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April 14, 2017

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this is particularly egregious, even if one does not rule out the death penalty on principle.

I have no support for what I am about to say, but I do think that most people would be appalled by the blatant injustices of this case. This is where the right-wing judiciary is way more extreme than the country as a whole.

Although more people still seem to support the death penalty than oppose it, part of the reason why the trend has been moving toward "oppose" is that people have become aware (through the Innocence Project, and other initiatives) of the grave problems with the criminal justice process.

Although I oppose the death penalty on principle, I don't have much actual sympathy for those who commit horrific violent crimes. But we've discovered how difficult it is to prove guilt. There are so many cases where DNA has exonerated defendants that denial of the opportunity to present DNA evidence is senselessly cruel. WTF? Why do Republicans like doing this? Christians? BS.

Oh, and "both sides" don't "do it".

I don't doubt that, wj.
It doesn't make Gorsuch's jurisprudence any more palatable.

Fairly lengthy, and fairly provocative article about France:
https://www.city-journal.org/html/french-coming-apart-15125.html

I'm not sure I entirely buy the arguments, but the description of French society is far from unreal - and there are clear parallels with the US.

I don't actually oppose the death penalty in principle. But in practice it has two unarguable flaws:
First, the evidence is overwhelming that a substantial number of those convicted are, in fact, innocent. Not just wrongly convicted (e.g. there were procedural errors such as those in this case), but flat out innocent -- except, in most cases, guilty of being arrested and charged while black and/or poor. Which also means that the actual guilty party got away with it.
Second, because of all the mandatory appeals and such, instituted in an unsuccessful effort to address the first problem, it costs substantially more to get to the point of finally executing someone (yes, even in Arkansas) than it would to just hold him in prison for life.

Which means that the sooner we manage to get rid of the whole farce, the better.

Get your secession and subdivision right here:

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-next-civil-war/

From Nigel's link:

"Unlike their parents in Cold War France, the excluded have lost faith in efforts to distribute society’s goods more equitably. Political plans still abound to fight the “system,” ranging from the 2017 Socialist presidential candidate Benoît Hamon’s proposals for a guaranteed minimum income to those of his rival, former economics minister Emmanuel Macron, to make labor markets more flexible. But these programs are seen by their intended beneficiaries as further proof of a rigged system. The welfare state is now distrusted by those whom it is meant to help. France’s expenditure on the heavily immigrant banlieues is already vast, on this view; to provide yet more public housing would be to widen the invitation to unwanted immigrants."

and

"Like much in French intellectual life, Guilluy’s newest book is intelligent, original, and rather slapdash."

I'm really disheartened by the credence people have given to the great misery of the "excluded".

Not sure about France, but the "excluded" in our country have multiple times the franchise of the people who they despise (the "coastal elites" I think they call them, although the real picture is more complicated).

I wish I could read these articles and come to some kind of an answer. What's the answer? Free college?

What's the answer? Free college?

I'm sure we all encountered enough frat-boys in college to realize that merely attending college is no guarantee that minds will be opened or learning take place.

My guess is that we need more effective education by about junior high school. By the time they get to high school, it's probably too late to break thru.

Not sure about France, but the "excluded" in our country have multiple times the franchise of the people who they despise (the "coastal elites" I think they call them, although the real picture is more complicated).

I wish I could read these articles and come to some kind of an answer. What's the answer? Free college?

Continuing the rant:

So France does have "European socialism" including child care, health care for all, etc. And still people are pissed because they don't have what other people have. I'm confused. Not sure how reliable this is, but France is No. 21 on the Index of Human Development. (My source is Wikipedia, so sorry about that, but still, c'mon, France? Where moms get in-home visits after giving birth to make sure all is working well?)

I mean, I think people just want to get civil war going.

My guess is that we need more effective education by about junior high school. By the time they get to high school, it's probably too late to break thru.

I'm with you on this, except that people's ideas about "education" are really not on the same page as, say,
me
.

The link I provided was a little off, but it's 7:30 on a Friday.

Some days, it seems like the Republicans in Texas are deliberately trying to satirize themselves. See also their various efforts at crafting districts on the basis of race, or otherwise restricting voting. My favorite is the law requiring that, if a voter required a translator for the ballot, the translator had to live in the voting district. (The courts, no surprise, shot that one down.)

Of course, they have serious competition from North Carolina. I saw recently that, in the last election, the NC Congressional delegation ended up 10-2 Republican . . . even though the Democrats got more total votes statewide. But the kicker was the state legislator who wrote the redistricting law saying (and being recorded saying) that the only reason it came out that way was he couldn't figure out how to make it come out 11-1 with the same votes.

Thanks nigel at 552. Very good article. I ignore much of America cause I think it is important to see that although it plays out in various ways based on local histories, the problems (and virtues) are global and caused by global forces

Upwardly mobile urbanites, observes Guilluy, call Paris “the land of possibilities,” the “ideapolis.” One is reminded of Richard Florida and other extollers of the “Creative Class.” The good fortune of Creative Class members appears (to them) to have nothing to do with any kind of capitalist struggle. Never have conditions been more favorable for deluding a class of fortunate people into thinking that they owe their privilege to being nicer, or smarter, or more honest, than everyone else. Why would they think otherwise? They never meet anyone who disagrees with them. The immigrants with whom the creatives share the city are dazzlingly different, exotic, even frightening, but on the central question of our time—whether the global economic system is working or failing—they see eye to eye. “

It is a matter of the haute bourgeois becoming part of the petty bourgeois (Gates or Soros aren't all that different in values from Clinton or Obama, just have more money), and the subproletarianization of the working class.

No longer is the 1% the problem and the enemy, because the top 10 or 20% will protect them.

"Three years after finishing their studies, three-quarters of French university graduates are living on their own; by contrast, three-quarters of their contemporaries without university degrees still live with their parents. And they’re dying early. In January 2016, the national statistical institute Insée announced that life expectancy had fallen for both sexes in France for the first time since World War II, and it’s the native French working class that is likely driving the decline."

The creative class, for whom "coastal elites" is shorthand, are literally killing the working class, intentional genocide, and importing their replacements as a permanent servant class.

The creative class, for whom "coastal elites" is shorthand, are literally killing the working class, intentional genocide,

"intentional"? I'd be fascinated to know how you reach that conclusion. (I could see a case for "indifference", but intent???)

Give us a remedy mcmanus. Chavez? Haha

Actually, have no interest in mcmanus. cleek's pie filter doesn't work here, right? I guess self-discipline. Oh, I hate that.

The Caldwell piece was interesting. I had the vague second hand sense that Caldwell was an Islamophobes for the educated set, so to speak, and there is a bit of Muslim migrant blaming going on, but where you really see that is in the racists commenting underneath the article. But the article itself is more about the French middle and or working class being left behind and it connects in some ways with what Thomas Frank says about the Democrats becoming the party of the 10 percent.

I have zero ideas on what the French should do about it.

I have zero ideas on what the French should do about it.

Thanks for this. Me too.

As for what we could do about our country, thanks for voting for Clinton. I wish you'd been a salesman for her though.

Actually, have no interest in mcmanus.

That makes me sad. Well, not sad, exactly - maybe disappointed.

I have this annoying (to me) tendancy to agree with almost everyone here to some extent or another on something or other, which makes me at least somewhat interested in what almost everyone has to write, at least some of the time.

I wish we could disagree on more civil terms, even if I'm sometimes less than civil, flawed person that I am.

I feel like there's a little bob mcmanus inside me, shouting from a distance over the din of a party where people are drinking beer and watching football (or playing Black Sabbath, depending).

Why is the Bible not banned in Texas prisons?
As far as I can tell it fits all the criteria.
There is even a story in it about how to smuggle a weapon past body search to murder a public official.

I think the article is interesting in delineating a pretty remarkable social change (and whatever your political analysis, the statistics are hard to deny, however slapdash). I have to admit I was unaware of the extent of the de facto segregation in French public housing.

One thing France and the US do have in common is large rural hinterlands, which have been left behind by economic change. Here's an article talking about a very similar thing, from an entirely different perspective:
https://www.wired.com/2017/04/techs-wealthy-enclaves-hurt-country-tech/

Perhaps things like Village Capital might be a small part of the solution; what seems sure is that neither a Le Pen nor a Melanchon are likely to improve matters.

wj: "intentional"? I'd be fascinated to know how you reach that conclusion.

"Capitalism, [Georg Lukács] insists, has to be based on an overcalculating individual behavior and an irrational whole." Zizek, quoted by Susan Buck-Morss in Dreamworlds and Catastrophes, something of a Marxian interpretation of the fall of Communism in the early 90s.

Marxism might be contrasted as based on irrational individual behavior and a rational purposeful whole. Of course the temptation to anthropomorphize is terrible.

Capitalism as the whirlpool of blind forces beyond control, either towards everyone's benefit (Hayek, Friedman, neoliberalism) or toward certain catastrophe (Marx), inevitable revolution Utopia! Or omnicide. are both products of Romantic liberal capitalism. Very hard to think outside those frames.

I take mostly the Marxian frame.

1) Everybody lies, mostly to themselves.
2) What happens, is intended. Who has power or control, is determined by cui bono, who benefits.
3) Most discourse is about evading responsibility and looking benevolent while exercising or trying to, power.

So the Moab is dropped on terrorists, and there is no intention to kill innocents next door, That is collateral damage, accident.

So Ryancare is intended to create choice and freedom, not hurt people.

So saving the banks at the expense of mortgagees was about saving capitalism, the victims were unintended. The intentions were good.

That my intentions were toward equality and justice, and it just coincidence and happenstance that the insane vortical system (or fortuity, fate, destiny...or even the blind justice of the market) handed me 500k for a one hour speech or 60 million dollars for two books just ain't my fault. Trying to change it you know, as soon as my vacation ends.

If you accept the system, or the benefits of the system, you are accepting the system's reason and reasons.

Perhaps things like Village Capital might be a small part of the solution; what seems sure is that neither a Le Pen nor a Melanchon are likely to improve matters.

I think it's good that there's an attempt being made. Attracting talent to places where racism, climate denial, book banning, etc., is the norm might be a difficult sell. And there's still a problem of urban/rural, because even though people can, in some jobs, work remotely, it's not clear that people's resentment level will change.

For example, mcmanus says "Trying to change it you know, as soon as my vacation ends." This kind of resentment is not going away no matter how comfortable people are.

The creative class, for whom "coastal elites" is shorthand, are literally killing the working class, intentional genocide,

"literally", "intentional"

don't ever give me any more bullshit about not using words correctly.

cleek's pie filter doesn't work here, right?

oh, it works fine.

http://ok-cleek.com/blogs/?page_id=25541

Thank you, cleek!

Yeah, the literal intentional part was overstated but I think bob's 5:21 post is plausible.

Along the same lines--

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/04/america-regressing-developing-nation-people.html

Fortunately I don't need a bloody Christopher Caldwell, yikes, or the emerging neo-nouvelle droite, yikes, or the City Journal, yikes, to know that there are problems in France and elsewhere.

And yes these problems are mainly caused by neoliberalism - there, I said it and I know what I mean by that, try me - third way didn't work, sorry, and we can't just tell people to shut up and get with the program, we need new answers, but you won't find them in the resurgent populism and nationalism that uses bad sociology and cynical propaganda to pit 'the people' against 'the elites'.

A pox on both your houses.

I have this annoying (to me) tendancy to agree with almost everyone here to some extent or another on something or other, which makes me at least somewhat interested in what almost everyone has to write, at least some of the time.

And I agree with this.

I find bob mcmanus's hypersensitivity and accusations of ill will difficult to take, and wondered for a while why lj was so tolerant of him and even keen to keep this a reasonably hospitable place for him (to the extent that this was even possible), but then he goes and posts something like his last, at 05.21, and I begin to see why. OK, "literally" and "intentionally" might be extremely dodgy usage, and the Obama-resentment is very disproportionate, but on the other hand the whole piece is interesting and above all, well-explained. In a nutshell, it helped me understand world-views that I have been struggling to understand for ages, having (as I have said before) no background in economic or political philosophy, and no great aptitude for it. So: no pie filter for me.

but then he goes and posts something like his last, at 05.21, and I begin to see why. OK, "literally" and "intentionally" might be extremely dodgy usage, and the Obama-resentment is very disproportionate, but on the other hand the whole piece is interesting and above all, well-explained.

In what way is that particular comment helpful to understanding where to go, or what to do about anything?

we need new answers

Perhaps we do, or maybe we have them, but nobody votes for the candidates who provide them. Hillary Clinton was not a "third way" candidate. Her platform was thoroughly progressive. But then, so is European socialism, but that's apparently not good enough. So people who doubt the answers that exist need to start providing new ones instead of casting spells.

By the way, the pie filter allows one to peek at comments if one chooses. It's very convenient.

I have been filtered, but I have never filtered anyone here. There was a person I considered filtering but realized banning was inevitable so I didn't bother.

I do intentionally skip some people on certain topics. Otherwise, I literally agree on some things with everyone here.

we need new answers, but you won't find them in the resurgent populism and nationalism that uses bad sociology and cynical propaganda to pit 'the people' against 'the elites'.

hear, hear.

In what way is that particular comment helpful to understanding where to go, or what to do about anything?

It isn't helpful in understanding those things, it's helpful to understand a world-view that otherwise seemed semi-incomprehensible. I do not assume people with whom I disagree to be evil, or to have evil intentions, so if they are obviously intelligent and hold what seem like intolerant, extreme views, I like to understand why, even if I do not agree with them.

FWIW, I second cleek's "hear, hear".

Why are "new answers" better, when it comes to old questions? And why don't we use terms like "neopopulism" or "neonationalism" as terms of opprobrium?

I'm not offended to be called a "neoliberal", even by people who know what they mean by the term. Maybe it's because I still don't get it.

What I'd like to know is what "neo-something" label bob mcmanus, or novakant, or maybe even bobbyp would accept for themselves.

--TP

What happens, is intended.

this explains something i've been puzzling over. why does everything have to be a conspiracy?

actual science can't even precisely describe the motions of three ideal objects interacting with only simple gravity in empty space. systems not much more complicated are prone to settling into literally unpredictable, chaotic, behavior. and humans are significantly more complex than spheres of uniform density; our interactions are far beyond simple gravity (which we also can't explain).

but "What happens, is intended"!

it's so simple!

except that it apparently only applies to people. certain people, and certain actions. i know i didn't intend to knock over that glass of water earlier today. (OR DID I!?!?!?)

but, the conspiracy part...

"What happens, is intended" requires the observer to invent stories to explain everything. it requires you to invent causes, intentions, cast actors, design backdrops, etc.. shit never happens in that world (can't!). there are only all-powerful actors fulfilling their intentions while powerless audiences watch. everything that happens happens because somebody somewhere willed it to happen. i'm sure it's only a coincidence that i'm thinking of Mt Olympus.

thanks for clearing that up.

cleek, I took "What happens, is intended" combined with "cui bono" to mean that if what is happening does not benefit the rich/powerful, they will find ways to change it, i.e. "what continues to happen, is intended". This seems to me a reasonable argument, when applied to economic issues.

I'm not offended to be called a "neoliberal", even by people who know what they mean by the term. Maybe it's because I still don't get it.

Still don't get what? I'd be surpirsed to hear someone call you a neoliberal, Tony P., at least by someone who knew what the word meant.

I think the "neo" serves a function in both neoliberal and neoconservative, in that they describe what are largely the same political philosophies as traditional liberalism and conservatism, respectively, but with significant exceptions (each borrowed from the other traditional version - be it embrace of free markets by the neoliberals or interventionism and nation-building to spread democracy by neoconservatives).

Whether or not either term is a pejorative is up to the user. (Hell, some people think it's okay to be a Nazi and don't consider it an insult.)

The next way, to exist for some short period of human history, I would define as formalization of the oligarchs. No one cares how rich they are, or how much freedom they take away, as long as I have more than enough.

The concept of more than enough is embedded in the psyche of the US millenials, property ownership is less important, work for social value is an accepted decision, I could go on. But this ultimately demands government to provide for a much larger safety net, if not a minimum standard of living.

This is not a new concept, the rich folks on the mountain or in the clouds providing for the masses is a pretty common world creation theme. The implementation requires acceptance that will be easier if proposed by nationalists, we take care of our own.

Upward mobility fades out of the lexicon, at least above the local administrators. So does the concept of wealth.

That's as much as I can detail it on the phone, but for many the acceleration of wealth inequity to hasten the new world order would be something devoutly hoped for, literally.

Even "what continues to happen is intended" is probably an overstatement.

For example, sometimes it's unintended consequences of something that is desired. But folks can't figure out how to get the desired results without it. And, on balance, they think that the desired result is worth the price.

Other times, they just don't recognize that the undesirable result is related to something that they want. (Sometimes because they desperately don't want it to be. See all those Trump supporters who depend on the ACA for medical care, but can't stand the idea that what they want, need and use might actually be Obamacare.)

Or, maybe, many of those who depend on the ACA are best equipped to understand it's shortcomings, so they understand the undesirable results better than those who only have a philosophical relationship with it.

Well my experience using it definitely showed some places it could be improved. But I could also see the big improvement over what existed before.

Which made me pretty unsympathetic to anyone arguing for "repeal and replace" without an actual, detailed, and specific Replace plan in evidence.

Which made me pretty unsympathetic to anyone arguing for "repeal and replace" without an actual, detailed, and specific Replace plan in evidence.

This. The reasoning carries over to a lot of other social issues that people are resentful about. They have no plan forward and, in fact, little idea of the world they really want. No amount of money cures resentment. Donald Trump is an example of that.

I will admit that I'm OK with someone who is unhappy with how things are, and is vocal about saying so, but hasn't yet got a solution. That's the first step in getting to a solution, after all.

I just have a problem with bomb-throwers, who never even try for an alternative solution. They just want to smash things -- sometimes assuming that magic will provide an alternative after, sometimes not even that much. (Guess I saw too much of that in Berkeley in the late 60s.)

wj,

Other than a very small number of pretty radical R congressman, there are not a lot of people talking about repeal without replace. If there is a frustrating thing for me it is the circular argument that there hasn't been a "good" alternative completely defined yet so somehow that makes the ACA good. I hear that a lot more than I hear repeal only talk.

Good is in quotes because it is in the eye of the partisan for the most part. If you think states are better at stuff then block grants are something you support, if you think there are huge savings by running it in the federal government not so much. But, at least those are actual policy differences, although they have become the fuel for personal disparagements.

If there is a frustrating thing for me it is the circular argument that there hasn't been a "good" alternative completely defined yet so somehow that makes the ACA good.

the assumption there is that the ACA, as a whole, is better than what it replaced. so, a repeal with nothing to replace is a step in the wrong direction.

it probably is frustrating, if you disagree with that assumption. but, that's where people are coming from. they're wondering why you want to make everybody worse off (literally everybody, since the ACA's pre-existing condition stuff, improvements to record keeping, etc. help everyone).

Oh they're talking about replace. It's just that, after talking about "replace" for over 7 years (and voting for the repeal part 50 times) they still don't have anything viable to replace the ACA.

I'm fine with an alternative that works better. I don't have a problem with one existing. I just see no sign that they have created one. Or, frankly, even thought seriously about the topic.

Has humanity, in any country, at any time in history, managed to come up with a perfect way to handle health care?

If not, then there are criticisms that you can make about ALL of them, yet the existence of criticisms does not mean that some are better than others. It would help if there was an agreed-upon metric for "better", but there doesn't seem to be.

there are only all-powerful actors fulfilling their intentions while powerless audiences watch.

Nope. Y'all still haven't got it, this is the opposite of what I mean. Though sometimes, ok. Too much individualism.
I'm crazier than that. There are no individuals.

Susan Buck-Morss on the East Bloc restructuring, circa 1991, book cited above. Just cause it's what I'm reading, and cause I like to quote.

If there ever was a series of historical events in which, beneath the surface of political struggle, the issues were
fundamentally economic, it was those surrounding the demise of "really existing socialism." Ironically, the socialist
ideology of economic determinism
was discredited just at the point when it could have had compelling explanatory power, whereas, on the level of politics alone, these events must forever appear mysteriously fortuitous.
my bold

How does the socialist revolution happen, according to Marxist (or my bad Marxism, out of Georg Lukacs and his heirs, who are out of Hegel) ideology?

It happens when the worker abandons her individualism (which is a false consciousness anyway) and submits (awakens, enables, recognizes) to the collective unconscious. "Unconscious" because the proletariat becoming aware of itself as a class hasn't happened yet.

Intelligence, responsibility, identity, race, gender, power are socially constructed fields rather than aggregated points. They are collective and social, already.

Ethically, I am absolutely responsible for everything around me but individually powerless to change it. My fault my neighbour is hungry but the meal she gets comes from society, and the generosity and kindness are not mine, not my possessions or accomplishments. Society gave me those as it did the food.

Perfect democracy is already here. Individualism keeps us from seeing and doing it.

What happens, is intended. Who intends? We do. Why do some benefit and some suffer? Because we let it happen, because we want it.

What would Obama say about his 60 million? Grace of god, luck, he's blessed? His collective unconscious that he accepts is the capitalist marketplace. Is that his fault? Or our fault for accepting such a system?

I liked marty's comment at 11:32. It is not far from my own prediction. I do go on, huh.
So leave that for later. I have only weak thoughts, not answers or solutions.

"2) What happens, is intended. Who has power or control, is determined by cui bono, who benefits."

Well perhaps this should have been what has power or control"

Liberal capitalism in most cases. But only because workers cede their power to capital and capitalism.

This is from the Italian autonomists. (Look at that word). "Workers make capitalism" is necessary so workers can unmake it.

Also for fun, women make the patriarchy, and sustain it by seeing it outside themselves. By seeing that women make Patriarchy, then women, by and for themselves as women, can then unmake the Patriarchy. They need men's help as little as workers should beg capitalists for socialism.

I can definitely see the influence of Marxism and Hegel in what you say. Just from the mental contortions required for anyone who wants to believe this stuff.

Fortunately, reality seems a little less maximally obscure. Even the parts that I don't understand.

It happens when the worker abandons her individualism...

seems unlikely.

bob,

How do you delineate the proletariat? Is it the class of people who live on wages, no matter how high? Does the guy down the street who fixes my car in the garage/gas-station that he owns and operates with 2-3 employees count as a prole? How about my brother-in-law the tenured professor?

I'm all for giving the proletariat a wake-up call; I'm just not sure what its number is.

--TP

Or, conversely, when are you necessarily corrupt, by virtue of having too much? (Serious question - not snark, and not that I think we're going to land on a definitive answer. Just something to explore).

if a poor person wins the lottery, how long until he is unworthy of sympathy?

can we pinpoint the precise moment his class changes? if not, maybe it's time to rethink the whole thing.

can we pinpoint the precise moment his class changes? if not, maybe it's time to rethink the whole thing.

A lot easier to treat everyone as individuals regardless of their stations in life.

Other than a very small number of pretty radical R congressman, there are not a lot of people talking about repeal without replace.

Unfortunately, a small number of pretty radical R congresspeople is sufficient to bugger it up for everyone.

I'm more than sure that the ACA has been a less-than-great deal for some people. It's also been, literally, a life-saver for lots of others.

If any of the "small number of pretty radical R congresspeople" represent your district, vote them the hell out so we can make some progress.

I'm getting tired of kicking in $50 to somebody's health-related kickstarter every week or so. I guess it's better than people dying, I'm happy to help people out, and it's a creative use of social technology, but WTF, people.

Let's quit making our neighbors beg for their freaking health care.

On the whole neoliberal whatever-you-want-call-it front, for about 50 years in the middle of the 20th C things were progressively (not capital-P progressively, just the normal usage of that word) better for "regular folks", however you want to define that. Not so much for black regular folks, not so much for women regular folks, not so much for regular folks who colored outside the lines in any kind of sociological way. But for garden variety traditional nuclear family white and white-ish folks, it was pretty damned good.

It wasn't evenly distributed, but a hell of a lot of people were able to live their lives without profound financial distress and worry.

We know what made that happen, and for the last 35 or so years we've been ripping it down.

We need to stop doing that, and instead extend it to the folks who were left out the first time around.

That's basically the (D) project, which is why I generally vote for (D)'s.

There are all kinds of structural and historical and economic and whatever-else reasons for why we've been ripping it down for a generation and a half, but we aren't the freaking toys of history. It's fundamentally our choice to either let it all get torn down, or not.

I believe we are currently on our way to totally f'ing it up, which is going to harm a hell of a lot of people in really profound ways. There will be about a million reasons trotted out to justify shredding it all, but IMVHO they basically come down to:

A small number of people who have a shitload of money aren't satisfied with that, and now they want yours, too.

I'm not interested in shooting them or putting them in stocks and pillories. I just want the public institutions of this country to quit handing everything to them on a fucking plate.

We don't need a massively increased social safety net. We need to pay people who work for a living enough money to live on.

And yeah, I know, robots. Whatever. There is still going to be stuff to do. When people do it, pay them. When I say "pay them" I don't mean give them a nice little raise, I mean give them standing and compensation equal to their position as an essential factor of production.

The people who *do the thing that creates the value that creates the wealth* should get as much of the wealth as the people whose contribution is their surplus capital. If not more. They should get as much of the wealth as the self-proclaimed brainiac "entrepreneurs" who, on a really good day, have a pretty good idea, but who need the freaking army of people who know how to make things f'ing work at a hands-on level to turn it into any kind of viable, value-producing reality.

Everybody plays their part. Not everybody gets their slice. We need to cut that out.

Quit fucking over people who wake up every day, drag their @sses out of bed, and work for a living. The people who do the things that make the money flow in the first place. Do that, and see where things stand. I suspect things will look quite a bit brighter.

WRS

I don't get the "burn it down" agenda, not on the right or the left. Progress takes work, experience, trial and error, adjustment, and persistence. But we know generally what to do.

Despite our recent kerfluffle, I really do value Bob's take on things. Again, while not meaning to dismiss what he is saying by reducing his take to a one-liner but just to strip it of context so as to see the idea as it is, Bob is the person who is saying 'a chicken is an egg's way of making another egg'

The problem is when the context gets added. I'm trying to imagine how Jes would take the line 'Women make the Patriarchy'.

To understand the sustaining power of systems is important, but it gets folks angry. Donald writes about Yemen and I want to write about the history of US-Saudi relations and how institutional relationships drive these things and the Donald in my head says 'I do not give a shit, just make it stop'.

Being here in Japan, which seems to be the ground zero of false consciousness, often has me wondering about this. I would like to be true to myself, I would like to be the same with everyone I meet. I realize that I am not, and I can have radical changes depending on which group I am with. All this works when groups are relatively well defined and people don't freak out if they find out you have a second, third fourth or fifth life. It helps that as a country, you had a huge bubble where you were rich and it was easy to practice omotenashi. But when you peer at it closely, that 'selfless hospitality' is really a way to get the guest on the hook and become totally pliable. So what Bob says about liberal capitalism sustaining itself makes total sense. But I go back to the states and experience surly service or watch people get dragged out of airliners and I think I like the alternative. Liberal capitalism, the patriarchy, military institutions, less so, but I look at those and don't see how you make it so.

Anyway, it's worth thinking about, even if you don't agree with it.

I like thought experiments as much as anyone, but when people are encouraging political action, I think they owe it to others to state their objectives, and how their rhetoric plays out in real life.

Sapient, it's not Bob's rhetoric, it's his analysis of the situation. How did we get to a point where right of center movements are sweeping the world? Not only US and UK, but France, Germany, the Netherlands, Greece, Sweden and Austria? Was it inevitable? If not, what sort of things were not done that should have been? I might not say it was inevitable, but Bob's take suggests (imo) that the seeds of this were planted in the structure of liberal capitalism. I'm not sure if I agree, but I'm not sure if I disagree.

the seeds of this were planted in the structure of liberal capitalism

Hmmm. Human history is replete with examples of oligarchy, xenophobia, wealth inequality, tribalism, nationalism (beginning with nations, of course), religious intolerance, war, and all the other ingredients in the recipe making up what we're experiencing now. In fact, Enlightenment philosophers invented western democracy in an attempt to address these problems. (I am not using democracy and capitalism interchangeably here, but I think that Bob sees individual rights and western democratic institutions as a problematic liberalism.)

I would suggest that the phenomenon we're seeing is the failure to value liberalism. Perhaps the boredom among some people (not a majority, let's remember) with liberal values comes from their own privilege and entitlement - resentment by those who have some degree of wealth and status, but don't have enough to be satisfied. I don't see that as a flaw in liberal values as much as a flaw in the human character.

Certainly there have been failures. The poorly regulated financial system, and its collapse in 2008 is one factor that affected all of the countries you mentioned. The structure of the financial system was not inevitable. Government's relationship with capitalism, to curb its excesses, is an essential component of maintaining liberalism. The rejection of the role of government, especially beginning in the Reagan era when it gained such strong popularity, is (I would argue) one of the main causal antecedents of this fascist movement. It represents a rejection of the tempering effect of democratic government on inequality. For some reason, the institution that best protects "the people" became unpopular. I attribute that to propaganda, using racism as its tool.

Democracy is difficult and tedious. Everyone knew it would be from the beginning. But the desire for abundance, comfort and beauty is universal. Basic human needs have been met by liberal democracy and regulated capitalism, and wealth for a large number of people (with excessive wealth for a few). We can do better about spreading the wealth, but what the system has achieved is unprecedented on such a large scale. The institutions aren't self-sustaining. Their biggest flaw is that they need to be nurtured.

This article, about the effect of men losing their status as breadwinner, presents an interesting theory as to why what's happening is happening:

"Economic anxiety is about status. And to a great extent, economic anxiety is about gender because economic status is a big part of men's gender, and the way they understand themselves. The Great Recession put a lot of men on notice."

Whatever cultural peculiarities might explain political events, I think they're way more complicated than "killing the rich" would solve.

How did we get to a point where right of center movements are sweeping the world?

seems obvious to me that most of the west's current xenophobic nationalist turn is a reaction to radical Islamic terrorism. much of Europe and the US have suffered a long string of attacks. and that has inflamed those on the right who love a good Clash Of Civilizations. and the exodus out of Syria into Europe has fueled anti-immigration and anti-Muslim sentiment.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/04/18/the-insane-french-elections-that-could-f-ck-us-all.html?via=desktop&source=twitter

(I am not using democracy and capitalism interchangeably here, but I think that Bob sees individual rights and western democratic institutions as a problematic liberalism.)

I think you may be taking "liberal capitalism" to mean something far more closely related to liberalism (at least in the American sense) than is intended, sapient. I think it's meant to be more or less synonymous with laissez faire economics (liberal in the sense that markets are simply left to do as they will).

What I'd like to know is what "neo-something" label bob mcmanus, or novakant, or maybe even bobbyp would accept for themselves.

Well, I gave that some thought, and the term "neo-anarcho-syndicalist" didn't really make much sense.

Feel free to call me Corporal Neo.

Insofar as your marvelous commentary on this blog reflects a studied support for a muscular federal government as embodied by the New Deal, the term neo-liberal does not fit you at all.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/08/sea-level-rise-could-last-twice-as-long-as-human-history

I think it's meant to be more or less synonymous with laissez faire economics (liberal in the sense that markets are simply left to do as they will).

Not sure that mcmanus makes the distinction. At least I'm not seeing it.

The neo-shithead in the White House is silent about this one:

http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/4/21/1655006/-Leaders-of-the-Capitalist-community-must-condemn-the-Dortmund-terrorist-attack

I think it's meant to be more or less synonymous with laissez faire economics (liberal in the sense that markets are simply left to do as they will)..

Also, and apologies for the afterthought, but it's my understanding that "neo-liberalism," before it was applied to just about anything that "lefties" don't like, did mean laissez-faire, but that the tradition of "liberalism" in economics is a foundation of capitalism, based on an assumption of "the market" as a basic principle (which is, itself, based on consumerism, rather than planned economy). Liberalism wasn't rejected by New Deal economists, such as Keynes, but was adjusted to include an important mitigating role by the state.

People can feel free to correct me if that's mistaken.

Since Goldman Sachs is in charge of economic policy, color me skeptical that economic anxiety was a particularly strong motivator for Trump voters, e.g.:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/nearing-100-days-trumps-approval-at-record-lows-but-his-base-is-holding/2017/04/22/a513a466-26b4-11e7-b503-9d616bd5a305_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_poll-1202am%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.9d456b148efc

Whatever cultural peculiarities might explain political events, I think they're way more complicated than "killing the rich" would solve.

Perhaps. But then again, perhaps not.

A relevant exchange, perhaps:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2017/05/11/southern-despair/

The neo-comedians:

http://www.newyorker.com/cartoons/a20922

The world goes out with a rueful chuckle.

Also, and apologies for the afterthought, but it's my understanding that "neo-liberalism," before it was applied to just about anything that "lefties" don't like, did mean laissez-faire...

The term in question was "liberal capitalism." My understanding is that neoliberalism is liberalism modified to include a strong embrace of laissez-faire economics, not just laissez-faire, itself.

Neoliberalism has meant finance friendly corporate friendly ( and liberal hawkish foreign policy) Third Way Tom Friedmanesque policies for decades as I keep saying. At least within the US. Overseas it might mean something else. I have been reading this term used in that way since the 90's. The globalization debates of the 90's were a part of it, where all the Serious People including Krugman mocked skeptics of free trade pacts. Another term used back then that was synonymous at least with the trade deals was " The Washington Consensus". The almost universal mocking of those union guys and dirty hippies took a bit of a setback when Joseph Stiglitz wrote an article and then a book saying the dirty hippies were partly right. Krugman later admitted that he hadn't been right in all of his sneering condescension. Remember the DLC? The Democrats have never been a unified political party-- there were and are ideological disagreements within it. People know this, but all they talk about how neoliberalism is just some vague meaningless term sprung up as a reaction to the split among Democrats during the primaries. To be blunt, it's a way of arguing it is just those Berniebros making stuff up, but it's false. The more intelligent way of proceeding was taken by the LGM bloggers who in their attempts to unify everyone beneath the Democratic banner argued that the left wing had won and had pulled the Democratic Party to the left. Whether one entirely believes this is another story.

Here is William Greider about the globalization debate.

https://www.thenation.com/article/why-was-paul-krugman-so-wrong/

And Dean Baker--

http://bostonreview.net/forum/dean-baker-globalization-blame

He doesn't use the term neoliberalism in this article, but I think most Americanswho use the term would say tat is what he is talking about.

"Overseas it might mean something else."

Neoliberalism

The definition and usage of the term have changed over time.[4] It was originally an economic philosophy that emerged among European liberal scholars in the 1930s in an attempt to trace a so-called "third" or "middle" way between the conflicting philosophies of classical liberalism and socialist planning.[20]:14–5 The impetus for this development arose from a desire to avoid repeating the economic failures of the early 1930s, which were mostly blamed by neoliberals on the economic policy of classical liberalism. In the decades that followed, the use of the term neoliberal tended to refer to theories at variance with the more laissez-faire doctrine of classical liberalism, and promoted instead a market economy under the guidance and rules of a strong state, a model which came to be known as the social market economy.

Mostly the Pelerins, Hayek and Friedman lost. But there is still a fight between left neoliberals and right neoliberals. There are very few laissez-faire advocates left. Only nuts want to eliminate central banking, and Trump wants to finance public-private partnerships for infrastructure. To a large degree, the left sees current right neoliberalism as using a strong activist state to help corporate accumulation, private enterprise at the expense of workers. See Ordoliberalism. Also fascism. For advanced students, check out the link to "Neoliberal International Relations.

I and many others since Becker/Chicago/School/Foucault do extend past economics liberalism/neoliberalism to political economy and civil society, even individual rights and find it hard to see otherwise. The right to not house troops in your home feels like a property right and a right to privacy, not incredibly abstractly different than the right to make beer or fuck upside down. A historical and neoliberal vs liberal difference is the level at which the Federal Gov't interferes to ensure the rights, used to left to states and localities. Still is, all is in dispute. The process of defining liberal-neoliberal is a political process.

Example of a (neo)liberal principle:The gov't should use reasonable efforts to ensure competition and a level playing field.

Economics: antitrust, patents, subsidies and tax credits to small business

Politics Civil Society: Affirmative Action, Title 9, anti-discrimination laws, Pell Grants

It doesn't feel to be an unjustified leap to connect these two, since they are correlated and connected in so many other ways, historically, geographically, ideologically. I, not alone, see the principled (rather than corrupt) move to use gov't to help individuals and particular corporations (or sectors, categories) as one of the defining neoliberal moves.

Yes, there is a reactionary right wing who goes so far as to attack the principles. But capital needs and wants to use a strong state, so they have little success.

Again, I see card-check, minimum wage, fair labor act, and pro-union laws...AND...Right to Work Laws as all neoliberal, using opposing principles of Right to Free Association and Right to Contract which are pretty much accepted by everybody. The difference is in who has control of gov't and the discourse of rights and principles. Neoliberalism has eaten everything.

I oppose neoliberalism from outside, social democracy, democratic socialism, Marxism and therefore have to attack the principles as principles, not opportunistically use them to benefit my interest groups.

The rejection of the role of government, especially beginning in the Reagan era when it gained such strong popularity, is (I would argue) one of the main causal antecedents of this fascist movement. It represents a rejection of the tempering effect of democratic government on inequality.

I basically agree with this. I cast a somewhat wider net, I see it as a rejection of the tempering effect of democratic government on the economy in general.

"Free people" has been re-defined to mean "free markets", and the "free" in "free markets" has been re-defined to mean "unregulated".

We've lost the ability to recognize public interests other than an utter lack of restriction on making as much freaking money as you possibly can.

Donald, without sneering or calling anyone a dirty hippie, Peter Schott is an economist who argues for more active involvement of government in the distribution of trade benefits.

Thanks, Count-me-in, for the Wendell Berry-Nathaniel Rich correspondence link. I went back to read the original article by Rich, and I have to agree with Rich that Berry is a bit too thin-skinned, and like others lately, doesn't address the effect of the political choices made by rural people themselves.

Neoliberalism has eaten everything.

Bob,

Love your stuff, even when I have no clue what you are going on about, but the above is like claiming "The Enlightenment has eaten everything."

Which it may well have, but it could be too soon to tell.

:)

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