January 26, 2013
Know Your Neoconservatives

For years, the principal neoconservative journal was the Public Interest.  It has ceased publication, but the back issues can be found here.

Anyone who wants to understand the neoconservatives — out of curiosity or to know an enemy — will want to look through the back issues.  I expect that supporters of the candidate who must not be named, and the president who must not be middle named, will find the issues of special interest.

Both will want to study the many articles on foreign policy, I am sure.

Full disclosure:  I subscribed to the journal for a number of years, and still have some of the issues.  In fact, I am perverse enough to think that some of those articles still have something to teach policy makers.

For example, if President Obama, or anyone on his staff, had read this Bruce Bartlett article, they would not have been surprised to learn what every other post-World War II president also learned the hard way, that there are few "shovel-ready" jobs in public works.

And I am still thinking about this article on the Swiss system of welfare, which at the time had not created a dependent class, unlike the systems in almost every other Western country.

There's much of interest in the article.  Here's a sample:

The Swiss rate of paternal determination and paternal support (outside marriage) is also much higher than in most other nations.  We should note that the Swiss rate of children born out-of-wedlock is low: 5 percent in 1982, 3.8 percent in 1970.   Over one-third of such births are quickly followed by marriages.  In the United States, the 1980 figure is 18.4 percent and the 1982 estimate is closer to 23 percent; similar levels are found in many other industrialized nations.

Consider one example of the discretion of these courts: In a conversation with a Swiss banker, I learned that he had recently provided a bond to guarantee child support.  This was occasioned when a divorced man from a small town in Switzerland was summoned to meet with the divorce judge.  The judge was concerned that the man's publicly-announced betrothal and eventual marriage to a second wife might result in his nonpayment of the scheduled child and spousal supports.  The judge indicated that, although he was not legally concerned as a judge, he was concerned as a citizen of the community.  He did not want to see the community having to support the man's first family.  He indicated that, because of his concern, he planned to appear at the impending marriage to protest that this new marriage was fundamentally immoral in that the man intended to develop a new family at the community's expense.  The judge was dissuaded from his plan to publicly protest the marriage only after the man had posted a bond, participated in by his brothers, sisters, and parents, which guaranteed continued child and spousal support until the children of his first marriage were grown.

(I believe lessons from the Swiss system had some influence on the 1996 Gingrich/Dole welfare reform.)

Cross posted at Jim Miller on Politics.

Posted by Jim Miller at January 26, 2013 06:26 PM | Email This