Friday, August 30, 2002

Yes, and Paleo-con is for Archeology Buffs-I was interested in this Bobby Allison-Gallimore piece on neoconservatives.
Although the definition of a neo-con as opposed to a conservative are no doubt blurry, especially with the swelling of the neo-con ranks, I wonder if the answer lies somewhere in the vicinity of this hypothesis: could the distinction involve a belief by neo-cons (perhaps carried over from their former days as liberals) that successful implementation of their policies would result in a net gain for society, whereas conservatives feel that successful policy implementation can only result in slowing down the rate of society's inevitable loss, rather than resulting in any gain.
I think he's on to something. You can make a good living as a conservative pundit being a sourpuss, helplessly pontificating on the culture's increasing slouch towards Gomorrah. However, such commentary doesn't change things. The classic conservative is fighting against a liberal onslaught and has been largely fighting a rear-guard action for the better part of a century. Neocons would like to think of themselves as being progressives in the true sense of the word, looking to tweak the political economy in ways that would aid the country. I think a lot of the American Greatness motif of the Weekly Standard circle stems from the thought that America is great and can be even greater. Their more secular nature may free them from both a tendency to retreat from the political sphere into the spiritual sphere and from the premillenialist trait of seeing each liberal advance as the inevitable next step towards the Antichrist. To the unprefixed-con, these guys look like they majored in Pollyanna rather than PoliSci, but they lack the built-in pessimism about things of the unprefixed-con. While the Reagan years were design to stop the liberal advance, a new breed of conservatives, emboldened by Reagan's successful rear-guard action, have started a counter-attack. A coalition of young conservatives, who could envision a conservative victory, has joined with neoconservatives to change the political dynamic. Conservatives are no longer content to block liberal projects, they can now hope to role back existing ones. The older unprefixed-conservatives will support such efforts, but may question their achievability. I think this is why conservatives rule talk radio. Offence is sexier than defense, Liberalism is largely on the defensive with few exceptions. This new breed of can-do conservatives put on a good show. It's now the liberals that are starting to order strategic retreats on many issues.

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