The recent controversy over the Israeli incursion into the Gaza strip has also revealed some deep fissures within the Conservative Movement. For despite the massive support for the Israeli invasion from both establishment Democrats and Republicans, there have been cautionary voices raised on the Right, in particular, by significant journalists such as Tucker Carlson (via his popular podcast) and Candace Owens (in her dispute with Ben Shapiro over her use of the phrase “Christ is King,” deemed by Shapiro to be antisemitic).

To understand the essentials and issues involved it is necessary to understand the significant role and the complex history of the movement labeled “neoconservatism” as an intellectual determinant in contemporary America, with its roots in Marxism and in a secularized reimagining of Zionist-inflected universalism. And to do this we must return to its origins and the aggravated differences between developing ideological factions within Communism in Russia after the death in 1924 of Vladimir Lenin, and the resulting political struggle between the two major leaders who emerged, Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky.

Trotsky, a secularized Jew, advanced a Marxist-Leninist position that would stress global proletarian revolution and a dictatorship of the proletariat based on working class self-emancipation, and a form of universal mass (workers’) democracy to be accomplished by bloody revolution. Unlike the Stalinist position which posited the establishment of “socialism in one country” as a prerequisite for furthering the socialist cause elsewhere, Trotsky advanced the theory of “permanent global revolution” among the working class leading to a kind of eventual Parousia, a global paradise which would extirpate not only capitalism but all the inherited remnants of the historic and Christian past.

Differences within the branches of Marxism and Communism, between devotees of Trotsky’s approach and the more insular Stalinism, existed equally in the United States, despite the seeming unity on the Left in support of the war effort after the attack of Germany on the Soviet Union in 1941.  The friction never subsided.

The final breaking point for many of those Marxists who would within a few decades gain a foothold in the American conservative movement probably came with the rise of antisemitism under Stalin immediately before and after World War II in Russia (e.g., the infamous “doctors’ plot” and the Stalinist purges of Communist intelligentsia, some of whom were Jewish).  Horrified and disillusioned by what they considered to be the perversion of the socialist revolution, these “pilgrims from the Communist Left”—who were largely Jewish in origin—moved toward an explicit anti-Communism. Notable among them were Norman Podhoretz and Irving Kristol, both of whom had sons who would figure prominently in the current neoconservative establishment.

These former Marxists soon began to be known as “neoconservatives,” a label which a number of them accepted readily, due to their position on the Cold War Communist threat. Kristol even authored two books, Reflections of a Neo-Conservative: Looking Back, Looking Forward (1983) and The Neo-Conservative Persuasion: Selected Essays, 1942-20o9 (2011), in which he proudly laid claim to that title. Yet, he also acknowledged his roots in the Trotskyite version of Communist ideology [See, for example, his essay, “Reflections of a Trotskyist,” included in Reflections of a Neo-Conservative, also printed in The New York Times Magazine, January 23, 1977].

Embraced by an older generation of conservatives, and invited to write for conservative publications, the neoconservatives soon began to occupy positions of leadership and importance. More significantly they altered positions which had been associated with the older conservative movement, often termed “paleoconservatism,” to mirror their own vision. For even though repelled by the effects of Soviet Communism, they nevertheless brought with them a world view drawn from the Left. And they brought with them relentless zeal for furthering a form of globalism.

A remarkable admission of this genealogy came in 2007, in the pages of NationalReviewOnline. Here one finds the expression of sympathies clearly imported from the onetime far Left and presented in a onetime Old Right publication.  As explained by the contributor Stephen Schwartz:

To my last breath, I will defend Trotsky who alone and pursued from country to country and finally laid low in his own blood in a hideously hot house in Mexico City, said no to Soviet coddling to Hitlerism, to the Moscow purges, and to the betrayal of the Spanish Republic, and who had the capacity to admit that he had been wrong about the imposition of a single-party state as well as about the fate of the Jewish people. To my last breath, and without apology. Let the neofascists and Stalinists in their second childhood make of it what they will.”

By the late 1990s the neoconservatives had taken over most of the major conservative organs of opinion, journals, and think-tanks. They also, significantly, exercised tremendous influence politically in the Republican Party (and to some degree within the Democratic Party, at least during the presidency of Bill Clinton). Kristol carefully distinguished his doctrine from Old Right traditional conservatism. It was “forward-looking” and progressive in its attitude toward social issues like civil rights, rather than reactionary like the earlier conservatism. Its adherents rejoiced over the Civil Rights bills of the 1960s, unlike Buckley’s National Review at that time (which, of course, fell into line afterwards). Neoconservatives were also favorable to the efforts to legislate more equality for women and for other groups whom, they believed, had hitherto been kept from realizing the American Dream.

Rather than simply attacking state power or advocating a return to states’ rights and more local self-government, the new conservatives, according to Kristol, hoped to build on existing federal law. They believed that the promise of equality, which neoconservatives found in the Declaration of Independence, had to be promoted at home and abroad, and American conservatives, they preached, must lead the efforts to achieve global democracy, as opposed to the illogical and destructive efforts of the hard Left, or the reactionary stance of the Old Right.

Neoconservative rhetoric and initiatives did not go unopposed in the ranks of more traditional conservatives. Indeed, no less than the “father” of the conservative intellectual movement of the 1950s, Russell Kirk, publicly denounced the neoconservatives. Singling out the Jewish intellectual genealogy of major neoconservative writers, in an October 1988 speech at the Heritage Foundation, Kirk threw down the gauntlet. “Not seldom it has seemed as if some eminent neo-conservatives mistook Tel Aviv for the capital of the United States—a position they will have difficulty in maintaining as matters drift,” Kirk declared. The Jewish author Midge Decter, wife of Norman Podhoretz and the director of the Committee for the Free World, called Kirk’s remark “a bloody piece of anti-Semitism.”

Kirk’s resistance, and the warnings of Paul Gottfried, Sam Francis, Patrick Buchanan and others of like mind emphasized the sharp differences between the Old Right and the ascending neoconservatives. Even more so than the attacks on Kirk, Patrick Buchanan became a target for neoconservative and Jewish attacks. Buchanan accused neoconservatives of stirring up Iraqi war fever at the instigation of the “Israeli foreign ministry.” Writing in The Washington Times, Mona Charen, a former Reagan administration official, accused Buchanan of using “neoconservative” as a synonym for “Jew.”

As those former Marxists made their progress rightward more than a half century ago, the linguistic template and ideas associated with “American exceptionalism” were refined by them to signify the universal superiority of their vision of the American experience, in many cases through the lens of political Zionism. For example, neoconservative favored political thinker Allan Bloom offers this in his The Closing of the American Mind: “And when we Americans speak seriously about politics we mean that our principles of freedom and equality and the rights based on them are rational and everywhere applicable.” Americans must engage in “an educational experiment undertaken to force those who do not accept these principles to do so.”

Although Bloom’s volume was published in 1987, do not the imperatives enunciated then find expression in the movement towards a “global reset” today?

Further, these recovering Marxists read their conception of a crusading American social democracy back into the American Founding. Gone were any admiring references to the great Southern constitutional thinker John C. Calhoun, so favored by Kirk in The Conservative Mind (1953); and significant authors like the Southerner Mel Bradford or the paleoconservative Paul Gottfried were summarily removed from the mastheads and editorial boards of journals of opinion now newly controlled by neoconservatives, their once-eagerly sought and highly respected essays now refused publication.

In reality, both the multicultural Left and the neoconservative Right share a basic commitment to certain ideas and expressions. Both use comparable phraseology—about “equality” and “democracy,” “human rights” and “freedom,” and the desirability of exporting and imposing “our democratic values,” whether in Ukraine or elsewhere. Despite this overlap, both the dominant Left and the neoconservative Right try to give differentiated meanings to the  doctrine of equality that the two sides share with equal enthusiasm.

But all chimerical appearances aside, in their zealous support for imposing a secular globalism, their defense of the civil rights legislation of the 1960s, and their advocacy of equal rights for women (now extended to same sex marriage and even transgenderism), the neoconservatives mirror the political stances of the Left. As such, insofar as they claim to represent conservatism or the Republican Party, their purported opposition to the leftward tsunami engulfing what is left of the American nation is mere window-dressing at best, and outright collaboration at worst, only enabling the deadly virus destroying our civilization.

Boyd Cathey

Boyd D. Cathey holds a doctorate in European history from the Catholic University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, where he was a Richard Weaver Fellow, and an MA in intellectual history from the University of Virginia (as a Jefferson Fellow). He was assistant to conservative author and philosopher the late Russell Kirk. In more recent years he served as State Registrar of the North Carolina Division of Archives and History. He has published in French, Spanish, and English, on historical subjects as well as classical music and opera. He is active in the Sons of Confederate Veterans and various historical, archival, and genealogical organizations.


  • William Quinton Platt III says:

    7 Oct changed the dynamic between Zionists and Christians. Zionists suddenly realized Christians (mainly the White Southern ones) are the only demographic who care if Israel exists.

    Harvard complained in the aftermath, “thousands of our MEGADONORS (Harvard’s word ) have ceased to fund our university (university being code for communist-atheist indoctrination academy) due to the support of our student body and faculty for Palestinians. Of course, Harvard wasn’t ready to admit any wrong-doing, and why should they? If “megadonors” have promoted insane people into powers of position due to their willingness to attack Christians, you can’t be surprised if these “empowered” believe their opinions “matter”. As far as Harvard’s coddled are aware, the coddled deserve their positions of power due to their competence rather than their desire to destroy Western Civilization.

    As you sow, so shall you reap.

    I welcome a return to sanity among all people.

  • Paul Yarbrough says:

    “…insofar as they claim to represent conservatism or the Republican Party, their purported opposition to the leftward tsunami engulfing what is left of the American nation is mere window-dressing at best, and outright collaboration at worst, only enabling the deadly virus destroying our civilization.”

    Most of this is demonstrated (my opinion) by the multitude of town-criers on various radio talk-shows.

  • James Persons says:

    This is an interesting and informative column. For instance, I was not aware that the Neo-Cons were actually prior communists as opposed to Fabian Socialists. Where have I been? Like all the leftist BS about equality, and for the little guy etc. the notion of top down ‘equality’ directed by Neo-Con elites, or any one else, is mutually exclusive. Either no one is in charge – anarchy which means no equal outcomes because # human nature – or someone IS in charge – the more equal ones – which of course is not equality. Ah, leftists, where would the world be without them? Utopia perhaps?

    With respect, I don’t see how this column relates to Southern culture. I hope this site will not become about current events and issues. Someone, please correct me if I am mistaken or missed the connection to our beloved Southern history and culture.

    • Joseph Wolfersberger says:

      The neocons HATE the South. Southerners are the scapegoat for not only slavery but any past and current racism and white-supremacy.

      That’s how. They can disparage Robert R Lee as a traitor and slaver but celebrate Sherman

      • William Quinton Platt III says:

        That’s because Southerners: negotiated trade treaties with African kings…built the vast majority of slave ships…financed the trans-Atlantic slave trade…commanded the Royal Navy to protect slave ships carrying the King’s charter…owned the vast majority of looms which weaved slave-labored cotton…and lastly, Southerners passed the Corwin Amendment through the House and Senate after the 7 Cotton States had departed the union…so powerful were Southerners, we could insist the Corwin Amendment be UNAMENDABLE…

        • Mark says:

          I thought the Corwin Amendment was created harder the South seceded? Am I incorrect? If they had already seceded then the amendment would not have mattered.

      • Paul Yarbrough says:


  • T.L. Hulsey says:

    Allan Bloom’s comment marks neoconservatism as fully Leftist: “[W]e mean that our principles of freedom and equality and the rights based on them are rational and everywhere applicable.” And: “[We should] force those who do not accept these principles to do so.”
    This dogmatic universalism is the opposite of the Southerners’ championing of the near and familiar.

  • Sam McGowan says:

    While I knew neoconservatives were former leftists (I refer to them as right-wing progressives), it hadn’t occurred to me that so many of them came out of the communism of the 1930s and 40s. I did know that most of them are Jews and that the Communist Party, USA was heavily Jewish, especially in the New York area where the CPUSA is headquartered, and which is the center of American Ashkenazi Jewry. Southern Jews were mostly Sephardic until German Jews started immigrating to the US in the mid-1800s – and gravitated toward the socialist-founded Republican Party. I just finished a piece on McCarthyism and learned a lot. It occurred to me that Communists didn’t have much luck organizing in the South, except for the Highlander School in Monteagle, TN, and their efforts among blacks – the CPUSA once fostered the concept of a black nation in the so-called Black Belt. I also learned that Red Diaper Babies went to college and many of them became leftist historians and sociologists. It’s not really a surprise to learn from Dr. Cathey that communists/Trotskyites are behind Conservative, Inc.

  • Standish says:

    Good work, Dr. Cathey,

    Yes, all that he says about the genealogy of the Neo-cons is true. It is all very sad. They found the exposed seam of post-bellum America and exploited it. And, yes, the Southerners were the absolute slime of the earth in their view. Now they have been backtracking as of late–not taking responsibility for what they did nor acknowledging that they have changed. All, of course, in the pursuit of the possibility of real power. Not a very Christian outlook, one must say. Now how this Neo-con outlook (tantamount to leftism), then and now, seems to have hoodwinked many Catholics: that is a story for another day.

  • Ken says:

    So this article partly explains the “uni-party” government we have today. All hidden in plain sight. All that was needed was good propaganda machinery. Presto—public school camps.

    The 1914 Communists wanted a proletariat government, but that implies a ruling class. Because of the fallen nature of man people desire to “lord it over others,” not “be servants” in the sense of not lording over others.

    This article makes the distinction indirectly between all the world’s systems, all jumbled and re-emerging in new forms, and the Way of truth and light.

    The most pitiable are the Christians who have lost their way and have boughten into the propaganda thinking that they can butter their bread on both sides.

  • Yates says:

    “Kirk’s resistance, and the warnings of Paul Gottfried, Sam Francis, Patrick Buchanan and others of like mind emphasized the sharp differences between the Old Right and the ascending neoconservatives. Even more so than the attacks on Kirk, Patrick Buchanan became a target for neoconservative and Jewish attacks.”

    I think this is a little sloppy, because as far as I am aware Prof. Gottfried is himself Jewish, while Neocons like Bolton are quite often not, so lets not lump good Americans like Gottfried in with this lot, who have done all of us so much damage in the fairly short span of years since the Reagan Admin.

    I love Buchanan, however I would warn against anyone utilizing the full term of “Neoconservative” because there is absolutely nothing conservative about this retread ideology. It attempts to pass off rabid leftist militarism as ‘patriotism’, even when it is dragging the nation into costly and deadly wars against the nearly universal advice of the major founding fathers. I will only use the term ‘Neocon’ in its abbreviation for this reason.

    Anytime someone is arguing for militarism, and is not presenting themselves for immediate, expendable service in a mine-clearing detachment, living out of a foxhole, you can dispense with anything else they are saying, because if you really believe in what you are saying, you would be willing to pay the ultimate price personally to ‘defend freedom’. The central issue however is that ‘freedom’ is relative to a single national population, and its own goals and interests. As Washington noted, there can be no permanent allies, which Kirk notes above pertaining to the Israelis, who have now made themselves persona non-grata across the planet as a spying – hacking enterprise.

    I think that if you want to really understand the path we have taken over the past decades as our entire sovereignty has been overthrown by a paid-off bureaucrat class who have no interest in the daily needs of their actual constituents, but will spare no expense showering cash on foreign nations, you need only go back to a report issued by Gerald Shea in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack –

    What is also interesting is that in the final 9/11 report, free here –
    There is no mention at all of Shea’s report in its entire 600 pages.

    Even if you do not read a word of the report, you should go look at the maps that Shea created at the end of the report – pgs 163 to 166. This shows the uncanny Israeli surveillance activity leading up to 9/11, both relating to the hijackers, as well as DEA staff. This was before any of the modern penetration into our telecoms or NSO spyware. Shea details the efforts of a bewildered group of DEA agents and certain factions within the FBI attempting to interdict Israelis and Sayanim, while being obstructed by other factions within the Bush admin / NSC / FBI.

    What the pre-9/11 DEA contact was aimed at, in my personal view, was gaining access to those with authority over the mass surveillance tech (‘Dirtbox’) that at this time seemed like a very promising and state-of-the-art system, at a time when only a faction of the Neocon elite had the ability to clear the way for this type of abuse, on a limited scale. At that time, even though the DEA is not a counter-intelligence agency, they attempted to do what they could to protect Americans from foreign intel intrusion.

    Dirtbox tech is largely surpassed today, but what is really important is that the overwhelmed factions within the DEA / FBI that once stood to defend Americans from those who are agents of foreign powers really no longer exist at this point. This goes far beyond some political debate or ideology, because once you are no longer free to communicate or are no longer the central concern of your ‘representative’ govt, then you have been reduced to merely a ‘subject’ – which is the true Neocon legacy everyplace that this leftist scourge has manifested.

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