2006 November 12 Sunday
Liberal Democracy Is Not A Universal Desire

Lawrence Auster observes an exchange between conservative Carol Iannone and neoconservative Michael Rubin on National Review blogs.

At the Phi Beta Cons blog at NRO, Carol Iannone expresses her astonishment at the Vanity Fair interview of the seven pro-war neocons who attacked President Bush’s Iraq policy (the interview was discussed by me here and here). Where, she asks, did the neocons get the idea that freedom is the universal desire of all mankind, and that this desire could be the basis for building a democracy in Iraq? At the Corner on November 11, Michael Rubin, one of the Magnificent Seven, replies disingenuously to Iannone. First he says he has nothing to do with the rest of the Magnificent Seven. Yeah, right, all seven of them just happened to agree at the same time to be interviewed by a left-liberal magazine for a sensational article on how prominent neocon war-supporters are turning against President Bush. Then Rubin accuses Iannone of portraying neocons as a sinister cabal. In fact she didn’t say anything about the neocons as political actors, she was talking about their ideas.

Isn’t it amazing, that when the neocons want to tout their accomplishments and influence, they blanket the conservative press with such triumphalist articles as “The Neoconservative Persuasion,” “The Neoconservative Moment,” and “The Neoconservative Convergence,” but when someone criticizes the neoconservative ideology, the neocons turn around and accuse the critic of inventing a neocon cabal or of using “neoconservative” as an anti-Jewish code word? In effect, when neoconservatism is attacked, the neocons claim that there is no such thing as neoconservatism. For the neocons, the word neoconservatism can only be used in a positive, celebratory sense. If you use it in a negative sense, you’re either a conspiracy theorist or an anti-Semite.

Read the rest of it.

The neocons have run from their own label because it has come to have such a pejorative meaning in the minds of millions. But the current generation of neocons (as distinct from the much more empirical first generation social scientist neocons who had moved rightward) represent a distinct school of thought which they purport is on the Right. It is not conservative in any way that Edmund Burke would have recognized. It is a sort of hawkish ideological right wing liberalism which places great importance on the defense of Israel.

Then in an exchange with readers Larry gets at what he thinks drives Jewish neoconservatives to claim that democracy is the universal aspiration of all mankind: fear of discrimination against Jews.

Yet, at the same time, the basic, crazy idea was there: all people can assimilate to America. That’s the root of it, and it is related to the idea that no discrimination can be allowed, because all discrimination is indivisible (as I discuss in my article, “Why Jews Welcome Moslems”). Then, with the post 2001 situation, the idea, all people can be assimilated into America, got expanded to: all people desire to be democrats. Once again, the universalism of the claim is connected with the idea that there must be no discrimination. To say that any particular people are not suited for democracy is an act of condescension and racism. All people are equally suited.

So, in the neocons' mind, if they admit that not all people can be democrats, that’s tantamount to admitting that not all people can be assimilated into America, which is tantamount to admitting that America may be justified in not admitting every type of immigrant into America, which, in their minds is tantamount to admitting that the old discrimination against Jews may have been justified.

Normal people can see that there is a difference between how well Jews fit into the West and how well Muslims fit into the West. But in the minds of Jews in general and neocons in particular, to admit that Muslims don’t fit into the West is to say that Jews don’t fit in either. Thus, in the neocons’ mind, to say that Muslims cannot be democratized is to say that Jews don’t fit into the West. And that is why they are so absolute and unthinking and unyielding in their democratism. Their democratism is not based on evidence. It is based on an instinctive (if distorted and incorrect and destructive) notion of Jewish self-protection.

This irrational fear is putting Jews more at risk, not less. They've driven themselves to embrace and promote extremely wrong assumptions about human nature and with disastrous results which can be seen every day in the war news from Iraq. Their assumptions also lead them to support immigration policies that are disastrous here at home.

I agree with Larry. The neoconservatives have made their intellectual movement into a menace.

The neocons and Bush just cost the Republicans control of both houses of Congress. This is a positive thing for US foreign policy. But for US domestic policy and in particular for immigration policy this is a disaster. The Democratic Party agrees with most neocons on immigration: more is better and it doesn't matter who comes. This is a crazy wrong position. Our odds of getting both an amnesty and guest worker program have gone up greatly. The House of Representatives is no longer a brake on the ambitions of the Senate and President.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 November 12 03:01 PM  Elites Neoconservative Menace

birch barlow said at November 12, 2006 4:53 PM:

The neocons are definitely a huge menace. Bush in particular has managed to advance, both directly and indirectly by making conditions favorable for a Dem takeover, to push the worst of all worlds when it comes to both domestic and foreign policy. Bush has pushed far-left policies on immigration, and far-left like policies on spending and old-age entitlements (with, of course, some concessions to big business that the far left does not like). I also find social conservatism (where it does not intersect with fiscal conservatism, as with condemning illegitimacy) to be quite unappealing. I don't need ninnies telling me that I'm going to hell for drinking beer, smoking pot, getting high on OTC cough medicine, looking lustfully at hot girls, etc. Yes such behaviors do have their downside if they get out of hand, but the idea that drinking a bottle of Delsym [cough medicine] is an automatic ticket to Hell is pretty stupid. The idea that a human embryo is morally the same as a full-grown human being (for example) is also quite ludicrous.

John S Bolton said at November 12, 2006 11:13 PM:

Anti-discrimination as an ideal which can be projected further and further out, has got very serious drawbacks.
It would lead to such nonsensical conclusions as Auster describes, and has been used by neocons, in a typically liberal smear style, to say that
only the discriminators would object, to the latest
rendition of:
It doesn't matter who you are...

John S Bolton said at November 12, 2006 11:31 PM:

There is also a gross perfidy and opportunism in the neocons trying to push the blame down towards soldiers in Iraq; there's no covering up for a baseless, or faith-based strategy.
They more they try to push the blame down the ranks, the more angry others should be with them.
At the level of execution there are real world, life-and-death consequences to be paid.
The strategy developers can wish upon a star, where the moslem as such can also be for a fellow citizen's freedom-from-aggression, but someone on the level of implementation gets to drive over the theoretically inconceivable landmine.

John S Bolton said at November 13, 2006 2:25 AM:

Returning to the universality of anti-discrimination as an ideal; it reduces to a contradiction-in-terms.
'we don't discriminate against anyone but the discriminator'
or:'...against nothing but discrimination'
On such liberal and neocon assumptions it is unfathomable that anyone but the fascist arch-discriminators
could be insurgent against democracy or freedom.
by freedom, do they mean freedom-from-discrimination?)
Islam gets redefined as Baathism
but they're dissimilar-
one is spiritual, the other much less so.
From the contradictory premise of anti-discrimination as an ideal above all others in politics,
it is felt that there is no better or worse, except in some way, the discrimination between better and worse.
How is a military operation and hierarchy to be run on the basis that there are no bad boys, no enemy faiths, and no enemies except discrimination?
Surely not distinctly better than what is much worse?
Oh no, caught discriminating again.
Really though, politics should always say let's have less aggression,
regardless(double emphasis)
of the effect on discrimination.

John S Bolton said at November 20, 2006 11:28 PM:

Moslem immigration cohorts are guaranteed to do damage to a country, in proportion as it is of higher civilization at the outset.
The moslem terror offensives, as shown with the 9-11 attacks, are complete proof of this.
Therefore, anti-discrimination as a social and political ideal,
that is; one that would prevent us from discriminating against moslems as such,
to such extent as to exclude moslem immigration cohorts on account of their identity,
is not known to be a valid ideal.
It has spectacular evidence against it, which can no longer be concealed by
a politics which desires freedom-for-aggression.

dj said at December 1, 2006 1:39 PM:

Randall you quote Larry Auster approvingly as saying--

So, in the neocons' mind, if they admit that not all people can be democrats, that’s tantamount to admitting that not all people can be assimilated into America, which is tantamount to admitting that America may be justified in not admitting every type of immigrant into America, which, in their minds is tantamount to admitting that the old discrimination against Jews may have been justified.

I was with you and Larry in that paragraph until the above quoted bit.

That’s not it, exactly.

The reason that not just neocons, but Jews across the political spectrum from their perches in the MSM and through the gamut of Jewish organizations, have been so fixated on preserving as much legal and illegal immigration as possible, is to remove the treat which they continue to unrealistically (I think) fear of American brownshirts rising to full political power and doing them serious harm.

This passion to resist all immigration restriction as motivated by “racism” and things surrounding it is one of the areas where neocons and ‘many liberals’ so “surprisingly” agree. Much of Jewish leadership and a good many Jews want to dilute out the potential base of American ‘brownshirt’ support, which they regard as Southern white Protestants in particular (the “Religious Right”, which just happens to be so reviled among the chattering classes), and the balance of whites (who aren’t Jewish) in general. If no one ethnic/racial group has overwhelming numerical dominance in the US, but instead it’s a fully polyglot Propositional nation held together by a constitutional civil faith in the Constitution, then the chances of any critical mass of Americans coming to view the Jews as a group threat is greatly diminished.

Hence most Jews strongly resisted the 1924 immigration restrictions which in addition to limiting numbers also required that immigration slots be awarded in such a way as to mirror the then existing ethnic composition in America – so as not to further change it. That was anathema (and is even more loudly decried as ‘racist’ anathema today). Hence as well Jewish organizations with extremely wide Jewish support lead a coalition (which included prominent Catholics) in pushing through the 1965 immigration act, which threw open the doors again. Hence the overwhelming majority of Jews continue today in resisting any restrictionist immigration laws, even against illegal immigration. It’s widely understood among Jews all along the political spectrum that continued wholesale immigration of non whites to America is ‘good for the Jews’, and effective immigration restrictions could be very bad, or at least dangerous, for the Jews. The more ‘diverse’ immigrants, the safer it will be for the Jews.

Since 9/11 mass Muslim immigration to America seem a threat, but I think large majorities feel it’s more important to continue unreserved support for the ideology that restrictionism = racism, to bolster continued high speed dilution of the majority group.

I’m not saying this is an evil conspiracy aiming at utter domination. I’m saying it’s a shared paranoia about the brownshirts (Religious Right) rising into an extremist block with other white support that might come after them, as their racial/religious confreres did repeatedly in Europe.

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