Without a Doubt

Damon Linker has an interesting, and in places certainly misguided, piece on Fr. Richard John Neuhaus in the current New Republic. I should comment at greater length on the piece, but for now I'll just mention that one aspect of Neuhaus that Linker does effectively shed light upon is just how revolutionary — as in the likes of Lenin, not just "innovative" — Neuhaus's tendencies have always been, from his radical days in Bedford-Stuyvesant when he (says Linker) "contemplated the morality of participating in armed revolution to overthrow the government of the United States" to the mid-'90s flap over "The End of Democracy" (which didn't actually call for armed revolution from what I recall, though Gertrude Himmelfarb might have assumed otherwise), to his support for the Iraq War.

I'm certainly no fan of the political system we have, but the notion that violence would make it better and could usher in a reign of virtue and Christian charity, we'll, let's just that the notion of a "Catholic" Robespierre is no less objectionable than that of any other kind. Do the theocons really want a police state? Maybe I shouldn't take it for granted that they don't. (Tangentially related: David Gordon's takedown of Edward Feser, who is trending what looks like a Jacobin direction himself.)

By the by, although I gave TNR a hard time last week, I have to say that for the cover alone the mag wins a few points this time — it's a gallery caricatures depicting different types of conservative, from paleocon (Pat Buchanan) to neocon (Wolfowitz) over to "con con" (Abramoff) and Genghis-con (Cheney).


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