Drawing Up Lists? To What Purpose?
Digging around the other day I came across something that claims to list neoconservatives around the world. Or at least on the surface that’s what it suggests it does.
Imagine my surprise when looking at the list of supposed neoconservatives I saw Francis Wheen, writer of a very well-received biography of Karl Marx along with the Spittoon blog and Quilliam Foundation.
Even something I have never heard of: the Disraelian Union, a London-based Conservative discussion forum.
In those lists you will see a smattering of obvious conservative types, the rich and even some Lefties, but the commonality seems to be some subjective criteria, seemingly making them all somehow homogenous, monolithic and working together for some undisclosed goal.
But being the work of scholars it contains a few get out clauses:
“This means that the site will include profiles of people who do not define themselves as Neoconservatives and indeed those who are not Neoconservative. Just as many neoconservatives moved from the left to the right of the political spectrum, people and organisations which have been or are associated with or have or do work in or with neoconservative led initiatives, can and do move in their political alliances and activities.”
There is a certain element of the paranoid here when we are told:
“It is an attempt to monitor and publicise the sometime covert and not always visible activities of Neoconservatives attempting to internationalise their movement. “
As if these individuals, selected on dubious criteria, are doing something secret? I notice that one selection method is “Pro-Israel and Zionist strands other than those allied to neoconservatism”
Normally, I would not have any objections to a cogent discussion on this topic, but it strikes me much like the goings on of the Economic League (collecting a list of potential enemies, just in case).
I am sure that the left-wingers rounded up together with various conspicuous Conservatives might object. Francis Wheen has nothing politically in common with Conrad Black.
All politics aside, I can’t help but feel very uneasy about this list and wonder if those academics pushing it at the University of Strathclyde will want to collect the names of other Jews in Britain, just in case they turn out to be pro-Israeli or “Zionist”?
Hmm. Shades of Redwatch?
I wonder if this listing comes under the Data Protection Act?
Update 1: The Spittoon has a post on this too,