Intellectuals and Ideology

The relationship between American intellectuals and political leaders was not confined to the Democratic Party. The most recent example of this alliance between an intellectual and political elite can be found in President George W. Bush’s administration, with its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the expansion of the welfare state in education and Medicare. These policies were created, supported, and justified by neo-conservatives, who, during the Cold War, were anti-communist, pro-free-market, and supporters of traditional cultural values.4 For neo-conservatives, democracy was a superior form of government because it protected human liberty; and other regimes that curtailed human freedom, like the Soviet Union, were deemed evil. Regimes therefore were evaluated and ordered, with democracy as the best, totalitarian as the worst, and authoritarian governments as somewhere in between.5 For the neo-conservatives, the United States should have prevented the Soviet Union from spreading totalitarian regimes around the world as well as have promoted democratic ones (or in conditions when it was not possible, supported authoritarian ones).

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