I've begun transcribing selections from the speech (given by author Douglas Murray) and doing additional research into whether some of his particular views of neo-conservatism are shared broadly or are unique to him. From the little I know about neo-con ideology, my reactions upon hearing Murray's speech (presented in full on PoliticsTV) run the gamut from "this seems a cynical outlook of the world, but it's understandable given recent world events" to more often "it's disconerting to know that there are people who harbor this grim outlook on the world, and worse, that they have money and power at the present time."
More below the fold.
I'm not sure if that assumption holds since in his speech, Murray explicitly stated he and many of his fellow neo-cons were never liberals, thus the conservative insult to those of the neo-con persuasion holds very little value to him and many others who share their beliefs.
Neo-conservatism is not a cabal or a party, but rather a sense, an instinct, a way of looking at the world. That way of looking at the world is in my definition a blend of idealism and realism. We look at the world as it is, but act in the world to make it as we would like it to be.
This makes our instincts different than traditional conservatives, who often distrust social engineering projects or any form of alteration of a status quo they perpetually see as being an irreversible if often quietly enjoyable decline. And of course, it makes us different from modern day liberals who simply don't see the world as it is. I say that neo-cons look at the world through an idealist's eyes, but wear heavy and powerful glasses. We're moralists with good eye-sight.
As such, I believe that neo-conservatism is the most valuable and indeed necessary political outlook of our time. I should point out here that I'm not terribly worried here about offending or alienating what you call liberals and I call socialists -- people for whom in any case alienation-like self-flagellation seems to be a pleasure as well as a principle. But before offending conservatives any further, I would like to stress that I see old school conservatism not as wrong in itself, but largely, merely tactically wrong.
As primarily an instinct and almost a non-philosophy, old-style conservatism today has, to my mind, two major flaws. The first is that conservatism relies on a noble sense of loyalty to the status quo, but the status quo, as we know in much of the West today, has changed, especially in western institutions and thanks to socialist interferes, they've largely changed very much for the worst.
This being the case, the instinctive conservative is now often left trying to feel loyalty to a status quo that is not his status quo. That is, he's left trying to feel loyal to things which have not been loyal to him. I greatly sympathize with people caught in this dilemma. As an Anglican, I'm like many Anglicans today, left permanently caught between the desire to express loyalty to what one regards as a true faith, and at the same time, experiencing rage and bafflement at a church hierarchy which has thrown out the book of common prayer, the King James bible, and aspires, it often appears, to become like more than Greenpeace at prayer.
I hope to have a longer diary once I've finished transcription and some additional background reading --- but if you notice anything I messed up in the transcript, please leave note in comments.
What's the goal of all this? Well, in the same vein as the "Breakfast with Grover Norquist" diaries from last month were (see here and here): I want to understand these folks and how they do what the do and why.
If you don't know who you are up against, it's hard to win.