'Neocon' -- The New L Word

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Oct 04, 2007 9:07 AM
Roger Cohen has a thought-provoking column today, titled: The new L-word: 'neocon'.

I've long been disturbed by the number of people (including Townhall commenters) who bandy about the term, "neocon," without really knowing what it means (this reminds me of how leftists often call people "fascist" without really knowing the definition of the word.)

... Historically, neocons were Jewish intellectuals who were Hawks on fighting communism and thus grew disenchanted with the Democrat Party as it became radicalized and anti-war.    Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz would be classic examples of neocons.

Today, the term is used derisively, but often inappropriately;  liberals tend to call all conservatives neocons.  Hard-core conservatives sometimes call moderate Republicans -- or "squishes" -- neocons.  Paleocons (old-school Republicans who tend to be isolationist) call anyone who wants to intervene in a foreign conflict a neocon.  Some fiscal conservatives and libertarians think all social conservatives are neocons.  And, sadly, some anti-semites use it as a code word to attack Jewish conservatives -- or anyone who supports Israel as an ally ...

It today's environment, calling someone a neocon is a cheap way to discredit their ideas without really listening to them.  This wouldn't bother me so much if the people making the accusation truly understood what a neocon is ...

Based on my observances, the new definition of neocon may just be anyone who supports George W. Bush or the War in Iraq.  Of course, that means the word has changed its meaning. 

But when enough people misuse a word, the definition eventually changes. 

So much for absolutes ...