What is the “Neo-Con” Philosophy?

You’ve heard Chris Matthews and others use this term regularly – but do you know hwat it means?

…let’s look at some of the basic principles of Neo-Conservatism:

The godfather of the Neo-Con movement was an intellectual disciple of Machiavelli named Leo Strauss. Strauss was a German Zionist who immigrated to the US in the 1930s and mentored people like William Kristol and Paul Wolfowitz while advocating his philosophy of a dog-eat-dog world.

In essence, the Straussian philosophy and teachings are now known as Neo-Conservatism. Below are some of the more interesting and perhaps surprising or even disturbing aspects of Neo-Conservatism as taught by Strauss: 

  • Nations cannot consider collective action and multilateralism unless it is 100               percent in line with their own selfish interests
  • Strong leadership is required
  • Military power is essential
  • Leadership ought not be encumbered by human rights discourse or a moral conscience but nonetheless must “appear” to advocate such ideas.
  • Rulers need not observe the laws they impose on the ruled.
  • A ruler can cheat and lie and do all sorts of things but should at all time maintain the outside appearance of adherence to human rights and caring for people.
  • Leaders can use religion as one of many tools to ensure the nation keeps on course as formulated.
  • Outside threats help ensure social cohesion under domestic leadership
  • Altruism, environmental protection, justice etc, are not the concern of governments and ruling elites. They have no part to play in the equation of power
  • Strauss questioned how, and to what extent, freedom and excellence can coexist.
  • Strauss was very pre-occupied with secrecy because he was convinced that the truth is too harsh for any society to bear; and that the truth-bearers are likely to be persecuted by society, especially a liberal society because liberal democracy is about as far as one can get from the truth as Strauss understood it.
  • Secular society is the worst possible thing, because it leads to individualism, liberalism, and relativism, precisely those traits that may promote dissent that in turn could dangerously weaken society’s ability to cope with external threats
  • Nazism was a nihilistic reaction to the ungodly and liberal nature of the Weimar Republic.
  • Religion should impose moral law on the masses who would otherwise be out of control.

Machiavelli’s political doctrine serves as the foundation of Neo-Conservatism and it denies the relevance of morality in political affairs. It states that that craft and deceit are justified in pursuing and maintaining political power.  It implies that when it comes to achieving or maintaining power the end justifies the means. This is essentially the core of Machiavellianism and serves as the foundation for Neo-Conservatism: The priority for the power holder is to keep the security of the state regardless of the morality of the means. Machiavelli discusses frankly, the necessity of cruel actions to keep power. He was in the business of power preservation not piety. According to the originator of Neo-Conservative ideology the leader of the state must stick to the good so long as he can, but, being compelled by necessity, he must be ready to take the way of the evil.

Let me repeat this last principle of Neo-Conservatism because it plays into the “believability factor” when considering claims made by people who accuse the Bush administration of unconscionable actions:  “The leader of the state must stick to the good so long as he can, but, being compelled by necessity, he must be ready to take the way of the evil.” These people believe that evil is acceptable and necessary at times!

 Read the entire article here.

  1. Dean M.

    This is a terrible misrepresentation of Leo Strauss. Recommend for any reading THE REBIRTH OF CLASSICAL POLITICAL RATIONALISM: An Introduction to the Thought of Leo Strauss, Essays & Lectures by Leo Strauss selected and introduced by Thomas L. Pangle.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: