David Bernstein (Volokh) points out a glaring contradiction that haunts the neoconservative movement:
The irony is that the other, domestic policy wing of neoconservatism, the wing that focused on the failures of the Great Society, got its reputation and influence by explaining that good intentions (as in failed Great Society programs) aren't enough, and that throwing government resources at problems not only isn't enough, but is often counter-productive. Idealism is one thing, but as non-neoconservative P.J. O'Rourke puts it, giving the government money and power is like giving car keys and whiskey to a teenage boy. Foreign policy neocons like Muravchik sound just like the domestic liberals their domestic neocon brethren delighted in attacking in the 70s and 80s: "it wasn't our policy that failed, much less our ideology, we just need to redouble our efforts, maintain our idealism, and give the government more money and power."
Neoconservatives and liberals share much more in common than they would care to admit:
- Both overestimate the effectiveness of coupling their wishes with brute force.
- Both are prone to engaging in moral attacks on anyone who registers resistance to their grand schemes.
- Both resist the lessons of monumental failure.