Neocons = no conscience

A reader writes:

Knowing your love for Mark Steyn, I thought you might be interested in the following statement of his on Syria, which struck me as unusually stupid, given that toppling the Syrian regime would be likely to produce something worse from just about everyone’s point of view except for the Islamists, as far as I can see. He made it on his current Australian tour.

Steyn: “Assad in Syria is not popular and in that sense, I meant what I said [in a previous Australian interview]. He would be easy to just topple with a very little bit of effort and then you would have something new introduced to the Middle East and I’m interested in seeing a new Middle East. Quite what it is, where it ends up, we don’t know. But it has to be something other than what it is today.”

(He elaborates on this concept of “creative instability” elsewhere in the interview.)

LA replies:

Where did I last hear such irresponsible inanity? In my dorm in my freshman year at Columbia University. I asked some hairy radical: “But after the revolution, what will you replace the current society with?” He: “It doesn’t matter.” The neocons are the college revolutionaries of today’s world!

This is so ironic, because the initial impulse of neoconservatism, particularly in Norman Podhoretz’s treatment of it, was as a reaction against the social disruptions of the Sixties. As I’ve pointed out in my discussion of Podhoretz’s 1996 article, “Neoconservatism: A Eulogy” (see this and this), all that Podhoretz really cared about was avoiding social disruption, to the point that if homosexual couples got married, he saw that as a conservative victory because at least the homosexuals were not trying to disrupt the order of society, but to join its institutions. But now the neocons have “flipped” from the advocacy of a radicalized but “stable” order to the advocacy of pure disruption—disruption of the most dangerous, uncertain kind, disruption that unleashes absolute evil on a society as in Iraq where civilians were being kidnapped and getting their heads sawed off, disruption that sends its people fleeing to other countries for their lives—as a desideratum! That Steyn could say, AFTER the catastrophe of our Iraq occupation, that ANY change in the Mideast must be for the better, shows once again that these people are without a sense of reality, without a sense of responsibility, without conscience, and without remorse.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 09, 2006 07:16 PM | Send

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