Thursday, October 19, 2006

Neo-Conservative Post-Mortem

There were many failed ideologically-driven grand political experiments in the 20th century. Neo-conservatism is the first of the new century. A project that I would love to see taking place amongst some of the smarter minds on the blogosphere is a working out of the foundational principles of this view and an examination of where and why they failed. This way, when they are brought back in modified form, we will know what we are looking at and how to address them.

As I say, my hope is that smarter people than me will take up this issue, but here are my thoughts on what a rational reconstruction of neo-conservatism would look like:

1) A Modified Neo-Liberal Hegelianism: Francis Fukuyama argued that there is a natural state to governments in this historical age. If left alone, any nation would spontaneously tend towards liberal democracy with a free market economy. Repressive regimes serve as barriers to this natural state and if removed, the country would naturally move towards a representative democracy based on individual freedoms and consumption.

2) Technologically Advanced/Covert Military as a Primary Tool of Foreign Policy: Old style diplomacy coddled dictators and enemies of the state and led to no advances, only setbacks for American foreign policy, a new robust military-based picture would be more effective. To carry this out, the armed forces are to be transformed from the heavy infantry ground force model to a lighter special forces and overwhelming air power model. In accord with 1), the goal of the military is not occupation or major land wars, but assassination. If the heads of regimes can be toppled at any moment by our covert forces so that liberal democracies would then blossom, other leaders would have to fall behind US demands and interests for fear of being overthrown at a moment's notice.

3) A Corporate Social Darwinism: Absolute faith in is put in the efficiency of the private sector and absolute distrust exists for anything in the public sector. Markets are good and large corporations who dominate them do so because they are the fittest economic beings. Corporate influence is on policy is not problematic as it only increases effective, efficient action. Governmental action will be slow, bureaucratic, and contrary to the ultimate good.

4) Domestic Agenda Inversion: Domestic issues to be pushed will either further corporate interest or the political interest of the administration. Instead of taking power to put in place a vision, the vision will be shaped with an eye towards keeping the power. Rhetoric will be expanded, but action will be minimized. By demonizing the opponent, power can be protected. Actually defeating the political opponent will cause there not to be an opponent and the "trench mentality" will be unsustainable.

5) Inverted Post Modernism: The deconstructionists of the 80's argued that reality is socially constructed and sought to "deconstruct" it in order to expose the political foundations of widespread beliefs that are accepted as necessary truths. This view is accepted, but deconstruction is for losers. The winners would be the ones who actually do the preconstruction, who use the power to create the reality. For this purpose use is made of the Straussian line that marries the Platonic distaste for democracy with a linguistic strategy for allowing the people to be more than happy to surrender their power. The people are not smart enough to be in control, so the key is to speak in code so that they willingly hand over their power thinking they are in power. This is essential so that the leaders can do what really needs to be done and not worry so much about its popularity. The unending war on terror and all of its various names are transparent attempts to wrest all power from the people, approved by the people, for the well-being of the people.

Thoughts? What am I missing here?