Monday, September 21, 2009

Irving Kristol, RIP

The "godfather" of the neocons leaves a legacy of perpetual war

by Justin Raimondo, September 21, 2009

"To my knowledge, the late Irving Kristol was the only self-admitted neoconservative in existence. With his death, at the age of 89, does this mean the species is extinct? Far from it. In spite of the odd tendency of neoconservatives to deny their ideological heritage, there is no escaping it. The title of Kristol’s 1999 book pinpoints the problem: Neoconservatism: The Autobiography of an Idea.

Neoconservatism, the successful promotion of which Kristol devoted a good part of his life to, is biography at least as much as ideology. It is the story of the so-called New York intellectuals, who spent their misbegotten youth as Trotskyists, penning furious polemics against U.S. imperialism, but mostly against each other – and some of whom, including the ex-Trotskyist Kristol, wound up in the pay of the CIA, writing for Encounter and its French and Italian equivalents. (For a fascinating account of the neocon-CIA convergence, see Christopher Lasch’s essay on the Congress of Cultural Freedom, a CIA front that nurtured Kristol in the early days of the Cold War.) ......

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. "

No comments: