Friday, August 26, 2016

I'm Not 'Alt Right'

Here's a quick post to reiterate, in the strongest possible terms, that I'm a neoconservative ideologue, not just any old "conservative" ideologue, or (god-forbid) some new "alt right" bottom-dweller conservative ideologue, for that matter.

While reading Dave Weigel's piece at WaPo yesterday, I followed the links to Joseph Sobran's essay, "For Fear of the Jews."

It's just revolting, but it's not new to me. This Sobran dude's new (to me), but the ideas there are pretty familiar after dealing with disgusting "paleoconservative" losers over this last decade or so. And unfortunately, some of the memes at that piece don't just reflect on paleos but on the "alt right" as well (see Yishai Schwartz, "Banal, Incoherent, Anti-Semitic and Pro-Trump: Why We Should Take the Alt-Right Seriously"), to say nothing of a lot of generic libertarians too (think of the Ron Paul trolls back in 2008).

Sometimes folks have argued that I'm not really neoconservative, but actually more of a straight "conservative." Nope. I see unalloyed support for Israel as a fundamental tenet of neoconservatism (see David Bernstein, "Is Neoconservatism a 'Jewish' Movement?"). Not blind support, mind you (see David Horowitz's flawed essay on that). But unwavering support for the Jewish people and Israel's leadership in the cause of moral decency in the Middle East and the world. I thus always push back against all manner of attacks against the "evil" neocons, which are usually thinly-veiled attacks on Jewish supporters of democracy promotion, regime change, the war in Iraq, and so forth. After the Arab Spring I'm much more careful about uncritical advocacy for democracy promotion, but Israel remains the light of moral decency in international affairs.

Interestingly, all this recent discussion of "white supremacy" and the "alt right" has conveniently obscured the intense racism, Israel-hatred, and ideological extremism on the Democrat Party left. Folks ought not lose sight of what's really at stake in this election. Donald Trump's a good man. Hillary's attacks on him are despicable. She's got more in common with those "fringe extremists" on the "far reaches of the Internet" than Donald Trump ever will (see William Jacobson, "Hijacking of #BlackLivesMatter by anti-Israel activists already has damaged the movement").

There's a lot more to neoconservativism that foreign policy and support for Israel. In my case, I'm a classic throwback to the old "liberal" who's been "mugged by reality." I'm especially neoconservative on domestic issues, points of ideological emphasis that hark back to the 1960s and some of the earliest neocons who helped shape public policy at that time --- folks like Irving Kristol, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and Norman Podhoretz (see Justin Vaïsse, "Why Neoconservatism Still Matters").

In any case, one of the things I love about the "neocon" label is how widely you see people on the right attack it (usually this is part of a diatribe against "endless wars"). Although I sometimes get a painful twinge at these outbursts, I just embrace the label as a badge of honor.

So, there you go. I just felt like I needed to get that out, especially after reading that vile Sobran piece.