Ideology & RealismnIrving Kristol: Reflections of anNeoconservattve; Basic Books; NewnYork.nby’William R. Hawkinsn1 he term neoconservattve is morenoften used by those who oppose thenmovement than by those who are includednwithin its ranks. Criticism fromnthe left has been particularly viciousnbecause neoconservatives are reformednliberals who are consequently viewed asntraitors by their former associates. Onnthe right, the response has been markednby caution. Some neocons—^Roger Starr,nNorman Podhoretz, Jeanne Kirlqjatrick,nMichael Novak, and James Q. Wilson—nhave found ready acceptance. Others,nsuch as Nathan Glazer, Daniel Bell, andnSeymour Martin Lipset have been metnwith skepticism because they have failednto break firmly with liberalism. Still, thenadvent of the neoconservatives providedna powerfiil reinforcement to thenright. Their work through the PublicnInterest, Commentary, and the AmericannEnterprise Institute brought forwardna new wave of nonliberal thoughtnwhen it was most needed in the wake ofnthe Goldwater defeat, the Great Society,nand the New Left. Foremost among thenneocons is Irving Kristol, a man whonfully accepts both the term and thenmovement to the rightnKristol sees the pattern of past Americannpolitics as a conflict between thenmoderate left (liberalism) and thenradical left (socialism), with only annoccasional “interregnum of conservativengovernment ^^ilose function it is tonconsolidate and ratify liberal reforms”n(as Eisenhower didfor the New Deal andnNixon did for the Great Society). In thenlate 1960’s, the moderate left collapsednProfessor Hawkins is with the departmentnof economics at RadfordnUniversity.nunder the pressures from the counterculturenand the New Left. In order tonstop the radicals, Kristol and othersnturned to a revitalized right. Kristol seesnfatal flaws in the old conservatism thatnrequire correction if a lasting defensenagainst the radicals is to be erected, thusnthe neo movement. The problem withnthe right is that it has no ideology, bynwhich Kristol means a vision of thenfuture toward which conservativenpolicy will move the country. Withoutnsuch a vision, the right has nothingnpositive with which to sway the public.nThe right can only criticize the leftistnvision or its mode of implementation.nThe right can win power occasionally asna backlash, but cannot maintain itself innpower or win broad, dedicated supportnwithout a positive program.nWhat has passed for conservativenideology is simply the “free market” ofnclassical economics. Kristol points outnthat this is inadequate. An economicntheory cannot substitute for a comprehensivenview of man and society.nEconomics is a part, not a whole. Ofncourse, most conservatives do have anconcept of the good society whichnnnreaches beyond materialism, but thencenterplace given to economics eclipsesnit. Worse, the attempt to defend “thenmarket” in its purest form has led conservativesnto defer to the libertarians.nMilton Friedman advocates the legalizationnof hard drugs on the grounds ofnlibertarian consistency. Try convincingnany parent with teen-aged children thatneither conservatism or capitalism hasnthe answers when that is part of thenplatform!nKristol respects the work of F. A.nHayek and Russell Kirk concerning thenimportance of a moral order which hasnevolved over time, but feels that theirnperspective is too nostalgic. It looksnbackward to a simpler time when virtue,nhonor, and duty were enthroned in thenpopular mind and supported by institutionsnof authority in the family, church,nand state. In today’s world, constantnchange and the “open society” presentnconservatives with the difficult problemsnof restoring values, controllingnchange, and rebuilding institutions. Innother words, effecting a counterrevolution.nA laissez-faire attitude is insuflScientnto accomplish this task. The self-denial ofngovernment power or other sources ofnauthority in behalf of conservatism is tonpractice unilateral disarmament in thenmidst of a war.nKristol feels that the classical liberalnview of man which spawned the cult ofnindividualism is behind most of today’snproblems. It has motivated the counterculture’snassault on Western civilization;nparalyzed the right’s response to thisnthreat; contributed to the left’s preoccupationnwith questions of equality; andnprovided socialism with an issue of massnappeal. Kristol wishes to escape thisncrisis by drawing neoconservativenstrength from premodem philosophy innthe manner of Leo Strauss. Classicalnpolitical thought established that thenproper end of politics was a good society.nIn this framework, society is then^ ^ H 1 3nMay 1984n