Friday, March 03, 2006

Downfall.......of a doctrine

I wonder if anyone saw the film Downfall last night on Channel Four?
One was reminded when watching it that for every major political idea-there comes a point when even the most fanatical believers realise the game is up. Himmler for example, devout Nazi though he was, knew when the Russians were just twelve miles from Berlin, that it was 'game-over' and time to try to cut a deal with the Allies.
One senses that neo-conservatives are, like the Nazis in the spring of 1945, coming to realise that it's 'game over'. Last week, Francis Fukujama admitted that the ideology had served its course in The Guardian. Today in The Times, the paper's influential Executive Editor Gerard Baker turns on the Great Leader George W. Bush- who all neo-cons were praising to the rafters three years ago. And in the Sunday Telegraph, that apostle of Empire, Niall Ferguson has attacked another former neo-con pin-up boy, Dick Cheney.
Faced with the chaos and destruction their misguided ideology has caused- neo-conservatives have two options. One is to carry on pretending that black is white and white is black- that the intervention in Iraq is a 'success' and that the country is a model of peace and stability. The other is to concede defeat and to publicly recant, like neo-conservative Martin Kelly has done below.
If neo-conservatives carry on defending the indefensible, then only further ridicule awaits. What was more pathetic that watching the Oxford Professor of History Dr Christopher Hill deny the famines in the Soviet Union under Stalin? Or campaigning journalist Paul Foot continuing to protest the innocence on A6 murderer James Hanratty, even though DNA evidence proved conclusively that he was indeed the murderer?
The game is up ladies and gentlemen and I implore you to do the decent thing. By doing so, you have my word that this blog, far from denigrating you for having been in the wrong, will applaud your courage in admitting the error of your ways.

UPDATE: The neo-conservative writer Stephen Pollard has shown how he intends to react to events in Iraq-by falling back on denial and cheap personal abuse. He believes this post to have been 'spectacularly offensive', but fails to explain why. I'm not saying today's neo-conservatives are morally equivalent to yesterday's Nazis- only that they need to acknowledge- as many leading Nazis did in the spring of 1945- that it's now game over.
It's sad to see that Stephen isn't yet prepared to follow the courageous example of Martin Kelly below.

September 07, 2005

Neo-con Martin Kelly, in his blog The G-Gnome Rides Again, on the intellectual movement's Berlin Wall

APART from their superficial resemblances, such as their capacity for inflicting human misery, all ideologies share one critical historical feature. At some point, events confront the ideology with a situation for which it cannot provide a solution. At that point, the ideology suffers a mortal blow to its prestige and is rendered untenable. Soviet communism's moment was the fall of the Berlin Wall.
We await to see what crisis of untenability lurks in Chinese communism's future. The Third Reich's National Socialism crossed that bridge at the Second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942 . . . One cannot help but wonder whether the recent sad events of Hurricane Katrina have provided neo-conservatism with its crisis of untenability. They just might have if, for no other reason, ideologies demand ideologues; and when the ideologues start to turn on the figurehead, as they are doing now, the game is nearly over . . .
Neo-conservatism was an ideology dependent on the global projection of national power. What gave it its strength was that after 9/11 Americans were so angry at the assault that they wanted to go overseas and attack those responsible; thus was the War on Terror born. They were lied into thinking that the removal of Saddam Hussein would make the world a safer and more prosperous place. Clearly it hasn't; if anything, you're more at risk riding the Tube now than you were three years ago.
What can an ideology based on the global projection of national power do when confronted with a crisis that shows it to be nationally powerless? Nothing. The collapsed levees of New Orleans will have consequences for neo-conservatism just as long and deep as the collapse of the wall in East Berlin had on Soviet communism; for when (leading neo-conservative commentators) like John Podhoretz are openly criticising the President, the Great Leader, the ideology is on the way out. And hopefully all of those who urged the ideology on, myself included, will have a long time to consider the error of our ways.


Miguel said...
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Miguel said...
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Neil Clark said...

If that's your idea of a 'superb' fisking Mr Goch Master, then I'm seriously worried about your standards. Labelling someone a 'gobshite' in the very first sentence is a sure-fire sign that the person has already lost the argument.

Delworth said...

The question was, how's the Kamm-fisking coming along. Here's a case for you. You like Chomsky. So you can fisk Kamm's destruction of the old man's claim that he's been misquoted. When you've done that, you can fisk Kamm's destruction of Chomsky's first political book.

You'll obviously enjoy humiliating Kamm with your knowledge of Chomsky, so it's really puzzling why you don't go ahead. Is it just that you don't want to show Kamm up?

Neil Clark said...

Thanks for thr advice Delworth, but I think Mr Chomsky is big enough to fight his own battles! And I think he's doing a pretty good job of it as well.

Delworth said...

But he's just been caught blatantly lying by Kamm. How's that "doing a pretty good job"?Don't you want to kick Kamm's ass and humiliate him in public by showing that he really did misquote Chomsky? I'm amazed you don't go right ahead.

Tim Worstall said...

Very well Neil, as I’ve already lost the argument perhpas you could address this point.
You claim that income inequality has risen in the ex Socialist states since the end of communism.
Given, as I point out, that cash income was not a useful measure of total income in those states (because so much depended upon access to goods via things like Party membership and your position in the heirarchy) could you point me to the place that shows your contention, taking this into account?

Martin said...

Dear Neil,

Thank you very much for your link to my essay 'Neoconservatism's Berlin Wall'.

It might interest you to know that joining Francis Fukuyama in jumping ship have been William F. Buckley, Niall 'I am a fully paid-up member of the neo-imperialist gang' Ferguson, Andrew Sullivan, Gerard Baker and Nigel Farndale. All within the last week, the last four within the last two days.

My money's on Mark Steyn being next.

Neil Clark said...

Addressing Tim's point- the UN Human Development Program reports are a good starting point- have a look at what they've got to say about income inequalities in the ex-communist countries in the 1999 and 2002 reports.