NeoConservatism in a Nutshell
February 12, 2003 11:48 PM   Subscribe

NeoConservatism in a Nutshell! Lately I've been researching the NeoConservative movement and stumbled upon this European website which is by far the best overview I have encountered. Be sure to read the end called The Dangers for Europe. Here is a little tidbit - "What ought to be of concern to Europeans is the fact that Americans are being indoctinated into beliefs which many Europeans (particularly those who are old enough to remember the 1920's and 1930's) would characterise as extremely dangerous.... A country considers itself at war against an ill-defined foreign enemy who threaten its way of life. To protect itself against this enemy, civil liberties are abrogated, arrest and detention without trial are introduced and the state creates a secret police which can spy on citizens and foreigners alike. The state allies itself with big business to protect its way of life and promote national security. Public opinion is manipulated so that dissent from the "national purpose" becomes socially unacceptable. Those are the conditions which Europeans will recognise as the precursors of fascism. "
posted by thedailygrowl (22 comments total)
NeoCons, bah! Libertarians have more fun--and make more sense.
posted by homunculus at 12:15 AM on February 13, 2003

Why are all idealogical troll sites always so badly formatted?

Why can't they do a simple spell check?
posted by phatboy at 12:30 AM on February 13, 2003

This post was Godwined at birth.
posted by fuzz at 1:54 AM on February 13, 2003

ideology has not been a major driving force in the politics of the majority of people and there has not been the fractioning into myriads of political parties one sees in some European countries. Perhaps this results from the fact that philosopy is no longer taught as part of secondary education in the English-speaking world.

I must admit to finding this phrase odious yet curious. If ideology has not been a "major driving force" then how can the author's thesis that Americans are fascist be intelligible?

Overall, the author seems to write for an audience who will automatically take the term "right-wing" as an insult, treats the entire right-wing as a monolithic fascist conspiracy, and then puts up their own version of the "traitor list" of yesterday. Quoting Dr. Edward Said uncritically doesn't reassure one of their balanced view either.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 2:35 AM on February 13, 2003

Cor! Fascinating link, homunculus.
posted by hama7 at 3:54 AM on February 13, 2003

Newconservatism summed up in 3 words:

Me! Me! ME!
posted by Space Coyote at 4:48 AM on February 13, 2003

This is Neoconservatism in a nutshell.

"Help, I'm neoconservatism and I'm in a nutshell! it's all because of those leftist pinkos! Get me out of this nutshell!"
posted by RobbieFal at 5:12 AM on February 13, 2003

You guys are nuts. Nice link, dailygrowl.

The whole funding issue may be a bit of a red herring - let's see the list of think-tanks on the left providing money for similar purposes. But can we not see that "what ought to be of concern to Europeans" is indeed becoming a little too close for comfort?
posted by kgasmart at 7:21 AM on February 13, 2003

"...many americans may not be aware of this wide spread recruitment of ss and gestapo alumni into our intelligence agencies but it has had a profound effect on the shaping of our domestic and foreign policy, often with ruinous consequences. The legacy of this incorporation of Nazis into the CIA and U.S. military has been a half a century of support for fascist regimes, juntas, death squads, torture and the overthrow of democratically elected governments around the world.

This policy of adopting Nazis into our intelligence agencies did not consciously begin as some conspiracy to protect fascists. It was pragmatic...."

"Nazis in the Attic" is another nice piece on this subject. For more, see here

"But Then It Was Too Late.........

"What no one seemed to notice," said a colleague of mine, a philologist, "was the ever widening gap, after 1933, between the government and the people.........What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if he people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security..."

posted by troutfishing at 7:51 AM on February 13, 2003

Meanwhile, "Texas Homeland Security chief David Dewhurst claims it was an error when an ad he commissioned in support of the Office of Homeland Security featured a Luftwaffe officer."

Here's some nice material, too: "  According to Lee, public relations man Harold Keith Thompson was principal U.S. point man for the postwar Nazi support network known as die Spinne, or the Spider. In the late 40s and early 50s, Thompson worked as the chief North American representative for the remaining National Socialist German Worker's Party and the SS. Lee writes that the wealthy Thompson gave generously to Republican candidates Senator Jesse Helms and would-be senator Oliver North. Thompson's money gained him membership in the GOP's Presidential Legion of Merit. Lee says Thompson also "received numerous thank-you letters from the Republican National Committee." Those letters are now in the Hoover Institute Special Collections Library....Are Republicans like George H. W. Bush, Oliver North, and Jesse Helms, aware they have been assisted by Nazi collaborators? "

Going even further, we find Nazi collaborators and sympathizers working for George Bush Sr.'s 1988 Presidential Campaign: "Two months before the November 1988 presidential election, a small newspaper, Washington Jewish Week, disclosed that a coalition for the Bush campaign included a number of outspoken Nazis and anti-Semites. The article prompted six leaders of Bush's coalition to resign.

According to Russ Bellant, Nazi collaborators involved in the Republican Party included:

 (1) Radi Slavoff, GOP Heritage Council's executive director, and head of "Bulgarians for Bush." Slavoff was a member of a Bulgarian fascist group, and he put together an event in Washington honoring Holocaust denier, Austin App.

 (2) Florian Galdau, director of GOP outreach efforts among Romanians, and head of "Romanians for Bush." Galdau was once an Iron Guard recruiter, and he defended convicted Nazi war criminal Valerian Trifa.

 (3) Nicholas Nazarenko, leader of a Cossack GOP ethnic unit. Nazarenko was an ex-Waffen SS officer.

 (4) Method Balco, GOP activist. Balco organized yearly memorials for a Nazi puppet regime.

 (5) Walter Melianovich, head of the GOP's Byelorussian unit. Melianovich worked closely with many Nazi groups.

 (6) Bohdan Fedorak, leader of "Ukranians for Bush." Fedorak headed a Nazi group involved in anti-Jewish wartime pogroms.

The Philadelphia Inquirer ran an article on the Bush team's inclusion of Nazis (David Lee Preston, "Fired Bush backer one of several with possible Nazi links," September 10, 1988.) The newspaper also ran an investigative series on Nazi members of the Bush coalition. The articles confirmed that the Bush team included members listed by Russ Bellant.

"Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster and what has happened once in 6,000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the
world." -Daniel Webster

"You fucking son of a bitch. I saw what you wrote. We're not going to forget this." - George W. Bush to writer and editor Al Hunt, 1988

"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier...just as long as I'm the dictator..."-George W. Bush, Washington, DC, Dec 18, 2000, during his first trip to Washington as President-Elect.
posted by troutfishing at 8:08 AM on February 13, 2003

So this post is not a link to a new O'Reilly book? :-)

Thanks for the links troutfishing!
posted by nofundy at 9:14 AM on February 13, 2003

troutfishing, your attempts to prove that Bush is an incipient Nazi are among your most tiresome and least endearing. For starters, the Texas Monthly ad {I could find no more copies online, alas} depicted a still-living officer in the modern German air force, which still uses the German words for "flying fleet", Luftwaffe, even though Germany's present operations abroad involve more peacekeeping operations than any other NATO member. The General is not dressed in any Nazi regalia, but in a modern German air force uniform, which closely resembles the modern US air force uniform -- possibly because of our influence on the development of the modern German military. Gen. Schmitz is now retired, but was photographed before an American flag honoring the German alliance with the United States. Associating Gen. Schmitz with the Nazis is cheap, and speaking as an ethnic German myself, arguably racist. Using that to tar the Bush administration is rhetorical sleight-of-hand.

A history of neoconservatism that barely mentions Norman Podhoretz isn't really worth reading. One has to understand how neoconservatism evolved from neoliberalism, and certainly one shouldn't confuse it casually with true-blue conservatism. It's sad that the debate tends to operate at this level, though. The one thing this article got substantially right is that the neocons are (generally) rabid supporters of Israel, nearly to the point of Zionism. They don't seem, however, to quite grasp why this is so.

Now, wrap your mind around the fact that neocons are Zionist with the attempts to prove that neocons are Nazis, and get back to us when it's all been ironed out, okay?

This article says more about European fears of American policy than it accurately portrays the evolution of that policy in America. It certainly has little to do with the real intellectual history of neoconservatism.
posted by dhartung at 9:30 AM on February 13, 2003

John Loftus and Mark Mark Aarons have written a great book called "The Secret War Against the Jews .........
although a better title as one reviewer from Amazon stated would be The Secret War against the Public. This book lays out the whole fascinating history of Oil, Anti-Semitism, Nazi recruitment into the US Intelligence services and facisiest groups being recruited into the Nixon campaign and up through Iran Contra and into today. It's a book that provides the internal structure not just the surface that we typically get to read.

posted by thedailygrowl at 10:29 AM on February 13, 2003

Dhartung - hello! We haven't butted heads in a while. So what are my endearing charactoristics? I know that you are very detail oriented.

The "Luftwaffe ad" flap was probably unfair to post - you're right. Gratiutious on my part...that's garbage heap material...

I'd have to agree with you that the linked site doesn't cover the "real intellectual history of neoconservatism" and that the connection of NeoConservatism to Fascism is not a necessary one..... But some argue that the two movements - the first a valid intellectual tradition and the second an ugly, atavistic urge, have recently become interconnected.

One of the key elements of Fascism is a close collaboration and convergence of interests between large corporations and government - a notable feature of the GW Bush administration's way of doing business. Another is the repression of internal dissent. Yet another tendency is military adventurism. So the Bush Administration imagines a new world regime enforced by the unilateral and preemptive use of US military force, a "Pax Americana". Hitler envisioned a New World Order, as you well know. And I've no doubt that you also know that he fancied himself the founder of a new Roman Empire. The term "Pax Americana" is not of my making. Cheney, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld used the term, quite consciously I expect, in "Rebuilding America's Defenses" (I won't patronize you with the reference. you know the document).

I know that the Bush Neocons are Zionist. My post was a bit disengenuous, yes: George Bush Sr. has some associations with Nazi sympathizers which, no doubt, come from his father's associations - Prescott Bush was caught (along with future head of the CIA Alan Dulles) laundering money for the German Thyssen industrial empire in 1943 (as director of the Union Bank) - the Bush family fortune came mostly from profits made "trading with the enemy" - literally. Prescott received a lump sum from the reconstructed Thyssen group after the war ($1.5 million in 1951 dollars according to John Loftus), presumeably for services rendered, and used this money to go into politics. To be fair, the Rockefellers and the Kennedys also had similar, if less extreme financial ties to Nazi Germany. [Alan Dulles, for his part, went into intelligence, became head of the CIA, and smuggled Nazi War criminals into the US in direct contravention of Truman's explicit orders.] And the Thyssen group did use slave labour. But to be fair, lots of folks were trafficking with the Nazis during the war, and hiding or laundering the profits - Ford, GM, IBM, Kodak (here's a nutshell of this......but I'm belabouring the point.

Given his grandfather's past, the minor scandal of the presence of Nazi sympathizers on George Bush Sr.'s campaign in 1988 is unsurprising and some have suggested that the distance George Bush Sr.'s administration put between the US and Israel, greater than under the Reagan administrations, stemmed partly from an overt or latent anti-semitism. Perhaps. I doubt we will ever know. But this, if true, led Bush to apply considerable pressure on Israel for a workable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Meanwhile - Yes, George W. Bush is his own man. I very much doubt that he dances with Nazis, but I suspect that his obvious authoritarian tendencies ("So much easier...If only I were a dictactor") and his adminstration's extreme penchant for secrecy are inherited from his father.

"Wrap your mind around the fact that neocons are Zionist with the attempts to prove that neocons are Nazis" - Do you mean functional Zionism on the part of Bush administration officials (Wolfowitz, I'd guess - a strong Israel serves US purposes, at least) or modern, religiously based Zionism? And if so, on whose part? On the part of American Christian fundamentalists who, in their lurid eschatologies, write of the end-time destruction of the Jews but who, nonetheless pursue a convergence of interest alliance with the Israeli far right (possibly including the planning of terrorists acts)? GW Bush moves in this camp. I can't say if he believes that, though. And....what of the secular origins of Zionism under Theodore Herzl?

But, Dan, are you really saying that Fascism without anti-semitism is unthinkable? It seems quite possible to me. Give humanity more credit! We are an inventive lot. Fascism does not need anti-semitism, and besides, the Jews no longer pose a convenient target, having learned well the lesson that "power flows from the barrel of a gun". Fascism understands and respects force. It is a bully which seeks out weak targets to scapegoat, torture, and even exterminate.

Fascism is not, at root, not German, Italian, or Japanese but a political system, or a way of doing business, based on an ugly confluence of self interest, raw state brutality, and propaganda. As such, Fascism can always find new groups to scapegoat and persecute as suits it's purposes for Fascism is eternal, an element of darker human nature and must be - in all it's ugly, recrudescent manifestations - forever beaten back.

"Human beings will generally exercise power when they can get it, and they will exercise it most undoubtedly in popular governments under pretense of public safety." -Daniel Webster

"That's where the Bush family fortune came from: It came from the Third Reich" -- U.S. Justice Department’s Nazi War Crimes Prosecutor John Loftus

"Make yourselves sheep and the wolves will eat you."-Benjamin Franklin

"Freedom does not always win. This is one of the bitterest lessons of history." -A. J. P. TAYLOR

"...advanced forms of biological warfare that can “target” specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool." - page 72,
"Rebuilding America's Defenses

"The more we do to you, the less you seem to believe we are doing it." - Dr. Joseph Mengele
posted by troutfishing at 11:50 AM on February 13, 2003

Nofundy - you're welcome.
posted by troutfishing at 11:55 AM on February 13, 2003

I agree that Fascism is not directly related to anti-sematism. Just because the most famous fascists (the N*zis) were jew-haters has not stopped, for instance, the modern Israeli state from assuming a decidedly Fascist persona, which is, as trout-fishing very correctly described, "an ugly confluence of self interest, raw state brutality, and propaganda".

The fact that the US government's domestic and foreign policy is creeping toward full-blown Fascism is a bitter pill to swallow for liberty-loving Americans, and calling Godwin on people who point out this obvious fact is not going to make it go away.

Time for the citizens of the US to open their eyes to their future.
posted by sic at 1:36 PM on February 13, 2003

Why are all idealogical troll sites always so badly formatted?

Why can't they do a simple spell check?

Uh, for the same reason that you can't. Doofus.
posted by sic at 1:45 PM on February 13, 2003

Why can't they do a simple spell check?
Uh, for the same reason that you can't. Doofus.

Aaak, replace ideo/idea. Need to add a popup block exemption so I can use metafilter spellcheck.
posted by phatboy at 3:16 PM on February 13, 2003

might be interested in rick perlstein's
before the storm: barry goldwater and the unmaking of the american consensus

also see hobson's imperialism: a defense by gregory p. nowell!
This paper shall argue that Hobson's Imperialism remains uniquely relevant because it is a true political-economic theory of oligarchy. As such it is not a crudely economically determinist work. Rather, it emphasizes that there is an underlying structure of power which conditions the production of wealth on a global scale. This structure of power rests on a circular argument: economic concentration leads to a concentration of political power, and the concentration of political power serves to facilitate economic concentration. The effects of the concentration of political and economic power are expressed, in the economic domain, through the phenomenon of underconsumption. Put another way, the social production of wealth is not optimized, the distribution of wealth is skewed, and the quality of life, as measured in the power of consumption broadly defined, is undermined. In the political and social domain, the effects of the concentration of political and economic power are expressed in an erosion (where not altogether dispensed with) of democratic forms domestically and abroad, as well as an increased international propensity to war.
oh and republican privilege :)
posted by kliuless at 5:55 PM on February 13, 2003

kliuless - so Fordism (stripped of it's anti-semitic and fascist leanings) was right after all?..........
posted by troutfishing at 8:22 PM on February 13, 2003

right, wrong, i dunno! i'm ambivalent :D
posted by kliuless at 8:58 PM on February 13, 2003

The new facism (which might be labeled as neoconservatism at times) is different in many ways but the most obvious way would be that it is corporatist rather than nationalist. The end result remains the destruction of democracy and the rise of the oligarchy.
posted by nofundy at 9:34 AM on February 14, 2003

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