Gene Callahan, author of Economics for Real People, which I’ve previously recommended as a good place to begin developing economic literacy, was mugged in London two days ago.
He begins his blog post about it, “The old quip was that a neoconservative was a liberal who had been mugged.”
Now I first heard that joke in either the late 1980s or the early 1990s, when very few quippers knew what a “neoconservative” was.
I only knew because my highschool girlfriend explained it to me. Her mother, who was such a creature, worked for Norman Podhoretz, one of the founders of that now famous movement. (Which label too many leftists use as if it were synonymous with “conservative” or “right-wing”. Morons.) In fact, I interviewed my mother as a typical so-called liberal and my girlfriend’s mother as a typical so-called conservative (when they were actually a social democrat, and a neocon, respectively) for a high school history project on the different perspectives of different political persuasions. The topic was the Cuban Missile Crisis. One thing I remember from the neocon mom was that she rejected the “Old Right” (which I’d never heard of) and considered herself a JFK Democrat, a trade-unionist, etc., but the establishment Left had moved away from what she saw as the correct positions on the Cold War and culture. (She had a big blue campaign button that said “Reagan!” in Hebrew. I didn’t like that one very much.)
The way I heard the joke was this: A social conservative is a social liberal who has been mugged.
Another version: A social conservative is a social liberal with a teenaged daughter.
Anyway, I’ll write about neoconservatism some other time; I’ll write about my own experiences with muggings another time; right now I just wanted to point you to Callahan’s blog.