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NeoConservatism: Why We Need It Hardcover – July 25, 2006
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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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's great! very informative and written in a storytelling kind-of way.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Murray gives a brief history of Neoconservatism before explaining why we need the doctrine now more than ever. Read morePublished on August 15, 2013 by matthew gibson
This book was written in a refreshingly witty and fluent prose that made reading it an absolute pleasure. Read morePublished on July 30, 2013 by Misha
By tracing the roots of neoconservatism Murray rebukes the facetious and downright slanderous attacks on neoconservatism and explains the truth. Read morePublished on March 23, 2013 by L K
By tracing the roots of neoconservatism Murray rebukes the facetious and downright slanderous attacks on neoconservatism and explains the truth. Read morePublished on March 2, 2013 by L K
The proposition that the West is worth aggressively fighting for is a crude but accurate description of the essence of neoconservatism; a school of thought that has become... Read morePublished on October 5, 2010 by Scott George McCombe
Murray does an excellent job of demonstrating the broad foundational conceptions of the ideology by virtue of historical chronology, philosophical application, and the political... Read morePublished on November 19, 2009 by Claudius Marcellus