Monday, September 21, 2009

...the lasting legacy of Irving Kristol

"(...) In any case, the lasting legacy of Irving Kristol is that he was instrumental in turning the conservative movement away from its radical anti-statism and toward an almost exclusive concentration on the moral imperative of an aggressively interventionist foreign policy. His followers and epigones, who carry on the work in his wake, are the warmongers at the Weekly Standard and the Limbaugh-Hannity know-nothing Right, which sees every recognition of the limitations of American power – government power – as a "betrayal." This is surely a most unconservative – even anti-conservative – vision, a form of radicalism that resembles nothing so much as Trotskyism-turned-inside-out.

One of the big differences between Stalin and Trotsky was the former’s conception of "socialism in one country" – the idea that communism could survive only in the Soviet Union and its satellites, without inciting a world revolution. Trotsky, sticking to the orthodox Marxist-Leninist position, held that a world revolution was imperative, or else the Soviet Union was doomed to fail, encircled as it was by the hostile, capitalist West.

What the neocons did was simply switch allegiances from the old Soviet Union to the United States, taking their hotheaded Trotskyist temperament with them – and finally aspiring to lead a world revolution with the United States government at its head. When George W. Bush announced the launching of what he called a "global democratic revolution," he was merely echoing the neo-Trotskyist rhetoric of his closest advisers and the intellectual movement from which they sprang.

The prospects of that revolution grow dimmer by the day, but the idea lives on, as does neoconservatism. In the age of Obama, it takes on new forms – as I explained in my last column – but the essence remains the same: war, war, and yet more war, as far as the eye can see. That, in brief, is the program of the neoconservatives, and Kristol’s legacy for the ages." Justin Raimundo

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