Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea (MP3 download)
By C. Bradley Thompson
This lecture examines the intellectual history of the neoconservatives and their plan for governing America. Dr. Thompson introduces the neocons by tracing the evolution of their thought from their youthful Trotskyism in the 1930s to their anticommunist liberalism in the 1940s and '50s and finally to their development of a new kind of conservatism in the 1960s and beyond.
The neoconservatives are generally regarded to be the most intellectually impressive faction of the post-war intellectual Right: they seem to take ideas seriously, they seem to be principled, they seem to support the principles of the American founding, and they seem to support capitalism. But, as Dr. Thompson demonstrates, behind their rhetorical façade, the neocons scorn principles, they scorn morality, they scorn capitalism and, ultimately, they scorn America. Despite their pro-American rhetoric and their appeals to, and defense of, America's ideals and institutions, Dr. Thompson demonstrates that the neoconservatives advocate singularly un-American principles: mysticism over reason, altruism over egoism, duty over rights, collectivism over individualism, socialism over capitalism, war and empire over peace and trade.
Dr. Thompson's lecture focuses on the neocons' attempt to transform the Republican Party and the conservative intellectual movement into a permanent ruling majority, their pragmatic philosophical method, their advocacy of a conservative welfare state, and their attempt to turn America toward a form of Platonic republicanism. Ultimately, he argues, the neoconservatives are a threat to a free society.
This lecture was recorded at the 2006 Objectivist Summer Conference in Boston, MA.