For me, then, "neo-conservatism" was an experience of moral, intellectual, and spiritual liberation. I no longer had to pretend to believe--what in my heart I could no longer believe--that liberals were wrong because they subscribe to this or that erroneous opinion on this or that topic. No--liberals were wrong, liberals are wrong, because they are liberals. What is wrong with liberalism is liberalism--a metaphysics and a mythology that is woefully blind to human and political reality. Becoming a neo-conservative, then, was the high point of my cold war.
It is a cold war that, for the last twenty-five years, has engaged my attention and energy, and continues to do so. There is no "after the Cold War" for me. So far from having ended, my cold war has increased in intensity, as sector after sector of American life has been ruthlessly corrupted by the liberal ethos. It is an ethos that aims simultaneously at political and social collectivism on the one hand, and moral anarchy on the other. It cannot win, but it can make us all losers. We have, I do believe, reached a critical turning point in the history of the American democracy. Now that the other "Cold War" is over, the real cold war has begun. We are far less prepared for this cold war, far more vulnerable to our enemy, than was the case with our victorious war against a global communist threat. We are, I sometimes feel, starting from ground zero, and it is a conflict I shall be passing on to my children and grandchildren. But it is a far more interesting cold war--intellectually interesting, spiritually interesting--than the war we have so recently won, and I rather envy those young enough for the opportunities they will have to participate in it.
Monday, January 02, 2006
I found this article by Irving Kristol, from a great New Criterion article by Roger Kimball, of great interest. Kimball's article is about the suicide of Western Civilization, which is a must read, but Kristol's is even more interesting, as one of the icons of the "neoconservative" movement as it is properly known (along with Norman Poderherz). He wrote this in 1993, but his odyssey from communism to the realization of the rot of what encompasses "liberalism" is striking and prophetic: