In my quest to try to understand why so many people believe and do things that prevent the rest of us from living in a decent world, it never ceases to amaze me how utterly clueless so many mainstream, well-paid, well-known pundits are. I seem to live under the chronic illusion that if you know how to spell and have a human face that doesn’t drool incessantly, you’re not a complete idiot. But as always, here comes Jonathan Chait to prove me wrong. In this instance, he also offers some tantalizing clues as to the delusions that motivate centrist Democraps to fight tirelessly against the policies that voters actually actually want.
Here’s an excerpt of Chait’s new piece in New York Magazine, How ‘Neoliberalism’ Became the Left’s Favorite Insult of Liberals, wherein he shits on left wingers who are upset with corporate Democraps like BIll Clinton and Barak Obama for putting a friendly face on the bipartisan flushing of the American middle class down the golden commode of capitalism for the last 30+ years:
[Bhaskar] Sunkara [editor of Jacobin] argues that the West faces three possible alternatives.
One is nationalist authoritarianism of the sort advanced by Trump, Hungary’s Jobbik Party, France’s National Front, etc. The second is Singapore, an authoritarian technocracy that he calls “the unacknowledged destination of the neoliberal center’s train.” And his third option is “avowedly socialist leaders like Mr. Sanders and Jean-Luc Mélenchon in France.”
Sunkara omits from his choices any liberal mixed economy of the kind that exists in Western Europe and Scandinavia and that American liberals would like to build here.
Is he actually trying to tell us that Barak ‘Citibank Chose My Cabinet’ Obama, Diane ‘Just Say No to Medicare for All’ Feinstein, Corey ‘I Will Protect You From Cheap Canadian Pharmaceuticals’ Booker and Hillary ‘Socialized Medicine Will Never Ever Happen‘ Clinton are fighting so hard to build a Swedish welfare state, but Bernie and friends are pissed off because all that darned Scandinavian social-democracy they’ve been providing us with is slowing our march towards the dictatorship of the proletariat??
Does Chait honestly he think that his ultimate end goal is a Scandinavian welfare state while he argues passionately against the $15 minimum wage, universal health care, and anything else that resembles a Scandinavian welfare state? Does he need to convince himself of that so as not to have to recognize that Sunkara is right? Or is it that he’s trying to convince voters that the corporate Democraps actually want what Americans want so that voters keep voting for them…which they don’t, because no one believes them anymore.
The reality is that the only people arguing for a Scandinavian style mixed economy in the USA are Bernard Sanders and his army of berniebros of all genders and colours. Chait’s beloved Obama put a hopey-changey face on exploding inequality, and helped it explode a little more slowly and smoothly than his barbarian horror-movie-clown-festival Republican counterparts. But the Democraps have nothing to offer the increasingly distressed poor and non-professional middle classes except for the hope that maybe one day the technocratic government elites and plutocratic business elites who work together to make sure that all the profit is directly extracted out of their workers’ butts as they work harder and harder for less money in their matrix pods, will reflect the same gender, ethnic and sexual diversity as the rest of the country.
Interesting, and maybe not coincidentally, Chait’s self-deception reflects what so many Democratic primary voters believed when they supported Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders – that both candidates had more or less the same policy goals, except that Hillary had more pragmatism and experience. After all, if Bernie and Hillary are generally the same and the Democratic party is all about Scandinavian socialism, then Bernie is basically a selfish egoist and his angry supporters are just idiotic purists and sexists. If only.
Sadder still is how Chait’s fantasy world also reflects all of those the desperate people who voted for Donald Trump because they believed him when he promised to implement universal health care, to end the opioid epidemic ravaging the rust belt, to bring manufacturing jobs back and to stop wasting poor kids lives in idiotic foreign interventions.
But those particular Trump voters and Clinton primary voters have an excuse for their naivité – they’re ordinary people who pay attention to politics on a casual basis and build their ideas about politicians from a mishmash of misleading corporate media reporting, social media headlines, political advertising and personal and local cultural biases.
I guess nothing should surprise us in a world where 26% or Americans (and 44% of Europeans??) believe the sun revolves around the earth, but isn’t it Chait’s job to know this stuff? Or is it his job to prevent you from knowing this stuff?