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The NeoCon approach, has like the Labour approach, always been driven by ideology. David Cameron is clearly a pragmatist and I cannot see the case for Mr Cameron being any sort of inheritor of NeoCon values. From what I understand of David Cameron after reading many of his speeches, I expect he will deal with problems in a utilitarian manner and not go for the big-fix.

Well that is some accolade, given that even in the USA Neocons are now about as popular as a rat sandwich.

who I enjoy dinner with


'...with whom I enjoy dinner...'

Reihan is exactly right. People who view the word "neocon" through the lens of the war and the BBC's abuse of it need to know that neoconservativism was first and foremost about we now call social justice. I recommend that raving warmonger Daniel Patrick Moynihan's Defining Deviancy Down as one of the best introductory texts to what neoconservativism is really about.

I think Salam is referring to the first generation of neocons whom Irving Kristol described as 'liberals mugged by reality'. The original neocons were more interested in domestic policy than foreign, in spite of their staunch anti-communism.

Their shift from left to right was brought about by the realisation that many of LBJ's 'Great Society' programmes were imprisoning people in a state of dependency, rather than helping them better themselves. In many respects, thinkers like Kristol and Nathan Glazer were highly pragmatic.

I would recommend that people read Kristol's 'Neoconservatism: Autobiography of an idea' or Allan Bloom's 'Closing of the American Mind'.

Not all foreign policy hawks are neocons and not all neocons are foreign policy hawks.

"many of LBJ's 'Great Society' programmes were imprisoning people in a state of dependency"

Jimmy Carter was another who threw money at problems with endless programmes and little end product. History often understates the very difficult job president Reagan had in closing those programmes down, the flak he took for doing so, and this together with the stick he took over the economy which had to get worse before it got better. Ronald Reagan, in effect, exposed and destroyed forever the idea that a big benevolent state can solve the ills of society. I see many parallels with the situation president Reagan inherited and those that are coming David Cameron's way.

It was under the Gipper that many formerly Democratic, neocons became card-carrying Republicans Tony.

I don't really know enough about the neocons of the 1970's to comment. Are they very different from those of today?

People like Bill Kristol or Bob Kagan would claim that they are their fathers' sons, but, on the other hand, apostates like Francis Fukuyama argue that the current generation have abandoned neoconservative values.

The one thing that unites them all, however, is a deep suspicion of moral relativism. I suppose this might explain why many people accuse them of promoting a manichean worldview.

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