When pondering the intellectual decline of political movements, it is hard not to call to mind the former flagship publication of the Buckleyite wing of conservatism called National Review. Where once learned men (and women) made their case from the heights of argumentation and erudition — a force to be reckoned with, like it or not — the publication has over the years accelerated to absurdity, devolved to inanity, shrunk into a whiny club of simpering sycophants screaming full force in an empty echo chamber. An exercise in intellectual onanism, today’s NRO has nothing to say about the future because it remembers nothing of the past. It is conservatism not only without a conscience, but without understanding of that which it purports to conserve.
It may be debatable whether there was ever a Buckleyite movement wholly separate from the neoconservative impulse, or at what point the worms began eating into the flesh of the magazine. But that the neocons hijacked the magazine, silenced any conservative vein of thought not in harmony with their heterodox and revolutionary views (can one be at the same time a conservative and a revolutionary?), and proceeded to redefine what passes as modern conservatism to suit their alien agenda cannot be denied.
So now that the neoconservatives have successfully burrowed themselves so deeply into what was once the conservative movement that they have killed the host, they look around at the destruction they have wrought and scream, “don’t blame us!”
Thus we find ourselves faced with chief whiner of the National Review universe Jonah Goldberg, a man absolutely fearless at the thought of sending others to die in disastrous wars overseas but cowering at the thought of placing himself in harm’s way, arguing that we must not call him and his cohorts what they actually are. In his latest little bitch session in some corner of NRO, he tells us that, “The Term “Neocon” Has Run It’s Course.”
Don’t call us neocons, he says, because the word has no meaning, it never had meaning, and you’re all just a bunch of anti-Semites if you continue to use it. Here is a summary of Jonah Goldberg’s argument for why we should not call the neocons neocons:
“Meanwhile,” Goldberg concludes, “the Right is having a long overdue, and valuable, argument about how to conduct foreign policy. Keep it going, just leave neoconservatism out of it.”
Ah yes, let’s have a debate about foreign policy with a pre-condition that everyone agree with the neocon view of foreign policy — pre-emptive war, American exceptionalism at the barrel of a gun, military Keynesianism, national security state at home, NSA surveillance of Americans, gunboat diplomacy without the diplomacy, and so on.
Sorry Jonah. Not going to happen. Sorry that history is a cruel judge of your disastrous movement, but don’t count on the rest of us to pretend something isn’t what it is. Neocon.