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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

# Posted 10:34 AM by Patrick Porter  

ABUSE OF A WORD: So now one is a neocon if one believes Stalinism was brutal.

Similarly, the recent film 300, based on a comic book about a battle between Sparta and Persia, in a war between a coalition of small city-states against a very large invading empire, has a 'neocon message.'

Is this becoming like the phrase 'politically correct', a lazy, all-purpose swearword for anything we aren't supposed to like?
(20) opinions -- Add your opinion

Comments:
Becoming? Did "neocon" ever have an actual definition?

Remember the old joke that a fascist is anybody who tells a hippy to do something he doesn't want to do? A neocon is someone who holds an opinion liberals don't like.

So far as I lknow, that has always been the defintion.
 
"Neocon" is now about as useful as "fascist" or "militarist" - in other words, not useful at all. The original meaning has been completely lost. In this case I rather think the primary blame lies with its sloppy use by the press.
 
Regarding the Left's love affair with the Soviets, there's always the story of how after the fall of the USSR and the opening of the Soviet archives took place, Robert Conquest's work was to be republished in new editions with some revisions based on the newly available archival material (which had largely vindicated Conquest and had in some cases shown that he had UNDERestimated the scale of carnage) and his publisher is meant to have asked whether he would like to revise the book's title, to which Conquest is meant to have replied "How about: 'I Told You So, You F***ing Fools'"
 
You mean you just now noticed? It's been a content free epithet for at least a decade now, so far as I can tell.

Timothy, yes, "neocon" did at one time have an actual definition. It refered to formal liberals who converted to conservatism over foreign policy issues, (Mainly, yes, the left's love affair with communism.) during the cold war. Neo-con = "new conservative".

It fell into disuse when the cold war ended, for obvious reasons: We weren't getting any new neocons, and the old ones were disappearing with the passage of time. Then, near as I can tell, some liberals looking for a new pejorative term to use against conservatives seized it, with complete indifference to it's established meaning.

For some reason, you can't seem to convince them they're misusing the term.
 
What's wrong with lazy, all-purpose swearwords? I need something to use when I stub my toe. Frikkin' neocon furniture!
 
Though, if opposing the brutality of Stalinism makes one a neo-con it is a 'pejorative' I would proudly bear...
 
Its tough life when your governing philosophy has been directly discredited isn't it?
 
Patrick, if neocon is being misused, what does neoconservatism mean to you? Does the PNAC Statement of Principles suffice?

Are you a neocon?
 
'Its tough life when your governing philosophy has been directly discredited isn't it?'

Compared to what?

Multilateralism, legalism, realism and isolationism worked so much better in Rwanda, Darfur, Bosnia, Afghanistan, North Korea...

Now what's your governing philosophy?
 
"Its tough life when your governing philosophy has been directly discredited isn't it?"

hehehe. I thought the only thing that seperated neo-cons from liberals was their objection to communism and that later morphed into opposing dictators whenever possible. You could argue that they are actually "liberal" about governing.

From what I can tell "neo-cons" would probably vote for JFK if he was brought back to run for either party. A cabal of theiving jews plays better on the internet and in Europe so that's what it became.
 
Is this becoming like the phrase 'politically correct', a lazy, all-purpose swearword for anything we aren't supposed to like?
Yes
 
Would that happen to be the same cabal of thieving, conniving Jews that persuaded its puppet in the US government to restore Kuwaiti sovereignty in 1991?
 
This is a bit silly isn't it...aren't all political labels vilified by all of the others. 'liberals' have certainly had their share if lumps, as have 'realists' etc. Its just a bit heightened on neocons of late because they had influence in getting into an unpopular war. The price of being in charge.
 
Taylor, the problem isn't that neocons are being vilified by liberals; As apostates from liberalism, that would only be expected. The problem is that "neocon" has a meaning, broadly, "Conservatives who were formerly liberals", and it's being used by liberals with sublime indifference to that meaning.

It's as though conservatives inexplicably began refering to any liberal they didn't like as a "Comunitarian".
 
Actually, I believe that "neocon" has come to have another, rather specific meaning, at least as that word us commonly used by the left: "dirty Jew." I think you will find that this is how the word is most often used these days.
 
"Dirty Jew"

Considering that in my experience people like Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney are frequently (and erroneously) categorised as neo-conservatives, I'm not sure quite how much credence I give this. That said, there's no doubt that forcible support of Israel generally results in the term being hurled about.


It seems to me that one problem is that there are actually very few examples of what we'd think of as a "pure" neo-con left.
 
Conservatives who were formerly liberals

Brett does have a point. From the Oxford American,

neoconservative |ˌnēōkənˈsərvətiv| adjective of or relating to an approach to politics, literary criticism, theology, history, or any other branch of thought, that represents a return to a modified form of a traditional viewpoint, in contrast to more radical or liberal schools of thought.

Still, original intent aside, words do change with time.

Perhaps neoconservative represents a political category. This much Patrick and I might agree on. We'd probably even put the same people into the same category. But after that, we should let the actions and the opinions of that category speak.

I wouldn't want to be in that category right now. And there seems to be a few people around here scrubbing themselves furiously.
 
"Still, original intent aside, words do change with time.

Perhaps neoconservative represents a political category. "


I think that's why liberal mis-use of the term is so annoying to conservatives: "Neocon", in a political context, refers to a (Now largely defunct) faction within conservatism. And liberals are exterting themselves to change it's meaning. To which conservatives would reply, "Change the meaning of your own damn words, this one is OUR'S."

Really, is it too much to ask of liberals that they invent a neologism, instead of taking a perfectly good word with an established meaning, and doing their best to strip it of that meaning?
 
Actually, I believe that "neocon" has come to have another, rather specific meaning, at least as that word us commonly used by the left: "dirty Jew." I think you will find that this is how the word is most often used these days.

And you know who invented that definition? Neo-cons! With the intention to discredit the left.

Hell, David Brooks once devoted an entire column to that baseless claim.

It's true that words change meaning over time. One more post like the one above, and "anonymous" will come to mean "idiot" or "lying sack."
 
SJ, I think the Brooks column you mention is The Era of Distortion. The quote might be In truth, the people labeled neocons (con is short for "conservative" and neo is short for "Jewish") ....

I don't think the Left has changed the meaning of neocon. Arguably, the Left invented the term. Instead, I really think that history has. The Iraq War has just been much louder than a mere academic revolt.

Unless someone is going to argue that the Iraq War *wasn't* a neoconservative project. That would be interesting.
 
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