The wars among conservatives, if that's the right term for them, are by no means concluded. After neo-conservative David Frum's ill-conceived and even more ill-executed National Review article attacking "paleo-conservatives" (including me) earlier this month, we now have yet another installment of what passes for a neo-con idea by none other than professional gumbeater for the Republican Party, Rush Limbaugh.
When neo-con ideas (so to speak) have dribbled down to Mr. Limbaugh's level, the paleos need to start worrying. The idea in this case is the claim that the very term "neo-conservative" is merely a codeword for "Jew."
That's a neat trick if you can get away with it, because it means that anyone criticizing neo-conservatives at all would merely be an anti-Semite and thereby beyond the pale of permissible discussion; therefore, there could be no criticism of neo-conservatism. It's a way to win the argument by name-calling instead of arguing, much like calling other names like "racist" or "homophobe."
What Mr. Limbaugh actually said on his radio program last week was
"I'm getting a little tired of these media people speaking in their own code language. A case in point is their use of the term 'neo-conservative.' Whether they choose to hyphenate the label or not, it's a pejorative code word for 'Jews.' "
Anti-Semites Use "Neo-Con" Code Word, Rushlimbaugh.com, April 22, 2003
Admittedly, Mr. Limbaugh referred to "these media people," not the main critics of neo-conservatism, the paleo-conservatives who identify with the authentic conservative philosophy of National Review of the 1960s. But whomever he was talking about, the effect is still the same—to muzzle criticism of the neo-cons before it can draw breath.
Mr. Limbaugh didn't come up with the idea that "neo-conservative" and "Jew" are secret synonyms, though. The first I heard of that was from a column by the erudite Mr. Frum last December. More recently, neo-cons Max Boot, Bill Kristol in the Washington Post, and John Podhoretz in the New York Post have all peddled it.
As someone who has been following and criticizing neo-conservatism for nearly 20 years, I believe it exists quite apart from its Jewish exponents. But I have to admit that, looking at its chief exponents today, I can see how you might think it's exclusively Jewish. Take a look, for instance, at the main neo-con website, Neoconservatism.com.
There you will find links to 14 leading neo-con columnists, 10 of whom are Jewish. There you will find articles such as "Profile of Irving Kristol in the Jerusalem Post," "Profile of Bill Kristol in the Washington Post," Mark Gerson's article on Norman Podhoretz, and an Interview with Richard Perle.
If you wanted to prove that "neo-conservative" is not synonymous with "Jewish," you would look in vain for guys named O'Shaughnessy and McTavish.
Nevertheless, while Jewish intellectuals are no doubt the most prominent neo-conservatives, there are plenty of non-Jewish ones. In fact, the slightest familiarity with paleo-conservative critiques of neo-conservatism shows that gentile neo-cons like Jack Kemp, William Bennett, Michael Novak, Richard Neuhaus and Newt Gingrich have been on the receiving end of the paleo hammer at least as much as Jews.
But, although not a few paleos also seem to harbor the notion that "neo-conservatism" is purely and simply an ideological vehicle for Jewish interests, it's not really. In fact, neo-conservatism is a watered down version of the New Deal-Great Society liberalism that National Review used to combat. The older neo-cons came out of that kind of liberalism or its social-democratic version. (It's not true they were all "Trotskyists"; as far as I know, only one or two were).
They broke with the liberal left because it was soft on communism and the New Left, but they never had much problem with the New Deal and only marginal critiques of the Great Society. With the main features of 20th century liberalism—the civil rights movement, the welfare state, labor unions, open immigration, free trade, American interventionism, and Big Government in general—the neo-cons have never had any problem.
In fact, the main function of neo-conservatism has been to serve as a political formula for preserving the New Deal-Great Society regime, even as real conservatism began to rip it apart intellectually and win political battles against it with Richard Nixon, George Wallace and Ronald Reagan. The rise of neo-conservatism has insured that the liberal hegemony that should by now have been dismantled still thrives. There are zillions of non-Jews—blacks, Hispanics, and many, many non-Jewish whites—who have vested interests in making sure that hegemony is not endangered.
The real objection to neo-conservatism is not that it's Jewish but that it serves and protects those interests and that hegemony.
If real conservatives want to rid their country of the disasters the liberal regime has inflicted on it, they (including Mr. Limbaugh) need to embrace real conservatism and not the fake variety the neo-cons offer.
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[Sam Francis [email him] is a nationally syndicated columnist. A selection of his columns, America Extinguished: Mass Immigration And The Disintegration Of American Culture, is now available from Americans For Immigration Control.]