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Archive for January, 2012

What is a Neocon?

How many times recently have you heard the term neoconservative, or more often “neocon”, used as a slur against a group of people within the Republican party? I wasn’t exactly sure who was the target of those flinging the slurs. Researching, I found the opinions of four prominent people on the following question:

What is a neoconservative and who are they?

Rich Lowry, editor of National Review:

Historically, 30 years ago it meant a former liberal who became a conservative. The cliche was because “they were mugged by reality,” but it was because they saw the empirical failures of liberal welfare, state and foreign policies, and they were therefore less ideological than other conservatives and brought much more of a social science background to their argumentation.

Paul Weyrich, chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation:

They are mostly ex-liberals, by and large out of the intellectual community. These are people who came to the realization that modern liberalism was not the kind of liberalism that they had subscribed to. They are a fairly small group of people, both in and out of government. Those who are out of government are in either the media or academia. They are influential because they promote each other. They are very skilled at that.

Paul Gigot, editor of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page:

I think of neoconservatism as having a very specific meaning related to history. That is, the neoconservatives were people who in the 1970s were former liberals, in some cases socialists, who moved right in reaction to the left’s shift on cultural mores, personal responsibility and foreign policy. So I think the term “neoconservative” has that narrow meaning of that historical period. I think of them as the Podhoretzes and the Kristols and others. I don’t think “neoconservative” means much anymore. I don’t know what it means now or who they’re referring to.

George Will, the syndicated columnist:

Oh, that’s not a simple question. Neoconservatives are persons who in domestic policy often were former Democrats who felt that conservatives had erred in not accepting the post-New Deal role of the central government. They were in their early incarnation focusing on domestic policy and were distinguishing themselves from Goldwater conservatives.

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While the opinions differed slightly, it appears that all agree that the neocons all come from the same base, all disaffected (for slightly different reasons) liberals, and perhaps now I truly understand why the word, usually voiced by members of the left is used in an insulting way, they may not truly even understand the origins of the word but I do wonder if they understand that they are looking extremely petty for referring in this manner to a group of people originally from their ranks, people they were unable to keep within their own “fold”.

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Thoughts on Liberty

It’s become increasingly obvious that so many of our countrymen and our families have no idea what our founders intended when they wrote the Declaration Of Independence and the Constitution. It’s not their fault, it’s the fault of us who raised them, parented them or mentored them. Where did our country lose it’s way, or perhaps I should really ask when did our country lose it’s way? I have to wonder if it was when I sat in an American history class at the University of Maine when I was so young and couldn’t understand why I needed to take this boring class to prepare for a career in education. I marvel at how stupid I was during that time of my life! I’m not saying that I can know what the founders intended but reading the documents with an attitude of wanting to understand is all that is necessary for one to “get it”.

I know it crept upon us when we were complacent, when we still felt a complete trust in the people we elected to represent us. I have no idea when, exactly, we should have realized that those people no longer believed that they had been elected to serve our interests but that they were infinitely more intelligent than the electorate and that they no longer needed to consult us to decide how to write the laws under which we would have to live. The only excuse can be that we were so busy doing our best to provide for our children and to make sure that they had the tools to arrive at adulthood at least as well prepared for life as our own parents had intended for us.  I’m not going to apologize for saying that’s not acceptable but for the years I have left on this earth, I am going to do my best to speak up for myself, my children, grandchildren and even the tiny great grandchildren who are yet too small to even really know me or how much I want for them the liberty and freedom I experienced during most of my life. Someone has to tell them all what it was like to be innocent and to trust our government………..that is no longer a luxury that anyone can afford. I don’t know who the person was who first said “trust but verify” but it is vital now as it was not in the innocent past.  I do not intend to foist upon my children my own attitudes or interpretations but if asked I will tell them honestly what I think.

I’m not sure if we can reverse what has happened to our country, but we have to try to correct what our inattention has caused. If, after reading this you are not moved to speak up about what you feel our country should be like, that is your prerogative, but at least think about those who will come after you and leave your thoughts concerning our history, current conditions and how you feel about life as it is in these early years of the twenty first century. Perhaps those who come after you will appreciate knowing that you cared about them and wanted for them a life as free from restrictions and burdensome regulation as possible.

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