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review 2017-01-07 23:39
NeoConservatism: Why We Need It - Douglas Murray

I have a great deal of respect for Douglas Murray. He is a confident and passionate speaker. The positions that he takes are often, shall we say, unpopular. Yet this does not deter him from putting forward his arguments. There are probably many areas where I would disagree with him, but I think it's important to get a range of opinions from across the political spectrum in pursuance of growth and learning, so I picked up his book on a controversial topic.


Neoconservatism is one of those blanket political terms most often associated with those that believe the Iraq War was the correct thing to do and that the correct path for American foreign policy is to pursue the spreading of liberty and democracy to as many nations as possible in order to protect freedom in the US. It is in some ways a product of the Cold War and the idea of the need to shield the free world from the advances of the Soviet Union and its totalitarian nature.


Other than a few core beliefs there doesn't seem to be much in the way of commonality between the people branded neocons. Murray attempts to underpin the roots of the concept and then document how it developed. He believes that it is often misunderstood or misrepresented in mainstream politics. The term has become, as a consequence of the highly-charged nature of the Iraq war, a vague, derogatory word to label those that defended the war and it is perhaps not surprising in 2016, given that in mainstream media and political opinion the war is roundly regarded as a catastrophe. 


Snippets of the book are useful for understanding what neocons roughly believe in, however the scope of that task proves too much for Murray in a mere 223 pages. For such a short book there are too many sections that just don't deliver the punches that I have come to expect from a man of Murray's intellect. When he does get some momentum going it ends up short lived because he moves onto another area and in the end a book that wishes to convince the reader of the need for this philosophy ends up a little bit thin on the ground. I can't help but feel unsatisfied. 

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review 2010-09-13 00:00
Neoconservatism: An Obituary For An Idea - Yaron Brook http://www.harpers.org/archive/2010/12/hbc-90007833

Also got tired reading this one. The old adage that where you come from dictates where you're going -- or, as Aristotle puts it, the beginning is more than half -- applies here. They approach Strauss from a conservative (re: liberal - with a small 'l') perspective, and this leads them to spend a considerable amount of time criticizing the neoconservatives for supporting (not a typo) the welfare state. Rubbish.

On the other hand, at least they have the balls to come out and call Strauss and the Neocons precisely what they are: fascists. Thompson opts for "soft fascism", and that will do, I suppose -- until they hook their harness to the likes of Beck and Palin and...

oopss... they already have.... well, scratch the "soft" then.

For those who have the fortitude to plough through yet another exegesis of Strauss' nonsensical (re: bullshit) interpretations of Plato -- based on no sound textual methods -- "good on ya, mate'.

Better to read Shadia Drury's book, which is brilliant (imho):
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