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Irving Kristol

Co-founder of The National Interest and The Public Interest Magazines, editor, author, columnist for The Wall Street Journal

Book by Irving Kristol
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Neo-Conservatism: The Autobiography of an Idea (1999)
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The major political event of the twentieth century is the death of socialism.

Business ethics, in any civilization, is properly defined by moral and religious traditions, and it is a confession of moral bankruptcy to assert that what the law does not explicitly prohibit is therefore morally permissible.

[The country's founders] understood that republican self-government could not exist if humanity did not possess ... the traditional 'republican virtues' of self-control, self-reliance, and a disinterested concern for the public good.

from Reflections of a Neo-Conservative
A welfare state, properly conceived, can be an integral part of a conservative society.

1977 - from an essay in American Spectator Magazine
[Conservatism] Our revolutionary message ... is that a self-disciplined people can create a political community in which an ordered liberty will promote both economic prosperity and political participation.

1983 - from Reflections of a NeoConservative, Basic Books, New York
[A neoconservative is] a liberal who has been mugged by reality.

from Two Cheers for Capitalism
Democracy does not guarantee equality of conditions - it only guarantees equality of opportunity.

Today there is a new class hostile to business in general, and especially to large corporations. As a group, you find them mainly in the very large and growing public sector and in the media. They share a disinterest in personal wealth, a dislike for the free-market economy, and a conviction that society may best be improved through greater governmental participation in the country's economic life. They are the media. They are the educational system. Their dislike for the free-market economy originates in their inability to exercise much influence over it so as to produce change. In its place they would prefer a system in which there is a very large political component. This is because the new class has a great deal of influence in politics. Thus, through politics, they can exercise a direct and immediate influence on the shape of our society and the direction of national affairs.

1975 - from "The Question of Liberty in America"
[California's 1978 Proposition 13 which limits tax increases without public approval] It was a new kind of class war -- the people as citizens versus the politicians and their clients in the public sector.

1978 - from an essay in the Wall Street Journal
If you have standards, moral standards, you have to want to make them prevail, and at the very least you have to argue in their favor. Now, show me where libertarians have argued in some comprehensive way for a set of moral standards. ... I don't think morality can be decided on the private level. I think you need public guidance and public support for a moral consensus. The average person has to know instinctively, without thinking too much about it, how he should raise his children.

Jan. 01, 1983 - from an interview in Reason Magazine
People need religion. It's a vehicle for a moral tradition. A crucial role. Nothing can take its place.

from Two Cheers for Capitalism
A liberal is one who says that it's all right for an 18-year-old girl to perform in a pornographic movie as long as she gets paid the minimum wage.

from Two Cheers for Capitalism
Neo-conservatives are unlike old conservatives because they are utilitarians, not moralists, and because their aim is the prosperity of post-industrial society, not the recovery of a golden age.

1987 - from an interview by P. Scott, published in the London Times Higher Education Supplement
Doing good isn't [that] hard. It's just doing a lot of good that is very hard. If your aims are modest, you can accomplish an awful lot. When your aims become elevated beyond a reasonable level, you not only don't accomplish much, you can cause a great deal of damage.