I came across this article in salon.com and there’s a real temptation just to throw it in the cage here as some meat to tear at. This is the first time I’ve come across the term ‘Paleocons’ and noticed —but I’ve been noticing the knuckle dragging described for a while… Paleocon…just maybe an apt turn of phrase. The piece points up the sad spectacle I’ve noticed in post-Soviet politics from the get go, that in among the folks applauding the fall of a repressive totalitarianism premised on falsified notions of human progress were an opportunistic clique of equally repressive actors who rejected the notion of human rights and progress altogether. It’s maybe disturbing and enlightening to take notice of the same strains within our own body politic.
I’ll offer a link to the article in its entirety here and offer this excerpt of just one instance where this notion of paleoconservativism seems to resonate with the discussion we often find ourselves having right here. That romance for ante-bellum America, before fuzzy notions like emancipation and labor rights and progressive reform made a mess of everything. It’s uncanny, almost like they’ve been listening in here and taking notes.
But it’s more than just social issues that have earned Putin admiration from American paleocons. More important to them is his robust defense of national sovereignty, or, to be precise, the notion that authoritarian governments ought to be able to get away with the worst human rights abuses—up to and including genocide—without facing punishment or intervention from the West. For the paleocons, who look back with fondness on the likes of Nazi sympathizer Charles Lindbergh and other leaders of the World War II-era America First movement, America ought to “mind its own business” and radically reduce, if not eliminate completely, its overseas commitments.