neo-conservatism and neo-liberalism...

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Ramona
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Mar 23 2005 14:51
neo-conservatism and neo-liberalism...

What's the difference, and what exactly do they mean?

confused

ftony
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Mar 23 2005 15:55

Neo-liberalism itself is quite a broad term, but it must be differentiated from ordinary liberalism. Liberalism (e.g. Mill, Bentham, Rawls) is essentially the philosophical belief that one has the right to liberty, i.e. independent action according to one's own opinions, desires, etc. However this is within the bounds of 'legitimate' legal restrictions and providing that no-one else is harmed in the process. It's very much linked to utilitarianism (greatest good for the greatest number).

NEO-liberalism (see Hayek, Fiedman, Nozick) is a strand of liberalism that came about largely out of neoclassical economic theory, and contains most of the principles of conventional liberalism but adds more. There are a few extra bits:

* Whereas lioberalism is a philosophical system, neo-liberalism is an ideology.

* It rejects the conventional liberal idea that the free market is natural. This means that states working multilaterally have to work towards ensuring the best conditions for market to function.

* Linked to this, neo-liberals have no qualms with enforcing the market through legislation.

* The state must not interfere with the running of the market full stop. If the market is in trouble, the state can help encourage it to develop in a certain way, but it must not actively intervene (e.g. no state-owned assets).

* Although it is optimal for the state not to interfere in the market, it has a certain reponsibility to the people which means it must interfere by way of minimal taxes and bureaucracy to facilitate smooth running. In theory, given the right conditions, there is absolutely no need for welfare whatsoever.

* Only economic liberty is necessary for the people. Political repression is fine so long as people can participate in the economy freely.

* The state is not the sovereign political unit in global politics. Economic actors understand things best, so states and economic institutions and companies ought to work together in a kind of corporatist framework.

* The workers needn't be consulted because it is in the interests of business to keep them well and happy ( eek )

NB The third way isn't technically neoliberal. It is a hybrid of social democracy and neoliberalism. It believes in utilising the free market in the interests of egalitarianism, but with minimal interference. See Anthony Giddens.

I think that's about it for neoliberalism.

neoconservatism could be seen as a subsection within the neoliberal camp. It shares the principles of neoliberalism, but also adds moral, largely Christian, norms. These are generally around the atomic family and the notion of 'family values', as you can see in the US. It varies in extent, but generally neoconservatives disagree that the state shouldn't interfere with social issues. Usually they believe the state has a responsibility for upholding the social and moral fabric of the nation.

I'm not that clued up about neoconservatives, that's all i know. sorry.

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Ramona
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Mar 23 2005 16:51

Thankyou! smile

AnarchoAl
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Mar 23 2005 19:14

The term neoconservative seems to the most rabidly pro-war, pro-empire members of the Bush administration. People like Rumsfeld, Perle and Wolfowitz. I think they're more in alliance with the Christian right than payed-up members of it.

Garner
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Mar 23 2005 20:40

Probably the definitive source of neoconservative thought is the Project for the New American Century.

Scary stuff...

Poolie
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Mar 23 2005 20:42

Neo-liberalism: F.A. Hayek, Margaret Thatcher

Neo-conservatism: Leo Strauss, George W. Bush

(i think yr characterisation of neo-conservatism as tied up with Christian values is wrong cuz Strauss was an atheist)

ftony
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Mar 23 2005 21:59
Quote:
i think yr characterisation of neo-conservatism as tied up with Christian values is wrong cuz Strauss was an atheist

oops. i think it's most associated with Christian values compared with other moral systems. but as i say, i'mnot v clued up about that sort of thing.

Poolie
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Mar 23 2005 23:36

N-ls tend to see the market as the bestest thing ever and should be celebrated while n-cs tend to be more pessimistic, seeing capitalism as the least worst option.

e.g. the Hayek argument is that to control an economy is to enforce the moral beliefs of those doing the controlling on the people living in that economy; Strauss OTOH is unapologetic about enforcing moral beliefs because he agrees with Thrasymachus of Plato's Republic that government is a matter of sheer power and domination

Anarchoneilist
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Mar 26 2005 15:55
ftony wrote:
Quote:
i think yr characterisation of neo-conservatism as tied up with Christian values is wrong cuz Strauss was an atheist

oops. i think it's most associated with Christian values compared with other moral systems. but as i say, i'mnot v clued up about that sort of thing.

Neo-cons can be atheists: "christian" fundamentalism

suits their aims very well as does professing a belief in a "free market" when

its the American money capitalists who benefit (I apologise, been somewhat sympathetic towards management types and small land owners of late). Bloody crypto-fascists.

Liked the definitionn of neo-liberalism: very helpful and clearly shows the differences between neo-libs and market dictators/andy capps.

Nick Durie
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Apr 5 2005 06:49

Naw, I don't think that's true. Neo-conservatism is not a faction/subsection of neo-liberalism. That makes it sound like there is not some profound ideological difference. If that were true Bush would not have thrown out large sections of the top level functionaries in the judiciary, and in the overseas imperialist stuff like the CIA

I think what defines neo-con ideology more than anything else is that they believe that the citizenry of a country are like the Nazi concept of 'helots', they don't have a right to know anything and should be kept as ill-informed as possible while their betters get on with ruling them.

I actually think that neo-cons have more in common with fascists (altho not necessarily nazis) in lots of ways as they don't seem to care too much about total cronyism and rule by a very small cadre of the ruling class, they seem (rumsfeld excepted) to be well up for conscription and they basically say whatever the fuck they like in public (whatever they can get away with) and quite another thing in private. Thjey have also as everyone knows rigged two elections. People in the US live in what is functionally no different from fascism.

Compare 'Saddam Hussein, weapons of mass destruction, nasty man, bad, blah'

with Wolfowitz's real rationale "If we fight a total war our children will sing songs about us"

That about sums it up for me. Most of the US ruling class is neo-liberal (including most republicans), but those in charge are more like fascists who practice entryism. I think we've got a lot here as well.

ftony
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Apr 5 2005 08:17
Quote:
I think what defines neo-con ideology more than anything else is that they believe that the citizenry of a country are like the Nazi concept of 'helots', they don't have a right to know anything and should be kept as ill-informed as possible while their betters get on with ruling them.

Yes there is definitely an aspect of that mentality, but it's not so much as they want to deliberately keep people dis/mis-informed on things that matter, but more to do with believing that people just don't need to know. A blind faith in authority automatically leads to the disregard of popular participation, not because of any malice towards freedom of information but more to do with the 'fact' that there is a group of people who are fit to rule, and the rest aren't. They should therefore just accept their place in society.