A Final Time With Feeling
Three years ago, I would have poo-pooed anyone using the word "radicals" to describe the neo-cons. No more.
I would very much like to make a point that has been obvious to some of us for a while now. Maybe it takes having hung out on the fringes of the hard-left to get this point. All that arguing about ideological purity and who's "for the people" and who's an evil bourgeois sometimes counts for something: it allows you to smell the maniacs who are in it for the power and the intellectual hard-on. So for those of you who don't have the benefit of participating in the ideological struggle for the soul of mankind, I'll try to put it simply.
The common joke that neo-conservatives use to describe themselves is: "A neo-conservative is a liberal who's been mugged by reality." Leave aside that none of the neo-conservatives - who live in their academic enclaves of Chicago and New York and form a cadre that amounts to a fifth column - have ever been mugged by anything. They are not liberals and they aren't conservatives. A neo-conservative is simply a Trostskyite who's decided the workers are schmucks. That's all there is to it. The same way that Horowitz hasn't changed at all (demanding ideological purity on pain of imprisonment - Stalin was the same), neo-cons love the idea of being part of an intellectual revolutionary vanguard (and letting the lumpen proletariat do their dirty-work for them). It just so happens that the end result of their vanguardism isn't world-wide solidarity of the workers, but world-wide gratification of their own desires to use force to prove how tough they really are so that no one will ever make fun of them again. People (myself included) have spent an awful lot of time trying to understand neo-conservatism, and it's all been a waste. It's an ideology based on the egos of people with no actual expertise in anything. They do have an undeniable contempt for democracy, however, and their professors told them that because they read Plato, they know better than you or me how things ought to run.
Ok, so, point being: some revolutionaries are revolutionaries because they think the current order is unjust. Others are revolutionairies because they think it'd be better if they was runnin' things. Neo-cons are of the second type. There ain't much more to it than that. Now, can we please not let them run anything anymore?