In a celebrated passage of “The Economic Ethic of World Religions,” Max Weber remarked that often, “like switchmen,” the “world images” created by ideas have “determined the tracks along which action has been pushed by the dynamic of interest.” In the past decade and a half, the somewhat nebulous group known as the neoconservatives seems to have sought just this role—that of switchmen of the American mind, seeking to change the signals and hence the track for both intellectuals and the country at large. This effort, which began with a pretense of being “non-ideological,” has at its center the most publicly self-proclaimed neoconservative, Irving Kristol. While the joint introd...
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