- The neoconservatives are often depicted as former Trotskyites
who have morphed into a new, closely related life form. It is pointed out
that many early neocons -- including The Public Interest founder Irving
Kristol and coeditor Nathan Glazer, Sidney Hook, and Albert Wohlstetter
-- belonged to the anti-Stalinist far left in the late 1930s and early
1940s, and that their successors, including Joshua Muravchik, and Carl
Gershman, came to neoconservatism through the Socialist Party at a time
when it was Trotskyite in outlook and politics. As early as 1963 Richard
Hofstadter commented on the progression of many ex-Communists from the
paranoid left to the paranoid right, clinging all the while to the fundamentally
Manichean psychology that underlies both. Four decades later the dominant
strain of neoconservatism is declared to be a mixture of geopolitical militarism
and "inverted socialist internationalism."
- Blanket depictions of neoconservatives as redesigned
Trotskyites need to be corrected in favor of a more nuanced analysis. In
several important respects the neoconservative world outlook has diverged
from the Trotskyite one and acquired some striking similarities with Stalinism
and German National Socialism. Today's neoconservatives share with Stalin
and Hitler an ideology of nationalist socialism and internationalist imperialism.
The similarities deserve closer scrutiny and may contribute to a better
understanding of the most influential group in the U.S. foreign policy-making
- Certain important differences remain, notably the neoconservatives'
hostility not only to Nazi race-theory but even to the most benign understanding
of national or ethnic coherence. On the surface, there are also glaring
differences in economics. However, the neoconservative glorification of
the free market is more rhetoric, designed to placate the businessmen who
fund them, than reality. In fact, the neoconservatives favor not free enterprise
but a kind of state capitalism -- within the context of the global apparatus
of the World Bank and the IMF -- that Hitler would have appreciated.
- Some form of gradual but irreversible and desirable withering
away of the state is a key tenet of the Trotskyite theoretical outlook.
The neoconservatives, by contrast, are statists par excellence. Their core
belief -- that society can be managed by the state in both its political
and economic life -- is equally at odds with the traditional conservative
outlook and with the non-Stalinist Left. In this important respect the
neoconservatives are much closer to Stalinism and National Socialism.
- They do not want to abolish the state; they want to control
it -- especially if the state they control is capable of controlling all
others. They are not "patriotic" in any conventional sense of
the term and do not identify themselves with the real and historic America
but see the United States merely as the host organism for the exercise
of their Will to Power. Whereas the American political tradition has been
fixated on the dangers of centralized state power, on the desirability
of limited government and non-intervention in foreign affairs, the neoconservatives
exalt and worship state power, and want America to become a hyper-state
in order to be an effective global hegemon. Even when they support local
government it is on the grounds that it is more efficient and responsive
to the demands of the Empire, not on Constitutional grounds.
- The neoconservative view of America as a hybrid, "imagined"
nation had an ardent supporter eight decades ago: in Mein Kampf Adolf Hitler
argued for a new, tightly centralized Germany by invoking the example of
the United States and the triumph of the Union over states' rights.
- He concluded that "National Socialism, as a matter
of principle, must lay claim to the right to force its principles on the
whole German nation without consideration of previous federated state boundaries."
- Hitler was going to make a new Germany the way he imagined
it, or else destroy it. In the same vein the Weekly Standard writers are
"patriots" only insofar as the America they imagine is a pliable
tool of their global design. Their relentless pursuit of an American Empire
overseas is coupled by their deliberate domestic transformation of the
United States' federal government into a Leviathan unbound by constitutional
restraints. The lines they inserted into President Bush's State of the
Union address last January aptly summarized their Messianic obsessions:
the call of history has come to the right country, we exercise power without
conquest, and sacrifice for the liberty of strangers, we know that freedom
is the right of every person and the future of every nation: "The
liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world, it is God's gift to
- Such megalomania is light years away from a patriotic
appreciation of one's nation. A psychotic quest for power and dominance
is the driving force, and the "nationalist" discourse its justification.
The reality is visible in ultimate distress: Towards the end of the Second
World War Josef Goebbels welcomed the Allied bombing for its destruction
of the old bourgeois cuckoo-clock and marzipan Germany of the feudal principalities.
Driven by the same impulse, Bill Kristol's "national greatness"
psychosis seeks to sweep away the old localized, decentralized America
of bingo parlors and little league games.
- Most heirs of the Trotskyite Left are internationalists
and one-world globalists, whereas all neoconservatives are unabashed imperialists.
- The former advocate "multilateralism," in the
form of an emerging "international community" controlled by the
United Nations or through a gradual transfer of sovereign prerogatives
to regional groupings exemplified by the European Union. By contrast the
neoconservative urge for uninhibited physical control of other lands and
peoples bears resemblance to the New European Order of six decades ago,
or to the "Socialist Community" that succeeded it in Eastern
Europe. Even when they demand wars to export democracy, the term "democracy"
is used as an ideological concept. It does not signify broad participation
of informed citizens in the business of governance, but it denotes the
desirable social and political content of ostensibly popular decisions.
The process likely to produce undesirable outcomes --an Islamic government
in Iraq, say -- is a priori "undemocratic." Whereas the Trotskyite
Left is predominantly anti-militarist, the neoconservatives are enthusiastically
militarist in a manner reminiscent of German and Soviet totalitarianism.
Their strategic doctrine, promulgated into official policy last September,
calls for an indefinite and massive military build-up unconnected to any
identifiable military threat to the United States. Their scribes demand
'citizen involvement,' in effect, militarization of the populace, but the
traditional 'citizen soldier' concept is reversed.
- Their goal is to get suitably indoctrinated young Americans
to go and risk their lives not for the honor and security of their own
country, but for the missions that have to be misrepresented to the public
(e.g. the non-existant Iraqi WMDs) in order to be made politically acceptable.
As Gary North has pointed out, neoconservative foreign policy is guns before
butter: "Butter always follows guns, but this is regarded as the inescapable
price of American regional presence abroad." The neoconservatives'
deep-seated distaste for the traditional societies, regimes, and religion
of the European continent, particularly Russia and East European Slavs,
is positively Hitlerian.
- The sentiment was most glaringly manifested in the 1999
NATO war against the Serbs: William Kristol's urge to vicariously "crush
Serb skulls" went way beyond the 1914 Viennese slogan "Serbien
muss sterbien." In terms of strategic significance for the United
States, however, the neocons' visceral Russophobia is mush more significant.
- In the aftermath of the Cold War the neoconservatives
have continued to regard Moscow as the enemy, enthusiastically supporting
Chechen separatists as "freedom fighters" and advocating NATO
expansion. Their atavism is comparable to Hitler's obsession with Russia,
an animosity that was equally unrelated to the nature of its regime. It
is only a matter of time before some neocons start advocating a new Drang
nach Osten, in the form of an American-led scramble for Siberia.
- The neoconservative mindset is apocalyptic (which is
a Nazi and Stalinist trait), rather than utopian (which characterizes the
Trotskyite Left). The replacement of the Soviet threat with the more amorphous
"terrorism" reflects the doomsday revolutionary mentality that
can never rest. New missions and new wars will have to be engineered, and
pretexts manufactured, with the same subtlety that characterized the "attack"
on the German radio station at Gleiwitz on August 31, 1939. Even the tools
for the enforcement of domestic acquiescence are not dissimilar: the Patriot
Act followed 9-11 as smoothly as the suspension of the Weimar constitution
followed the Reichstag fire. Echoing the revolutionary dynamism and the
historicist Messianism equally common to fascists and communists, Michael
Ledeen wrote that "creative destruction" is America's eternal
mission, both at home and abroad, and the reason America's "enemies"
hate it: "They cannot feel secure so long as we are there, for our
very existence -- our existence, not our politics -- threatens their legitimacy.
They must attack us in order to survive, just as we must destroy them to
advance our historic mission." The neoconservatives' mendacity apparent
in the misrepresentation of the Iraqi crisis to the American people recalls
the Goebbelsian "hypodermic needle approach" to communication,
in which the communicator's objective was to "inject" his ideas
into the minds of the target population. "Why, of course, the people
don't want war," Goering said when it was all over, in his prison
cell in Nuremberg in 1946:
- "Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk
his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back
to his farm in one piece? But, after all, it is the leaders of the country
who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people
along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a communist
dictatorship ... That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are
being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing
the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."
- It does indeed. Goering's observation is echoed in our
time by the Straussian dictum that perpetual deception of the citizens
by those in power is necessary because they need to be led, and they need
to be told what is good for them. On this, at least, Trotsky, Stalin, and
Hitler would all agree. (As Hitler had said, "The receptive powers
of the masses are very restricted, and their understanding is feeble.")
In the Straussian-neoconservative mindset, those who are fit to rule are
those who realize there is no morality and that there is only one natural
right, the right of the superior to rule over the inferior.
- That mindset is America's enemy. It is the greatest threat
to the constitutional order, identity, and way of life of the United States,
in existence today. Its adherents have only modified the paradigm of dialectical
materialism in order to continue pursuing the same eschatological dream,
the End of History devoid of God. They are in pursuit of Power for its
own sake -- thus sinning against God and man -- and the end of that insane
quest will be the same as the end of the Soviet empire and of the Thousand-Year