Against the Neoconservatives: Paul Gottfried’s War and Democracy.

Bad-war

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A small but telling example of Gottfried’s acumen: his explanation of why mainstream conservatives such as Jonah Goldberg calleveryone and everything they don’t like “fascist:”

1) It allows self-styled conservatives to have some fun by applying to the other side a pejorative term that the Left has had a monopoly on.

2) Historically, critics such as John T. Flynn had interpreted Roosevelt’s New Deal as the American equivalent of the Mussolini’s fascism and Hitler’s National Socialism (an analysis Dr. Gottfried considers flawed).

3) The “fascist” label is a thinly disguised reductio ad Hitlerum.

4) Most importantly (in Dr. Gottfried’s view) because the neoconservatives who have taken over Conservatism, Inc., are in fact unreconstructed leftists to whom the identification of everything evil with “fascism” comes naturally.

Needless to say, the average Conservatism Inc. columnist would be satisfied with any one of these explanations. Gottfried’s care in distinguishing four is just one small example of why your time is better spent reading him than them.

Thanks to the neoconservatives, Gottfried argues, millions of Americans now believe that the very essence of conservatism lies in “defending wars that our government involves us in.” Such wars, we are assured, are our only guarantee of peace. For America is a democracy, and, as Gottfried summarizes,  only democracies, according to every neoconservative scribbler on the planet, can be peaceful; indeed, non-democratic governments are compulsively mischievous and will, unless brought to see the light, unleash war on the bearers of democratic virtue.

(V Dare, January 18, 2013).

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