Are Neoconservative and Neoliberal Interchangable? - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#14640758
This has been a really controversial point of debate among some of my politically oriented friends - Some of us believe that neocons are a distinct entity, while others believe that the two are almost interchangeable. I tend to believe in the second viewpoint, but there are a few finer points that I have to concede to.

- Neoconservatives are a mix of traditional conservatism and internationalism. Their core beliefs typically include a commitment to interventionist use of military force and a belief that free market economics and less regulation are generally more efficient. A neocon will agree with traditional conservatives on holding disdain for the left, cultural change and the rise of secularism - as well as a longing for stability and authority. The central tenant of "peace through strength" emphasizes that America's safety and financial interests are best served through an active role in geopolitics.

- However, traditional conservatives are often opposed to the unquestioned glorification of free trade - much of this stems from a desire for high paying jobs without the need for formalized education, a relic of America's former dominance of foreign markets and their resources. In addition, many of these cultural conservatives would object to the large size of America's military industrial complex, hearkening back to the isolationist roots of pre-WWII thought.

- In practice, the neoconservative agenda is completely characterized by it's aggressive foreign policy and support of the business establishment. However, they sometimes cater to the cultural and domestic demands of traditional conservatives, although it is clear that the former takes priority.

- Neoliberalism is not a branch of conservatism at all. In fact, it makes no stances towards foreign policy and cultural issues, instead focusing on economic matters. The main goal of it is to further the cause of market oriented economics, both at home and abroad. However, it is not outside the realm of the ideology to resort to military force to protect and promote free trade and market economics - Pinochet is the most obvious example of this.

- With this in mind, the two ideologies connect at two critical junctions - The promotion and protection of free trade by military means, and the commitment to spreading and expanding the influence of free markets and deregulation. Neoconservatism often plays a small role in cultural concerns, and neoliberalism rarely questions the use of force in security concerns since it already condones the furtherance of economic goals via military means. In theory, the two have a few significant differences. In practice, the differences are almost non-existent since the ideological differences rarely lead to disagreement. Overall, neoconservatism and neoliberalism have more in common with each other than their base ideologies.
#14640763
The first thing is that both terms have a pejorative connotation nowadays and they're kind of devoid of meaning as a result.

But yeah, as far as being interchangeable, I don't think they are. Neoconservativism is the cadre that got us into the Iraq War - that had little to do with neoliberalism, which is a more or less purely economic viewpoint, not about terrorism and security. There is some overlap on the economic viewpoint about deregulation, free markets, and free trade, but I don't make much of that overlap - you could call many people in Clinton's administration neoliberals, but I don't think it would be reasonable at all to call them neocons.
#14640770
Lexington wrote:The first thing is that both terms have a pejorative connotation nowadays and they're kind of devoid of meaning as a result.

But yeah, as far as being interchangeable, I don't think they are. Neoconservativism is the cadre that got us into the Iraq War - that had little to do with neoliberalism, which is a more or less purely economic viewpoint, not about terrorism and security. There is some overlap on the economic viewpoint about deregulation, free markets, and free trade, but I don't make much of that overlap - you could call many people in Clinton's administration neoliberals, but I don't think it would be reasonable at all to call them neocons.


But Reagan is a neocon who could also be labeled as neoliberal. Part of the overlap is that liberalism is a diverse ideology, and that US conservatism is also a form of liberalism. A neoconservative is also a neoliberal, but the reverse is not necessarily true.
#14640771
DrSteveBrule wrote:But Reagan is a neocon who could also be labeled as neoliberal. Part of the overlap is that liberalism is a diverse ideology, and that US conservatism is also a form of liberalism. A neoconservative is also a neoliberal, but the reverse is not necessarily true.


Yeah, I agree come to think of it. So I guess we could say neocons are a subset of neoliberals.
#14640777
Labels can be a useful shorthand as long as you know what the user means by them and this is not always clear. It also depends on the country you live in. Although I have a good command of English, I do not understand how it is used in the USA. The word "conservatism", whatever about its use in "neoconservative", as the Americans use it means right-wing. I think "neoconservatives" were once considered part of the Democrat party tradition who became radical right wingers and indistinguishable from Republicans who also rejected the Democrat party to join the party of Lincoln because they were racists which was a conservative Confederate view.

I cannot watch American political shows on TV because of their use of labels and a bizarre thinking which reflects the idiosyncratic use of the English language.
#14640796
Lexington wrote: Neoconservativism is the cadre that got us into the Iraq War - that had little to do with neoliberalism, which is a more or less purely economic viewpoint, not about terrorism and security.

Right, the neocons are all about using military force, whether to prosecute the war on drugs, counter the terror threat, or pursue regime change (or prop up friendly dictatorships) in other countries.
There is some overlap on the economic viewpoint about deregulation, free markets, and free trade, but I don't make much of that overlap - you could call many people in Clinton's administration neoliberals, but I don't think it would be reasonable at all to call them neocons.

Right. "Neoliberal" describes an economics that employs theoretical rationalizations from neoclassical economics not to promote genuine free markets or free trade, but to justify enforcement of the privileges of the super-duper uber-rich on the basis of purported property "rights" that are nothing but legalized theft. The core assumption is that property in land and natural resources, IP monopolies, private banks' debt money issuance, broadcast spectrum allocations, etc. are all just as valid as the producer's property right in the fruits of his labor, and must be enforced with at least as much vigor.
#14640883
DrSteveBrule wrote:But Reagan is a neocon who could also be labeled as neoliberal. Part of the overlap is that liberalism is a diverse ideology, and that US conservatism is also a form of liberalism. A neoconservative is also a neoliberal, but the reverse is not necessarily true.


Except that the reverse usually is true. Neoliberalism and neoconservatism are complementary, with one providing the economic force and the other providing the military force. The object is to expand the boundaries of liberal influence globally. If the leaders of a nation can be induced to indebt their citizens, that is one lever. Assets can aquired at fire sale prices and stripped. If the object population balks there is the threat of regime change or destabilization, which is the other lever.
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