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Kristol & Communists


It is important to remember the context of Irving Kristol’s remarks. At the time, Commentary was still a liberal magazine, and Kristol still saw himself as a man of the left. Kristol’s primary aim was to critique American liberalism from inside the liberal tent. He was concerned that it was insufficiently anti-communist — and with cause. These concerns would lead Kristol to join up with the anti-communist Congress of Cultural Freedom and launch the journal Encounter, with Stephen Spender, as a forum for intellectuals on the anti-communist left. Neoconservatism — as an identifiable political or intellectual movement — had yet to be born. Indeed, Michael Harrington would not label Kristol and others “neoconservatives” until the late 1960s.


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