The Corner

Notes Away From a Definition

I suppose, Jonah, that the question turns on whether someone whose past liberalism or leftism occurred before adulthood counts. The people you’re thinking of–Norman Podhoretz, Irving Kristol, Michael Novak, etc.–as the defining set for neoconservatism could all be described as “liberals who turned right.” But they could also be described as “adult liberals who turned right.” So I don’t think that we can glean an answer there. Since I don’t qualify as a neo- under most of the other definitions, I prefer to leave my conservatism unmodified. But I do appreciate the warm welcome from my elder.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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