The Public Interest

American conservatism 1945-1995

Irving Kristol

Fall 1995

THE Public Interest was born well before the term “neoconservative” was invented, and will—I trust—be alive and active when the term is of only historical interest. That time may even be now, as the distinction between conservative and neoconservative has been blurred almost beyond recognition. Still, the distinction has not yet been entirely extinguished—it still turns up when Jeane Kirkpatrick’s views on foreign policy are mentioned—so this may be a suitable moment to look back and define the role that neoconservatism, and The Public Interest specifically, has played in the history of American conservatism since the end of World War II. (A quite different, but equally useful, essay could be written on its role in the history of postwar liberalism.)

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