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I am often asked by students and others to define what I mean when I use the term neoconservative. I always refer to Irving Kristol’s own definition, from the Weekly Standard, August 2003, in an article entitled “The Neoconservative Persuasion. Kristol explains neoconservatism and its disdain for conservatism simply this way. “Its 20th-century heroes tend to be TR, FDR, and Ronald Reagan. Such Republican and conservative worthies as Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, and Barry Goldwater are politely overlooked.” In terms of religion, Kristol mentions only that “religious conservatism” in America has given wings to neoconservatism (and the Republican Party). Neoconservatism, a limited, flawed and ultimately unimplementable political perspective, has nothing to do with Judaism, or Jews, Christians, Muslims, Zoroastrians or Sufis for that matter.

Julia Gorin’s idea (discussed by Paul Gottfried today) that neoconservatism and “neocon” are negative codewords for ethnic or religious Jewry is fabrication for some other cause. Neo-conservatism is nothing but a political persuasion, as Irving Kristol explains. Gorin and company’s “other cause” seems to be that we all best get in line and heed not rabbinical or Christian sensibilities but instead honor the State, embrace “silence equals health,” drink the kool-aid, and take the blue pill. Oh, and vote in November, I’m sure!

10:31 am on September 28, 2004