From my perspective, many U.S. neo-conservatives seem to adhere to personal philosophies that are inauthentic. In some cases, their stated beliefs conflict with their everyday actions. In other instances, they espouse viewpoints, which change based on the situation. This issue might not be important, as most of us, unless we are zealots, adhere to a personal philosophy/belief system that contains contradictions or incoherence. If we did not, we would have a hard time getting along in this complex world. Nonetheless, it seems to me that some of the contradictions are so vast, that they might contribute to societal (or individual) malaise, unease, or present citizens with a crisis of faith moment when they do try to rectify the conflicting mix of ideas.
I think I should provide some caveats to this post. First, as I promised in my first post, I am writing this post "off the top of my head." I have neither researched this subject ahead of time nor have I put days worth of thought into it. All aspects of my hypothesis, upon deep reflection, may be incorrect. At the same time, I grew up in a familial/societal structure which contained elements from both conservative Catholicism and evangelical Christian faiths. Nonetheless, I wouldn't say that I was immersed in neo-conservative ideology, especially as it applies to the market/economy. Finally, my thesis may only be applicable to a small minority of Americans instead of to a large cohort of individuals as I claim.
With that said, here are some of the contradictory elements that seem to redound with many neo-conservatives...
1) They espouse federal controls over social issues, ie. an amendment to the Constitution to prevent gay marriage, while at the same time deriding federal initiatives to intervene in the market as a breach on personal liberties.
2) They extol the virtues of a "free market." Yet they do not support initiatives, such as increasing the IRS' budget, which would improve corporate transparency, promote honesty on both the part of individuals and companies, and increase public access to information. These things are necessary perquisites if the participants "in a free market" are going to be able to interact with each other on an equal footing.
3) They argue for the teaching of Creationism in schools, yet they wholeheartedly support pharmacological agents, epidemiological studies, and other thing which are derived from the theory of evolution. As an example, researchers use the tenets of evolution to help them understand and develop vaccines or other remedies for a host of diseases. They also support scientific and industrial infrastructures which rely on the belief that the earth is billions of years old, ie. the oil industry or most everything in geology.
4) They argue that people (or at least themselves) should let God control their lives; they say, "I leave everything in God's hands." Yet they exert a high level of control over their own lives, via things like micro-managing their personal lives or the actions of their businesses, and by doing things like buying life insurance policies and putting their trust in medicine to heal them. Further, they support government and private programs to control/understand everything from the weather to space. It is likely that previous generations, especially those living before the 20th century, would have disparaged most of these current day initiatives as interfering with God's plan.
These represent some of (what I consider to be) the major contradictions in neo-conservative thought. Perhaps only a few people adhere to these schizophrenic beliefs or maybe a new, conservative theory has addressed these contradictions. If not, I think they need to be addressed.