I thought it might helpful to briefly discuss some of the items on their lists.
1) “America is a communist country” (AIACC)
Nydwracu is right that the key here is focusing on the connection between American and Russian believers in the same system. However, I’m skeptical that there’s really much more ground to be made on the question of whether or not AIACC.
Arnold Kling recently wrote:
Those of you who are under 55 may have a hard time appreciating how central the issues of socialism, Communism, and anti-Communism were in the middle of the twentieth century. In fact, if you don’t understand the role that the socialist ideal played in American intellectual life from 1930 until at least 1960, you cannot fully understand that period.
Oddly, my experience is the other way around. It’s generally those under 55 (or 35 for that matter) who seem to be more open to the idea that Communism was a hugely influential force in the US in the first half of the 20th Century – and, therefore, still is.
To argue that America at that time was not a Communist country would require you to argue that despite huge sections of the media, the bureaucracy and the academic establishment being made up of identified Communists, somehow these people in positions of power didn’t exercise that power in accordance with their beliefs.
As I previously wrote:
A nice way to illustrate the fact that the Communists controlled these organizations is to look at the career of any known Communist agent. Let’s take one of the best known, Alger Hiss. Hiss’s career (including after he was accused of being a spy and after being in jail) included stints at: the State Department, the United Nations, clerking for Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr, the Justice Department, some Senate Committees, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and – naturally – Harvard Law.
If you don’t know what I mean by the term Cathedral, it’s basically that list. Really, the only way it could be better is if he’d worked at the New York Times.
2) The connection between the US and Moscow
I’ve covered similar ground in the War. For example, Harry Hopkins stood in for FDR at meetings with Churchill – if there could be a more obvious interaction between American communists and Russian ones, I would be surprised. FDR’s war aims were either brilliantly crafted to empower Russia or absolutely retarded. Evidence that Soviet spies were well-placed in government were completely ignored, etc.
I think Kling unintentionally highlights the area that needs additional analysis. He titles his post “they changed their minds.” Kling implies that they changed their views when they repudiated the communist label
I’m not sure that’s true. They broke with the Soviets, but many never changed their basic worldview or any of the specific policy positions (other than ceasing to oppose blindly supporting Russia).
3) What happened in the ’60s?
This is a great question. I’ve written a few book reviews on the topic, but it’s still totally baffling to me – as is the fact that many of the craziest people at the time are in positions of power now, and everybody thinks that’s totally cool.
4) What does the ‘neo-’ in ‘neoreaction’ signify?
The neo prefix signifies that the original reaction was utterly destroyed and it’s original positions (however admirable they were and still would be) have absolutely no chance of being resurrected.
In Democracy, the God that Failed, Hoppe described the First World War as a war to destroy the existing monarchical societies of Europe (the proponents of which were reactionaries). Their ideals of the restoration of traditional monarchies, the dis-aggregation of many European “nations”, religious institutions that function as bulwarks to (instead of components of) progressivism, and a general return to old-fashioned hierarchy aren’t coming back. What this new movement seeks to (re)create is some sort of modern approximation of those ideals – hence the need for some prefix.
(I also think that many consider “reactionary” to be an explicitly religious label, whereas the neoreaction is explicitly not religious (not anti-religious, just not explicitly religious). I think that is the essence of this discussion).