I once heard Neoconservatives described as “liberals in slow motion.” I’m not sure where, but the person who said it was undoubtedly referring to the fact that what Neoconservatives try to “conserve” is the world as it was 10 or 20 years ago, or even just the world as it is now. The problem with this, for conservatives and the right generally, is that the world of 10 or 20 years ago was very nearly as liberal as the world of today in the grand scheme of things.
Saying that Neocons are “liberals” is not even pejorative. The father of Neoconservatism, Irving Kristol, described a Neocon as “a liberal who has been mugged by reality.”
Read through this set of Irving Kristol quotes to get a sense of the intellectual underpinnings that Neoconservatism was built on. Neoconservatism came about (and this is a gross oversimplification but is essentially accurate) when the American Left became insufficiently pro-Israel. The liberals who were pro-Civil Rights Movement, pro-New Deal, pro-(essentially everything liberal up to that point) felt that the Democrats no longer supported the thing most important to them, Israel. So they jumped ship to the Republicans. But instead of integrating into the pre-existing community, they remained separate, and eventually took over the Republican party.
This is not a new phenomenon, you can see echoes of this throughout history.
If you would like a history of how Neocons took over the Republican Party, Vox Day’s article (and book) on who killed conservatism are essential. I disagree with the scorn that Vox places on William F. Buckley, as I think that Buckley simply made a mistake, whereas the other two people Vox blames seemed to have gotten Conservatism exactly where they wanted it. However, whether Buckley “meant to” or not is largely irrelevant, his actions did lead to the takeover of the Republican party by Neocons. This article is not, however, a history lesson. This article is about how useful it really is to understanding Neocons to describe them as some kind of liberals.
Neocons really are liberals
There are three things that suddenly make a lot more sense when you understand that Neocons are liberals: Academia, The News Media, and how Republicans deal with forces hostile to them.
At the most, “conservatives” in academia make up 20% of professors. That seems awfully high. I’m not sure if anyone else has taken classes at a college or university, but I can think of possibly one or two (out of dozens) of professors who actually had a problem with the general liberal worldview. On the other hand, I would say that around 20% of professors I know would have supported, for example, the Iraq war. And that’s exactly it. Of the 20% of “conservative” professors, probably 90% of those are neoconservatives. That explains why “conservatives” exist in any respectable numbers at all in academia. Because Neoconservatives are really liberals, they fit in with the rest of the liberals on campus. The other 2% of professors are the actual conservatives, people like Gregory Cochran and James Watson, people genius enough that doing away with them without excuse would be overly harmful to the college in question. Until, that is, there’s a large enough controversy that they can be done away with.
The News Media
Liberals control the vast majority of the news media, in the same way they control the vast majority of academia. But again, around 20% (Fox, basically) is “conservative.” Why nearly complete control, instead of complete control? The answer, once again, is that the vast majority of people on Fox are Neoconservatives. Some aren’t, in the same way some professors aren’t, but the vast majority are. They’re not driven from the field, because they agree with the liberals that control the rest of the media on most issues, even if they don’t realize it.
“BUT BILL!” you cry, “Sure, it’s a neat theory, but these are just your guesses, you don’t have any stats to back this up. Won’t you give us something juicer?”
Yes, I will. No stats though. These are just postulates.
How Republicans Deal With Hostile Forces
This is the interesting one. Liberals tend to deal with hostile outside forces (Muslims is the current example) by appeasement. They hope that by showing how kind and loving they are, the “hostile outside forces” will become “loving inside friends.” It really, really, really doesn’t work. But they keep trying. Maybe if they prostrate themselves just that little bit more, the other side will start playing nice. I hope you can see the parallels I’m drawing. This is exactly the strategy that modern Republicans use against Democrats. Because Neoconservatives are liberals. They see Democrats as the hostile outside force that can be won over through prostration, as opposed to how Democrats see them, as a rival that must be beaten at any cost. So Republicans swerve. Because Neoconservatives are liberals.
What all this means is, don’t be surprised if Neocons get absorbed into Hillary’s party. Because Hillary is a big fan of Israel, and that’s where they always belonged.
This would have been an impressive prediction months ago when I started writing this and got bored, before all of the Neocons started endorsing Hillary.