The Conservatism we see being expressed by the G. O. P. since the end of the Reagan administration is not Conservatism. It is the entrance of
pseudo-conservatives known as Neoconservatives who were at first welcomed into the party but soon seized control over it and all of its policies. In
this thread I will elaborate on the beginnings of the Neocon movement and how we have gotten to the place we are at now.
The eventual Neoconservatives influence came from the 1930’s. They were influenced the Socialists and Liberals who were very supportive of New Deal
policies, Trade unionism, and Trotskyism as well as the Allies in the war effort. Many were strongly influenced by the American Marxist and former
Trotskyite turned Social Democrat and associate of AFL-CIO president George Meany, his name was Max Shachtman.
The followers of Shachtman called themselves Shachtmanites such as future Neoconservative Jeane Kirkpatrick, others however were involved in the
political party Social Democrats USA. By the 1950’s and 60’s however a prominent group known as The New York Intellectuals had a member who stated
this, “In the United States at this time liberalism is not only the dominant but even the sole intellectual tradition.” His name was Lionel
They were prominent Democrats who retained left-of-center views but were angry with the New Left of limited government Liberalism such as George
McGovern and the Hippie movement (I know this is not actually limited government but the liberal politics at the time were heavily statist, more so
than today). In 1968 many later Neocons abandoned the Democrats for the GOP and supported Richard Nixon.
*It is to note that many claimed George Orwell predicted the rise of Neoconservatism, this claim has been disputed.*
They opposed the New Left baby boomers which they saw as espousing Anti-Americanism and Non-Interventionism in the movement against Vietnam War.
Eventually they drifted further to the right and became more aggressive militarily and opposed the Great Society programs of LBJ.
In 1972 and 1976 the Neoconservatives rallied around the presidential aspirations of Henry M. Jackson. Such future Neocons who worked for him included
Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith, and Richard Perle. Late in the ‘70s their support moved to Reagan and the GOP when they spoke of confronting Soviet
Michael Lind a self-described former Neoconservative described Neoconservatism as this:
“Neoconservatism... originated in the 1970s as a movement of anti-Soviet liberals and social democrats in the tradition of Truman, Kennedy,
Johnson, Humphrey and Henry ('Scoop') Jackson, many of whom preferred to call themselves 'paleoliberals.' [After the end of the Cold War]... many
'paleoliberals' drifted back to the Democratic center... Today's neocons are a shrunken remnant of the original broad neocon coalition.
Nevertheless, the origins of their ideology on the left are still apparent. The fact that most of the younger neocons were never on the left is
irrelevant; they are the intellectual (and, in the case of William Kristol and John Podhoretz, the literal) heirs of older ex-leftists.”
Under President Ronald Reagan the Neoconservatives were finally fully accepted into the Republican Party by the Paleoconservatives whom at the time
were the majority in the GOP. The Paleoconservatives were staunchly Non-interventionist, Traditionalist, Socially conservative, and limited
The division was soon apparent with Samuel T. Francis writing during the introduction of Neoconservatism into the GOP:
“Old conservatives who welcomed the neo-cons into their ranks soon found that their new allies often displayed the habit of telling them what
was and what was not "permissible" to say and how to say it. Criticism of the New Left and domestic communism was fine, but what the
neo-conservatives regarded as "McCarthyism"—calling for restoration of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, for example, or the FBI's
domestic security functions—was not respectable. Criticizing affirmative action was also okay, but criticism of unconstitutional civil rights
legislation, the civil rights movement, or Martin Luther King Jr. was not respectable. Old conservative heroes like Joseph McCarthy, Douglas
MacArthur, Charles Lindbergh, Robert Taft, and even Barry Goldwater tended to disappear or earn scorn in neo-conservative journals, while Harry
Truman, George Marshall, Hubert Humphrey, and Henry Jackson developed into idols before which conservatives were supposed to bend the knee. Almost
none of the neo-conservatives showed any interest in American constitutional principles or federalist and states' rights issues and arguments based
on constitutionalism were muted in favor of the "empirical" arguments drawn from disciplines like sociology and political science in which
neo-conservative academics tended to concentrate.”
Paleo historian Thomas Woods wrote about the rise of Neoconservatism and its difference with Paleoconservatism:
“The conservative’s traditional sympathy for the American South and its people and heritage, evident in the works of such great American
conservatives as Richard M. Weaver and Russell Kirk, began to disappear... [T]he neocons are heavily influenced by Woodrow Wilson, with perhaps a hint
of Theodore Roosevelt. ... They believe in an aggressive U.S. presence practically everywhere, and in the spread of democracy around the world, by
force if necessary. ... Neoconservatives tend to want more efficient government agencies; paleoconservatives want fewer government agencies.
[Neoconservatives] generally admire President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his heavily interventionist New Deal policies. Neoconservatives have not
exactly been known for their budget consciousness, and you won't hear them talking about making any serious inroads into the federal
Claes Ryn went as far as to write a book about the abomination of Neoconservatism titled ‘America the Virtuous: The Crisis of Democracy and the
Quest for Empire’. Here is a description of the book:
“Urged on by a powerful ideological and political movement, George W. Bush committed the United States to a quest for empire. American values
and principles were universal, he asserted, and should guide the transformation of the world. Claes Ryn sees this drive for virtuous empire as the
triumph of forces that in the last several decades acquired decisive influence in both the American parties, the foreign policy establishment, and the
media. Public intellectuals like William Bennett, Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol, Michael Novak, Richard Perle, and Norman Podhoret argued that
the United States was an exceptional nation and should bring “democracy,” “freedom,” and “capitalism” to countries not yet enjoying them.
Ryn finds the ideology of American empire strongly reminiscent of the French Jacobinism of the eighteenth century. He describes the drive for armed
world hegemony as part of a larger ideological whole that both expresses and aggravates a crisis of democracy and, more generally, of American and
Western civiliation. America the Virtuous sees the new Jacobinism as symptomatic of America shedding an older sense of the need for restraints on
power. Checks provided by the U.S. Constitution have been greatly weakened with the erosion of traditional moral and other culture.”
The infighting for the soul of the Republican Party was launched during the Reagan administration and it boiled to the surface with the fight over who
the nomination of Mel Bradford as director of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Bradford was viciously attacked by the Neoconservatives for
his works criticizing Abraham Lincoln and thus who he withdrew from the nomination.
In 1986 the Intercollegiate Studies Institute journal Intercollegiate Review ran a ‘State of Conservatism’ symposium which drew heavy criticism
for its Neoconservative dominance which now entered a Paleoconservative journal. Soon after that the Philadelphia Society wrote a symposium on
Neoconservatism. This drew fire from Historian Stephen Tonsor (who refuses to accept the paleo label as he sees paleoconservatism as the only true
conservatism) who wrote this:
“It has always struck me as odd, even perverse, that former Marxists have been permitted, yes invited, to play such a leading role in the
Conservative movement of the twentieth century. It is splendid when the town whore gets religion and joins the church. Now and then she makes a good
choir director, but when she begins to tell the minister what he ought to say in his Sunday sermons, matters have been carried too far.”
In 1987 another conflict arose when Paul Gottfried claims that Neoconservatives lobbied to keep him from a professorship in classical political theory
at The Catholic University of America. These were his claims:
“[In 1987,] neocons denounced me to the authorities at Catholic University of America, on the grounds that I was "not safe on Israel,"
their flagrantly illogical argument: I had denied that Imperial Germany was principally to blame for the outbreak of World War One. Somehow this
proved that I had denied the Holocaust, at least by indirection (never mind that it was the wrong German war!), and therefore I had to be against the
Israelis (many of whose ancestors fought for the Central Powers in World War One—as did my own, Austrian Jewish forbears). Nevertheless, I still
lost a graduate professorship.”
1988 proved another divisive year between Neoconservatives and Paleoconservatives when Russell Kirk, Paleocon, gave a speech at the Heritage
Foundation which was titled ‘The Neoconservatives: An endangered species’. Chronicles editor Scott Richert describes it as this:
“[One line] helped define the emerging struggle between neoconservatives and paleoconservatives. "Not seldom has it seemed," Kirk declared,
"as if some eminent Neoconservatives mistook Tel Aviv for the capital of the United States." A few years later, in another Heritage Foundation
speech, Kirk repeated that line verbatim. In the wake of the Gulf War, which he had opposed, he clearly understood that those words carried even
Midge Decter, a member of the Heritage Foundation’s Board of Trustees and Director for Committee for the Free World, also wife of a prominent
Neocon commentator, said this about Russell Kirk’s speech, “a bloody outrage, a piece of anti-Semitism by Kirk that impugns the loyalty of
neoconservatives." And she claimed that Kirk, “said people like my husband and me put the interest of Israel before the interest of the United
States, that we have a dual loyalty." She went as far as to tell the New Republic this, "It's this notion of a Christian civilization. You have to
be part of it or you’re not really fit to conserve anything. That's an old line and it's very ignorant."
Paleoconservatives were soon being fired in 1989 from the Rockford Institute, 1993 from National Review, 1995 from the Washington Times, and 1997 from
the New York Post. All for their commentary which was never seen as problem until that point in time as many criticized Neoconservatives, Israel,
supported the South and preached tradition.
In 2001 the first Neoconservative assumed office of president of the United States, he was not alone as the GOP had squeezed out the remaining
Paleoconservatives from their ranks leaving just a few in office. In just 20 years they had taken over the Republican Party and launched their own
president into power who would soon take us into two wars, spend us into oblivion, open the borders, destroy civil liberties, ignore the constitution,
expand government, enforce politically correct, and at the same time preach social issues while never fully acting upon his promises.
This is how Paleoconservative, REAL CONSERVATIVE
, Pat Buchanan describes the current Republican Party and Neocons:
“Buchanan vocally opposes those neoconservatives whom he calls "undocumented aliens from the Left, carrying with them the viruses of statism
and globalism". He describes their first generation as people who began as "Trotskyist, socialists or Social Democrat", then became "JFK-LBJ
Democrats", but broke with the Left during the Vietnam War and "came into their own" during Reagan's administration. He said he welcomed
neoconservatives during the early 1970s, but that it has become an inquisition, "hurling anathemas at any who decline to embrace their revised
dogmas." Buchanan compares "Neocons" to squatters who take over a once-beloved home (the Republican Party) and convert it into a crack
How is it even remotely possible that former Trotskyites and Socialists are now the Conservatives in this country? That just blows my mind! These
people are not Conservatives and never intended to be, they were kicked out of the Democratic Party and moved into the Republican Party. For some
reason the real Conservatives opened the door and like stubborn family, have never left. Now they have kicked the Conservatives out of their house and
have taken over. Destroying it, dirtying it up and just as Buchanan said, turning it into a crack house.
Ask yourselves this, are these people really Republicans? Or are they just people who have hijacked the party? The only logical answer is that they
have hijacked it and are now driving it off the cliff. These people are just disgusting.