The new anti-war right

Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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20 Responses

  1. Michael Drew says:

    Through all this, it should be remembered that Daniel Larison, antihegemonic conservative hero that he truly is, supports the Afghanistan war and its escalation.

  2. Jaybird says:

    The, ahem, “non-interventionist” types will always be able to be shouted down.

    Don’t you care that there are rape rooms?
    Don’t you care that abortion isn’t allowed in that country?
    Don’t you care about womens’ rights?
    Don’t you care about human rights?

    If you had the opportunity to save Akhmedena’s life, wouldn’t you take it?

    It’s a simple question, after all.

    Do you hate this woman or would you save her life if given the opportunity to do so?

    Hell, you can even cow the so-called “liberal” objectively pro-fascists with this particular argument.Report

  3. Chad says:

    Excellent point. When the time rolled around for invading Iraq, all I could ask myself was, “Weren’t you the guys who were complaining about nation building when Clinton was president?” The complete inability for one side to attribute anything but malign intent to the actions of the other party makes this sort of thing possible. There is no true battle of philosophies in our politics, just two differently colored sides shouting at each other across the Hippodrome. Perhaps it shows a better bit of honesty from the Democratic party that I can’t tell if there is anything they actually pretend stand for.Report

  4. Bob says:

    Jack Hunter is not a politician, hence he can remain principled, hew to his conservative beliefs. Bravo!Report

  5. Pinky says:

    This reminds me of something that came up in the third-party discussion thread. There is a school of thought that has similarities to both the American left and right, but is unrepresented by either party. It’s isolationist, pro-union, and anti-immigration. They’re mostly populists.

    You could get them to rally for English-only education and fences along the border. They may have supported Perot or Paul. They don’t necessarily fit on either side of the “culture wars” as they’re currently depicted. Pat Buchanan and the American Conservative crowd represent a conservative branch of this thinking. It should be no surprise that they’re anti-war.Report

  6. Bob Cheeks says:

    E.D. have you been following the conversation between Drs. Wilson and Scott over at FPR? Comments?Report

  7. Katherine says:

    I think you’re right, E.D. It’s hard to draw any other conclusion when the Republicans followed up years of complaining about Clinton’s interventionism with starting an aggressive war on the flimsiest of rationales.Report

  8. mike farmer says:

    Beck has made it clear that he is not anti-war — he believes Obama is not in it to win, and, therefore, he thinks it puts our young men and women at risk, unnecessarily. Beck has a nephew in Afghanistan, I believe, and he doesn’t want the war to last if it’s not fought all out. You can disgree whether we should have a full-fledged offensive, or not, but it doesn’t seem like opportunism.

    I believe we have no vital interest there, but that’s me. That’s not opportunistic, either. I suppose there is some opportunistic opposition, but I haven’t heard of any anti-war movement on the right which is strictly anti-war — I think they don’t trust the execution.Report

  9. mike farmer says:

    Unless commentators can get past a strict left-right, Democrat-Republican political understanding, the present opposition to statism will continue to be a mystery. What we are witnessing is an apolitical opposition not only to statism, but political categories as well. We are seeing a reaction from a large part of society which is not led by conservative groups or the Republican Party — it’s an opposition made of people who are mixture of conservative principles and liberal leanings. They aren’t the usual party faithfuls. They aren’t anti-war, they are anti-statism and incompetent intervention.

    The Republican Party would be wise to understand these people — so far, few Republicans have shown any understanding at all — they’ve merely tried to marginalize them by framing them as the “conservative base”.Report

  10. Old Rebel says:

    Much of the problem is with the label “conservative.” We have Andrew Sullivan proclaiming gay marriage as a conservative goal, much to the chagrin of the social conservatives. The Neocons, who’re really identity thieves who’ve stolen the conservative name to push their big-government agenda, have no problem with warrantless surveillance and pre-emptive wars, which a paleoconservative such as Pat Buchanan would never accept.

    Perhaps this is really a symptom of the intellectual sloppiness of our age.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Old Rebel says:

      Reb, outside of defense issues, can you really call the neo-conservatives “big-government”? And surely Reagan wasn’t afraid of government spending in the name of defense?

      Both neo and paleo (if you accept those classifications) have legitimate claims on the word “conservative”. Andrew Sullivan, espousing something that has never existed before, has no such claim.Report

  11. Old Rebel says:


    The problem with the Neocons is that their agenda derives not from the historical experience Burke, Weaver, and Kirk saw as essential to conservatism, but from an ideology based on anti-Stalinist Marxists, such as Leon Trotsky, Max Shachtman, and Irving Kristol. Rather than supporting the preservation of traditional liberties, Neocons, revealing their Marxist roots, espouse “world democratic revolution” to bring universal standard of human rights to all. In fact, like communism, Neoconservatism serves as justification for the expansion of political and military power.

    Hence the Neocons’ enthusiasm for gutting the Bill of Rights and continuous war — things Burke et al would never tolerate.Report

    • Katherine in reply to Old Rebel says:

      The Neocon attitude dates back earlier than socialism, and is in some respects the precise opposite of Burkean conservatism: it comes from the French Revolution, and the goal of many participants of bringing about democracy in other nations by use of military force.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Old Rebel says:

      Reb, that’s a pretty broad brush. Again, is there anything other than interventionism that leads you to consider neoconservatives as “big-government” types? Who are these neocons, anyway? I mean, other than a few people whose names are synonymous with the word (Kristol, Wolfowitz, etc.).Report

  12. Old Rebel says:


    You’re absolutely right about that. Lenin & Co. saw themselves as the inheritors of the Jacobins, and even adopted the use of the term “comrade” to address co-revolutionaries.

    As Burke warned us, the French Revolution was a revolt against tradition.Report

  13. Old Rebel says:


    Pat Buchanan has a good introduction to the Neocons here.

    But I’ve always been impressed with the masterful presentation and call to arms crafted by Frank Capra in his series, “Why we fight.” He convinced Americans of the Axis powers’ evil intent by letting Hitler and Mussolini speak for themselves — in other words, he spliced in much unedited Axis propaganda so Americans could see how menacing and alien the Axis ideologies truly were.

    So in the spirit of Frank Capra, here’s an editorial from the Neocon hive, The Weekly Standard proclaiming the glories of “big government conservatism.”Report

    • Pinky in reply to Old Rebel says:

      Maybe I’m not asking this question correctly.

      There are a few people, most of whom served in the Bush Administration, who are commonly referred to (or refer to themselves) as neoconservatives. There are a couple of magazines as well. Are there any elected officials you would consider neocon? Is there any voting bloc? What do they believe that is so profoundly different from mainstream pro-defense Republicanism? I don’t need to know their intellectual pedigree, I just want one reason that I should take that “neocon” label seriously.Report

  14. Old Rebel says:


    If you mean present-day elected officials who describe themselves as Neocons, then the answer’s “no.” However, there aren’t many members of the Obama administration who call themselves “liberal” either.

    Most of the Neocons these days are in the think tanks promoting war. Any war.Report