ZenPundit
Saturday, June 11, 2005
 
COMMENTARY ON DAN'S NEOCON-THEOCON AXIS

First, I'd like to congratulate Dan on his thought-provoking essay, evidently he did not spend all his time in Aruba chugging margaritas. A good deal of brain-power went into that piece. Dr. Von made the following remark in the comments section:

"In some ways there are many similarities to those damn 'liberals,' the only difference being which issues the right chooses to set mandates/controls to."

Very true.

And this is the fly in the ointment because in any forward strategy, like the one outlined very well by Dan, it isn't simply your momentum that is the main variable but also your friction. You don't get any higher in terms of friction than Richard " The Prince of Darkmess" Perle...unless of course you are Pat Robertson. And this axis, to the extent that it is perceived to exist as a poweful juggernaut, combines both.

So what we have here is the equivalent of a castor oil and prune juice cocktail, unequalled perhaps, for cleaning out the system but the lack of sugar is making it hard to get anyone else enthused about drinking it. And for the sake of our fellow Americans not having any more national landmarks being blown apart by airplanes on live television there are a lot of nation-states and transnational institutions that will have to swallow this concoction even if we have to get out the funnel - and we can't be too choosy about which end we look to for an insert.

The American Right is not like the American Left which fits seamlessly into its global counterpart in terms of philosophy. On the Left, a moderate American Liberal and a far Left German Green or Social-Democrat are separated only by degree and not by differences in kind. They agree on principles, values, ethos and even basic vocabulary - while clashes among Leftists can be fierce they are accurately described as " sectarian" because these are simply disputes within one big political Church. Even the totalitarian Lefttists are merely heretics, not infidels, to the rest of the Left these days.

The American Right is different. There is not one but many kinds of conservatives in the Republican Party and out of it. They are more like separate religions, each with its own philosophical and often incompatible moral premises, that have remained united primarily by the presence of a common enemy, the Left. In addition to the Neocons and Theocons you have Libertarians ( curently out of power), Big Business moderates and Old Money/Country Club liberal Republicans who ran the Republican Party before Barry Goldwater. When the USSR collapsed in 1991, the conservative coalition fell with it.

Hating Bill Clinton just wasn't as powerful a motivator for the American Right in the 1990's as was hating Joe Stalin in the 1950's because of the lack of philosophical commonalities between these different groups. Some conservatives simply didn't hate Bill Clinton very much, even Newt Gingrich kind of liked the guy on a personal level. Meanwhile a New York liberal and a French socialist can agreeably hate Bush together from the depths of their souls because he is " the Enemy" from both of their perspectives and for the same reasons. Bush is like Sauron on steroids to the Left.

So, Bush has added some " sugar" to the Neocon-Theocon mix by borrowing from the Libertarian tradition and the heritage of Woodrow Wilson and the Founding Fathers by invoking " Freedom" and " Democracy". That rhetoric has forced a lot of formerly staunch opponents of Mr. Bush to stop and re-think just what the hell they are trying to accomplish in opposing every single move in American foreign policy. Maybe that might be a little counterproductive ? Maybe there's some ground for compromise ?

It was a smart move by Bush because it has reduced the friction.
 
Comments:
Besides my thoughts on friction...

The heterdox nature of the American Right is a consequence of its reliance on fourth-generation politics to succeed. The environment on the American Right is one of constant intellectual struggle. The ability of the Republican Party is marry this with harmony on an institutional level is breakthaking -- and perhaps temporary.

Bush has to be careful his "sugar" doesn't take away traction from his ideas. Bland is great for being liked, but not for being well liked.
 
Rebuttal still in the works, posting delayed by last minute invite to play Texas Hold'em for a better than a poke in the eye pot.

And of course a few beverages...;o)

If I post early tonight I played.....poorly.
 
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