The Poverty Of Neoconservative Philosophy Essay

2114 words - 8 pages

The poverty of neoconservative philosophy (rethinking liberalism) by John MacBeath Watkins Neoconservatives, a group which included formerly liberal academics and their younger Reaganite allies, have had a great deal of influence on American foreign policy, especially during the lamentable George W. Bush administration. They envisioned a world in which American dominance would be unquestioned, and opposing regimes would be overthrown and replaced with democratic regimes, as the Bush administration attempted in Iraq. They tried to portray themselves as the adults in the room, but their program proved impractical, unpopular, and built more on fantasy than reason. There was no economic or any real strategic rationale for the military adventures they championed, and the notion that you can impose democracy by force proved as fanciful as it sounded. Yet they retain influence in conservative foreign policy circles. How did that happen? Part of the story is about intellectual apprenticeship to a scholar not greatly celebrated in his lifetime, and whose influence may have as much to do with what people thought he meant as with what he actually said and wrote. The intellectual roots of the movement were sown by Leo Strauss, one of the less coherent political theorists of the 20th century, famously referred to by M.F. Burnyeat as the "Sphinx without a Secret," after an Oscar Wilde story in which the subject is a woman who wants to appear mysterious, but has no secrets worth concealing.

Leo Strauss

Strauss is a peculiar figure in political thought. He wrote nothing I know of about modern public policy, and although his works are widely available in the United Kingdom, he seems to have no great following there or in continental Europe. Although he died in 1973, his influence wasn't celebrated or defended much until his former students began to influence high-level American foreign policy in the 1980s. Catherine and Michael Zuckert, in The Truth about Leo Strauss, considered one of the more balance books about the man, noted that:Many scholars found his books nearly unreadable, and many others considered them so drastically misguided in their substantive readings of the history of philosophy that he was often dismissed by fellow scholars as an eccentric or, worse, as a willful and distortive interpreter of the philosophic tradition.Burnyeat's takedown, Sphinx Without a Secret, published in 1985, was not the work of a political pundit, but of a respected scholar with a great reputation for his studies of the ancient philosophers Strauss taught about. He portrayed an almost cult-like intellectual surrender as part of Strauss's teaching technique.Strauss asks-or commands-his students to start by accepting that any inclination they may have to disagree with Hobbes (Plato, Aristotle, Maimonides), any opinion contrary to his, is mistaken. They must suspend their own judgment, suspend even "modern thought as such," until they understand their author "as he...

Find Another Essay On The Poverty of Neoconservative Philosophy

The Urbanization of Poverty Essay

2489 words - 10 pages The majority of poor people are those who experience chronic -- and even multigenerational -- poverty (Iceland, 2003). In the United States many of the chronically poor live in urban environments. These environments, characterized by high concentrations of poor high concentrations of people of color and concentrated disadvantage, have been characterized as areas of moral as well as economic failure. In this paper, I will contend that

The Roots of Poverty Essay

2602 words - 11 pages The Question: Globalization and poverty Once the Era of apartheid had come to an end in 1994 the internationally development community entered South Africa promoting the microcredit model with high hopes to empower the poorest black communities to break loose from the poverty spiral, however the Microcredit model was seen to be having the complete opposite effect, ultimately causing incredible damage to the area. The microcredit model was

The Ballad of Poverty

717 words - 3 pages Cutoff from the modern world for nearly 31 years, Cuba has become home for many of life’s worst qualities. In the books The Old Man and the Sea, as well as To Have and Have Not, Earnest Hemingway portrays life in Cuba in various disconcerting ways. Through accounts of loss and death, Hemingway creates stories of true disparity in both novels. And it is through poverty, the cornerstone of both The Old Man and the Sea as well as To Have and Have

The Feminization of Poverty

2517 words - 10 pages One of the Biggest Challenges for Women Today: The Feminization of Poverty The division of labour and education along gender lines, racial inequalities and discrimination, and unpaid domestic labour all contribute to the growing feminization of poverty. Feminists are working to decrease the income gap, to benefit the overall health of women and the population at large. The term feminization of poverty describes the disproportionate amount of

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty

1706 words - 7 pages souls came into this world, only to be immediately pulled in and swallowed alive by the perpetual maelstrom, the cycle of poverty. Although poverty has existed since the beginning of recorded history, thanks to the work of many devoted volunteers, there may be hope. These young men and women have chosen to make a difference in their homeland by joining an organization devoted to defeating destitution and incinerating indigence. This

The Value of Philosophy

880 words - 4 pages . Russell expresses that you can also feed your mind through thought. Once disease and poverty problems are no longer relevant to our daily lives, there still would be a focus on producing a functioning society, something that relies on the thought process of those included in that society. Often misunderstood as frivolous thought by practical men, philosophy is a knowledge-based study. Russell sees philosophy as the glue that holds the body of

The Importance of Philosophy

2018 words - 8 pages The Importance of Philosophy ‘Philosophy is to be studied, not for the sake of any definite answers to its questions, since no definite answers can, as a rule, be known to be true, but rather for the sake of the questions themselves.’ (Bertrand Russell, Problem of Philosophy, pp. 93-94). Discuss the usefulness (or

The Value of Philosophy

1533 words - 7 pages To understand the value of philosophy, one must look at its origins. Linguistically the word philosophy comes from the Greek term philosophia, meaning “the love of wisdom.” Wisdom can be defined as the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment. Ultimately philosophy can be defined as the love of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment. When one hears the term philosophy questions such as “what is the purpose of life

The Value of Philosophy

745 words - 3 pages "The Value of Philosophy?"Question 5: Some students feel that philosophy is worthless because it does not yield definite results. How would Russell respond? Russell says the value of philosophy is in its uncertainty. What does he mean? Do you agree?Often times before I had attended college, I felt that philosophy was a useless study. I did not see the point of asking sometimes ridicules questions and arguing over them. You know the questions I

The Value of Philosophy - 1121 words

1121 words - 4 pages The Value of Philosophy Consider a man that looks to material needs as the necessities of life. He moves through his world in a twenty-four hour cycle of the mundane, never reaching for a less ignorant existence. Bertrand Russell believes that these "practical men", as society deems them, are wrongly named. A meaningful life to this "practical man", certainly does not include the understanding of a need for knowledge. Russell states

The Importance of Philosophy

774 words - 3 pages The Importance of Philosophy “All things in life are philosophical.” This is a well-known quote by the renowned Greek scientist/philosopher Aristotle. When one is to imagine life without thought, free will or knowledge, they are left to only imagine the oblivion they would be left to reside in. To me, philosophy is more than ethics, esthetics, and epistemology... it is the ability to stand ones ground with certain viewpoints, attitudes

Similar Essays

Global Poverty And Philosophy: Why The Capabilities Approach Applies

2362 words - 10 pages Global Poverty and Philosophy: Why the Capabilities Approach Applies Although our world is becoming increasingly more technologically advanced and developed, one billion people are still expected to live in extreme poverty by 2015 (Country Comparisons). As long as humanity has existed, there have been impoverished people left behind in the wake of advancement. Many philosophical theories have been published attempting to solve global poverty

The Effect Of Poverty Essay

1039 words - 5 pages “Poverty is like a punishment for a crime that you didn’t commit” (Ella Kamarow). Living in poverty can increase the risk of a child developing serious health problems, developmental delays, and behaviour disorders. Poverty is a persistent problem throughout the world effecting many of the country’s economy. Poverty has major effects on development and limits the choices that families have to offer to their children and to the society

The Problem Of Poverty Essay

1365 words - 5 pages In the world there are at least one billion children that are living in poverty. There is at least three billion people in the world that live on less than $2.50. (Shah, 2013) Poverty can be seen everywhere around the world. Carl and Belanger (2012) states that poverty happens when the distribution of wealth is not equally divided between all groups of people. Poverty in Canada is defined as poor quality of food, sleeping in poor quality

The Constraints Of Poverty Essay

1030 words - 4 pages The constraints of poverty can cause a cycle of poor mental and physical heath (Dittmann, 2003). Poverty causes many problems for the people facing it up front everyday. Not only do they go without many necessities, they also face a tremendous amount of stress all the time. The amount of stress combined with the lack of necessities produces extreme health problems. Poor people have to deal with an unhealthy living environment that creates