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The godfather of modern-day neo-conservatism is considered to be Irving Kristol, father of Bill Kristol, who set the stage in 1983 with his publication Reflections of a Neoconservative. In this book, Kristol also defends the traditional liberal position on welfare.
More important than the names of people affiliated with neo-conservatism are the views they adhere to. Here is a brief summary of the general understanding of what neocons believe:
- They agree with Trotsky on permanent revolution, violent as well as intellectual.
- They are for redrawing the map of the Middle East and are willing to use force to do so.
- They believe in preemptive war to achieve desired ends.
- They accept the notion that the ends justify the means – that hard-ball politics is a moral necessity.
- They express no opposition to the welfare state.
- They are not bashful about an American empire; instead they strongly endorse it.
- They believe lying is necessary for the state to survive.
- They believe a powerful federal government is a benefit.
- They believe pertinent facts about how a society should be run should be held by the elite and withheld from those who do not have the courage to deal with it.
- They believe neutrality in foreign affairs is ill-advised.
- They hold Leo Strauss in high esteem.
- They believe imperialism, if progressive in nature, is appropriate.
- Using American might to force American ideals on others is acceptable. Force should not be limited to the defense of our country.
- 9-11 resulted from the lack of foreign entanglements, not from too many.
- They dislike and despise libertarians (therefore, the same applies to all strict constitutionalists).
- They endorse attacks on civil liberties, such as those found in the Patriot Act, as being necessary.
- They unconditionally support Israel and have a close alliance with the Likud Party.
Various organizations and publications over the last 30 years have played a significant role in the rise to power of the neoconservatives. It took plenty of money and commitment to produce the intellectual arguments needed to convince the many participants in the movement of its respectability.It is no secret – especially after the rash of research and articles written about the neocons since our invasion of Iraq – how they gained influence and what organizations were used to promote their cause. Although for decades, they agitated for their beliefs through publications like The National Review, The Weekly Standard, The Public Interest, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, and the New York Post, their views only gained momentum in the 1990s following the first Persian Gulf War – which still has not ended even with removal of Saddam Hussein. They became convinced that a much more militant approach to resolving all the conflicts in the Middle East was an absolute necessity, and they were determined to implement that policy. Read more...