REVIEWSrnGeneology of arnMovementrnby Paul GottfriedrnThe Rise of Neoconservatism:rnIntellectuals and Foreign Affairs,rn1945-1994rnby ]ohn EhrmanrnNew Haven: Yale University Press;rn24lpp.,$27.50rnDuring many an evening conversation,rnSam Francis, Murray Rothbard,rnLew Rockwell, and I have dwelledrnon a particular topic with relish: Whornwas the first neoconservative? Our responsesrnvaried, depending on the latestrnneoconservative outrage and which obnoxiousrnhistorical personalities we werernthen reading about. After looking atrnJohn Ehrman’s book and the summer issuernof Foreign Affairs, my latest answer tornthe big question is Arthur Schlesinger.rnFrom his tract The Vital Center, publishedrnin September 1949, to his featurernessay in Foreign Affairs on the need forrnpresidential guidance in dealing with thernisolationist habits of the American people,rnSchlesinger has been the direct intellectualrnsource of everything paleoconservativesrnrage against. Ehrman properlyrncharacterizes Schlesinger’s Vital Centerrnas “the unifying ideology for liberal internationalism”rnand cites Commentary’srncommendation of “the precision, vitalitv,rnand emotional power of his restatementrnof commonly accepted views.” Ofrncourse, the views in question were neverrn”commonly accepted,” outside of a certainrnliberal internationalist elite. It wasrnto them, as Ehrman indicates, thatrnSchlesinger appealed by fixing the ColdrnWar in their universe of discourse. Herndeclared democracy to be a universalrn”faith,” one that Americans should laborrnto realize more fully at home and abroad,rnand he held up the ideal of a dynamicrnwelfare state as a guide for democraticrnpractice. Indeed, social democracy forrnSchlesinger occupied the vital center betweenrnthe communists and the right.rnAnd while the communists were an easilyrndemarcated group in his demonology.rnwhich he identified with Soviet expansion,rnSchlesinger’s right was a vaguerrnterm of reference. It embraced everyonernto the right of the New Deal and lumpedrntogether fascists, Nazis, and anti-NewrnDeal isolationists. Schlesinger added tornthe roster of standard leftist bugaboosrnthe Soviets and their agents, while presentingrnthe communists as a variation onrnthe authoritarian right. He also stressedrnthe need to promote social reforms domesticallyrnand among our allies, to upholdrnthe vital center and the democraticrnfaith. Without such an agenda, Americanrnanticommunism, he feared, mightrnbecome a movement of the right.rnWhat Ehrman does not treat sufficientlyrnis Schlesinger’s use of politicalrnterms. Both Schlesinger and his selfdeclaredrnadmirer Daniel P. Moynihanrnadmire Woodrow Wilson. In his ForeignrnAffairs essay, Schlesinger depicts Wilsonrnas a man who sensibly pursued “nationalrninterest” during Worid War 1 and thenrnsacrificed himself to the principle of arnnew democratic order. As ambassador tornthe United Nations in 1974, Moynihanrnproclaimed Wilson to be his own guidingrnvisionary: Wilson represented “thernquest for legitimacy in the worid order”rnand spoke for “the duty to defend and,rnwhere possible, to advance democraticrnprinciples in the world at large, forrndemocracy in one country was notrnenough simply because it would notrnlast.” It is unclear how anyone whornfavors liberal restraints on the federalrnadministration or democratic self-governmentrncould venerate as an iconrnWoodrow Wilson, who with his administratorsrntrampled on civil liberties andrnincited mob violence, first in pushingrnthe United States into the war and thenrnin guiding the war efforts. Curiously,rnSchlesinger would not deny that vigorousrnactions had to be taken to “prepare”rnAmerica for its new international rolernand to reform the country domestically.rnHe makes precisely this case in both ThernVital Center and in his recent essay inrnForeign Affairs, where he glorifies Wilsonrnand Franklin Roosevelt for “preparing” arnnation hardened in isolationism to embracerna new international identity.rnThe speeches Moynihan made in thern70’s, decrying Third World opposition tornAmerican democracy and to “our system,”rnwere derived from Schlesinger’srnpolitical semantics. Though Erhman isrnsympathetic to both Moynihan andrnSchlesinger, he admits that Moynihanrndrew his conception of democracy fromrnW^ilson as well. At that time, this genealogyrnwas not entirely clear, and manyrntraditional conservatives, including hardhatrntypes, praised the New Deal DemocratrnMoynihan for his “old-fashionedrnpatriotism.” In contrast with Secretaryrnof State Henry Kissinger, Moynihan wasrnperceived as defying Third World dictators.rnBut he was for years squishy soft onrnsocial democratic India, which, unlikernour ally Pakistan, combined electionsrnwith a socialist bureaucracy. PresumablyrnIndia, before Indira Gandhi assumedrndictatorial power in 1975, was Moynihan’srnidea of a model Third Worldrncountry.rnThe opinion of Moynihan, Schlesinger,rnand other contributors to Commentaryrnand the New Republic—thatrndemocracy is safe nowhere unless imposedrnuniversally—has been the commonrnview of all zealous revolutionaries.rnRobespierre and Lenin insisted thatrntheir own highest value, whether Jacobinrncentralization or Marxism, was at risk everywherernunless everyone could be madernto embrace it. The delusion is at oddsrnwith the liberal constitutional arrangementsrnand the practice of communalrnself-determination inherent in our nationalrnfounding. Moynihan’s expansiverndemocratism is the imperialist by-productrnof the managerial revolution sufferedrnby the United States at the beginning ofrnthe century, a revolution which stressedrnboth internationalism and frenzied socialrnplanning.rnDespite his fulsome praise of his neoconservativernsubjects, Ehrman does helprnto explain the difficulty of conservativerndialogue at the present time. Words likern”democracy,” “nation,” and “right” dornnot mean the same things for neoconservativesrnand their critics on the right.rnSome of this disagreement is caused byrnthe formers’ special pleading, e.g., for thernIsraeli right, and their dislike for certainrnnationalities. But beyond these quirks,rnwhich Ehrman does not hide and sometimesrndefends, there are serious conceptualrnand semantic differences whichrnmake it impossible for those embroiledrnin the conservative wars to communicate.rnIn reading Bill Kauffman’s anthol-rnDECEMBER 1995/33rnrnrn