The Problem with Neo-Cons
– by David Matthews 2
In any great conspiracy, the first rule is to say that there IS no great conspiracy. There is no group, there is no committee, there is no organization doing whatever nefarious action is suspected to be going on. It doesn’t exist. It never did exist. It’s just the figment of the imagination.
In the classic cult movie “Fight Club”, the first two rules of “Fight Club” is to deny that there ever exists such a thing. The first rule is “You do not talk about Fight Club” and the second rule is “You DO NOT TALK about Fight Club.” The principle behind this is that if you don’t talk about Fight Club, even amongst other members, then other people don’t know that it exists. This becomes important when our protagonist finds out about “Project Mayhem” and the kinds of damage that it causes.
Sadly, of course, such denials are commonplace in the real world as well. The best way to hide extremists and extremist views is to say that they don’t exist.
There are no “terrorists” in Iraq; there are just “insurgents”.
There are no “domestic terrorists” in America; there are just “spirited zealots”.
There are no “corrupt cops” in our cities; there are just “frustrated officers”.
Politicians aren’t “on the take”; they’re just more receptive to certain “gifts”.
We don’t “torture”; we engage in “enhanced methods of interrogation”.
We don’t “censor”; we “protect children from offensive material”.
Likewise, when it comes to political factions, the most active of them is one that their own people deny even exists.
Yes, I am talking about the Neo-Conservatives. Or “Neo-Cons” for short.
Now the first rule of Neo-Conservatives is to say that there is NO SUCH THING as a “neo-conservative”! It doesn’t exist. It’s just the figment of the rabid imagination of liberal factions. It never did exist, it never COULD exist, and even if it did, it certainly would not have the kind of influence in government that people claimed that it did.
But despite their rabid denials, the two terms of President George W. Bush were certainly marked by a sharp influence of neo-conservative thinking. Thanks to them, America made a profound shift in foreign and domestic policy that had consequences that we are just now starting to deal with.
So what IS a “neo-conservative”?
A neo-conservative, or neo-con, is a perversion of conservative philosophy. Where traditional conservatives held positions supporting less government, strong national defense, fiscal responsibility, and a heavy emphasis on “family values”, neo-conservatives would find ways around each one of those tenants so conservatives would do the complete opposite.
“Less government” became MORE government, and especially more FEDERALIZED government. Federal standards, federal regulations, and federalized testing. “No Child Left Behind” became the rule for schools. Sarbaines-Oxley became the rule for businesses. These were things that would be despised by traditional conservatives, but under a neo-conservative government were simply par for the course.
A “strong national defense” became a “strong national OFFENSE”, adhering to the old football adage about the best defense being a good offense. Strike first, ask questions later. Don’t wait for the enemy to hit us again; hit them first and hit them hard. As for defense? Well, we’ll outsource that to foreign countries because we won’t have time to worry about it ourselves.
“Fiscal responsibility” became a blank check. And the neo-conservatives NEEDED that blank check so they could carry out those first two tenants. You can’t have MORE government and a strong national OFFENSE without an unlimited bank account to pay for it all.
That left us with “family values”… and that quickly became “CHURCH values”, especially with the “Department of God” (aka “The Department on Faith-Based Services”) coming into the White House. And those “values” had to represent a SPECIFIC church and a SPECIFIC faith, and it had to be in lock-step with the ones held by members of Congress and especially by those in the White House.
We’re talking about an incredible reversal of policy here, folks! That’s like buying an apple and being handed a baseball and then being told it’s the same thing.
So WHY would conservatives go along with it? Why would they willingly back and defend policies that were a complete opposite of everything that they supposedly believed in? Why would they support a reversal of policies that fit even the most conservative definitions of FASCISM?
Well part of it WAS because of fear. 9/11, the fear of terrorism, the fear of looking weak and impotent, all of that pervading the minds of conservatives. But obviously not all of the neo-con corruption could be explained by knee-jerking fear.
There was a more insidious element that conservatives really don’t want to admit to, and that is that deep within their core, they were CORRUPTED by the inherent authoritative POWER that went with the job. They controlled the House and (for the most part) the Senate AND they controlled the White House… or so they had believed… and it was very easy for conservatives to go along with the neo-con forces, because to disagree with them would threaten the very POWER they held. It would make them look “weak” in the eyes of the world. It would show dissention at a time when they were obsessed with weeding it out in others. Plus they told themselves that at some point they could always go back to the old conservative values when the various “looming threats” were over with.
Sadly, though, they made a mess of things. And this is the most insidious part about the whole bit about spreading the myth about “there are no neo-cons”, because once removed from power, all of those people that truly WERE neo-conservatives went back into hiding. They went back to their various political factions, confident that they would be eagerly “welcomed back” as moderates, libertarians, constitutionalists, and the like; knowing full well that the blame would fall on the conservatives in general.
And the conservatives? Well denying the existence of neo-cons does give them the burden of their failures, but it also gives them a reason to repackage their own beliefs and claim that they “don’t know” how they ended up with the mess that they were in, but that it didn’t match with what THEY supposedly stand for! They just need a “second chance” to make sure they can “do things right”.
It’s absolutely diabolical to watch as known mouthpieces for neo-conservative policies would turn on a dime after losing an election and begin condemning the policies they previously defended and claim they have “always” stood for “conservative principles”. It’s also damned hypocritical of them, especially when they also claim to champion “personal responsibility” when this political doublespeak is the opposite of that very notion.
Let’s get brutally honest here… there ARE such things as neo-conservatives in politics. They may repackage themselves as “compassionate conservatives”, just like the Democrats did in the previous decade when they erroneously declared themselves to be “New Democrats”, but the continual denial of their existence in politics does not take away the damage that they caused in the wake of their monumental power-grab.
Worse yet, conservatives only do themselves a monumental disservice when they refuse to deny the existence of neo-cons, especially when their actions lead this country down the path towards fascism. They may think that they’re doing their associates a favor, but it actually damns their own cause. How the hell can they truly bring in those principles that they claim to cherish if they can be easily swayed by fear-mongers and master manipulators with an ulterior agenda that is inherently contrary to their own?
In order for you to deal with a problem, you have to first recognize that the problem exists. As long as conservatives refuse to admit that neo-cons exist, they will continue to be swayed by them and by their agendas, and they will forever be DAMNED for doing it.