Below is a short clip of a heated back and forth between Neoconservative Sean Hannity and Paleoconservative Pat Buchanan. It is great because it really demonstrates the difference in foreign policy outlooks between the neocons, who have dominated the conservative world since the rise of Reagan, although they have been in power positions since before Reagan (see Justin Raimondo’s book on the Conservative movement). The paleoconservatives, who are far more restrained on foreign policy, praise the “antiwar right,” Robert Taft faction of the GOP during the World War II years, which argued for a “realist” approach to foreign policy, rather than the neoconservative’s inherently leftist “idealism” in the tradition of Progressivist Woodrow Wilson. (Realism and idealism are foreign policy theory terms, so don’t confuse them with the more metaphysical concepts).
One can observe the clear distinction between the hysteria presented in the neocon outlook compared to the more nuanced understanding presented by Buchanan. I thought it was particularly hilarious when Hannity tried to bring up Hitler, Churchill, and World War II to make his case. If there is any subject you don’t attempt to “out-fact” with Pat, it is this one. I cannot recommend highly enough his book called “Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War” if you want to know the proper way to understand that entire situation. The neocon myth is that Chamberlin was a softy who didn’t oppose the Evil Hitler, and then Churchill did what he had to, to rid the world of evil. This is typical Neocon narrative. Pat tells a completely different story that Conservatives should learn to embrace, namely that recklessly seeking to expand its empire is what destroyed Britain economically for the rest of the 20th century. Also see Ralph Raico’s essay in which he reconsiders Churchill, here.
Sadly, the neocons have completely ran the paleocons out of the conservative movement, as Paleocon Paul Gottfried recounts here. “Pitchfork Pat” Buchanan ran for president in 1992 (and Murray Rothbard supported him) against George Bush and the neocon establishment. Since that defeat, the paleoconservatives have been completely eradicated from the conservative world, and many conservatives aren’t even aware of the great conservative tradition of being skeptical of war.
Unfortunately for anyone in the Protestant world who is trying to grasp all this, the fact of the matter is that the neocons were most successful in their power campaign, in infiltrating the evangelical world at large. This means that sought the help of pro-Israel Dispensationalists (especially in the 1970s) in their efforts to create a majority consensus on their behalf. It was a brilliant politically strategic move, that has more than paid off. The paleoconservative view was kept alive largely in Catholic circles (with leaders like Buchanan). Protestants, aware of the fact that Roman Catholicism has some very serious theological blunders, felt as if they had to “pick a side” and chose to embrace the neoconservative movement. This was a terrible mistake. Political analysis requires nuance, you have to know when to agree and when to disagree. Protestants at large have fallen for the neocon narrative, when they should have agreed with either the paleocon “realist” or (in my opinion) the libertarian “non-interventionist” views on foreign policy. One is not required to abandon evangelicalism to see the value of the paleoconservative outlook on international affairs. In fact, it is my opinion that evangelicalism was largely corrupted by the power-seeking neocon/evangelical alliance.
Neoconservatives rely on hysteria and fear to drive their narrative. They rely on talking points that are meant to drum up emotion, while refusing to consider the nuanced world of foreign diplomacy. Their only solution to everything international, it seems, is war. They do well in continuing the legacy of their original members, who were former followers of Trotsky. Neoconservatism is a fraud. It is not conservative at all. Try to follow Patrick Buchanan’s argument, despite Hannity’s annoying interruptions and absurd tangents. Hannity loves the empire, Pat loves the Republic.