Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Getting Kristol Right

I agree with Andrew Sullivan's take on the evolution of neo-conservatism under the Kristols (father Irving and son William) and their comrades:

And this is why David Brooks' encomium to Irving Kristol today does not
convince me. If Irving Kristol had remained a real empirical skeptic, as Brooks
claims Kristol was throughout, he would have resisted the transformation of
conservatism into a religious cult and a neo-imperial movement. But he did

He actually celebrated the cooptation of conservatism by religious
fanaticism, refusing to make any enemies on his right, as his empirical critique
of the welfare state morphed into the idolatry of Reagan, the collapse of any
serious interest in actually governing, the enabling of massive, destabilizing
debt, and unwavering support for Israel's long assisted suicide.

Yes, there was an affect of laconic disinterestedness. But it was an
affect, like his even more radical son's urbane gussying up of know-nothing
violence and fiscal recklessness. The gimmick of the Kristols was to wrap a
Trotskyite mentality in a world-weary, bourgeois gauze. It enabled them to evade
any responsibility for their grotesque errors, errors which led to the deaths
and torture of countless people, and the bankrupting of America, while
pretending to be reasonable and empirical intellectuals.

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