Jonah Goldberg, "Irving Kristol's Clear Thinking," Los Angeles Times, September 23, 2009.
Buckley said that the neocons’ greatest contribution to conservatism was “sociology.” The early National Review conservatism was more Aristotelian, Buckley observed, while the neos brought the language of social science to the debate. National Review might first ask whether a government initiative was warranted under the Constitution, or whether it violated some immutable moral law. The neocons were less abstract. “The legitimate question to ask about any program,” according to Kristol, “is, ‘Will it work?’”
Starting at the height of LBJ’s Great Society, Kristol unleashed a cadre of America’s finest social scientists — James Q. Wilson, Seymour Martin Lipset, Charles Murray, Thomas Sowell, Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom, to name a few — to ask that question, and the answers usually confirmed that the Aristotelians were right all along. (No wonder the “law of unintended consequences” became the neocons’ motto.)