservatism in The Politics of Prudence.

    Any “conservative” who is a man of system is not a conservative.

  14. Maybe I disremember — my political awakening, to use a pretentious phrase, came late — but I wonder WHY the neocons were so anti-Soviet. As fairly obvious Proggies, what, exactly, was their beef with the USSR? Was it only defense contract featherbedding? Soviet antisemitism? You’ve read these goons in the original Hebrew; can you clue me in?

      • The Soviet Union was certainly evil, but that doesn’t seem to be reason enough for Neocons to hate it – after all, progressivism is evil too. My guess would be that, after the Six Day War, they saw the USSR as a threat to Israel. But I may be being uncharitable.

        • “The Soviet Union was certainly evil, but that doesn’t seem to be reason enough for [Winston Churchill, William F Buckley, Ronald Reagan] to hate it — after all progressivism is evil too.”

          History’s more interesting if you believe what people say when they tell you why they’re for or against what they’re for or against. For example, Bush’s “We can liberalize the Muslim World!” would be an interesting error. “No, they just went to war because [oil, Israel, whatever]” is just boring TV-thriller stuff.

          It seems likely that people recognized that the USSR was evil — after all, it looked a lot like the invading Saracen ant-army of the Song of Roland, which pretty much established the Style of Evil for the West — but didn’t recognize that Progressivism was evil.

          Anyway, Progressives don’t seem to be sending us to slave-labor camps by the hundreds of thousands. You can say “not yet”, but if they aren’t doing it yet that would support my suggestion that Progressivism isn’t as obviously evil as Soviet communism was.

        • After World War II, Jews complained about “persecution” in the Soviet Union and many “refugees” left for the West in the 1970s.

          The Jews did very well in pre-World War II Soviet Union, especially under Lenin.

        • Their hatred of the old ramshackle Soyuz is due to the fact that a Georgian gangster figured out their scam of strip-mining, looting and murder and was better and more ruthless at it than the mostest intelligent super geniuses on earth and double-crossed them, killing their messiah Lev Bornstein by 1940 plus not a few other tribe members.

          Koba the dread basically booted the (((fake Russians))) out of complete control – which is why he’s widely admired there to this day – mountains of corpses and all. Lenin and Trotsky left moutains of them as well, though we never read about all that from our own (((Ministry of Truth))).

    • “But I wonder WHY the neocons were so anti-Soviet”

      This is where Occamstein’s Razor comes in so handy.

      When you see a group of Jews doing something, just assume that they must believe that doing that is good for the Jews. Then just ask yourself how it is good for the Jews & those are probably the reasons.

    • Stain, fearing reprisal from trots and dual-loalty in general from zionists, purged Jews from many positions in the ruling class. This ended the love affair with the Soviet for many, but not all, American Jews.

      • As a bank robber for the Party, he was supposed to only rob “rich people’s” banks. He happened to rob some “poor people’s” banks, and was kicked out to Azerbaijan.

        So he gathered up old Azeri Muslim gangster friends, went back to Moscow to kick ass, and then took over the Central Committee.

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