Saturday, April 05, 2003

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Been wondering: what is a neo-conservative? John Hawkins points to Jonah Goldberg, who explains it this way:

So what is neoconservatism? Well, as with most labels that stick, the name comes from the . Michael Harrington, the big-hearted socialist, coined the phrase to describe a bunch of "renegade" liberals and leftists who were moving right. It wasn't meant as a compliment. Indeed, in a very real sense, neoconservatism was from the beginning a more useful word to describe a phenomenon rather than a school of thought.

Woo, that's a mouthful. For a more ideological explanation, we turn to Christopher Zehnder:

I'll take a stab at it. A neo-conservative is really a neo-liberal because he perpetuates the classical liberal economic theories stemming from the Elightenment. The neo-liberal sees economics as operating according to certain laws and believes that the greatest economic good will come about if economic forces are allowed to operate freely according to those laws. Economic freedom is defined negatively as the non-interference by non-economic forces (such as government) in the economic order. Freedom is also defined as a state in which one is not coerced or forced into doing what is against his will. The neo-liberal will not say that he thinks the market should be unfettered, but his only guide, if you will, of the economic order is a sort of moral pressure or persuasion. I think, though I am not sure, that he thinks that this moral persuasion should only go so far as to discourage such things as pornography, abortifacients, violent videos -- in other words, immoral products. The neo-liberal does not want interference in the structure of the economic order, which should arise from the free interplay of market forces operating according merely economic criteria.

Wow, another novel, but a little more enlightening.

That's all.

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