What Is a “Neo-Conservative”?

“What Is a ‘Neo-Conservative’?” Newsweek, January 19, 1976.


1.  Neo-conservatism is not at all hostile to the idea of a welfare state, but it is critical of the Great Society version of this welfare state.  In general, it approves of those social reforms that, while providing needed security and comfort to the individual in our dynamic, urbanized society, do so with a minimum of bureaucratic intrusion in the individual’s affairs. Such reforms would include, of course, social security, unemployment insurance, some form of national health insurance, some kind of family assistance plan, etc. In contrast, it is skeptical of those social: programs that create vast and energetic bureaucracies to “solve social problems.” In short, while being for the welfare state, it is opposed to the paternalistic state.  It also believes that this welfare state will best promote the common good if it is conceived in such a way, as not to go bankrupt.