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Definition needs work

This definition/description of neo-conservatism seems a little schematic at best and absurdly tendentious in part: as if the neocons were a revival of the international conspiracy of Bolshevist financiers.

I agree, it needs work. Right now I don't have the time to put into it. Any volunteers? --Sheldon Rampton 11:28 31 Mar 2003 (EST)

Nope! .. not I .. gave it a go when there was nothing at all .. up to brighter bulbs now. Artificial Intelligence 3/31/03 11:32 (EST)

Richard Perle

?? anybody who ever had lunch with Richard Perle ?? <G>
The most definitions I find are along the line of "formerly liberal, now conservative or right-wing" though I dislike that as a definition for several reasons, most notably the weak foundation of 'liberal' and 'conservative'
Refer also Talk:Neo-conservatives/list --Maynard 13:43 31 Mar 2003 (EST)

Note from AI

David Remnick, in today's (3/31/03) issue of the New Yorker (page 30, lower third of center column), states: "The new conservative theology too often seems to combine power with a preening delight in brandishing it; the very notion of cooperation is suspect."

Hmm .. let's make a list of "neocon" preeners ... that will be easy. Casting the first vote for Rummy. Artificial Intelligence 13:54 (EST)

Neocons & imperialists

Rather than worry about a definition of 'neo-con', I wondered how to define the collection of individuals listed as neo-cons; and didn't get further than 'imperialists'. Yet, it's the broad media, not the SourceWatch, which has associated the list with the name 'neo-con'.
--Maynard 19:59 31 Mar 2003 (EST)

Thread on PRW Forum on neocons

I've introduced this discussion to the Forum at
--Maynard 07:49 1 Apr 2003 (EST)

Neo-ineptitude, December 12, 2003.

Sobran article

pasted from

As the neocon Max Boot recently wrote, "Support for Israel [is] a key tenet of neoconservatism." He failed to name any other "key" tenets, because there aren't any. War against Arab and Muslim regimes -- enemies of Israel -- is what it's all about. Reagan's all-out support for Israel, when Jimmy Carter was toying with Palestinian rights, is what won him neocon support in 1980.
A Rip Van Winkle conservative who had dozed off in 1965 would wake up in 2003 to find a movement that has almost nothing to do with the creed he professed when he last closed his eyes. It also has nothing to do with the conservative temper we find in the great writers of the past. It has everything to do with a shallow jingoism and war propaganda. It has become the sort of hot fad wise conservatives used to avoid, back when wise conservatives still defined conservatism.

"Is there a lesson here for the neocons? I think so. Like the liberals of yore, they have carelessly allowed their movement to be infiltrated by Zionist partisans and agents who have brought suspicion on all of them. And just as the liberals of McCarthy's day had to purge Communists from their ranks in order to preserve their good name, it's up to patriotic American neocons -- surely the great majority -- to weed out the Israel-firsters among them." [1]

Chip Berklet on Sobran

Sobran has written columns for years that are at best insensitive to antisemitism. Sobran's views on the subject do not belong in a serious encyclopedia entry, except as an example of bigotry.-- 17:17, 27 Jan 2005 (EST) [[actually Cberlet-my sig stamp isn't working right]

Sheldon on Sobran

I don't think Sobran is a simple bigot, but I agree that his columns are "at best insensitive to antisemitism," and his willingness to consort with the Holocaust deniers at the Institute for Historical Review certainly supports this judgment. And I personally think that there is an antisemitic theme that appears in some critiques of the neocons. There are many neocons who are not Jewish at all, including for example Dick Cheney and George W. Bush. However, I'm a bit concerned by the amount of material that you deleted from this article. Is there some way that some of it could be restored and placed in better context? Somehow or other, I think this article does need to address the fact that neocons are strongly pro-Israel and that many leading neocons are Jewish. --Sheldon Rampton 18:13, 27 Jan 2005 (EST)

Response from Chip Berlet re Sobran

Hi, For some reason my signature line isn't working? Anyway, This is an area where folks have to be very clear about what they are trying to say. There are already 10 references to Jews or Jewish institutions in this article. It is clearly stated that there are a "disproportionate" number of Jews among leading neconservatives, as they themselves readily state. Strong support for Israel is clearly a key feaure of neoconservative thought. Most Jews are not neoconservatives. The Adbusters article was way over the edge, as many of their readers have pointed out to them. What exactly more do you think should be said? Especially without sinking into old stereotypes about Jewish power and cabals? Nothing I cut adds anything to this article except implications that lead us down that slippery slope toward antisemitism. This is such a big issue that the New Internationalist recently devoted a special issue to the subject of Judeophobia. [2] Including an article I wrote [3] There are whole books on the neoconservative movement. An internet search is not as useful as library research for more on this subject. (Cberlet) --Cberlet 11:22, 28 Jan 2005 (EST)

& agreement from Sheldon

OK, fine, you've persuaded me. --Sheldon Rampton 19:47, 28 Jan 2005 (EST)

early usenet "neoconservative" usage

The first usenet reference I found fpr the term "neoconservative", and many variations is a fawning review for a Norman Podhoretz book, "Breaking Ranks". The meessage was posted on March 15, 1982 in the Net.Space group. The post's author thought Podhoretz's political evolution worth mentioning, and not a bad sort of definition for neocon in today's understanding:

"Podhoretz is a man who, in the period 1955 - 1980 as editor of Commentary magazine went the full circle from Kennedy - style liberal to leftist radical ( he was one of the founders of the New Left ) back to what is now called the "neoconservative" position - that is, interventionist in foreign affairs, and a capitalist - cum - welfare - state policy at home (pretty much the Kennedy policy)." - google archives

Oddly, the second reference for "neoconservative" on Usenet is its usage as an irrelevant flame regarding Deadheads, posted on Mar 27, 1985, in

Responding to a positive review of deadheads as a political movement post that ended with:

"Compare it to the solidarity underground in Poland for a moment....",

came the rsponse:

"I just did. I can't stop laughing. A bunch of wasted hippies on drugs seeing themselves as analogous to the resistance of the Solidarity movement, fighting for "freedom" in a way similar to what Poles have had to go through. It's just hysterical. And truly degrading to what those people have had to go through. The "deadhead subculture" is perhaps one of THE single strongest elements within the new yuppie subculture, neo-conservative non-youths in business suits get to dress up like they did back in college and smoke dope and take drugs and drive home in their BMW's. This comparison makes me really sick."google archive of thread

Ayn Rand could be considered forward-looking with her 1971 staement:

â??For the record, I shall repeat what I have said many times before: I do not join or endorse any political group or movement. More specifically, I disapprove of, disagree with and have no connection with, the latest aberration of some conservatives, the so-called â??hippies of the right,â?? who attempt to snare the younger or more careless ones of my readers by claiming simultaneously to be followers of my philosophy and advocates of anarchism. Anyone offering such a combination confesses his inability to understand either. Anarchism is the most irrational, anti-intellectual notion ever spun by the concrete-bound, context-dropping, whim-worshiping fringe of the collectivist movement, where it properly belongs.â?
--Ayn Rand - September 1971; â??Brief Summaryâ? - The Objectivist; As quoted From an Ayn Rand Institute's page.

"hippies of the right"?; Ayn would have made one great date..., although this wasn't an insult at future neocons. It was an RPG fired at at early libertarians, who strangely, were claiming an affinity for objectivism.

A few other 80's listings:

There were a few other 80's references, and i still working here and there on the 90's.

--Hugh Manatee 00:49, 28 Jan 2005 (EST)

Could use a rewrite - Berlet

This is still a pretty choppy article, and there is too much material from the paleoconservative viewpoint comapred to progressive material. At least the paleo stuff should be identified as such. --Cberlet 22:20, 31 Mar 2005 (EST)

Approach to rewrite

Yes while the article stands at 3600words+ its a mish-mash that doesn't read well. While I'm no expert on the necons I'll start reworking this today by:

  • removing the duplication between some of the sections that have been cut and pasted in;
  • condense the long slabs pasted from copyright articles;
  • move unreferenced material off the article page;
  • remove some of the material that doesn't really add much or belongs on existing linked pages.

After all that I might have some ideas on a better structure for the article.--Bob Burton 21:27, 6 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Relocated material

I'll post explanatory notes later today once I have gone right through this article--Bob Burton 22:04, 6 Apr 2005 (EDT)

OK - I have cut out far more material than I was originally thinking. In part this was because:

  • it will be easier to add material back in if we have a cleaner slate to work with and an agreed format for the article;
  • while I'm not especially familiar with the topic it was a least useful in not being able to follow some of the jumps in the article;
  • The existing Wikipedia article is pretty extensive, bigger and while I think is rough in parts its better than what we have here; so I'm wary of spending lots of time rewriting for little overall gain.
  • Overall I think the most useful thing about the entry we have here is the list of articles in the linked file - though there are some substantial gaps in that when it seems nothing has been added. Now that the initial spike in reporting on the necons has recede somewhet perhaps what is left in the ext links section could be culled a bit further to get down to a list of essential readings. (Some of those I left there yesterday substantially overlapped but I didnlt have time to read them all and cull the least useful).

I have appended my comments following each relocated section as an indented par.


Originally, in the context of the United States, it referred to a right-wing movement of former political leftists. As Michael Lind has observed, "Most neoconservative defense intellectuals have their roots on the left, not the right. They are products of the influential Jewish-American sector of the Trotskyist movement of the 1930s and 1940s, which morphed into anti-communist liberalism between the 1950s and 1970s and finally into a kind of militaristic and imperial right with no precedents in American culture or political history."

the is traversing similar territory that that covered in material I have left in.

The 1955 book "The New American Right" (Criterion Books, LC# 55-11024; out of print) exposes the intellectual antecedents of the neoconservative movement as far more complex than the transmogrification of 1930's leftists into 21st Century neoconservative militarists. Edited by Daniel Bell, it includes essays by Bell, Hofstadter, Reisman, Glazer, Viereck, Parsons, and Lipset. Part of that legendary transformation can be seen in the PBS film "Arguing the World" which is documented in producer Joseph Dorman's book "Arguing the World: The New York Intellectuals in their Own Words".

maybe it does but it is not readily apparant from what is here exactly what the complexities referred to are. Nor does the PBS site help much - just a few basic profiles.

FPIF â?? I cut this quote down as it was traversing similar territory to others.

again this was covering similar territory to that which I have left in.

A Neoconservative is a conservative neoliberal

Economically, there is little or no conflict between the neo-cons and other advocates of the neoliberal political economy which underlies corporate globalization. In general, neo-con supporters are drawn post-facto from those who support that system.

All neo-conservative groups adhere to at least part of that neoliberal agenda. However, they add to this a profound obsession with one or more traits specific to their own culture or nation (eg. "American exceptionalism"), and may be more likely to see protectionism as an option, especially to preserve a role for their supporters in a military-industrial complex.

In Canada and Australia, for instance, there is vocal support for purchases and production of new military hardware in neoconservative circles. There is usually also industrial policy that supports high-technology industries, and more than a little pro-technology propaganda to justify extensive (mostly indirect) support for the software and aerospace industries.

Perhaps due solely to divergent national interests, neoconservatives are not wholly consistent worldwide, although there are some strong convergences on rhetoric. Some see all neoconservative movements as different excuses to impose and defend a global neoclassical economics, which excuses differ from those of the neoliberal. In particular, the neoconservative ideology seems obsessed with defense as opposed to development, and thus is similar to the conservative/liberal divisions seen within each country in the polity of pre-globalization states. However, there are important differences between the conventional "conservative" and the modern neo-conservative or common sense conservative. The former term is more associated with domestic policy, whereas neo-cons are foreign policy "hawks".

I cut this not because I necessarily disagree but:
  • I don't know enough about their economic policy pronouncement to know for sure how accurate and useful this section is as it is unreferenced;
  • it seems sensible to have a section on their views on economic policy but it would be important to have some primary sources; what we have here would need to be condensed if we are going to re-incoporate - its a bit wordy for the point its trying to get across.
  • the rest of the article is primarily about US neoconservatives and then there is a jump to suggest there'are different versions of it in Canada and Australia. However there is next to no literature on it in Canada and Australia and no references are provided. (While there are Australian supporters of US neoconservatives that's different from there being Australian neoconservatism.

Neocons &Israel

There was a significant amount of material scattered around on the theme of how central policy on Israel is to the neocons. If we are going to have a section covering this theme it seems it would be good to condense it right down to tight section and preferably with primary source links.


"Some of them regard the advocacy of an independent Palestinian state as part of a liberal conspiracy; others attribute it to naive do-goodism or pure anti-Semitism.
...they consider Jerusalem a strategic asset in Washington's campaign against Moscow-sponsored international terrorism." --1989 Policy Analysis

This quote is not really all that useful by itself and out of context. The original quote is from Leon T. Hadar, "Creating a U.S Policy of Constructive Disengagement in the Middle East", Cato Institute, Cato Policy Analysis No. 125, December 29, 1989. Nor is 'Likudniks' a particularly useful title.


Self-proclaimed neoconservatives sometimes express strong admiration for the Israeli Likud party's tactics, including preventive warfare such as Israel's 1981 raid on Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor, is mixed with odd bursts of ideological enthusiasm for 'democracy.'

Maybe they do but this provides no specifics or references.

Neo-conservatives often refer to their ideology as 'Wilsonian' (after President Woodrow Wilson).[4] However, a number of left-wing critics have argued that it is really Trotsky's theory of the permanent revolution mingled with the far-right Likud strain of Zionism. These critics have argued that American Wilsonians believe in self-determination for people such as the Palestinians." [5]

In actuality, this is a misconception, possibly due to sentiments on both the far-left and far-right that neo-conservatives place Israeli interests above American interests. In fact, Paul Wolfowitz, considered by many one of the most prominent neo-conservatives, has expressed support for Palestinian self-determination on a number of occasions[6][7][8], as has Eliot Cohen[9], a well-regarded political scientist and military professor at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, considered an intellectual center of neo-conservative thought.

a useful point and at least it is referenced but only if we are going to have a section on the neocons and Israel. (I note for example, that there is nothing on other countries the neocons have singled out for attention such as North Korea, Iran etc -- if are are going to review their policies to different countries/regions it would be good to have iut comprehensive.

The ideology of neoconservatism developed during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Six-Day War between Israel and Arab states was a watershed, as that conflict turned much of the left against Israel, while the founders of the neoconservative movement remained passionate advocates for Israel.

maybe, but how do we know this? Needs some references.

The movement has been increasingly influential in the United States and within the Republican Party. Its weight has especially been felt within foreign policy. One of its main tenents is the vital importance of Israel as a strategic partner to the U.S.

duplicating what is already covered.

This is the Republikud alliance characterized by Nima Shirali, who wrote in February 2003 that "the relations between the U.S and Israeli states serve to effectuate each other's policies. On the one hand, U.S assistance to Israel is essential to that country's survival. On the other hand, this assistance perpetuates an alliance, which is gainful for the U.S. It has become starkly evident that the Republican agenda prioritizes military and economic aid to Israel, yet without significant persuasions to make land concessions; a condition precedent to reconciliation." [10].

seems like a copy from wikipedia and while an interesting point I'm not sure that it belongs in an article about necons. Isnlt that a criticism though that was also made of numerour previous administrations of both political persuasions?

In effect, by simply refusing to make land concessions or even implement the long-standing UN order to withdraw from territories captured during the 1967 war in the West Bank, some believe that Likud can leverage Republican Party support for an endlessly escalating military and technological conflict from which its own members, and elites of the Republican Party, directly benefit. If dangerous technology leaks out to enemies, such as the nuclear technology to Iraq or biological technology to Iran, this can provide excuses for "crackdowns" and preemptive war. Refusal to actually limit the development, deployment and use of such technology is another cornerstone of Republikud: G. W. Bush has withdrawn from a vast array of international agreements to control technologies, and Israel has consistently refused to allow UN weapons inspectors to review its rumoured nuclear facilities.

a bit of off topic conjecture

These sentiments are likewise disputable, particularly since Israel has long enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress and overwhelming support amongst US citizens.


Several neoconservatives have worked closely with Israel's Likud party. This is true for instance of Perle, Feith, Wurmser and Frum. They authored the 1996 position paper "Securing the Realm: A Clean Break" for the Benjamin Netanyahu government, and the paper argued, among other things, for a preventive war against Iraq. The report also argued for Israel to reaffirm its claim to the West Bank and Gaza and to refrain from participating in any peace process.

needs references

However, there appears to be substantial ideological diversity within the neo-conservative movement which pits hardliners like Perle, Feith, and Wurmser, against relative moderates, like Wolfowitz, Cohen, and others.

If this is the case this is an important point to expand. But it needs some sourcing.

U.S. News and World Report

Neoconservative pundits are also prominent in columns of the the weekly U.S. News and World Report, owned by Mortimer Zuckerman (also Chairman of The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations). Zuckerman himself is not a neo-conservative; he is a prominent contributor to the Democratic party. The Conference of Presidents is a body which represents Jewish-American advocacy organizations.

Maybe but no details are provided as to who it is referring to or whether USNW publishes them disproportionately to other publications. Neocon op-eds appear in publications all around the world. Surely the key issue is what are the primary publications for neocon writings.


Some neoconservatives embrace the teachings of philosopher Leo Strauss, once a protege of the German philosopher Carl Schmitt, who himself joined the Nazi party in 1933.[11] Strauss, a Jewish German who fled his country from the Nazis in the 1930s, eventually found refuge in the U.S., teaching at the University of Chicago. Wolfowitz is among those self-identified as a Straussian.

The philosophy of Strauss is controversial with ideals that go contrary to democracy. In an analysis by Jim Lobe for the Inter Press Service News Agency, Lobe writes:

Hersh wrote that Strauss believed the world to be a place where "isolated liberal democracies live in constant danger from hostile elements abroad", and where policy advisers may have to deceive their own publics and even their rulers in order to protect their countries.
Shadia Drury, author of 1999's controversial book, Leo Strauss and the American Right, says Hersh is right on the second count but dead wrong on the first.
"Strauss was neither a liberal nor a democrat," she said in a telephone interview from her office at the University of Calgary in Canada. "Perpetual deception of the citizens by those in power is critical (in Strauss's view) because they need to be led, and they need strong rulers to tell them what's good for them."
"The Weimar Republic (in Germany) was his model of liberal democracy for which he had huge contempt," added Drury. Liberalism in Weimar, in Strauss's view, led ultimately to the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews.
Like Plato, Strauss taught that within societies, "some are fit to lead, and others to be led", according to Drury. But, unlike Plato, who believed that leaders had to be people with such high moral standards that they could resist the temptations of power, Strauss thought that "those who are fit to rule are those who realise there is no morality and that there is only one natural right, the right of the superior to rule over the inferior".
For Strauss, "religion is the glue that holds society together", said Drury, who added that Irving Kristol, among other neo-conservatives, has argued that separating church and state was the biggest mistake made by the founders of the U.S. republic.
"Secular society in their view is the worst possible thing", because it leads to individualism, liberalism and relativism, precisely those traits that might encourage dissent, which in turn could dangerously weaken society's ability to cope with external threats. "You want a crowd that you can manipulate like putty," according to Drury. [12]

Although this view might seem to be contradicted by the what may be perceived as socially liberal views held by "a number of neo-conservatives", these cannot be considered "Straussian" neo-conservatives, if they are neo-conservatives at all. Depending on the particular "socially liberal" view they hold they might be better characterized as neo-liberals or as libertarians allied with neoconservatives.

Which neocons identify as Straussians? Sources? If this is true we need to condense right down the essential strands of thought of Strauss that are influences on neoconservative thought. And the above is a long extract of copyright material.


Neo-conservative policies are also strongly influenced by Michael Ledeen. Ledeen has worked for the Pentagon, U.S. State Department, and the National Security Council, and he was involved with the arms transfers to Iran during the Iran-Contra affair, which he documents in his book Perilous Statecraft: An Insider's Account of the Iran-Contra Affair. William O. Beeman writes the following about Michael Ledeen for the Pacific News Service:

Ledeen's ideas are repeated daily by such figures as Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz. His views virtually define the stark departure from American foreign policy philosophy that existed before the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001. He basically believes that violence in the service of the spread of democracy is America's manifest destiny. Consequently, he has become the philosophical legitimator of the American occupation of Iraq.
Quotes from Ledeen's works reveal a peculiar set of beliefs about American attitudes toward violence. "Change -- above all violent change -- is the essence of human history," he proclaims in his book, Machiavelli on Modern Leadership: Why Machiavelli's Iron Rules Are as Timely and Important Today as Five Centuries Ago. In an influential essay in the National Review Online he asserts, "Creative destruction is our middle name. We do it automatically ... it is time once again to export the democratic revolution."
Ledeen has become the driving philosophical force behind the neoconservative movement and the military actions it has spawned. His 1996 book, Freedom Betrayed; How the United States Led a Global Domocratic Revolution, Won the Cold War, and Walked Away, reveals the basic neoconservative obsession: the United States never "won" the Cold War; the Soviet Union collapsed of its own weight without a shot being fired. Had the United States truly won, democratic institutions would be sprouting everywhere the threat of Communism had been rife.
Iraq, Iran and Syria are the first and foremost nations where this should happen, according to Ledeen. The process by which this should be achieved is a violent one, termed "total war."
"Total war not only destroys the enemy's military forces, but also brings the enemy society to an extremely personal point of decision, so that they are willing to accept a reversal of the cultural trends," Ledeen writes. "The sparing of civilian lives cannot be the total war's first priority ... The purpose of total war is to permanently force your will onto another people." [13]
Is Ledeen one of the most influential of the neocons? Why? If so, we need to condense this section right down - again what we have is a long extract of copyright material.

Cuts from â??Criticisms of neoconservatives from within the conservative movementâ? section

See Articles about neo-conservativism written by isolationist paleo-conservatives for more perspectives.

most appropriate for the references section on the paleo page.

One group, Conservatives Against Bush directly challenges the neo-conservative agenda in the Bush White House as inherently not-conservative.

"Conservatives are accustomed to liberals not understanding the zoology of our movement. But the use and abuse of the term 'neoconservative' has exceeded even the high allowance for cliché and ignorance generally afforded to those who write or talk about conservatism from outside the conservative ant farm. In fact, neoconservative has become a Trojan Horse for a vast arsenal of ideological attacks and insinuations. For some it means Jewish conservative. For others it means hawk. A few still think it means squishy conservative or ex-liberal. And a few don't even know what the word means, they just think it makes them sound knowledgeable when they use it." --Jonah Goldberg, 18 June 2004

I'm not sure that this is adding much that is not already covered.


Former UNSCOM weapons inspector Scott Ritter, who has become a prominent opponent of the war with Iraq, sees neo-conservatives as "those who reject anything outside their ideological framework." By contrast with traditional conservatives, who "can listen to moderates and at least consider other viewpoints," he says that neo-conservatives are "so committed to their ideology they won't consider anything else. ... [T]hey've developed what is, to be honest, a fringe viewpoint on Iraq."

In Ritter's opinion, "After Bush failed to get the mandate he needs in the election to reach out and bring in Democrats and more moderate voices, he had to fall back on his neo-conservative base, which suddenly empowered these fringe thinkers. These people are definitely not representative of mainstream thinking in America. They now have their hands on the reins of government ..." [14]

This sits a bit awkwardly in the article. If we are going to have a section say on criticisms of the neocons from the centre/left then a condensed version of this at least covers one strans of the commentary.


A number of prominent neo-conservatives have also been labeled with another, less flattering term -- Chickenhawk. This because many of the most diehard, pro-war, pro-intervention neo-conservatives have never served in the military and in some cases (especially during the Vietnam era) avoided the draft, either legally or illegally, but are hypocritically quite gung-ho to send others to die in distant foreign wars. The label seems to have been coined by Ralph Nader in 2003, when he also stated the closest chickenhawks have been to a tank is a "think tank".

I'm inclined to drop this as the term was/is used to describe people way broader than just the neocons so I'm inclined to leave it at a link in the Other SW section. If we were going to leave it in we'd need some specific references where it was directed at neocons.

Chinese view

In the People's Republic of China, the term "neoconservative" has a different meaning than in the United States. In China, it refers to a intellectual political ideology which began in the 1990s. In general, neoconservatism regards revolutions and massive changes in government structure to be dangerous. As such neoconservatives in China are generally supportive of the current government, although they do not approve of the revolutionary justifications for legitimacy that is part of the official ideology. It becomes difficult to see how this is really different from general support for a police state.

No sourcing to indicate that the term neocons is used in China. This seems speculative to me.

Whew! --Bob Burton 01:47, 7 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Grayscaling a definition of 'neoconservative'

Sourcewatch has had a difficult time defining exactly what a neoconservative is, and exactly who belongs in the group, but at least we haven't blurred the meaning into mindless pablum like some of the dictionaries available online have done. Here are three mainstream and respected online dictionaries' listing for the word neoconservative.

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

a former liberal espousing political conservatism

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition

An intellectual and political movement in favor of political, economic, and social conservatism that arose in opposition to the perceived liberalism of the 1960s:
â??The neo-conservatism of the 1980s is a replay of the New Conservatism of the 1950s, which was itself a replay of the New Era philosophy of the 1920sâ?
- (Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.).

The Encarta World English Dictionary

supporter of return to conservative values: somebody who, during the mid-1980s, began to support conservatism in society, and in politics in particular, as a reaction to the social freedoms sought throughout the 1960s and early 1970s

Then there was the recent reverted edit of SourceWatch's David Horowitz (ex-Marxist) stub, which claimed that Neoconservative is "the term of derision that the left uses to describe Jews who have rejected Marxism"

--hugh_manateee 05:03, 24 Mar 2006 (EST)


Grayscale a definition? Does that consist of an attempt to place all the neo-conservatives into a single definition, or is it an attempt to create a definition with various cells into which we shall place the "shades" of neo-cons? This discussion section title is not clear to me.

Regarding the dissing of the dictionaries' verbiage, do we subscribe to the ideology that an abundance of words makes the definition better? Are we attempting to categorize a continuously evolving uncategorizable group?

PS - I was raised on mindless pablum.

--Porchmutt 13:00, 19 December 2007 (EST)