A neocon says he was wrong
Tonight an unprecedented event occurred. A neocon admitted that his universalist views were mistaken. On the NewsHour, David Brooks said (this is a paraphrase) that at the time of the invasion of Iraq and the beginning of President Bush’s Democracy Project, he had thought that the Iraqis were approximately like us and could adapt to Western type democracy. “I saw the cultural differences as more like rolling hills, but now I realize that there are cliffs and chasms.”
This is remarkable, not only because Brooks is saying that universalism is untrue, but because when neocons change their mind, they don’t generally admit that they have done so. They don’t say, “For the last five years, I’ve been saying that X is true, but now I realize that Not-X is true.” Instead, they simply declare that “Not-X is true,” without ever admitting that for years they have been touting X.
That it was the neocon über-careerist David Brooks who showed this kind of honesty makes it all the more unusual.
However, another way of looking at it is that Brooks has simply given up any pretense of being a neocon and is now openly a liberal. And today’s liberals are, of course, multicultural relativists rather than democratic universalists.