Home > Current Affairs, Dystopia, Links > Interesting Links: Jun 30, 2017

Interesting Links: Jun 30, 2017

Here are links to a few interesting articles which I came cross over the previous few days. All of them are about different facets of the ongoing slow-motion decline of contemporary liberalism, aka neoliberalism. Will post something original tomorrow.

The first link is about the ongoing demise of the apex era of neoliberalism, from the viewpoint of somebody in UK. You too might have noticed that the west seemingly went into a holding pattern sometime in the early- to mid-1990s and has only recently started exiting that era, including its foundation beliefs. The second one is about how the sequelae of the 2008 financial crisis slowly but irreversibly resulted in the loss of public faith in contemporary liberalism, aka neoliberalism. The author of that post makes the point that contemporary liberalism now has more in common with a failing cult or religion than anything with a worthwhile future. The third one is a recent interview with Ralph Nader where he describes how the many missteps and miscalculations by establishment democrats in their attempts to suck up to the rich and professional classes (as republican-lite) have caused irreversible damage to its future electoral prospects.

Link 1: The end of the Long 90s

For the last 30 years, what David Goodhart called “the two liberalisms” have prevailed, the economic liberalism of the right and the social liberalism of the left, “Margaret Thatcher tempered by Roy Jenkins.” The Conservatives concentrated on deregulation, union busting and privatisation, while talking tough, but avoiding any action on, on immigration, political correctness and traditional values. Meanwhile, Labour focused on a socially liberal agenda without attempting to roll back the economic gains of the right. It was almost as though a tacit deal had been struck; you can have diversity, minority rights and discrimination laws if we can have privatisation, deregulation and tax cuts. The effect was to take policies that were popular with the public off the agenda on the grounds that they were publicly unacceptable. This applied both to left-wing and right-wing policies.

Link 2: The Blathering Superego at the End of History

Liberalism is not working. Something deep within the mechanism has cracked. All our wonk managers, our expert stewards of the world, have lost their way. They wander desert highways in a daze, wondering why the brakes locked up, why the steering wheel came off, how the engine caught on fire. Their charts lie abandoned by the roadside. It was all going so well just a moment ago. History was over. The technocratic order was globalizing the world; people were becoming accustomed to the permanent triumph of a slightly kinder exploitation. What happened? All they can recall is a loud thump in the undercarriage, an abrupt loss of control. Was it Brexit? Trump? Suddenly the tires were bursting and smoke was pouring into the vehicle, then a flash. The next thing they could remember, our liberals were standing beside a smoldering ruin, blinking in the hot sun, their power stolen, their world collapsing, their predictions all proven wrong.

Link 3: Interview by Intercept with Ralph Nader on Failure of Democratic Party.

The Democrats began the process of message preceding policy. No — policy precedes message. That means they kept saying how bad the Republicans are. They campaigned not by saying, look how good we are, we’re going to bring you full Medicare [for all], we’re going to crack down on corporate crime against workers and consumers and the environment, stealing, lying, cheating you. We’re going to get you a living wage. We’re going to get a lean defense, a better defense, and get some of this money and start rebuilding your schools and bridges and water and sewage systems and libraries and clinics. Instead of saying that, they campaign by saying “Can you believe how bad the Republicans are?” Now once they say that, they trap their progressive wing, because their progressive wing is the only segment that’s going to change the party to be a more formidable opponent. Because they say to their progressive wing, “You’ve got nowhere to go, get off our back.”

What do you think? Comments?

  1. webej
    July 1, 2017 at 11:06 am

    When I was younger and naïve, I thought the end of the cold war (the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Berlin wall) would finally liberate discussion about political economic models and concepts from the strait jacket of a dichotomy between capitalism vs communism/ totalitarianism. Instead, all discussion ground to a halt. Liberalism had now been declared by history and evolution itself as the only road to progress, with a little tinkering by technocrats in the margins, but certainly no basic discussion of anything. Many of the liberal dogmas are accepted uncritically as facts, with no grounding in history or policy direction.
    In my opinion this has lead straight to the GFC in 2008 and the current impasse. Fundamental thinking about social models only occurs on the fringes, even though we are at the start of a jobs destruction earthquake.

    • P Ray
      July 1, 2017 at 3:53 pm

      Fundamental thinking about social models only occurs on the fringes, even though we are at the start of a jobs destruction earthquake.
      That’s because the leaders will never admit to being wrong as they believe in “fake it till you make it”, and the employed people are too scared to point out their bosses are wrong.
      So the only people that can speak up are the self-employed or the skilled (who can easily find jobs elsewhere).

      The Alpha male / Chad Thundercock attitude of bulldozing over others’ opinions despite having few real skills … is the overconfidence that creates catastrophes.

  2. Anon1
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