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Reflections on the ‘Godfather’ of Neoconservatism

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Posted on Sep 25, 2009
Irving Kristol
AP / The Weekly Standard

By Norman Birnbaum

(Page 2)

I had a different path than my neoconservative contemporaries. My father was a high school teacher and already quite assimilated into as much of American culture as was available to us in the Jewish Bronx. He had gone to City College in the early 1920s, and I went to the City College high school, spent a term at City itself in the spring of 1942, and then left for a very different place, Williams College [in Massachusetts]. Kristol’s family was in the lower rungs of the garment business. The student body at City College (attended by Moynihan too) was if not almost entirely Jewish predominantly so, and I was able to experience the milieu at first hand in my term there. It was intellectually and politically intense—but so were Berkeley, Minnesota and Harvard. What made City different was the direct connection of these immigrant offspring with the European experience, often the Ghetto experience, of their parents. They hoped, but could not be sure, that City would be a way station on their journey into the larger society—much of it, despite the New Deal, at the end of the ’30s on economic and ethnic grounds closed to them. It is not surprising that they were fascinated by the varieties of revolutionary rhetoric. They knew of the torments of Nazi and fascist Europe and had even heard of the Chinese Communists, and their debates about the Soviet Union and the nature of American exceptionalism were parts of a desperate effort to find a positive connection with history before it overwhelmed them.

Many first learned of the rest of the nation when they joined the armed forces. Kristol has described the experience as curing him of belief in an American socialism: He did not find his fellow soldiers promising material for a cooperative commonwealth. Some, he said, were anti-Semitic—but this did not induce in Kristol the extremely acute Jewish self-consciousness of some of the neoconservatives. He shrugged his shoulders, hoped that it would pass, and accepted it as part of the price for living in what was, after all, an exceptionally open society. That, at any rate, seemed to be his attitude when I first knew him (slightly) as an editor at Commentary in the ’40s.

Commentary was founded by the American Jewish Committee in 1945. Its founding editor, Elliot Cohen, did have an acute Jewish self-consciousness but he was also immersed in the mixed culture of New York. Commentary set about chronicling the situation of American Jewry just as many of the prewar barriers were bending and breaking, in the academy, business and the professions, government and politics. The editors did not confine themselves to discussions of the struggles in Palestine, or within the Jewish community. They chronicled much of what was happening in the city and the country, and somewhat to their own surprise found themselves publishing a national magazine. In the period, I had returned to Williams College from wartime work in New York at the Office of War Information, and from 1947 to 1952 I was at graduate school in Harvard. I did not yet write for Commentary, but I read it. I knew one of the editors, Clement Greenberg, and he introduced me to Kristol. I did not see much of Kristol but had the impression of someone, like all the rest of us, very determined about his career—and in strenuous pursuit of the spirit of the times.

He, like Cohen and many of their contributors, found it in the new American empire. Much of Commentary was given to film and novel, to the dramas of urban and suburban living, to a running ethnography of postwar America.       
   
The great passion of the editors, however, was the integration of the Jewish community into the nation. The journal’s articles in the years 1945-52 are a record of affirmation of the nation’s new global role, accompanied by an unsentimental farewell to what was ceaselessly depicted as the illusions of socialist transformation—relentlessly, indeed obsessively, documented by accounts of the crimes of Stalin. (Cohen had been a communist and Greenberg had sympathized with Trotsky.) The enormous embarrassment of the Jewish community as the case of the Rosenbergs, the atomic spies, unfolded led to a frenetic patriotism.

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It was the epoch of an anti-communism which found its supreme spokesman in that alcoholic Sen. Joseph McCarthy. The senator’s intimidation and lies brutalized our national life, but too few in public or private institutions found the decency to resist. There was some debate, of course, and any number of those attached to decency, fair play and constitutional rights objected to the occupation of the public square by an ideological lynch mob. Kristol declared that the American people knew that McCarthy was against communism, they did not know it of his liberal critics.

He endured the ensuing outrage of the liberals, whose own party under President Harry Truman (and with the eager collaboration of much of the leadership of the unions) had embraced strident anti-communism. However, the not entirely uncynical or uncalculated realism of the declaration was followed by a great leap forward in Kristol’s career.


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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, September 30, 2009 at 8:40 pm Link to this comment

Maybe VoiceofTruth is an ironic jest and stab at skepticism?

As for ThomasG one of the things I found is that the reality versus the fantasy of Capitalism clash all of the time.

The problem that I saw with the bail outs was that nothing was changed. The economy is still teetering on the edge of that Greater Depression abyss. We are still in a Great Depression right now. So it means that the criminals are still in charge and are paying themselves millions of dollars from our tax money with nothing for us. They can still do more harm. That is something that Obama should never have let happen, if he was on our side that is.

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, September 30, 2009 at 8:37 pm Link to this comment

voice of truth?, September 29 at 12:35 pm,

voice of truth? said:  “Thomas, how little you actually know of conservatives.”

ThomasG’s answer: Conservatism has all of the legitimacy of “Supply-Side Economics” for which it stands——“Voo-Doo Economics” that destroyed the industrial base of the United States as a manufacturing economy, enabled private interests to financialize the U.S. Economy and led the United States to a mercantile economy based upon “borrow and spend governance” and financialized pyramid schemes with derivative securities, inclusive of mortgage securities and credit default swap securities, that destroyed the U.S. Economy and will take generations of communal labor by as yet unborn hundreds of millions of Common Population people to pay back, that will have to live in squalor for the terms of their lives, their children’s lives and their children’s childrens lives, as they are forced by law to pay back, by their own deprivation, that from which they received no benefit.  If you conservatives are under a delusion that the 70% MAJORITY Common Population of the United States should be grateful to you conservatives for bestowing this burdensome legacy upon us, think again.

Everything you have stated as reasons is NOTHING but belief or subjective assertions from conservative propaganda, but here are some objective facts as to what you conservatives actually did from the time of Goldwater through Reagan, Bush I and Bush II; during these years, you conservatives have bankrupted the United States, destroyed the economy of the United States, destroyed the industrial base of the United States, financialized the economy of the United States, converted the economy of the United States to a mercantile economy, created a financialized bubble with toxic mortgages, toxic credit securities, toxic insurance securities and toxic derivitives and have been on welfare since 2008 that has cost socialized responsibility of the American people for privatized benefit tens of trillions of dollars that has already been spent with no end in sight; there’s nothing else I need to know about you conservatives, other than when are you going to pay it back to the country with interest?  Perchance you are a lumpen-conservative and are unaware of the misery you conservatives brought on our nation.

To my way of thinking what I have related is more than enough for every last conservative that benefited or enabled the related schemes to be in prison for the rest of their lives and all of their ill gotten gains to be clawed back to the government of the United States to help pay for cleaning up their mess.

Tens of TRILLIONS of dollars of socialized responsibility for privatized benefit</b> in the <i>current iteration of Corporate Capitalism for privatized benefit, and the fact that this is the so called “economic cycle” that perpetuated this abomination has been an integral part of privatized Capitalism, since the origin of Capitalism in Britain.  Privatized Capitalism has had to be supported by a life line of socialized responsibility for privatized benefit, since capitalism’s origin and capitalism is and always has been supported by a socialized responsibility life line; therefore, it would be more appropriate to have “Socialized Capitalism” for socialized benefit, so that privatized benefit is not cyclicly drawing tens of TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS at a time for privatized benefit to Privatized Capitalism.

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, September 30, 2009 at 8:32 pm Link to this comment

voice of truth?, September 29 at 12:35 pm,

voice of truth? said:  “Thomas, how little you actually know of conservatives.”

ThomasG’s answer: Conservatism has all of the legitimacy of “Supply-Side Economics” for which it stands——“Voo-Doo Economics” that destroyed the industrial base of the United States as a manufacturing economy, enabled private interests to financialize the U.S. Economy and led the United States to a mercantile economy based upon “borrow and spend governance” and financialized pyramid schemes with derivative securities, inclusive of mortgage securities and credit default swap securities, that destroyed the U.S. Economy and will take generations of communal labor by as yet unborn hundreds of millions of Common Population people to pay back, that will have to live in squalor for the terms of their lives, their children’s lives and their children’s childrens lives, as they are forced by law to pay back, by their own deprivation, that from which they received no benefit.  If you conservatives are under a delusion that the 70% MAJORITY Common Population of the United States should be grateful to you conservatives for bestowing this burdensome legacy upon us, think again.

Everything you have stated as reasons is NOTHING but belief or subjective assertions from conservative propaganda, but here are some objective facts as to what you conservatives actually did from the time of Goldwater through Reagan, Bush I and Bush II; during these years, you conservatives have bankrupted the United States, destroyed the economy of the United States, destroyed the industrial base of the United States, financialized the economy of the United States, converted the economy of the United States to a mercantile economy, created a financialized bubble with toxic mortgages, toxic credit securities, toxic insurance securities and toxic derivatives and have been on WELFARE since 2008 that has cost socialized responsibility of the American people for privatized benefit tens of TRILLIONS of dollars that has already been spent with no end in sight; there’s nothing else I need to know about you conservatives, other than when are you going to pay it back to the country with interest?  Perchance you are an ignorant lumpen-conservative who is mentally incapable of understanding the misery you conservatives brought on our nation.

To my way of thinking what I have related is more than enough for every last conservative that benefited or enabled the related schemes to be in prison for the rest of their lives and all of their ill gotten gains to be clawed back to the government of the United States to help pay for cleaning up their mess.

Tens of TRILLIONS of dollars of socialized responsibility for privatized benefit</b> in the <i>current iteration of Corporate Capitalism for privatized benefit, and the fact that this is the so called “economic cycle” that perpetuated this abomination has been an integral part of privatized Capitalism, since the origin of Capitalism in Britain.  Privatized Capitalism has had to be supported by a life line of socialized responsibility for privatized benefit, since capitalism’s origin and capitalism is and always has been supported by a socialized responsibility life line; therefore, it would be more appropriate to have “Socialized Capitalism” for socialized benefit, so that privatized benefit is not cyclicly drawing tens of TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS at a time for privatized benefit to Privatized Capitalism.

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, September 30, 2009 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment

voice of truth?, September 29 at 12:35 pm,

voice of truth? said:  “Thomas, how little you actually know of conservatives.”

ThomasG’s answer: Conservatism has all of the legitimacy of “Supply-Side Economics” for which it stands——“Voo-Doo Economics” that destroyed the industrial base of the United States as a manufacturing economy, enabled private interests to financialize the U.S. Economy and led the United States to a mercantile economy based upon “borrow and spend governance” and financialized pyramid schemes with derivative securities, inclusive of mortgage securities and credit default swap securities, that destroyed the U.S. Economy and will take generations of communal labor by as yet unborn hundreds of millions of Common Population people to pay back, that will have to live in squalor for the terms of their lives, their children’s lives and their children’s childrens lives, as they are forced by law to pay back, by their own deprivation, that from which they received no benefit.  If you conservatives are under a delusion that the 70% MAJORITY Common Population of the United States should be grateful to you conservatives for bestowing this burdensome legacy upon us, think again.

Everything you have stated as reasons is NOTHING but belief or subjective assertions from conservative propaganda, but here are some objective facts as to what you conservatives actually did from the time of Goldwater through Reagan, Bush I and Bush II; during these years, you conservatives have bankrupted the United States, destroyed the economy of the United States, destroyed the industrial base of the United States, financialized the economy of the United States, converted the economy of the United States to a mercantile economy, created a financialized bubble with toxic mortgages, toxic credit securities, toxic insurance securities and toxic derivatives and have been on WELFARE since 2008 that has cost socialized responsibility of the American people for privatized benefit tens of TRILLIONS of dollars that has already been spent with no end in sight; there’s nothing else I need to know about you conservatives, other than when are you going to pay it back to the country with interest?  Perchance you are an ignorant lumpen-conservative who is mentally incapable of understanding the misery you conservatives brought on our nation; otherwise you should be in line for punishment.

To my way of thinking what I have related is more than enough for every last conservative that benefited or enabled the related schemes to be in prison for the rest of their lives and all of their ill gotten gains to be clawed back to the government of the United States to help pay for cleaning up their mess.

Tens of TRILLIONS of dollars of socialized responsibility for privatized benefit in the current iteration of Corporate Capitalism for privatized benefit, and the fact that this is the so called “economic cycle” that perpetuated this abomination has been an integral part of privatized Capitalism, since the origin of Capitalism in Britain.  Privatized Capitalism has had to be supported by a life line of socialized responsibility for privatized benefit, since capitalism’s origin and capitalism is and always has been supported by a socialized responsibility life line; therefore, it would be more appropriate to have “Socialized Capitalism” for socialized benefit, so that privatized benefit is not cyclicly drawing tens of TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS at a time for privatized benefit to Privatized Capitalism.

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, September 30, 2009 at 8:24 pm Link to this comment

voice of truth?, September 29 at 12:35 pm,

voice of truth? said:  “Thomas, how little you actually know of conservatives.”

ThomasG’s answer: Conservatism has all of the legitimacy of “Supply-Side Economics” for which it stands——“Voo-Doo Economics” that destroyed the industrial base of the United States as a manufacturing economy, enabled private interests to financialize the U.S. Economy and led the United States to a mercantile economy based upon “borrow and spend governance” and financialized pyramid schemes with derivative securities, inclusive of mortgage securities and credit default swap securities, that destroyed the U.S. Economy and will take generations of communal labor by as yet unborn hundreds of millions of Common Population people to pay back, that will have to live in squalor for the terms of their lives, their children’s lives and their children’s childrens lives, as they are forced by law to pay back, by their own deprivation, that from which they received no benefit.  If you conservatives are under a delusion that the 70% MAJORITY Common Population of the United States should be grateful to you conservatives for bestowing this burdensome legacy upon us, think again.

Everything you have stated as reasons is NOTHING but belief or subjective assertions from conservative propaganda, but here are some objective facts as to what you conservatives actually did from the time of Goldwater through Reagan, Bush I and Bush II; during these years, you conservatives have bankrupted the United States, destroyed the economy of the United States, destroyed the industrial base of the United States, financialized the economy of the United States, converted the economy of the United States to a mercantile economy, created a financialized bubble with toxic mortgages, toxic credit securities, toxic insurance securities and toxic derivatives and have been on WELFARE since 2008 that has cost socialized responsibility of the American people for privatized benefit tens of TRILLIONS of dollars that has already been spent with no end in sight; there’s nothing else I need to know about you conservatives, other than when are you going to pay it back to the country with interest?  Perchance you are an ignorant lumpen-conservative who is mentally incapable of understanding the misery you conservatives brought on our nation; otherwise you should be in line for punishment.

To my way of thinking what I have related is more than enough for every last conservative that benefited or enabled the related schemes to be in prison for the rest of their lives and all of their ill gotten gains to be clawed back to the government of the United States to help pay for cleaning up their mess.

Tens of TRILLIONS of dollars of socialized responsibility for privatized benefit</b> in the <i>current iteration of Corporate Capitalism for privatized benefit, and the fact that this is the so called “economic cycle” that perpetuated this abomination has been an integral part of privatized Capitalism, since the origin of Capitalism in Britain.  Privatized Capitalism has had to be supported by a life line of socialized responsibility for privatized benefit, since capitalism’s origin and capitalism is and always has been supported by a socialized responsibility life line; therefore, it would be more appropriate to have “Socialized Capitalism” for socialized benefit, so that privatized benefit is not cyclicly drawing tens of TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS at a time for privatized benefit to Privatized Capitalism.

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Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, September 30, 2009 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment

When a poster arrogates to itself the moniker “Voice of Truth”, that’s already a
very bad sign.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, September 30, 2009 at 7:28 am Link to this comment

voice of truth:
‘Thomas, how little you actually know of conservatives.  For starters, one could make a very good argument that Unions have done a pretty good job of helping to bring down the US manufacturing base.  They definitely have made their mark on the decline of the US auto industry…. ‘

So people exercising the rights of expression, association, contract, and property in their labor destroy the country?  That’s an interesting idea.  Do you want to expand on that theory?

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, September 29, 2009 at 6:11 pm Link to this comment

voice of truth?, September 29 at 12:35, and Night-Gaunt,

(Page 1 of 2)

voice of truth? said: “There are consequences in life, that is a fact.”

ThomasG’s answer:  This previous post is particularly appropriate as a response to your drivel:

“Republicans are just as much into socialism as anyone has ever been, it is just that Republicans are into socialism for the few, not socialism for the many.”

“When both the Left and the Right advocate socialism, the Republican Right corporate socialism and the democratic Left, socialism for the many, what is the relevant question, as regards socialism? —— that socialist resources of the many are good for the few, the Republican Right, but socialist resources for the many’s benefit the democratic Left are bad because the wide dispersal of resources to the many diminish socialist benefit to the few, the Republican Right.  This justification of Right-Wing Republican socialism for the few at the expense of the many is a “greed is good” philosophy that has as a result of the collapsed economy and “borrow and spend” governance cost the 70% MAJORITY Common Population trillions of dollars in expenses to reconcile Right-Wing Republican socialism for the few at the expense of the many; it is time for these socialist resources to be clawed back from the few for the benefit of the many.”

“The Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST Republicans have been vehemently agitating against socialism and communism since the Russian Revolution in 1917, and all during that time the Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST Republicans have been employing BOTH socialism and communism for themselves and their minions, while decrying socialism and communism  for the many; if corporate socialism and corporate communism is good for the Right-Wingers, and it must be, because they cling to it like stink on a dead skunk, it must be just as good for the Left-Wingers.  The Right-Wingers decry socialism and communism for the Left, because it dilutes and diminishes corporate socialist and communist benefit for the Right from socialized collection of tax revenue by the U.S. Government; when both the Left and the Right are seeking the same socialist and communist benefit, Right-Wingers claims that socialism and communism for the many are nothing more than hollow sophist rhetoric in support of their “greed is good” philosophy—— nothing more.”

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, September 29, 2009 at 6:09 pm Link to this comment

voice of truth?, September 29 at 12:35, and Night-Gaunt,

(Page 2 of 2)

voice of truth? said: “There are consequences in life, that is a fact.”

ThomasG’s answer (cont.): 

With regard to your false choice between socialism and capitalism, this previous post is also appropriate in response to your drivel:

“The choice between Capitalism and Socialism is a false choice —— capital is indifferent as to who owns capital.”

“A socialist can own and benefit from capital as well as socialist institutions.”

“The REAL choice is the choice of who owns capital, private interests or socialist interests.”

“Those who perpetuate the myth that the only choice is that choice between Capitalism and Socialism are doing nothing more than diverting the dialogue away from private ownership of capital as opposed to socialist ownership of capital——private ownership of capital that is in the best interest of the greater greed of a minority of the population or socialist ownership of capital that is in the best interest of the greater good of the majority interest of the population.”

What is CAPITAL? ——answer this question and then ask yourself, why does an asset that provides a revenue stream have to be owned by private interests, rather than socialist interests?”

“I think by now that anyone not residing under a rock, without ever coming out into the light of day, knows that socialist interests bear the responsibility of maintaining the value of capital owned by private interests, why on earth, when socialist interests are responsible for maintaining the value of capital would socialized interests not be interested in direct ownership of the “assets that provide a revenue stream” for which they are made to be responsible for maintaining the value of?”


The fact is that Right-Wing EXTREMIST conservatism destroyed the economy of the United States and the World, bankrupted the United States as a nation and required the most massive intervention of socialism in the history of the World to bail the United States out of the mess that Right-Wing EXTREMIST Conservatives inflicted upon the United States and the World.  You people should be ashamed, those responsible should be prosecuted and as much of the tens of trillions of dollars that it took to clean up your conservative EXTREMIST mess as possible should be clawed back, so that conservatives do not benefit from the intentional destruction of the U.S. Economy, financialization of the United States economy, and “borrow and spend” governance that bankrupted the nation.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, September 29, 2009 at 4:11 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie said: As far as I’m concerned you should feel free to attack Teddy Kennedy all you like, although I hope the material will be less worn-out than the usual.

Yes you are right, and as always that is a reasonable path. But right after his death, and in the first Truthdig articles discussing that fact…  i thought it was uncool.

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Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, September 29, 2009 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment

By OzarkMichael, September 28 at 9:04 pm:

Oh dear. Did Oz get the impression that I’m not a nice person? I’m crushed, truly.

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By ardee, September 29, 2009 at 3:17 pm Link to this comment

And Ardee, why do you keep posting here?  All you ever do is try to ridicule postings that you seem to disagree with by disparaging the poster, yet you don’t actually say anything. [

Since you asked babble of untruth I post here because there are, amidst the chaff of those like you, some fine minds here.

When someone distorts the meaning of my post, as did you buddy below, I call him/her out on that lie. I hope that is not too difficult for you to comprehend.

Speaking of saying something, try it sometimes….You might even choose to ignore my efforts as you find them so objectionable, but then you would not seem the childish dolt you are….

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, September 29, 2009 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment

I am saying that they are still out there but the units of measure used by the CMSM are skewed. The Republican party is the extreme right wing at this time and their mainstream. The extreme left is where exactly? Not in the Democratic party but if you listen to the extremists at Fox they are. That is what I mean.

And where are the Unions on the same level at all with hurting the car companies? I haven’t seen it. All they did was build the cars so how are they to blame?

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By voice of truth, September 29, 2009 at 10:32 am Link to this comment

Actually, I specifically stated that the greed factor was a factor and also specifically stated that management and unions were, in fact, both responsible.  I know I left a long post, but if you are going to critique it at least read it.

I also did not state that the Far Right was a majority, and I am not sure how you inferred that.  What I did say is that what I and others classify as center-right is where the US society fits and almost always has.  Quite simply, the US is a more conservative society than most of the western democracies.

I disagree that the extreme right is now the right, as you say.  I personally believe that the far left and the far right (extreme if you want to call it that) are both still out there, and are both disdained by the core.  In fact, they are more alike than they care to believe.

Summary - - Read a post fully before surmising on it and/or attacking the poster.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, September 29, 2009 at 10:19 am Link to this comment

By voice of truth, September 29 at 12:35 pm #

“Thomas, how little you actually know of conservatives.  For starters, one could make a very good argument that Unions have done a pretty good job of helping to bring down the US manufacturing base.  They definitely have made their mark on the decline of the US auto industry.”

I suppose if you ignore the greed, stupidity and malfeasance of the owners and designers and marketers of the bad products that the labor manufactures you can. Leave out enough facts and you can make a false but convincing argument.

The Far right isn’t a majority either but they are gaining a sway over the important aspects of our gov’t and economy that could make them the rulers of the rest of us. Center-right? I wonder what that criterion is? Explain what such a people believe and would except. You know that the Left-Right dichotomy is from Revolutionary France’s Senate and is too narrow a measure? Even so using it we see that the Center has been taken over by the right as the Left has been shoved to the extreme and the extreme has been knocked off the line. It means that the extreme Right is now the Right don’t you?

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By voice of truth, September 29, 2009 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

Thomas, how little you actually know of conservatives.  For starters, one could make a very good argument that Unions have done a pretty good job of helping to bring down the US manufacturing base.  They definitely have made their mark on the decline of the US auto industry .

I am not going to argue over what is the “fair share” that workers should get from a company they work for, or the “greed” of those who run it.  Our laws state, and ALWAYS have, that corporations exist to make money.  And both sides are as complicit as each other to a great degree.

Most conservatives I know believe that the US is the one place in the world where anyone, regardless of their place at birth, can be anything they ascribe to be.  We also believe that achieving that goal takes hard work and a certain amount of talent.  And don’t take that as a clarion call for “all for me, screw you”.  It is a proven fact that if I start a business, I will most likely start to hire people to help me run it.  Those people can then take that experience and maybe start their own, if that is their desire.  Either way, conservativism is not about “keeping people down”, it is about lifting people up.

We believe that the government can and should provide a safety net for people to get back on their feet, but we do not believe that government should be a sustaining mechanism in someone’s life for years and years.

We believe in personal responsibility.  Again, that is not a screw you mentality, but simply the thinking that if I want to achieve something, I have to work for it.  Why should I expect someone else to work it for me?

We believe life is about choices.  Every single thing we do in life is a choice.  This morning, I decided what time to get up.  Driving to work I decided which way to go.  If a plane crashed on my head, that was the result of my decision to leave at a certain time and drive a certain way.  Simplistic?  Yes, but it shows that people can, and will, make bad decisions in their lives.  Really, when someone makes consistently bad decisions for years and years, why would they change if someone steps in every time and fixes it for them?  There are consequences in life, that is a fact.  We can not legislate away stupidity, or bad choices.

I know you and your friends do not like the fact that life has winners and losers, but that is the way it is.  Nothing can change that.  True Socialism, which I think is what you are espousing has been shown over and over to be a failed enterprise.  Even the original Massachusetts Bay Colony (the Pilgrims) initially tried a socialist approach.  And there were people who worked, and those that didn’t, assuming someone else would doit for them.  To me, that is a LOT more arrogant than a CEO taking a large bonus.

The far left is NOT the majority in this country.  It is an established fact that the US is a center-right country.  This country was not only built by greed, it was built by those who wanted to live in a place that offered them the chance at a better life.  Hardworking people who didn’t expect anything.  And that will always be the backbone of our society.  So take your hate-mongering and go back to your cave

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, September 29, 2009 at 9:13 am Link to this comment

Yes ThomasG the other MarthaA and she thought I was also Ozark Michael!

I had my problems with Kennedy and I said it but without vitriol. Indeed it is too easy to do it that way. I just wonder how they could do it without it. If they could do it without it. With valid direct criticisms of what he supported or not with Kristol‘s for that matter as with Kennedy. I think we should speak truthfully of the dead, not just the best parts of them. It all lingers, especially that. I had no personal stake in either.

Ozark Michael has his way of seeing things as do I as do everyone else. We need all their points of view in order to see the whole. Some are just better at it than others. “Practice makes Perfect” is the phrase though I do strive to reach the optimum. Perfection is an imperfect concept created by imperfect minds.

We have a long way to go before we reach ”...a planet full of creative geniuses…” just yet.

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, September 29, 2009 at 7:24 am Link to this comment

OzarkMichael,

Conservatism has all of the legitimacy of “Supply-Side Economics” for which it stands——“Voo-Doo Economics” that destroyed the industrial base of the United States as a manufacturing economy, enabled private interests to financialize the U.S. Economy and led the United States to a mercantile economy based upon “borrow and spend governance” and financialized pyramid schemes with derivative securities, inclusive of mortgage securities and credit default swap securities, that destroyed the U.S. Economy and will take generations of communal labor by as yet unborn hundreds of millions of Common Population people to pay back, that will have to live in squalor for the terms of their lives, their children’s lives and their children’s childrens lives, as they are forced by law to pay back, by their own deprivation, that from which they received no benefit.  If conservatives are under a delusion that the 70% MAJORITY Common Population of the United States  should be grateful to the conservatives  for bestowing this burdensome legacy upon them, they have false expectations.

Irving Kristol was one of the conservatives responsible for these offenses against the 70% MAJORITY Common Population of the United States along with the Conservative Movement.  I find it shameful for those who have to pay the price for what Kristol and the rest of the Conservative Movement in the United States did to degrade the United States as a nation and as an economy, and to degrade the quality of their own lives, as well as the lives of countless generations of their progeny to, in any way, lend credence and/or validation to the shameful behavior of the Conservative Movement from the time of Goldwater through Reagan, Bush I and Bush II.

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By voice of truth, September 29, 2009 at 7:00 am Link to this comment

Ozark, you are so right.  The vitriol, visceral hatred and complete lack of civility of so many on the left, and this site in particular, is astonishing.  The left, we are told, is so tolerant, inclusive, yadda yadda.

And Ardee, why do you keep posting here?  All you ever do is try to ridicule postings that you seem to disagree with by disparaging the poster, yet you don’t actually say anything.  Your comments are the ones that seem increasingly irrelevant, unless relevance is determined by how much you can insult someone without actually saying why.

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By Anarcissie, September 29, 2009 at 5:04 am Link to this comment

OzarkMichael:
‘It was not that long ago that Ted Kennedy died.  here on Truthdig I posted that it was not the proper time to attack Kennedy or his politics. ...

Now a conservative dies. What happens on Truthdig? Kristol is blamed for the destruction of our economy, he is equated with fascism, etc.’ ...

You could have found lots of abuse of Kennedy elsewhere, however.  This just doesn’t happen to be a good location for it, although if Kennedy had been more active he might have been at least as roundly abused as Obama, Clinton, and some other big-ticket Democrats here (fascists one and all, according to some).  Belaboring the ghost of Kristol with fascism is at least a political criticism; Kennedy came in for lots of personal scurrility as well wherever his name was mentioned on many public forums—a sort of knee-jerk thing which I think might have been passed over for once.

As far as I’m concerned you should feel free to attack Teddy Kennedy all you like, although I hope the material will be less worn-out than the usual.

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By ardee, September 29, 2009 at 3:12 am Link to this comment

“That truth is , of course, not the bullshit offerings of an increasingly strident and irrelevant OzarkMichael, who has , sadly, descended from a decent intellectual beginning to his current status as spouter of neocon stupidity and personal insult. “

I repost this assessment as I think it relevant and the truth of the matter. The post which was headed by the comment ( actually an old song lyric in fact) had no diatribe against Kristol whatever.

The truth, sadly, matters not to Ozark, only the ideology counts.

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By Jean Gerard, September 28, 2009 at 10:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Superficial but amusing observation:  The number of times Kristol’s “grin” is mentioned in the comments prompted my memory to call up the conspiratorial “grins” of a number of the other neos—almost a hallmark:
  1. Cheney
  2. Wolfowitz
  3. Perle
  4. Buckley (though maybe not exactly a neo)
  5. Bush (though he could only qualify as a fellow-traveller due to shortages in the mental department)
  6. And of course that Iraqi—forget his name!  How could I?  Oh, yeah!  Chalabi.
Spooky, the lot of them

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By OzarkMichael, September 28, 2009 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment

It was not that long ago that Ted Kennedy died.  here on Truthdig I posted that it was not the proper time to attack Kennedy or his politics.

I would never have voted for the man, but i recognize that those who supported him needed time to reflect on the good and the bad, and in the process be truer to their high ideals while being aware of mortality and human failings.

Now a conservative dies. What happens on Truthdig? Kristol is blamed for the destruction of our economy, he is equated with fascism, etc.

When I roughly interrupted that process I am told it is “drivel” by Ed Harges.  And “bullshit offerings”,  “neocon stupidity” and “personal insult” by ardee.

I would like to compare my treatment of Ted Kennedy to your treatment of Irving Kristol. Here are some of your supposedly intelligent and non-insulting remarks:

Ed Harges: I hope that on his deathbed he had a sudden moment of clarity and comprehended the true hideousness of his soul, and then choked to death on his own vomit.

ardee: “I am glad you’re dead, you rascal you.”

LostHills: It’s too bad he didn’t die in prison.

Mary Ann McNeely: Ex-Trotskyite fanatic becomes crypto fascist capitalist fanatic.  Down in hell, Stalin has already split Kristol’s head open with an axe.  Rest in pieces, you piece of excrement!

archeon of thrace: Dead and gone but not soon enough

Now, among so many high minded Leftist statements, someone had the nerve to call me out for “personal insults”.  Ohhh, thats priceless, even for ardee.

The crap you throw at me and the crap you throw at the things I believe in, well, thats exactly what you get in return. To expect me to keep it highbrow all the time while you guys bring knives to the fight… sorry, but I wont cooperate.

None of the Truthdig Leftists gave halt to the personal insults, TheRealFish even wrote a long philosophical post of why it was acceptable to speak ill of Kristol even though he is dead.

Virginia 777, thank you for posting some sanity. But understand that I have to be rough with people who understand nothing but abuse. Their abuse bespeaks of worse to come, and I will use ThomasG as an example:

However, it is good for the greater MAJORITY of Americans that Kristol is dead, and it will be better for the greater MAJORITY of Americans when the rest of his generation of Corporate Communists in service to Capitalistic Communism for the FEW and adamantly opposed to Collective Communism for the MANY join Irving Kristol…

ThomasG joins MarthaA in a misbegotten Leftist ideology, which hopes for the death of millions. A Leftist daydream that unfortunately gets fulfilled on occasion.

Ugh. I would rather be like Irving Kristol any day, and I hope all of you would do the same.

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By Ed Harges, September 28, 2009 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment

I hope that on his deathbed he had a sudden moment of clarity and
comprehended the true hideousness of his soul, and then choked to death on his
own vomit.

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By ThomasG, September 28, 2009 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

Both Neoconservatism and Conservatism is Communism for the FEW in service to Capitalism. Both Conservatism and Neoconservatism are adamantly against Communism for the MANY and in support of Corporate Communism.

Irving Kristol, as the Godfather of Neoconservatism or as any other type of patriarch of Conservatism, was nothing more than a greedy self-serving person in support of Corporate Communism for the FEW, and adamantly against Collective Communism for the MANY.

Communism is used to collectively raise taxes from the MANY, and Corporate Communism concerns itself with using the collective resources of the MANY, the U.S. Government, for privatized benefit; this is what both Conservatism and Neoconservatism is, at heart, about.

Irving Kristol outlived the FAILED Conservative Movement that led the United States over an economic cliff with the collapse of the U.S. Economy that resulted from the Conservative Movement’s use of “borrow and spend” governance and financialization of the U.S. Economy that led to “toxic securities” and “insurance scams” collapsing not only the U.S. Economy, but the economy of the world.

Everyone dies and therefore it is neither good nor bad that Irving Kristol is dead with regard to Irving Kristol personally.

However, it is good for the greater MAJORITY of Americans that Kristol is dead, and it will be better for the greater MAJORITY of Americans when the rest of his generation of Corporate Communists in service to Capitalistic Communism for the FEW and adamantly opposed to Collective Communism for the MANY join Irving Kristol, so that the nation can move on to service to the greater good, rather than the greater greed of Corporate Communism.

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By Virginia777, September 28, 2009 at 12:10 pm Link to this comment

to voice of truth:

“Again, the lovable tolerance of the hate filled left.  True visceral hatred for a person because of their ideas.  That’s great.”

You are right, hatred directed at another commentator,

from left or right is not tolerable.

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By Virginia777, September 28, 2009 at 12:05 pm Link to this comment

to OzarkMichael:

I find your points from your 5:40 p.m. comment interesting. It is the Anarchists (those not afraid to speak out) of today who are so alarmingly few,

and starting to be persecuted.

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By voice of truth, September 28, 2009 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

Again, the lovable tolerance of the hate filled left.  True visceral hatred for a person because of their ideas.  That’s great.

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By Night-Gaunt, September 27, 2009 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment

Or at best it may rhyme in a bloody way.

“No firing squads? How can you have a revolution without firing squads?”-V.I.Lenin

The man became one of the ruling elite and is still today revered, along with Stalin as secular demigods among the nostalgic.

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By OzarkMichael, September 27, 2009 at 2:40 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther said: Socialists therefore tended to ignroe anarchists because their views objectively aided counter revolution

I would say that Lenin did alot more than ‘ignore’ the anarchists. the death penalty was his response to them.

Here is a segment from Lenin’s list of crimes that called for capital punishment, his gift to the world. It was the last important project Lenin worked on before his stroke. One might say it is his last will and testament. Only instead of giving lands or money he handed out death sentences:

Propaganda or agitation that objectively serves (or is likely to serve) the interests of that section of the international bourgeoisie…

http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1922/may/17.htm

Now the tricky part is this: or is likely to serve, because that measn that even if you intended otherwise, even if you werent trying to be political, this could apply to you. Its that intentional vagueness that placed everyone in Russia at Lenin’s mercy. This is Lenin’s original contribution to governmental terror. It would soon be Stalin’s hand at the wheel, but its still Lenin’s terror.

Some will say, “but Lenin was a good man with good intentions” and “he had some reasons why he had to do it” and etc.

Ah, you are so careful to take circumstances into account when you judge your own kind. You dont have half that much patience with Reagan, Bush, Irving Kristol, me, or even Barack Obama.

Some of you complain that my posts are “drivel”. Alright. Now my last two posts are substantial. Especially this one, which examines a problem of utmost historical importance and has application for many of you today.

But I have learned that in the face of intellectual challenge, most Leftists either go ballistic or give a big yawn, (except Anarcissie, who calmly meets it head on) 

Regardless, it is interesting that Folktruther uses the same word ‘objectively’ for the activity of anarchists that Lenin used. Anarchists who were the spearhead of the Revolution but who spoke against Lenin’s program were a nuisance to him. So he ruled that their disagreement with him ‘objectively aided’ the international counterrevolution.

The similarity in thought between Leftists back then and Leftists today is striking. Without knowing your history, you are doomed to repeat it.

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By dr wu, September 27, 2009 at 11:05 am Link to this comment

Kristol’s original sin lay in hanging out in the Trotskite Alcoves of the City College lunchroom instead of the Stalinist Alcoves. Kristol’s great hatred of Stalin turned him into a gaseous fulminator, full of bile and bilge. Sadly, Kristol helped turn America into a Reaganesque, anti-government, rule by Free Markets dystopia that we now have.

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By Folktruther, September 27, 2009 at 10:04 am Link to this comment

Anaracissie, not only did Lenin and Trotsky not believe that people shoucl be ruled by a closed Elite, they gave their lives fighting such a beleif.  but the only way seige socialism could survive the captialist onsluaght was by centralizing power.  Otherwise they would all be slaughtered and capitaqlist oppression restored.

Socialists thereforre tended to ignroe anarchists because their views objectively aided counter revolution, even though most noted anarchists were quite sincere.  This is why marists and unions tended to ignore coops, which play a large role in future socialism.

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By OzarkMichael, September 27, 2009 at 9:48 am Link to this comment

Birnbaum wrote: I asked why Kristol (and Lynne Cheney) were so fearful of students being indoctrinated by socially critical professors. Anyone who had spent much time in a classroom, I objected, would have encountered the obdurate resistance of American students to any ideas—left, right or center. Cheney replied somewhat lamely, but Kristol enjoyed the conceit. I concluded from his grin that he wished to communicate that he…

Let me break into Birnbaum’s daydream of what Kristol wished to communicate and try to come up with something that Kristol actually thought. Since Kristol is dead, he can’t defend himself when daydreaming opponents ‘tell’ us what he ‘thought’.

Here is Kristol from the New York Times Magazine, Mar. 28, 1971:

After all, if you believe that no one was ever corrupted by a book, you also have to believe that no one was ever improved by a book (or a play or a movie). You have to believe, in other words, that all art is morally trivial and that, consequently, all education is morally irrelevant. No one, not even a university professor, really believes that.

It wasnt hard to find, although it would be unlikely that the Leftist ‘intellectuals’ ardee and Ed Harges would bother to try. So its up to me.

When he it comes to truth, on several matters all you really have is me.  Assuming you want to know the truth, you guys should be happy to have me here.

But perhaps I assume too much.

Anyway, lets see what fascism riff Night Gaunt and Anarcissie can come up with from reality instead of daydreams.

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By LostHills, September 27, 2009 at 8:16 am Link to this comment

It’s too bad he didn’t die in prison.

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By Anarcissie, September 27, 2009 at 7:07 am Link to this comment

I was not working from the picture but from Birnbaum’s account (in the paragraph which begins “Once, at a symposium…”), and from other things I have read about and by his subject.

The notion that communities should be governed by a powerful, knowledgeable, closed elite is, of course, a theme running through Plato and Aristotle—hardly a recent invention.  It is more curious to see it cropping up on the Left (Trotsky, Lenin) than on the Right, so I don’t find the reports of Kristol very remarkable.  In fact, I’m not really sure why people paid so much attention to him.

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By ardee, September 27, 2009 at 6:38 am Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt, September 26 at 5:16 pm #


Ah yes the notorious Bill Ayers former revolutionary turned educator.

Last evening, on the Bill Maher show, John Waters noted that he supported Obama because of his own support of Bill Ayers. Waters is a funny, funny man, and tongue in cheek his repertoire , but the germ of truth was there.

That truth is , of course, not the bullshit offerings of an increasingly strident and irrelevant OzarkMichael, who has , sadly, descended from a decent intellectual beginning to his current status as spouter of neocon stupidity and personal insult.

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By OzarkMichael, September 26, 2009 at 8:44 pm Link to this comment

Quite obviously, Anarcissie does not “build her case” against the neocons from the smile in the photograph. She muses on the smile as a point of departure for an insightful essay

Children make the assumption that grown-up books have pictures in the them for the same reason that children’s books do: as an integral statement of the story.

Ed Harges seems to think the articles on Truthdig have pictures that are part of the plot. He doesnt read very often, apparently.

An adult would know that the photograph of Krystol is not from the seminar, it has nothing to do with Birnbaum’s fanciful ‘grin’ paragraph.

I know the pretty picture is near that paragraph, Ed, but we grown-ups dont make the assumption that the photo is an illustration of the scene described. It is just a picture of Mr Krystol at some other event and time.

Competition for me? Anarcissie is, but ‘big city’ Ed Hardes certainly isn’t.

Go back to your kiddie books, little Ed.

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By pgg804, September 26, 2009 at 8:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Is this supposed to be an unbiased article on Irving Kristol.  The article comes
from the magazine The Weekly Standard.  The editor of this magazine is William
Kristol, the son of Irving Kristol and its the leading neo-conservative magazine.

Personally, I believe the neo-conservative movement he founded is a criminal
organization.  A movement designed to advance Israel’s and America’s interests at
the expense of every other country in their way.

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By Ed Harges, September 26, 2009 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment

re: By OzarkMichael, September 26 at 10:43 pm:

This drivel from OzarkMichael might play well in the Ozarks, but in the big city, it
can’t withstand the competition.

Quite obviously, Anarcissie does not “build her case” against the neocons from
the smile in the photograph. She muses on the smile as a point of departure for
an insightful essay. The distinction, undoubtedly, is beyond the ken of
OzarkMichael.

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By OzarkMichael, September 26, 2009 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie says: Birnbaum’s quip at the symposium and Kristol’s appreciative response show, I think, the essentially elitist or one might even say fascistic nature of the neo-cons: the masses are too dumb to think,... and etc.

Anarcissie builds her case for the imagined fascist nature of ‘neo-cons’ on powerful evidence: a grin.

That facial expression which could have meant any number of things. Kristol may have been grinning at someone else. Or he may have been thinking of something funny. Or he might have had something to say but decided to be nice to old Birnbaum. But Birnbaum loves to imaginitively shade things just enough to make absurd suggestions. He is good at that.

And it worked like a charm, Arracissie is off and running on a ‘fascist’ riff.

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By politicky, September 26, 2009 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment

“We now think of the CIA as peopled by blunderers, liars, thugs—with a counterculture of conscience-stricken servants of the Republic in the ranks of its retired. The early CIA was more diverse. It was led, generally, by scions of the Ivy League who had returned from the war to their banks and law firms and universities to find peace boring.”

You forgot drug dealer, and excitement junkie.  Oh, no you didn’t, did you?

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By archeon of thrace, September 26, 2009 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment

Dead and gone but not soon enough.

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By Ed Harges, September 26, 2009 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment

This man used his intellectual clout to wage war against the hard-won legacy of
the Enlightenment and make barbarism and ethnic supremacism respectable
again.

The whole neocon approach to the world is, “We’re nice, liberal, democratic
people, but those otherpeople are cruel and unscrupulous and undemocratic,
so we’ll have to be at least as cruel and unscrupulous and undemocratic as they
are until the final defeat of all Evil! But we’re still completely different from
those bad people because we plan to change back to our true, virtuous
selves as soon as the War Against Evil is absolutely, positively over! Meanwhile, the
only people we must spare from any inconvenience whatsoever during this messy
War On Evil are the Jews, especially Israeli Jews, because, why, you have to draw
the line somewhere! And anybody who doesn’t buy this is anti-Semitic!”

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By Night-Gaunt, September 26, 2009 at 2:16 pm Link to this comment

Another one of the godfathers is dead. I wonder what he had to say about today? Does anyone know? I would be curious to see if any of his dreams of tomorrow were being fulfilled today. If not already done.

Ah yes the notorious Bill Ayers former revolutionary turned educator. What he couldn’t do in action he now is trying to in the written word? Maybe. Casting aspersions by who you know or met is a time honored tradition. Spread that mud! However as a revolutionary Ayers failed, mighten he now be doing something else? For Obama who is not only an ardent capitalist but of the same strain we have been experienced for the past 29 years belies the attack on him. Unless Bill Ayers too had such a conversion. It has happened before as we see with Norman Podhoretz who still a fanatic but his mania is now directed to his perceptions of liberalism. Just as poorly researched but much better paid and more prestigious within the parallel constructions of the neo-liberals and neo-conservatives. I was happy to see him go.

We have already seen that the Conservatives* favor doing over teaching. Which is why there are so few in universities and schools but so many in think tanks, corporations, churches, military and gov’t. Many of them have their own totalitarian elite views of how the rest of us should live and their means of implementing them against us.

*Conservatives say “stop!” But the ones who want to go backward are Regressives.

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By Anarcissie, September 26, 2009 at 1:19 pm Link to this comment

It seemed to me at the time that the criticism of Ayers was simply a political ploy, and would be abandoned immediately if it didn’t work, which it pretty much was.  I don’t see what is has to do particularly with neo-conservatism, insofar as I understand that term at all.  It was more of a “Let’s say Joe fucks pigs” sort of thing—a tactic, not a philosophy.

Birnbaum’s quip at the symposium and Kristol’s appreciative response show, I think, the essentially elitist or one might even say fascistic nature of the neo-cons: the masses are too dumb to think, we have to do it for them, and use whatever means are necessary to obtain their agreement, including fraud, which we can do because we’re so smart.  These people have been infesting the universities forever, I imagine, or at least since universities were invented.  No wonder many of them started out by admiring Trotsky.

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By Folktruther, September 26, 2009 at 10:06 am Link to this comment

You are quite right, Inherit.  Both Kristol and Birnbaum are cynics who tailor their truths to power.  They are just on different sides of the Con/Prog divide.

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By TheRealFish, September 26, 2009 at 9:30 am Link to this comment

It feels as though there are, throughout this post, undercurrents jostling against that hoary concept that, once a person has died, it’s better to remember her/him slightly more positively.

“It’s bad to speak ill of the dead” and all that.

Referring to Kristol as the “godfather” of neoconservatism is “unflattering.”

Indeed.

In the post it’s mentioned that he, like many other like thinkers, felt liberalism went “too far” dealing with the rights of women, etc. Misogyny by any other name…yada yada.

Neoconservatism promotes a form of Thugocracy for the rich and powerful and promotes strutting around the world, dicks a-swinging, basically saying “I got mine; I’m going to take yours; I’m going to keep it; screw all y’all.”

Because a person dies (and we are all ponied up in that queue), her/his life’s work does not suddenly change and become something better or worse that it was. The death is merely a period at the end of a sentence, and those life works are the syntax.

Empathy for the grieving can still be offered for their suffering, and there’s no reason to rub their noses in the ill-choices made by their beloved deceased directly to their faces. It’s “polite” to mutter inconsequential nothings if you vastly disagree with the entire trajectory of a dead person’s life and you stand face-to-face with their familial victims.

But Kristol chose to live his life forcing his views on the public and into the politics that have brought this country to near ruin over the past 40+ years. In this public forum there is no need to place a florid wreath at the feet of his foul legacy just because he died.

Those ill-choices, that life un-well lived, that sequential syntax of his life’s activities, need not be altered with flowery prose because he reached the end we all eventually share.

Kristol’s life is now a completed work and is what it is. He chose to spend his life as a chicken-hawk schoolyard bully, but on a national scale and urging us all to remain armed to the teeth with nukes ready to fly. If those were the facts that could be spoken of or written about when he was alive, that state of living only became cemented into an immutable thing by his “passing,” as he was (so far as any of us can know) unrepentant about promoting his virulent thugocracy to the end.

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By Mary Ann McNeely, September 26, 2009 at 9:26 am Link to this comment

Ex-Trotskyite fanatic becomes crypto fascist capitalist fanatic.  Down in hell, Stalin has already split Kristol’s head open with an axe.  Rest in pieces, you piece of excrement!

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By omygodnotagain, September 26, 2009 at 9:06 am Link to this comment

It is hard not to draw comparison’s to the isms of the 20th Century particularly Fascism and Communism in the behavior and thought of NeoCons. The belief they have the solution, their willingness to go to war, their deceit, lying, their couting of corporate support.
When this period of history is reviewed, it will not mention just the big 2 isms, but the third ism neoconservatism, and maybe it will be the most nefarious of all.

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By OzarkMichael, September 26, 2009 at 7:42 am Link to this comment

ardee said: One such error is noted in the article in the supposition by these folks that colleges worked against the best interests of America. Imagine a movement that diminished the need for an educated populace? Imagine the motives behind such belief?

Yes, imagine a movement which criticizes “folks” like Bill Ayers, and criticizes the “folks” who hired Ayers to theorize(propagandize) on elementary school education at the College of Education in Chicago.

Imagine a movement which criticizes the “folks” who bestowed the title of “Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar” on Ayers, a man whose main qualification to theorize on what to teach children is his experience as a hands-on revolutionary.

Imagine a movement which criticizes the politician who began his career in Ayer’s home. That would be young Barack Obama, if you didnt know.

Now consider our little ardee, who says that a conservative criticism of such “folks” diminished the need for an educated populace. And then he asks the reader to “imagine the motive”.

Since ardee has such concern for motive, perhaps he should come up with a more reasonable evaluation of the goals of our critique, and a better guess as to what our motivations are for criticizing and questioning. But it isnt easy to know what someone else’s motive is, especially when you dont like them. Prejudice gets in the way. So maybe ardee isnt up to it.

In that case, since motive is so important to ardee, he ought to explain his own motivation for wanting to silence criticism. Because he does know the answer to that one.

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By OzarkMichael, September 26, 2009 at 7:40 am Link to this comment

ITW said: It’s easy to understand how the disillusionment with Stalinism (not to be confused with true Marxism) would lead one to swing the other way—no one more zealous than a convert, eh?

Someone else in the story was a Stalinist. Kristol was a Trotsky fan(according to the article), which meant he was not so fond of Joe Stalin.

The article is a bit vague but suggests that by supporting Trotsky, Kristol was thought to be supporting counter-revolution, because most “true Marxists” supported Stalin(ITW’s hopeful opinion to the contrary). Kristol was therefor roundly criticized for not supporting Stalin by his fellow Leftists. The ‘simplification’ is a distant echo of an obscure defense or criticism which went back and forth among Leftists in those days… I think. One has to guess at what Birnbaum is really saying.

One can only guess, because Birnbaum writes the way my wife parallel parks. I have enough familiarity with both of them to only guess where they are trying to go, while knowing for certain that we arent gonna get there anytime soon.

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By Inherit The Wind, September 26, 2009 at 4:53 am Link to this comment

Birnbaum’s perspective is fascinating. You get the feeling he actually LIKED Kristol personally, and respected his ambition and drive.  IK certainly comes across as a far more thoughtful man than that other “godfather”, Podhoretz, a putz who lives in reality-denial as justification of his extreme positions.

It’s easy to understand how the disillusionment with Stalinism (not to be confused with true Marxism) would lead one to swing the other way—no one more zealous than a convert, eh?

Kristol did, unfortunately, leave us his idiot spawn….

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By ardee, September 26, 2009 at 2:40 am Link to this comment

“I am glad you’re dead, you rascal you.”

The neoconservative movement typifies the selfishness of American Empire building, the leaders of that movement made egregious errors time and again and refused to see them as such.

One such error is noted in the article in the supposition by these folks that colleges worked against the best interests of America.Imagine a movement that diminished the need for an educated populace? Imagine the motives behind such belief?

The appeal of such is , in my own opinion, that it is a very selfish belief system, one in which the best interests of the individual trump the best interest of the planet. We are, after all, still imperfect and ,hopefully, still evolving.

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By ChaoticGood, September 26, 2009 at 12:25 am Link to this comment

The NeoConservative movement was and is, like all “isms”, a mythology.  It reminds me greatly of the great British mythology of the 19th century.  That was “Orientalism”.

That particular “ism” led to the rise and fall of the East India Company and the subsequent destruction of the British Empire.  This happened when the core of Orientalism proved to be fragile as markets in the British Empire became unruly and fragmented.  The taxation base that supported the massive British War machine crumbled and the Empire simply ran out of money.

That being said, I think Kristol knew this full well and tried to put in “free market” safeguards that he thought would cushion the new East India Company, namely “America Inc”.  This led to other financial innovations like the World Bank which was essentially a predatory “company store”.  In addition to the World Bank there was an attempt to stabilize tax collection by funneling all products through corporations whose home base was America.

In theory, this would provide tax stability and support Empire building. Well the so-called free market worked well and supported America Inc. for a long time, but the unforseen rise of the multinational corporations who are the “Ronin” of the financial world threw a wrench into the gears of NeoConservatism.

We now come full circle back to the core problem that was faced by the British and now America.  There is simply not enough money to run an American Empire. 

We are watching the rise of China and India with their limitless labor pools and seeing our middle class in ruin.  This is similar to what happened to the British when its colonies broke away and became autonomous.

I wish I could say that NeoConservatism is completely discredited, but beliefs take a long time to shake out of the public mind. We will be very lucky if our society can withstand the chronic mass unemployment and the huge devaluation of the dollar that is coming our way. 

We can thank the short-sighted NeoConservatives for much of it.

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