In a fascinating and challenging interview with C. Bradley Thompson, political science professor and author of Neoconservativism; An Obituary for an Idea, I was struck by several things he says about neo-conservatives and their particular -ism. These, the guys who got us into Iraq:
War as sacrifice by society. Not paying for the things we need, not actually serving, as in a draft. Just perpetual war, as if it raises our moral consciousness. How strange. How contrary to what we can observe in the ashes of Bush's and his neocon advisers' two wars.
And from the book itself:
The neoconservative vision of a good America is one in which ordinary people work hard, read the Bible, go to church on Sunday, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, practice homespun virtues, sacrifice themselves to the “common good,” obey the commands of the government, fight wars, and die for the State. . . . In summary, the neoconservatives are the advocates of a new managerial State—a State controlled and regulated by a new mandarin class of conservative virtucrats who think the American people are incapable of governing themselves without the help of the neocons’ special, a priori wisdom.
....the neocons share important core values with the principles of fascism. They make us feel comfortable with certain fascist principles by Americanizing them. . . ...They have seduced the American people into believing that a free and virtuous society is somehow compatible with government controls over all aspects of man’s economic and spiritual endeavors. This is not the fascism of Nazi Germany or fascist Italy, but instead something rather different. It points toward what we might call fascism-lite—a fascism that is moderate, defanged, and well-suited to the smiley-face optimism of America’s Ronald McDonald cultureRings true. The long-time reader of this blog will be familiar with the concept that it's they who are fascists, with their constant propaganda stream, lying, distractions, corporatism; not Obama -- not by any stretch of the imagination. It's a more erudite and studied form of what I've been saying. Getting all misty-eyed about war as patriotism is easy, especially for the neocons, essentially none of whom ever served. It's a smokescreen, a diversion, a substitute for the real sacrifices required of a democratic and pluralistic society, were it actually to focus on its own. How easy it makes it to ignore the hard stuff. How convenient to use war as a hammer to nail down their selfish aims, while calling it country-love.