The neoliberal “Wall Street-suburban coalition” may need a new front-man if Biden falters. Andrew Cuomo is a Clintonesque douchebag (e.g. class warfare against the poor, obstructing criminal justice reform) who just happened to be the governor of a state that just happened to get hit hard by COVID-19. Cuomo is actually to the right of DiBlasio (who himself is a faux leftist neoliberal stooge). And DiBlasio actually sided with Amazon during Bezos’ conflict with Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez (who has also become a neoliberal stooge).
The Republican Party ultimately stands for only three things: advancing the class interests of the right-wing of the plutocracy (the old-bourgeoisie and the Sunbelt industries), advancing the war-profiteering of the military-industrial complex, and advancing the expansionist objectives of Israel. Guys like Ben Shapiro and Mark Levin are merely mouthpieces for the Republican elites, who put on the veneer of a faux conservative/libertarian hybrid (a scam known as “fusionism” that was cultivated by the National Review crowd in the 1960s and was essentially the strategic/propaganda line of the GOP from the Reagan era until Trump). Trumpism combined with the shrinking size of the Republican constituency and the economic decline of the WASP working class has pushed some Republicans toward faux populism, much to the frustration of these unreconstructed fusionists like Shapiro.
Mark Levin is actually partially correct in that the US is now an English-speaking version of a Latin American banana republic.
Tim Patton offers some thoughtful insights in the comments section (see here) with my response reposted below:
I agree with just about everything you said. The “stimulus” is functioning pretty much the way the welfare state generally functions with loads of corporate welfare, a little something for those in the middle, and peanuts for those on the bottom.
Although a disagreement I have with orthodox libertarians is similar to a disagreement I have with Marxists. I consider the state to be more than just the political government proper (elected officials, appointed bureaucrats, state security forces, etc) and I consider the ruling class (Marx) or power elite (C. Wright Mills) to be more than just those who control the means of production. Elite theory, as well as studies of power dynamics generally, offer a more complete picture I think.
Where orthodox libertarians and I would probably disagree on the present crisis is that while I agree that the “stimulus” is really just a ruling class looting spree, it’s also true that at present we have a state-imposed medical martial law which has generated a government-induced depression. I don’t think the pandemic is the government’s fault and, state or no state, quarantines may be necessary during pandemics, even in a world of nothing but Fourierist utopian colonies or Rothbardian private communities. But the bottom line is that the state still created and maintained the systemic framework of state-capitalism (or inherited it from past regimes) and the crisis has escalated the suffering caused by the system.
Therefore, class-based reparations are legitimate and warranted. Not just forty acres and a mule, but the whole damn plantation.
Saager refers to the Democrats as a “suburban -Wall Street” coalition. Yes.
In this interview from 2010, uber-imperialist, warmongering, neocon Victor Davis Hanson admits that the USA is a plutocracy, which he thinks is a good thing because it means we lack the aristocratic traditions of Europe. Now THAT is a true bourgeois apologist! An unapologetic defender of capitalist class rule and liberal imperialism, in opposition to the traditional Western elites, but against the Left. Very 19th century. Refreshing, actually, as opposed to the usual “right-wing conservative” American dumbasses who claim the ruling class doesn’t exist.
I don’t know if what Jimmie is saying in this is entirely accurate or not, but if true it confirms what I have been saying, i.e. that the Republicans are very slowly and tepidly moving to the left of the neoliberals on economics due to their strategically necessary faux populism and Trumpian opportunism, with the progressives/social democrats largely serving no purpose other than to suck off the neoliberals.
It’s interesting how the ruling class already largely practices anarchism (in the sense of being exempt from laws) and socialism (in the sense of having their individual and collective needs met through socializing the costs). Who says socialist-anarchism can’t work? 🙂
By Troy Southgate
Some of us have been pointing out for a good many years that trying to juxtapose capitalism with socialism creates a false dichotomy and yet the Far Right continues to use the term ‘socialism’ as though it were some kind of threat. It’s a threat all right, but only in the sense that it reinforces the centre and enables the usual coterie of professional crooks to keep their grubby paws on the economy. In short, despite noble efforts by anarcho-socialists like Oscar Wilde to redeem it the term ‘socialism’ has become synonymous with state captalism. This, of course, is why left-wing parties in government never make any serious attempt to implement social justice and merely provide an alternative face to that of existing financial servitude. Thanks to the arch-capitalists at the Financial Times, who have just called for a system of universal ‘socialism’ to help deal with the present situation, this fact has been made crystal clear: “If there is a silver lining to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is that it has injected a sense of togetherness into polarised societies. But the virus, and the economic lockdowns needed to combat it, also shine a glaring light on existing inequalities — and even create new ones. Beyond defeating the disease, the great test all countries will soon face is whether current feelings of common purpose will shape society after the crisis. As western leaders learnt in the Great Depression, and after the second world war, to demand collective sacrifice you must offer a social contract that benefits everyone.”
An example of how the conventional Libertarian ideological framework (the Mises-Hayek-Friedman-Rand-Rothbard axis) fails, just as the statism of “progressives” fails, whatever the value of Libertarian and/or Socialist analysis on many levels. Modern universities (particularly the most elite ones like Harvard) are just as much a part of the ruling class as the medieval church was part of the ruling class. Oren Cass is absolutely right in his analysis that the economic shutdown is a government-caused crisis (albeit one generated by natural causes beyond anyone’s control). Tyler Cowen is like a medieval cleric claiming the church, aristocracy, and monarchy should just forget about trying to help the peasants during an outbreak of the plague.
Back to the future.
I agree with some of this and disagree with other parts. Yes, capitalism as it was practiced in 19th and early 20th century finally collapsed as Marx predicted it would, with the managerial revolution subsequently implementing a new form of capitalism. The impact of the managerial revolution’s economic policies may have prolonged the depression, at least in certain sectors, but its purpose wasn’t to end the depression but to A) bail out the ruling class (like 2008 and 2020) and B) save the ass of the ruling class from revolutions like Italy, Germany, and Russia had experienced by pacifying labor, farmer, and other popular movements that developed during the Great Depression, in which communists and fascists were making inroads. Ultimately, elitist-reformers won out over revolutionary-extremists for the sake of ruling class self-preservation. Lawrence Dennis recognized all of this even before James Burnham developed his “managerial revolution” thesis.
Amity Shlaes challenges the received wisdom that the Great Depression occurred because capitalism broke and that it ended because FDR, and government in general, came to the rescue. According to Shlaes, it was the government that made the Great Depression worse. And was FDRs progressivism, as evident in the New Deal, really all that new, or was it a step along a progressive continuum that already had been established?
A couple of quotes from the godfather of modern anarchism, Pierre Joseph Proudhon, on why populism, while sometimes necessary, is never enough.
“…because of this ignorance of the primitiveness of their instincts, of the urgency of their needs, of the impatience of their desires, the people show a preference toward summary forms of authority. The thing they are looking for is not legal guarantees, of which they do not have any idea and whose power they do not understand, they do not care for intricate mechanisms or for checks and balances for which, on their own account, they have no use, it is a boss in whose word they confide, a leader whose intentions are known to the people and who devotes himself to its interests, that they are seeking. This chief they provided with limitless authority and irresistible power. Inclined toward suspicion and calumny, but incapable of methodical discussion, they believe in nothing definite save the human will.”
“Left to themselves or led by their tribunes the masses never established anything. They have their face turned backwards; no tradition is formed among them; no orderly spirit, no idea which acquires the force of law. Of politics they understand nothing except the element of intrigue; of the art of governing, nothing except prodigality and force; of justice nothing but mere indictment; of liberty, nothing but the ability to set up idols which are smashed the next morning. The advent of democracy starts an era of retrogression which will ensure the death of the nation…”
How convenient for the power elite that everyone is under a shelter-in-place order.
It’s been great to see some leftist commentators like Kyle, Jimmie Dore, and Krystal Ball (finally) call out the failures of “left-wing” politicians.
This is a good commentary. Kyle strikes me as one of the “good guy social democrats,” a bit milquetoast at times, overly prone to statolatry, but pure in motive.
By Douglas Rushkoff
Last year, I got invited to a super-deluxe private resort to deliver a keynote speech to what I assumed would be a hundred or so investment bankers. It was by far the largest fee I had ever been offered for a talk — about half my annual professor’s salary — all to deliver some insight on the subject of “the future of technology.”
I’ve never liked talking about the future. The Q&A sessions always end up more like parlor games, where I’m asked to opine on the latest technology buzzwords as if they were ticker symbols for potential investments: blockchain, 3D printing, CRISPR. The audiences are rarely interested in learning about these technologies or their potential impacts beyond the binary choice of whether or not to invest in them. But money talks, so I took the gig.
After I arrived, I was ushered into what I thought was the green room. But instead of being wired with a microphone or taken to a stage, I just sat there at a plain round table as my audience was brought to me: five super-wealthy guys — yes, all men — from the upper echelon of the hedge fund world. After a bit of small talk, I realized they had no interest in the information I
I had prepared about the future of technology. They had come with questions of their own.
They started out innocuously enough. Ethereum or bitcoin? Is quantum computing a real thing? Slowly but surely, however, they edged into their real topics of concern.
Which region will be less impacted by the coming climate crisis: New Zealand or Alaska? Is Google really building Ray Kurzweil a home for his brain, and will his consciousness live through the transition, or will it die and be reborn as a whole new one? Finally, the CEO of a brokerage house explained that he had nearly completed building his own underground bunker system and asked, “How do I maintain authority over my security force after the event?”
As the COVID-19 crisis continues, Peter Robinson sat down (virtually over Zoom) with Kevin Warsh, the Shepard Family Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and a former member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. They discuss the nuts and bolts of the Federal Government’s 2 Trillion dollar (and rising) recovery and aid package, why it was needed, and its chances of staving off a depression. In addition, they discuss how the government can help (and possibly hurt) both small businesses and large corporations. Finally, Kevin gives some reasons to be optimistic (in the long run at least) and makes an argument as to why the U.S. economy is well suited to make a strong recovery.
Zach Carter, Senior Reporter from the HuffPost, explains how the government is failing the test coronavirus poses to the country, citing structural issues of our economy and a shortage of medical supplies, healthcare workers.