Onward and Upward

Like the Roman cursus honorum, the ascending path of neoconservative success is carefully prescribed. Instead of the progress from aedile to consul, however, the journey leads through hackwork up to the glories of publishing with Basic Books, appearing on TV talk shows, and gracing the mastheads of neocon magazines. David Frum managed to move through all of these levels while still in his 30's, and although he lives in Washington, he continues to propound distinctly neoconservative views in his native Canada as a columnist for the National Post.

Previous to this study of America in the 1970's, Frum produced two books setting forth the tenets of a defanged conservatism while damning those of the crotchety Old Right. While the neocons howl against the counterculture and "new class" machinations, their critique is not aimed at the minions of the federal government nor the political class in general. As ambitious Beltway climbers, neocon journalists have no desire to slay the monsters that sustain them: They do not oppose unrestricted immigration from the Third World and the social engineering that accompanies it; nor "moderate" feminism; nor an activist foreign policy designed to "moralize" other countries; nor most of Bill Clinton's "centrist" policies. What they deplore are the excesses of the hippies of the 1960's and 70's. For neocons, the enemy is never government...

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