Wednesday, December 21, 2005

"Neocons" -- a definition

In the latest issue of New Oxford Review (December 2005), Dale Vree offers an extended definition of "neoconservative," or "neocon," in his editorial that may surprise many. It's not a theological definition. It's not even an ecclesiological definition. How he begins may throw you for a loop. He writes:
Authentic neocons descend from the Communist and socialist movements, with the most prominent leaders being Trotskyites (that is, ultra-Left Communists). When Stalin took over the Soviet Union, the Trotskyites were severely persecuted, and ultimately Trotsky himself was assassinated in Mexico. Stalin was a gentile (indeed, an ex-seminarian) and Trotsky was a Jew, and the divide between the Stalinists and Trotskyites pretty much followed the same divide (with significant exceptions, especially in the early years of the Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe, before many of the Jews in those satellite states were purged from the Party, even executed).
You may be thinking: What's this bit of Soviet history got to do with anything? But in a very few dense paragraphs, Vree takes you to this:
As we said in our September Editorial: "Before Crisis and First Things were even founded, the NOR was contacted by a neocon foundation -- right out of the blue. The foundation wanted to give us money -- 'free' money. A fellow flew out from the East Coast and asked me (the Editor) to meet him for drinks in a San Francisco restaurant -- on him. Sure! (We were desperate for money.) He told me he would fund us regularly -- if we would support corporate capitalism and if we would support a militaristic U.S. foreign policy." What I didn't say was that the fellow was a Jewish neocon with no interest in Christianity or Catholicism, and I suspected he was interested in getting us to promote Jewish neocon interests (which he had every right to do). As we said in the September Editorial, I said "no," and that was the end of that. But the neocon foundations didn't give up. Michael Novak (very pro-Israel) founded Crisis -- then called Catholicism in Crisis -- and Fr. Neuhaus (also very pro-Israel) founded First Things, both with huge financial support from neocon foundations. So the neocons found a way to get Catholic and Christian magazines to front for their largely Jewish neocon interests (which, again, is their right). Do we exaggerate? No we don't. When the Catholic Church denounced the war on Iraq -- calling it an unjust war, a war of aggression -- both Crisis and First Things supported it.

Connecting the dots between early twentieth century Trotskyism and twenty-first century neoconservatism is a serious undertaking. But essentially, according to Vree, it was a process launched by Jewish Trotskyites reacting against the increasingly anti-Semitic policies of Stalin and the post WWII Soviet Union, which sided with Arabs against Israel and prevented Jews from emigrating to Israel. Many Jewish Trotskyites and other Jewish Leftists (though hardly all of them) became vehemently anti-Communist and increasingly conservative; and thus you had the advent of neocons like Irving Kristol, the Jewish ex-Trotskyite godfather of neoconservatism as we now know it. For Vree's historical synopsis that connects the dots from Trotsky to the coalition of dominated by National Review conservatives, Bush Administration operatives and politically conservative Catholics, read Vree's editorial in its entirety online: "What Is a Neoconservative? -- and Does It Matter?" New Oxford Review (December 2005), pp. 2-6. See what you make of it.

Additional references (courtesy of Christopher):

1 comment:

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

Dale Vree's 2005 essay on Neocons is a great reality check for those Catholics who have swallowed the baited hook of republicanism. It is also a reminder of how far into Neo-Cath slackness NOR has fallen since he retired. Thanks for bringing it to our attention once again.