What the Neocons Got Right: A Review of Arguing the World

The documentary also reveals how Jewish intellectuals with their high verbal IQs are particularly driven to top-down theory rather than the bottom-up realistic work of Anglos such as Charles Darwin and John J. Mearsheimer.

Steve Sailer in 2006 wrote up a list of debilitating Jewish intellectual tendencies:

Bombing Iraq into an America-loving democracy is only the latest disastrous project

Cult-Worship- of- the-All-Knowing-Scholar-Sageism: Marxism, Freudianism, Randism, Straussianism, etc.

Ethnocentric nostalgiaism: vividly seen in the current immigration debate, where Ellis Island-worship is substituted for facts and logic

Be-Like-Meism: e.g., the common suggestion by Jewish pundits that all Mexican illegal immigrants have to do is act like the Jewish immigrants of 1906 and everything will turn out fine. Well, swell …

Pseudo ethnic Humilityism: few Jews actually believe that Mexicans are just like Jews — they think Jews are much smarter — but they don’t want anybody else to notice that Jews are smarter so they advocate immigration policies that depend for their success upon Mexicans being just as smart as Jews. That this immigration policy is obviously bad for the country is less important than keeping up the charade that nobody mentions in the press that Jews are smarter than everybody else on average.

Rube Goldbergism: overly complicated plans and analyses with too many moving parts to work reliably (e.g., the neocon plans for fixing the Middle East through invasion)

Is-It-Good-for-the-Jewsism: I am a huge fan of enlightened self-interest, so I don’t object to this on principle

Rube Goldbergian Is-It-Good-for-the-Jewsism: This could also be called He-Who-Says-A-Must-Say-B-C-D-E-Q-W-and-Zism. Jewish intellectuals have a tendency that on any topic related to Jews, they tend to think baroquely many steps down the line. Thus, the full panoply of the subjects that have been assumed to be bad-for-the-Jews and therefore ruled out of discussion in polite society is breathtakingly broad — for example, IQ has been driven out of the media in large part because it is feared that mentioning that Jews have higher average IQs would lead, many steps down the line, to pogroms.

Missing-Piece-of-the-Puzzleism: One obvious problem with this tendency is that you can’t make a Rube Goldberg analysis work in the real world if you’ve banned the use of crucial moving parts, such as IQ

Pay-No-Attention-to-that-Man-Behind-the-Curtainism: The biggest unmentionable, as the Mearsheimer-Walt brouhaha demonstrated once again, is also one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle for understanding how the modern world works: the influence of Jews.

Enemy Nostalgiaism: Difficulty identifying current and future enemies because of emotional obsession with past enemies: e.g., the obsession with “The Passion of the Christ” combined with the inability to identify growing Latin American populism as a future threat due to immigration, etc.

Faux Sabraism: as Francis Fukuyama pointed out to Charles Krauthammer, American neocon thinking about Iraq was motivated less by hardheaded is-it-good-for-Israel analysis — Sharon’s government was only modestly enthusiastic about the Iraq Attaq — than by What-Would-the-Israelis-Do emotions. Armchair warriors like Douglas Feith are particular susceptible to this kind of Let’s Pretend thinking..

Ironically, Jewish writers themselves are obsessed with Jewish influence, even in fields where Jews have virtually no influence, such as soccer. I’m reading How Soccer Explains the World: An (Unlikely) Theory of Globalization by Marty Peretz’s latest young man to edit The New Republic, Franklin Foer. This Jewish soccer fan’s book is hilariously obsessed with the Jewish role in soccer, even though that role is almost nonexistent. The great majority of Jews live in America and Israel, two countries that are almost irrelevant to the story of soccer.

Greg Johnson writes:

Joseph Dorman’s documentary Arguing the World (1998) and its companion book (Arguing the World: The New York Intellectuals in their Own Words, 2000) tells the story of four New York Jewish intellectuals — Daniel Bell (1919–2011), Nathan Glazer (b. 1923), Irving Kristol (1920–2009), and Irving Howe (1920–1993) — who went on to have a tremendous and enduring impact not just on academia, but on political policy and the culture at large.

All four began as Trotskyites debating politics in Alcove 1 of the City College of New York cafeteria and evolved into anti-Communist Cold War liberals. Then, in the cases of Bell, Glazer, and Kristol, into neoconservatives. Howe remained a man of the Left and an advocate of democratic socialism. Bell and Glazer were less conservatives than centrist Democrats who were skeptical of ideological utopianism and moralism — in the film, Bell characterizes himself as a “socialist in economics, a liberal in politics, and a conservative in culture” — and who provided many useful ideas to Republicans without actually joining them. Kristol, however, became a Republican with the 1972 Nixon vs. McGovern campaign and went on to exert a mostly baleful influence on Republican policy in the Reagan and Bush (I and II) administrations.

One of the discomfiting things about middle age is picking up a book and realizing that one first read it 20 years ago. I first watched Arguing the World on VHS shortly after its release, right around the time I became a White Nationalist. Up until that time, was a conservative ex-libertarian, and as an intellectual, I of course read a lot of neoconservative writers (broadly defined), chief among them Leo Strauss and his school, Daniel Bell (by far the most brilliant and likable of the four subjects of this documentary), Christopher Lasch (not really a neocon, but he would have been given time), and Philip Rieff. I also subscribed to Commentary and The New Criterion, as well as David Horowitz’s Culture Wars, for the laughs.

But I had a broader frame of reference than the neocons. I also regularly read paleoconservatives like Patrick Buchanan, Sam Francis, and Joseph Sobran; the Southern Agrarians; and conservative philosophers like Oswald Spengler, Eric Voegelin, Michael Oakeshott, and Roger Scruton. I especially valued these writers because not only did they match the neocons in brilliance, they were also actual conservatives.

At the time, I was aware of the overwhelmingly and parochially Jewish nature of neoconservatism, which manifested itself in the form of ardent Zionism. I was also aware of the overwhelmingly Jewish nature of Communism and the Left in general. And I was acutely aware of the taboos about noticing Jewish power, even to praise it. But I did not really disagree with neoconservative foreign policy at the time, although I found them very weak on domestic policy, since I wanted to roll back liberalism. Still, I regarded them as interesting and intelligent writers who provided me with an arsenal of arguments and analyses that I could use for my own purposes.

Even though today, I take a much dimmer view of the New York Intellectuals and the neocons, I found re-watching Arguing the World to be an inspiring experience. Marxism never had any appeal for me, much less Trotskyism. (I guess it would have helped to be Jewish.) But I admire Bell, Glazer, Kristol, and Howe’s intense commitment to intellectual debate, which allowed them to reject Stalinism and then break with Communism altogether, and then later from liberal moralism and utopianism as well.

I also admire their commitment to metapolitics. They recognized that publishing little magazines presenting their outlook on the whole range of history and culture could shape politics from afar, by changing people’s values and perceptions of the world. Glazer and Bell both admit to a bit of arrogance and chutzpah in their willingness to comment on everything from contemporary political events to sociology, art, and literature. But their intellectual risks brought intellectual rewards, including such classics as Bell’s The End of Ideology and The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism and Glazer’s The Lonely Crowd (with David Riesman), as well as professorships at Harvard, Columbia, Chicago, and Berkeley.

The first journal that attracted them was Partisan Review (1934–2003), which was the heart of the largely Communist and Jewish New York intellectual scene. Partisan Review took a turn toward Trotskyism and literary and artistic modernism in 1937. After the Second World War, it was covertly funded by the CIA, which was happy to subsidize Trotskyites and Abstract Expressionism just to stick it to Stalin.

Then there was the American Jewish Committee’s Commentary, for which Bell, Howe, Kristol, and Glazer all wrote. Founded in 1945 as a platform for the anti-Communist Left, it is still going strong as the flagship of the neoconservative Right.

After that came Irving Howe’s democratic socialist review Dissent (founded in 1954 and still publishing today).

Then Bell and Kristol founded The Public Interest (1965–2005), for which Glazer also wrote. The goal of the journal was to shape policy by subjecting liberal ideology and moralism to the criticism of history and the social sciences. One of the best lines of the film is when Kristol describes The Public Interest as having a few hundred subscribers, then adding that you can change the world by publishing a magazine with a few hundred subscribers…

As for the student radicals interviewed, all are Jews but Hayden. All of them appear to be university professors, still railing against the repressive Right-wing authoritarianism of the university system in their book-lined offices. Frankly, they still seem infantile. The only vaguely insightful remark comes from Hayden, who dryly notes that unlike Howe and the Dissent set, he did not grow up in a family in which everyone screamed at one another. Obviously a dig at their overwhelming Jewishness…

Like Glazer et al., Adorno and his school were committed to metapolitics. By publishing obscure tomes and little magazines, they would influence educators and artists, who would in turn alter values, tastes, and worldviews, and finally public policy would shift in alignment with the new consensus. Metapolitics is about soft power, remote control, or “hegemony.”

In terms of the distinctions I lay out in “New Right vs. Old Right,” the student radicals of the 1960s may have been called the New Left, but they were really Old Leftists, whereas the Frankfurt School and allied metapolitical movements are the true New Left. The essential characteristic of both the New Left and the New Right is a commitment to metapolitics.

Clearly, both the necons and the Frankfurt School pursued the correct path. The student Leftists eventually burned out. Or they “sold out,” which in practice just meant adopting metapolitics and marching through the institutions. Indeed, the metapolitical approach worked for both the neoconservatives and the Frankfurt School, for both schools of thought have helped define the present system, which Jonathan Bowden characterized as Left-wing ultra-capitalism, a hyper-stratified oligarchy — with Jews massively over-represented among the elites — committed to both Leftist values and Zionism.

Indeed, both the neoconservatives and the Frankfurt School — along with many other Jewish intellectual movements — must be viewed as part of a wider drive for hegemony on the part of the Jewish community, which has now colonized both the Left and the Right, so no matter which tendency is dominant, Jewish values and interests are always privileged.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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