Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Shadia B. Drury
Neoconservatism is a new conservatism that began to exert influence on American politics after 1945 and reached the height of its power during the administration of George W. Bush (2000–2008). Neoconservatism combines conservative social policies with liberal economics and a Realpolitik (i.e., realist) approach to foreign policy. Neoconservative social policies are characterized by opposition to abortion, same-sex marriage, and sexual liberation, especially for women. They favor “family values,” which they associate only with traditional families; they defend prayer in the schools, the right to bear arms, capital punishment, and harsh legal penalties for young offenders. They are closely allied with the Christian Right and share the latter's opposition to secular liberal culture and its inclination to promote individuality, diversity, and critical thought while undermining community, cohesiveness, shared values, and nationalism. Despite their communitarian approach in the social sphere, neoconservatives speak the language of rugged individualism, independence, and self-reliance, where economics ...