By Max Shpak
Neoconservatives and their apologists would have the public believe that the neocons were former Leftists who saw the light and came to reject liberal or Marxist ideology as a matter of conviction and principle. Regrettably, this official line has come to be conventional wisdom, no doubt reflecting neocon efforts to hide the fact that their transformation was neither sincerely motivated nor sincerely enacted. To understand the real agenda that drove and continues to drive much of neoconservatism, one needs to look back to the origins of the movement and the cultural backgrounds of those who lead it.
It is a well-established fact that many of the early luminaries of neoconservatism (most famously Irving Kristol in the 1940's, a more recent famous example being David Horowitz) came from Marxist backgrounds, and that neoconservatism (like Marxism itself) began and continues to be a largely a phenomenon of Jewish intellectualism. In the early part of the 20th century, Marxism attracted a disproportionate pool of Jewish recruits for a number of obvious reasons. There are a number of complex psychological and social reasons for the attraction, all of which largely stem from the fact that Marxist internationalism is an ideology which by its very nature finds disciples among a rootless, anti-religious urban intelligentsia.
More important for the purposes of this analysis, however, are the practical reasons for Jewish sympathy with Bolshevism. European and American Jews alike carried deep-seated hatreds for the traditional regimes and religions of the European continent, particularly Czarist Russia and various Eastern European nations due to (real and imagined) "persecution" and "pogroms" that occurred there. Thus, when the Bolsheviks overthrew the Czar, destroyed the hated Orthodox Church, rendered powerless the landed religious peasantry, and replaced traditional Russian authority with a largely Jewish Commissariate, world Jewry (including alleged "capitalists" like the Schiffs and Rothschilds) embraced the Revolution and Marxist ideology alike.
With Russia becoming an effective Jewish colony where "anti-Semitism" was an offense punishable by death and the native gentile culture was effectively stamped out (thanks to a leadership consisting mainly of Jews such as Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, and Severdlov, held together under the stewardship of the obsequious philosemite Lenin), Jews throughout the world put their hopes in the possibility of similar revolutions elsewhere. Indeed, their comrades in arms were hard at work affecting similar changes in Hungary (Kuhn), Austria (Adler) and Germany (Eisner). The rise of Fascist and Nazi movements only served to further polarize Jewish support in favor of international communism.
This near unanimity would change as a result of two developments: a shift in the character of Soviet Communism on the one hand and the foundation of the State of Israel on the other. Stalin's purges of many of his former Bolshevik colleagues (including Trotsky, who was assassinated while in exile), his 1939 pact with Hitler, and rumors of Stalin's own anti-Jewish prejudices gave many would-be supporters pause. When Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, it became clear the Russian masses would not fight for the sake of Bolshevism, an ideology that brought them so much misery, but rather for the sake of Russian blood and soil. From then on, the Soviet leadership had to court the very Russian nationalist elements that the early Bolsheviks had worked so hard to stamp out. This lead to an increasing tolerance towards the Russian Orthodox Church and a decreased Jewish presence in the Soviet politburo and KGB. Thus, the USSR was "betraying" the very elements that made it attractive to the Jewish establishment to begin with.
Perhaps even more significant a factor in the origins of neoconservatism was the emergence of an independent Israeli state. While many Jewish Marxists eagerly supported the Zionist state, the more intellectually consistent Left opposed Zionism on the grounds that all nationalisms, including Jewish ones, are enemies of global proletarian revolution. Thus, Jewish leftists who once advocated internationalism for gentile nations were forced to come to terms with the implications of this ideology for their own nationalist sentiments. Thus, they needed an ideology which would let them have their cake (opposing gentile nationalism) and eat it too (by supporting Israel), and they found just such a worldview with neoconservatism.
At the same time, although the Soviet Union initially courted Israel during the 1948 wars of independence, it became clear to the Israeli government that in world polarized between the United States and the Soviet Union the former would be wealthier and more pliant cash cow to milk. By the 1950's and the coming of the Suez Wars, regardless of residual Jewish loyalties to Communism, the battle lines were already drawn, with Israel in the US/Western camp and the Arab nations forced to make alliances of convenience with the Soviet Union.
It is hardly a coincidence that the changing character of Soviet Communism and the status of Israel as a US ally came at the same time that neoconservatism was becoming an influential political movement. For all of their talk about "capitalism," "democracy," "freedom," and "free markets," the fact that so many Jewish leftists turned on a dime to back the US in the Cold War because America could serve as a life support system for Israel and a bulwark against resurgent Russian "anti-Semitism" makes their real agenda entirely transparent. One can witness an identical phenomenon taking place today, as many Jewish liberal Democrats switch party ranks and join the GOP because of the latter's stronger support for Israel and harder line with the Arab nations. All of the window dressing about their newfound "patriotism" and "Americanism" is a sham designed to mask the fact that the question for the neocons has always been and will always be "is it good for the Jews?"
The different agendas driving neocon Cold Warriors as opposed to their erstwhile Old Right allies could be seen on any number of fronts. The most obvious one has been the different reactions in the two camps to Russia after the end of the Cold War. While paleoconservative leaning Cold Warriors such as Pat Buchanan have pushed for normalized relations with Russia, the neocons continue to fight on the Cold War, enthusiastically supporting Chechen separatists as "freedom fighters" and advocating NATO expansion. The reasons for this difference are entirely obvious: the Old Right's enemy was Communist ideology, while neoconservative Jews nurtured a hatred for Russian nationalism. Thus post-Communist Russia is still very much a threat to the latter, particularly with resurgent Russian "ultra-nationalism" and "anti-Semitism," while in the absence of Communist rule the above are of little concern to the Old Right.
For all their talk about "anti-Communism," the real engine driving neocon Cold Warrior instincts was punishing the hated Russian goyim for the sin of "anti-Semitism," not any opposition to residual or latent Marxism. As further evidence that this is the case, one need only consider the fact that while the Old Right championed Christian dissidents such as Solzhenitsyn, to the neocons the only legimate "dissidents" were Zionists like Natan Sharansky, just as the only "refugees" championed by the neos were invariably Jewish (including today's shady Odessa Mafiosi). Solzhenitsyn represented the Russian nationalism and Orthodox Church that made so many of the neocons' predecessors embrace Bolshevism, thus Solzhenitsyn and the plight of Christian dissidents were relegated to obscurity in neocon publications, while Zionist noise-makers in the USSR were given a hero's welcome.
In this regard, the neocons are the true heirs to Leon Trotsky, who condemned Stalin and his followers not so much for their brutality (as commander of the Red Army and overseer of Lenin's terrorist CHEKA, Trotsky was no stranger to brutality and sadism) but for their "anti-Semitism" and "betrayal of the Revolution." Trotsky's main critique of Stalinism seemed to be that Stalin was moving Russia in a nationalist direction rather than working towards the establishment of an international "proletarian" vanguard. The fact that the intellectual ancestors of neoconservatism had not an unkind word to say about Bolshevism while Leninist-Trotskyite goals were being fulfilled suggests that it was not so much ideological reconsideration as tribal self-interest that drove these most unlikely conversos.
Because their move from the Left to a pseudo-right was insincere, one would expect to find a whole range of issues where the neocons retain leftist instincts and remain true to their Trotskyite heritage. Indeed this is the case. In their portrayal of the Cold War as a struggle between "capitalism" on the one hand and "socialism" on the other, the neocons try to minimize the fact that in many ways the conflict between the Bolsheviks and the West was over much more than economic systems. To most on the Old Right, the economic issues were at best peripheral: Marxism was opposed because it was materialistic, atheistic, and because it rejected nationalism and patriotism in the name of global revolution.
Most neocons came from a culture that was every bit as materialistic and cosmopolitan as the early Bolshevik leaders, so it is rather unlikely that they would have any quarrel with these aspects of Communist doctrine. The fact that neoconservatism is an ideology which is materialistic in nature and internationalist in focus (with its talk of "global democracy" and "global markets") makes it obvious that the fundamental underpinnings of the Marxist Left are alive and well among the scribblers of Commentary and The Weekly Standard. Their "conservative" pretenses seem limited to the fact that they oppose "socialism" (of the nationalist variety) in the name of "capitalism" (of the internationalist variety), and for all too many naïve people that seems to be sufficient and believable.
Understanding the true nature of the neoconservatives illuminates the essence of the struggle between the Right and the Left. It was never a struggle between "capitalism" and "socialism" as neoconservative or Communist progaganda would have one believe. Rather, it was always a conflict between spiritualism and materialism, between nationalism and globalism, between tradition and subversion, between the defenders of Western Civilization and its enemies. With the battle lines drawn as such, it is abundantly clear where the neocons stand. Many "capitalists" understood that economic means are not significant, only the desired end. Jacob Schiff understood it when he financed the Bolsheviks, just as Rupert Murdoch, Ted Turner, Marc Rich, Boris Berezovsky, and George Soros understand that their form of "capitalism" is fully compatible with the essence of the Left, and that they can find friends and allies among the ostensibly conservative neocons.
Unfortunately, many Rightists are not nearly as perceptive in their choice of allies.May 15, 2002