Neocon has become a preferred insult in many political debates among conservatives, especially those who doubt the sincerity of others who claims to support a right-wing point of view.
Websters’ dictionary appears to support this point of view:
Definition of NEOCONSERVATIVE
1 : a former liberal espousing political conservatism
2 : a conservative who advocates the assertive promotion of democracy and United States national interest in international affairs including through military means
— neo·con·ser·va·tism noun
— neoconservative adjectiv
Neoconservatism is a variant of the political ideology of conservatism which combines features of traditional conservatism with political individualism and a qualified endorsement of free markets. Neoconservatism (or new conservatives) is rooted in a group of former liberals, who in the late 1960s, began to oppose many of the policies and principles associated with President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs. The term “neoconservative” was initially used in the 1930s to describe American liberals who criticized other liberals who followed a path closer to Soviet communism.
Three years ago, Jonathan Clarke at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs defined neocons as those who display:
- a tendency to see the world in binary good/evil terms
- low tolerance for diplomacy
- readiness to use military force
- emphasis on US unilateral action
- disdain for multilateral organizations
- focus on the Middle East
- an us-versus-them mentality
In other words, like most political labels, it depends both on who’s doing the labeling and who’s getting labeled.