October 30, 2007

Neo-Cons vs. Nepo-Cons

A friend points out:

A note on neo-nepotism: One difference between Norman Podhoretz and Irving Kristol and their sons is that the fathers were shaped in part by serving in the armed forces, alongside guys they otherwise wouldn't have spent much time with. They've both written about this. In Podhoretz's case, he discovered that his fears of anti-intellectualism and anti-semitism among the masses were overblown. The GIs he rubbed shoulders with were actually fairly respectful of the brighter guys, and they were more curious than hostile about his religious/ethnic background. Kristol learned another lesson: there was so much corruption and racketeering going on among his fellow soldiers that he lost his socialist faith that putting lots of government property in the hands of The People was a wonderful idea. My impression (I could be wrong) is that John Podhoretz and William Kristol haven't had this range of social experience. The great theme of The Bell Curve is that a cognitive elite is increasingly cut off from the rest of the population. The end of conscription may be part of this trend.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

13 comments:

MArk said...

Pod the Elder's Wiki bio mentions no military service, though apparently he served from 1953-55, presumably as a draftee. He was born in 1930, so he could've been drafted/enlisted anytime from 1948 on, a period which includes the Korean War.

So, deliberately or not, he probably didn't see action in Korea. Based on his bio, Kristol, in contrast, appears to have seen substantial action. And in further contrast, PodElder's own son didn't even serve at all (he probably would've been considered overweight - or even morbily obese). PodYounger's primary soul-shaping experiences seem to be his upbringing on the Upper East Side and his "tour of duty" on Jeopardy! (A game show which I love, BTW, and Tivo everyday - but it still ain't the Army).

Anonymous said...

:::My impression (I could be wrong) is that John Podhoretz and William Kristol haven't had this range of social experience. The great theme of The Bell Curve is that a cognitive elite is increasingly cut off from the rest of the population.:::

And where, exactly, does the contemporary "cognitive elite" do their business? Do they party together? How do you know these sons aren't supreme and flabbergasting morons?

Bully for the Neo-cons bravely and formatively interacting with "normal" people. I can see how a Jew from way back might have been genuinely insulated from the Standardized Yokel, around which there would have been an intimidating legend, but is this any kind of consideration anymore?

Doesn't the "cognitive elite" of today still have to hit on stupid girls in bars? This experience has certainly been eye-opening and worldview-altering for myself, and I plan on including it within my forthcoming autobiography.

Evil Neocon said...

I don't think it's particularly useful to label neo-cons as being wealthy scions of Upper East Side Jewish conservative intellectuals. Rudy, Fred, and Romney all have neo-con positions and don't fit those descriptions.

And you'll find considerable debate among neo-cons as to the proper foreign/national security policy. Derbyshire and Steyn for example would tend towards Jacksonian responses as would Tancredo and probably hold Democracy/Nation building a waste of time/money/lives.

But what IS common among neo-cons is a recognition of the vast social gulf between working men and the professional classes. Steyn's latest column and Peggy Noonan both touched on it -- upper class professionals look down on the military professionals because they equate manual labor with lower class "lack of IQ."

They are also threatened with reality in that operating in the military successfully requires high IQ and attention to detail. Not just night carrier landings but operating Bradleys in combat or even being a highly trained MOUT infantrymen.

Look at the popularity of "Ice Road Truckers," or "Dirty Jobs" or "Deadliest Catch" to understand how suburban wealthy yuppies view workingmen: quite literally as foreign and exotic as Dinka tribesmen who also occupy cable TV (Going Tribal).

daveg said...

I don't think it's particularly useful to label neo-cons as being wealthy scions of Upper East Side Jewish conservative intellectuals.

I missed where anyone said this?

Someone discussed the particulars of PodYounger's upbringing, but I didn't see any generalizations...?

chrysoperil said...

See G. K. Chesterton:

It is not fashionable to say much nowadays of the advantages of the small community. We are told that we must go in for large empires and large ideas. There is one advantage, however, in the small state, the city, or the village, which only the wilfully blind can overlook. The man who lives in a small community lives in a much larger world. He knows much more of the fierce varieties and uncompromising divergences of men. The reason is obvious. In a large community we can choose our companions. In a small community our companions are chosen for us.

http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext96/heret11.txt

Anony-mouse said...

Gee Steve, you almost sound as if you're saying that environment has a very strong effect on intelligence, as opposed to heredity.

SFG said...

Ah, Chesterton again. A sadly under-read writer these days.

Stupid girls in bars: no, they keep to their own class mostly. I think this is one of the side effects of women in the workplace: more stratification by occupation as people meet and date within their own occupation. Aren't something like half of female doctors married to other doctors?

Fred said...

This is true not just of neocons, but of journalists and pundits of all stripes. There were a lot more men under arms in the 40's and 50's, and of course, there was a draft. You could probably a similar post about paleo or liberal intellectuals.

Mark said...

But what IS common among neo-cons is a recognition of the vast social gulf between working men and the professional classes.

They recognize the gulf, or they're part of the gulf? Because it seems to me the most neocons (are we even settled on what the term means?) are further removed from the concerns of the average American than just about anyone.

Steyn's latest column and Peggy Noonan both touched on it -- upper class professionals look down on the military professionals because they equate manual labor with lower class "lack of IQ."

Noonan is in no way a neocon. Paleocon, maybe. Basic traditionalist, certainly. Neocon? No way.

And even Steyn doesn't fit the typical neocon stereotype. For one, he's far too concerned about demographics to qualify as neo.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's particularly useful to label neo-cons as being wealthy scions of Upper East Side Jewish conservative intellectuals. Rudy, Fred, and Romney all have neo-con positions and don't fit those descriptions.

You could add to that list the neo-con positions of Hillary. She and Rudy (with jPod as advisor) are the uber neo-cons of this election – perhaps because they are both coming out of NYC with big finance backing. They both have comfortable leads over the least neo-con contenders (D-Obama, R-Romney) and huge leads over the anti-neo-cons (D-Kucinich, R-Ron Paul).

Martin said...

"Evil Neocon said...I don't think it's particularly useful to label neo-cons as being wealthy scions of Upper East Side Jewish conservative intellectuals."

And therein you betry your fundamental ignorance of even our recent history. So-called "neo-conservatism" (it was never really conservative) was a school of thought started almost entirely by upper-east-side jewish intellectuals (most of them, originally, trotskyists). From anti-Stalinist socialists, they evolved into anti-communist liberals, and so were dubbed neo-conservatives by Michael Harrington, an unreconstructed socialist. To their ranks they then drew (typically catholic) Kennedy liberals like Jean Kirkpatrick and William Bennett.

The problem with neo-conservatives, is not that they're jewish (which mostly nowadays, they're not), or that the movement was founded by Jews. The problem with it is that it is not conservative, and never has been. The problem with it is that it invaded the house of real conservatism, and now claims it as its ancient patrimony. Well, all that, and the fact that it's all a load of crap.

Svigor said...

Because it seems to me the most neocons (are we even settled on what the term means?)

"Conservatives" (i.e., Republicans) who are Israel-Firstsers and open-borders advocates.

David said...

svigor said:

[A definition of "neo-con" is] "Conservatives" (i.e., Republicans) who are Israel-Firstsers and open-borders advocates.

Svigor, you forgot to add support for a domestic totalitarian security state.

1. Homeland lock-down;
2. Everything subordinated to Israel's interests ($2.4 trillion on the Iraq Attaq to assuage dual-citizen zionists);
3. Wide-open borders to elect a new people and displace the traditional ethnicity with one more malleable.

That's a neo-con. ("Evil" is a redundant descriptor.) Ron Paul represents an alternative.