Friday, April 28, 2006

# Posted 8:58 AM by Patrick Porter  

SCRATCH A NEOCON, GET A MARXIST?: Marc Mulholland mischievously argues that the Neo-conservative world view is nourished on classic Marxist principles.

It looks back fondly on Reagan's 'Westminster Speech', calling for solidarity with 'revolutionary' forces seeking to subvert communist dictatorships (bourgeois Comintern, but centred in Washington not Moscow);

It sees a revolutionary 'wave', of democratic revolutions, spreading from around 40 democracies on earth in the early 70's, to around 120 at the end of the 20th century;

It looks towards a state or world power (the USA) as the fatherland of the revolution, whose fall like the Soviet Union would gravely hurt the democratic movement;

It envisages a revolutionary 'class' (Mulholland cites Dubya's praise of the middle classes, created by market economies and then demanding political rights);

It sees the process of emancipation as teleological, carved into the logic of history.

I will leave the political philosophers of Oxblog to grapple with this one!
(7) opinions -- Add your opinion

Permalink, Mr. Porter, permalink!

Anyway, didn't Kristol, Horowitz, Kagan, etc., all start out as Marxists back in the day?
Yes, exactly. The history of the neo-conservatives is that most of original ones were Marxists whose "God had failed." They believed in revolution and in perfecting the world, but lost faith in socialism and communism as the way to do it.

They brought to conservatism a lot of intellectual firepower, especially with regards to social science data. Many of them had been of scientific mind and attracted to the scientific claims of Marxism. They were the first to marshall social science in support of claims that came to old conservatives and libertarians as matters of human nature or freedom on subjects domestic.

Their millenialism is suspicious to the other strands of conservatism, as is their tendency to focus on results and efficiency. Other strands of conservatism favor government action or government inaction in various cases because it is moral, whether for reasons of honor, duty, freedom, liberty, or what have you. Neoconservatives are interested in efficiency, and thus other conservatives always suspect that they would abandon the movement if the data looks the wrong way. Similarly, much of the rest of conservatism is skeptical of the ability to change the world politically in ways the neo-conservatives desperately wish to do.
thanks independent george, I have just made it a permalink.
John hits the nail on the head.

But, I have to ask of Patrick, this is news?

(Although one could argue that they're not Marxists anymore: they've become neo-Hegelians!)
why exactly, is being influenced to some degree, by one of the most compelling social thinkers of all times, such a sin?

Marx was largely wrong in his economic analysis. The neocons (or at least the smart ones)dispensed with that, but kept some of the important intellectual tools.
Of course, I'm a Marxist ... of the Groucho type.
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