Friday, June 05, 2009

Louis Menard, On Neoconservatism's Exhaustion

Via Digby Batocchio guest-posting on Digby's blog (whose entire post you need to read - it is one of the best things I've read in left-blogistan in years), Louis Menard back in 2006 examined the then-seriously-fraying neo-conservative movement in terms of its psychology.

The present condition of the neoconservative movement is the outcome of a classic case of the gradual sclerosis of political attitudes. All the stages of the movement’s development were based on the primitive psychology of the “break”—the felt need, as one ages, to demonize the exact position one formerly occupied. The enemy is always the person still clinging to the delusions you just outgrew. So—going all the way back to the omphalos, Alcove 1 in the City College cafeteria, where Kristol and his) friends fought with the Stalinists in Alcove 2—the Trotskyists hated the fellow-travellers they once had been; the Cold War liberals hated the Trotskyists they once had been; and the neoconservatives hated the liberals they once had been. Now the hardening is complete. Neoconservatism has merged with the politics that its founders, in their youth, held in greatest contempt: the jingoist and capitalist American right. We look from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but it is impossible to say which is which.

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