A combination of "Neo"(new
) and "Con"(conservative
"Neocon" is the term for both a new and old (reborn) form of Conservativism. A break from the Reublican party and return to more traditional Conservative values. This represents a fracturing of the Right. Neocons tend to be young, idealistic, and even dogmatic activists. They tend to have above-average intelligence and education. They are very similar to the movements of the 1960s, but with different core values. They are both pessimistic about the current system, and optimistic about the difference they can make.
It is difficult to lock Neocons down to a specific set of values, because they come from a wide variety of backgrounds (including minorities and gays) and have a wide variance in their ideals. Overall, Neocons are pro-life and support the death penalty. Many neocons are religious or "spiritual" in one way or another. They are not necessarily Christian, although that is the religion to which most of them subscribe. Neocons preach tolerance and coexistence without political correctness. They tend to strongly support both the First and Second Amendments of the Constitution. Neocons support Capitalism, but view being beholden to corporate interests with great distaste. And while compromise is a necessary evil in politics, when in doubt, neocons will stick to their guns. Too much compromise is the hallmark of selling out. They believe that the current political process has become so corrupt that no politician can get anywhere without selling out to various interests.
Neocons view the increasingly centrist philosophy of Republican politicians with the same distaste that their radically Liberal opponents feel for the Democrats. Both of the Big Two parties have been migrating towards the center for some time now, leaving behind many on either side. This is manifested by the power wielded by third-party candidates, which was decisive in determining the outcomes of the 1992, 2000 and 2004 Presidential elections. (And resulting in much backbiting on either the Left or the Right afterwards)
This is a new age in American politics. The rise of neoconservativism was one of the more unforseen and underestimated political developments in the last two decades. With similar fracturing on the Liberal side of the political divide, the power-hold of the Big Two parties (Republican and Democrat) is being shaken, and voting for a third-party candidate no longer means you are just "throwing your vote away." The future may be a very interesting time for all of us, Liberal or Conservative.
“The neo-conservatism of the 1980s is a replay of the New Conservatism of the 1950s, which was itself a replay of the New Era philosophy of the 1920s” (Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.).