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NeoConservatism: Why We Need It Hardcover – July 25, 2006

4.2 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Douglas Murray is the author of Bosie: A Biography of Lord Alfred Douglas, a bestselling biography of Lord Alfred Douglas published while Murray was still an undergraduate at Magdalen College, Oxford. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books (July 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594031479
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594031472
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #147,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I am not a conservative of any type. But I found this book informative and interesting.

Douglas Murray begins by stating that "neoconservatism is not a political party, or a social set, but a way of looking at the world. It is a deeply rooted and relevant philosophy which only seems to be out of kilter with modern thought because there is so little modern thought."

In this book, we see quite a few examples of what is supposed to pass for modern thought, so what Murray says is not really a joke.

There is a chapter on the theory and roots of neoconservatism. And we see Allan Bloom react to the university student culture of the 1960s. Bloom is quoted as saying (about this culture) that "never in history has there been such a marvelous correspondence between the good and the pleasant." And in fact, that is clearly one of the drivers for the neoconservative reaction.

Obviously, one major aspect of liberalism is the notion of equality of opportunity. However, that concept can simply degrade into the idea of "equality" in all things. And that's not a reasonable or practical political philosophy. Murray quotes William Kristol's complaints about a philosophy of equality here.

Murray cites one major incident that brought neoconservative ideas into the political forefront, namely the absurd and wicked United Nations resolution that (in 1975) equated Zionism with racism. Daniel Moynihan spoke as UN ambassador in opposition to this travesty. He explained that if there were no General Assembly, this could never have happened. And that the UN had just granted amnesty and more to the murderers of six million European Jews. And that the UN would now be regarded by many as "a place where lies are told.
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Format: Hardcover
The term 'Neo-Conservative' is now a term of reprobation in most American political discourse. The 'neo-cons' are taken to be responsible for the highly problematic war in Iraq. Legitimate fair critics of the Neo- Cons are unfortunately outshouted by radical left, often Anti- Semitic critics of the neo- Cons who ridicuously accuse Bush, Rumsfeld, and Cheney of being servants of Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and Douglas Feith.
Murray's book comes not specifically as a defense of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq but rather as an effort to outline the basic Neo- Con position, and to argue that it is the right one for the people of the West to take. He devotes his first chapter to an outline of the thought of the principal theoretician of Neo-Con thought Leo Strauss. The bulk of the book is devoted to outlining Neo- Con thought in international and domestic areas.
Peter Berkowitz in his highly favorable review of this book in the 'Weekly Standard' writes of it as follows:

"In contrast to traditional conservatives, neoconservatives are more comfortable with capitalism, always accepted the moral and political necessity of the welfare state, and consistently sought a prominent role for America in creating a stable and just international order.
In contrast to progressives, neoconservatives are more concerned about the costs of modernity's disruptive ways to the family and traditional morality, strongly doubt the ability of the federal government to improve America through higher taxes and more aggressive social policies, and are skeptical of the integrity and efficacy of the United Nations, while maintaining confidence in the ability of the American armed forces, when diplomacy is exhausted, to advance American interests and ideals.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Douglas Murray has written a book that is easy to read and understand. I always favor books on timely and serious subjects that appeal to the widest possible readership. Such writing is definitely in need at this crucial point in history. I admire Murray's book, generally agree with it, and think it is important as part of the ongoing discussion about how to proceed in our dangerous world.

The first chapter is used to provide a brief history of neoconservatism from its origins in the thought of 20th Cent. political philosopher, Leo Strauss. Murray provides an overview of Strauss's political theory, but wisely refers the reader to Strauss's work rather than getting bogged down in the complexities of this profound thinker. To oversimplify, Strauss believed there is a "natural right" within human beings and human history which make it "self evident" that democracy is the best form of governance for individual freedom, happiness and fulfillment.

In the remaining three chapters Murray takes the gloves off. Exposition gives way to exhortation. It becomes increasingly a polemic and a call to action. It calls for a return to unalloyed belief in democracy and the discarding of the nihilistic "multi-culturism" and "moral relativism" concepts that clutter the minds of liberal and leftist intellectual elites.

Murray intersperses his polemic with numerous historical examples so his ideas are well grounded in the realities of world politics. He doesn't put it in these terms, but it's almost as if the question of the day is: if not democracy, then what? There aren't that many choices in political governance.
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