specter wrote:What is your definition of a "neocon"? I get different definitions everywhere I look.
One needs to view these things historically. Paleoconservatives were pretty much opposed to everything in FDR's fascist/socialist agenda. They were for sound money, against unnecessary war, etc. Notable names are Robert Taft ("Mr. Republican") and Russell Kirk.
Neoconservatives came largely from socialist leanings. They saw opportunity in a less socialist and more fascist paradigm. The goal is still pretty much the same -- Fabian socialism. They thought it could be better achieved with the fascist model rather than the communist. Notable names are Michael Ledeen and Irving Kristol.
In the 1930s the term "neoconservatism" was used by liberals to eat their own -- a derogatory term for those who didn't buy whole hog into socialism. Later it applied to former liberals who were appalled by LBJ's agenda.
The last major battle between paleoconservatives and neoconservatives was during the Goldwater era. The paleos won the nomination, but lost the campaign. The neoconservatives lined up to challenge AuH2O in the primaries, and after they lost they helped undercut his general election campaign.
Though Reagan talked like a paleo, his administration was rife with neocons, including his VP. This is part of the reason the actions didn't much match the rhetoric.
Ron Paul reviewed a lot of this history in his famous "Neoconned!"
If one goes back farther in history the conservatives were those supporting big government, while the liberals were for small-government, some even anarchy, and were against slavery. The classical liberal was more like a libertarian.
This usage of "conservative" as advocate of big government is stiil current in many parts of the world.
"It is not by the consolidation, or concentration, of powers, but by their distribution, that good government is effected."
-- Thomas Jefferson, 1821