Monday, March 07, 2005

Neoconservative Parents, Imperialist Children 

Steve Sailer offers a good observation about the cross-generational shift of neoconservative concern from sociological examination of urban crisis to ideogical embrace of American empire, pointing out that the now dominant generation of neoconservatives do not know the plight of the poor in the American cities in the way their forebearers did, and so they lack what Gertrude Himmelfarb would call "the pathos of genuine involvement" with the fate of our cities.

After reading this, I was struck by how much my analysis of the cross-generational progress of neoconservatism resembled Midge Decter's analysis of liberalism's transformation into radicalism, Liberal Parents, Radical Children. Her description of the childhood circumstances--protection from responsibility, imbued with immense senses of entitlement and self-regard, membership in a status seeking leisure class--that psychologically prepared the way for youthful radicalism could very well be a description of second generation neoconservatives.