Sunday, January 21, 2007

Mommy's & Daddy's little big boys

Glenn Greenwald comments at length on something that has been obvious for years but has not been sufficiently scrutinized and scorned. Glenn begins with the "begats".
Bill Kristol's parents are Irving Kristol, the so-called "godfather of neoconservatism," and Gertrude Himmelfarb, whose defining political act was a homage paid at the AEI to the virtues of Victorian morality. Bill followed in his parents' footsteps almost completely - the same career, the same political circles, the same exact political beliefs as his mother and father, and had his career shaped by them from the start.

Fred Kagan did exactly the same thing as Bill Kristol -- copied the career and mindset of his father. Just like Kristol's father, The Washington Post labelled Kagan's dad, Donald, "a beloved father figure of the ascendant neoconservative movement." Fred Kagan even went so far as to co-author a 2000 book with his dad entitled While America Sleeps: Self-Delusion, Military Weakness and the Threat to Peace Today, a book which -- pre 9/11 -- advocated many of the very same militaristic policies which today are "justified" by the 9/11 attacks. Fred Kagan's brother, Robert, is exactly the same as Fred and Bill Kristol. Along with Kristol, Robert co-founded the Project for the New American Century which, of course, spent the years prior to the 9/11 attacks urging regime change in Iraq, among other things.

This sprawling nepotism web goes on and on even as one descends to the lower levels of the neoconservative ranks of importance and influence. Jonah Goldberg's career was created and shaped by his mother, Lucianne, whose political beliefs he copies. He came to be known by attaching himself to his mom as she milked her role in the Lewinsky scandal (at the time, Jonah, 29, was "vice president" of his mom's company). John Podhoertz is a poor man's version of his dad, Norman, and his mom, Midge Decter, two of the most revered neoconservative figures around. White House neoconservative (and Iran-Contra convict) Elliot Abrams married one of Decter's daughters (from her first marriage), and one of his first key jobs in the neoconservative movement was when he was chosen by Norm Podhoretz, Decter's husband, to write for Commentary (Abrams was also a major contributor to (Bill) Kristol and (Robert) Kagan's PNAC).


To have the top level of an entire highly influential political movement be so dependent upon their parents for their careers and worldview seems, at the very least, to be worth some commentary.


Many, perhaps most, of the leading neoconservatives don't seem to have arrived at their political worldview through much or any intellectual struggle or independence, nor do they seem to have had to make their own way in building their careers. Quite the opposite -- they seem to have been bred into their lives, and they just marched, like good little boys, along with their parents' views and plans for them. And they not only willingly accepted, but seem to have eagerly sought, all sorts of help from their parents in building their careers, all in exchange for fully embracing their parents' views almost without deviation.

It's rather ironic (and almost certainly not coincidental) that neoconservatives love, more than anything else, to strut around spewing tough-guy Chruchill warrior rhetoric and to sermonize on the virtues of self-reliance -- and are characterized in their political views by a total lack of empathy for the plight of others -- even though they have chosen extremely coddled, privileged lives feeding off the accomplishments and directives of their mothers and fathers. And quite significantly, the political Leader they found to represent their belief system, to personify their contrived warrior pose, and to implement their radical agenda -- George W. Bush -- is the most extreme version of that coddled and father-dependent personality one can find.

The embrace by the President of the "surge" plan of Kagan and Kristol -- father-controlled figures all -- is really nothing more noble or elevated than a petulant refusal to accept the consequences of their failure and responsibility for their actions. It's a foot-stomping exercise, whereby they feel entitled to satisfaction and personal vindication, and that personal desire trumps everything -- hence, their eagerness to ignore the damage they have wrought by inventing new war theories and fantasies to continue their wars that don't affect them in any way, for which only other people pay a price. It's the behavior of people who have developed an extreme sense of personal entitlement by virtue of allowing, even urging, their fathers and mothers to shape their lives far beyond what is normal or healthy.


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