Saturday, September 17, 2011

Neoconservatism Taken Down

To most of us, neoconservatism is inevitably associated with the Iraq War. A group of neoconservatives, including Robert Kagan and David Frum, played with consummate folly a major role in urging the Bush administration toward initiating that conflict. The movement, on that ground alone, has little to recommend it; but can one nevertheless make a case on its behalf?

After all, neoconservatism was not always associated with reckless foreign-policy initiatives. To the contrary, in its early days in the 1960s, Irving Kristol, Nathan Glazer, and Daniel Moynihan offered in the neoconservative journal The Public Interest cogent criticisms of many aspects of the welfare state. If Kristol could only muster Two Cheers for Capitalism, is this not better than most fashionable intellectuals can do? Perhaps the good elements in neoconservatism can be detached from the recent foreign-policy madness. C. Bradley Thompson emphatically disagrees. He argues that neoconservatism stands in fundamental opposition to individual rights and a free economy.

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