Saturday, August 16, 2003


Irving Kristol, first Neoconservatism, writes on neo-conservatism, one of the competing schools within the American foreign policy ferment, in the Weekly Standard. Some of the things he says should turn even the Post-Libertarians of Samizdata queasy, even if they will have evolved into those positions in five years time:

Its [Neoconservatism's] 20th-century heroes tend to be TR, FDR, and Ronald Reagan. Such Republican and conservative worthies as Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, and Barry Goldwater are politely overlooked.

FDR over Goldwater and Coolidge! Or this little gem:

But they [Neoconservatives] are impatient with the Hayekian notion that we are on "the road to serfdom." Neocons do not feel that kind of alarm or anxiety about the growth of the state in the past century, seeing it as natural, indeed inevitable.

These aren't conservatives, they're liberals with smarter suits and better haircuts. Big-Government conservatism sounds like no fun, with the state telling us what to do in both the bedroom and the boadroom.

However the foreign policy aspects on this are telling:

And large nations, whose identity is ideological, like the Soviet Union of yesteryear and the United States of today, inevitably have ideological interests in addition to more material concerns.

Why didn't he add other large nations with ideological interests such as Revolutionary France, Nazi Germany and Hapsburg Spain? Ideological powers tend to get people's backs up and tend to fall faster than non-ideological powers (like England if you forget the Palmerstonian and Gladstonian bluster). The Soviet Union managed to range democrats, damn-near-fascists, absolute monarchies, Islamic fundamentalists and even Maoists against them. Why? Well partly because they told everyone that they would have to become Leninist, which in turn brought about The Free World (TM), including such libertarian paradises as Chile, Saudi Arabia and China.

Well let's see, what is American ideological zeal going to do to the rest of the world? And what traditionally happens to powers who go against everyone else? Well a clue would be that traditionally they don't tend to win.

So should Britain keep in with Uncle Sam through thick and thin? Well, we already know the answer to that question.


Post a Comment

Blog Archive