Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Rome's Radical Conservative

From Michael Novak, writing in the New York Times:
Cardinal Ratzinger's selection as pope, however, has been less heartily welcomed by many commentators in Europe and the United States, who have quickly characterized him as an 'authoritarian,' a 'watchdog' and, most peculiarly, a 'neoconservative.'
Indeed. "Neoconservative" is begininning to be used simply to mean "very conservative" or "conservative whom I really dislike," as if "neo" were a prefix that did nothing more than add emphasis to a word. It's not any skin off my nose, I suppose; I'm certainly not a "neo-conservative" in the original sense, and I have no claim to ownership over the term. But I do prefer verbal accuracy. The way that "neo-conservative" is now being used indicates sloppiness and/or illiteracy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The way that "neo-conservative" is now being used indicates sloppiness and/or illiteracy

So I guess it is spelled right if they are describing the GOP.

5:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The prefix "neo" means "sort of" or "later addition" but not "ultra". For example, one would say that the U.S. Capital was in a neo-classical style, meaning that it was not made by the orignial Greeks or Romans, but tries to imitate their buildings. One might say that Anglicans are Neo-Catholics -- but that is another topic.

9:54 AM  
Blogger Sam Chevre said...

Although neo-conservative is used sloppily quite often, it actually might be accurate to describe Ratzinger as a neo-conservative; he is, after all, a liberal who saw the effect of liberalism and became conservative becase of those effects.

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

neo = arch

7:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who invented that term?

6:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The term refers to people like Irving Kristol. They are neo-conservatives because they reacted against traditionalist conservatism in advocating vigorous government and imperialist rather than isolationist foreign policy. Genealogically speaking they got these ideas from the radical left -- Kristol, for instance, was a Trotskyite in his youth.

3:20 PM  

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