Sunday, 11 November 2007

Media Myths: Neo-Conservatives and Free Markets

The Myth: Neo-Conservatives are Extreme Free Marketeers.

The myth is partly a journalistic one, but partly a belief which has become necessary to a large number of left wingers.

There is a variety of people travelling under the Neo-Con banner, and the influence it has had on the George W. Bush administration has led to lines blurring. Though on the whole the blurred line is one between Neo-Cons and hardline Realists in International Relations. The US view of reconstruction in Iraq is inevitably that it should be free market in principle, and should benefit US enterprises. I don't get excited about this. I didn't support the war, but governments defend national interests and prevailing principles of political economy within that country. The outrage from some people is pointless, would a very socialistic government do anything different if it was occupying another country for any reason. Say defending itself against invasion. Any Democrat government would push for very free market policies by the standards of Saddam's Iraq and would seek to benefit US companies.

The Neo-Cons are not libertarian extreme free marketeers in ideology. Many of them are ex-Democrats who support the kind of welfare programs and regulated economy which has existed since the New Deal. They are greatly hated by the Libertarian purists, and the the Paleocons who mix very small state policies with nationalism and conservative social values. Those forces who reject what endures from FDR are not Neocons, they tend to actively hate them.

The real source of Neo-Con thought are Cold War Military Liberalism, the neo-Platonist elitest Leo Strauss who never expressed an interest in pure free markets, the post-ideological social theorist Daniel Bell, Trotrskyites who moved from Marxist based hatred of Stalinism to a fervent belief in Democracy again Marxism.

The pure economic libertarians strongly opposed the Iraqi invasion, hate Bush and hate Neo-Cons.

But don't let those distinctions confuse you the next time you want to have a good rant about Neo-Cons and free markets.

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