Reminder: Liberalism Is Working, and Marxism Has Always Failed
. . . and if by "working" one means, "improved the living standards of all, including the poorest."
"While socialism remains highly unpopular among the public as a whole, Americans under the age of 30 — who have few or no memories of communism — respond to it favorably. The Bernie Sanders campaign has introduced once-verboten questions about the market system into Democratic Party politics — a challenge Hillary Clinton has beaten back by relying on the residual loyalties of her base rather than mounting a frontal ideological challenge. Meanwhile, Jacobin magazine has given long-marginalized Marxist ideas new force among progressive intellectuals. It seems impossible at the current moment to imagine Marxists exercising power at the national level. But it also seemed impossible to imagine New Deal–hating conservatives — then just a faction within a party — exercising national-scale power after their standard-bearer was routed in the 1964 elections. Yet, a mere 16 years later, their time had arrived. So, on the theory that it’s never too early to start planning the counterrevolution, it is worth reiterating that Marxism is terrible."
Americans, insulated from the bloody horror of Marxism, and the crushing hell of Socialism, have little experience, and no understanding. Instead they hear, the pied pipers of the Academe waxing wonderful about these two attempts to return to feudalism. Sanders is not an independent thinker, he is an acolyte of something he does not vaguely understand.
"Sanders’s success does not reflect any Marxist tendency. It does, however, reflect a generalized hunger for radical solutions, discontent with the Obama administration’s pace of progress, and a generational weakening of the Democratic Party’s identification with liberalism over socialism. It has never been exactly clear what Sanders means when he calls himself “socialist.” Years ago, he supported the Socialist Workers Party, a Marxist group that favored the nationalization of industry. Today he endorses a “revolution” in metaphorical rather than literal terms, and holds up Denmark as the closest thing to a real-world model for his ideas. But, while “socialism” has meant different things throughout history, Denmark is not really a socialist economy. As Jonathan Cohn explained, it combines generous welfare benefits and high-quality public infrastructure with highly flexible labor markets — an amped-up version of what left-wing critics derisively call “neoliberalism.” While Denmark’s success suggests that a modern economy can afford to fund more generous social benefits, it does not reveal an alternative to the market system.
It is on politics, not economics, where the influence of Marxist ideas has been most keenly felt. Enough time has passed since the demise of the Soviet Union to allow Marxist models to thrive without answering for communist regimes. In his fascinating profile of Jacobin, Dylan Matthews notes, “The magazine is not going to defend Stalin's collectivizations or Mao's Great Leap Forward or really any other aspect of ‘actually existing communism.’” But the fact that every communist country in world history quickly turned into a repressive nightmare is kind of important."
Pish posh, what are a few million bloody corpses here or there? You are missing the bigger picture. This will allow progressives to feel really good about themselves, and that is surely more important that a few million pikers dying horrible deaths in the Cambodian Killing Fields, or China's starving fields, or the grand Russian steppe!
"Many Marxist theorists have long attempted to rescue their theory from its real-world adherents by attributing its failures to idiosyncratic personal flaws of the leaders who took power (Lenin, Stalin, Mao … ). But the same patterns have replicated themselves in enough governments under enough leaders to make it perfectly obvious that the flaw rests in the theory itself. Marxist governments trample on individual rights because Marxist theory does not care about individual rights. Marxism is a theory of class justice. The only political rights it respects are those exercised by members of the oppressed class, with different left-wing ideological strands defining those classes in economic, racial, or gender terms, or sometimes all at once. Unlike liberalism, which sees rights as a positive-sum good that can expand or contract for society as a whole, Marxists (and other left-wing critics of liberalism) think of political rights as a zero-sum conflict. Either they are exercised on behalf of oppression or against it. Any Marxist government immediately sets about snuffing out the political rights of parties or ideas deemed reactionary (a category that also inevitably expands to describe any challenge to the powers that be). Repression is woven into Marxism’s ideological fabric.
Political correctness borrows its illiberal model of political discourse from Marxism, and it has mostly played itself out on university campuses and other enclaves where the left is able to impose political hegemony. (This is why some liberals who don’t agree with political correctness, but also don’t want to criticize it, dismiss it as nothing more than harmless college prankery.) Just this week, Emory University’s president promised to use security cameras to track down and prosecute students who wrote “Trump” in chalk — chalking being a normally acceptable medium for sloganeering — after student activists pronounced the word a threat to their safety."
It seems apropos that Marxism would retain some adherents here in America, while elsewhere, like Russia, China, Cuba, and even Venezuela it is in full retreat, an antiquated, if homicidal belief.
"The efforts to shut down Trump reflect the growing influence of Marxian politics, and these ideas merit study. A Jacobin column defends “impair[ing] the circulation of Trump’s hate-filled message.” What about free speech? Well:
Free speech, while an indispensable principle of democracy, is not an abstract value. It is carried out in the context of power disparities, and has real effects on peoples’ lives. We can defend freedom of speech — particularly from state crackdowns — while also resolutely opposing speech that scapegoats the most vulnerable and oppressed people in our society.
Free speech is for people on the wrong end of “power disparities” — which is to say, the oppressed and their allies, or, put more bluntly, the left."
Exactly. The left is an unalloyed good, everyone else is not and does not deserve, rights like free speech, or if one burrows down to it, human rights. How long before these depraved zombies begin agitating for heads?
"In the meantime, obviously, Trump poses a far more dire danger than his would-be censors. But it is important not to succumb to the panic that the far left is inculcating around Trump. Trump would threaten American democracy if elected, but all evidence suggests his election is highly unlikely."
Right! So riddle me this Batman, how is a gassy windbag somehow a more dire threat than a group of people who represent a political movement which has in EVERY incarnation, resulted in the democide of a hundred million innocents? What exactly can this gassy windbag do, magic? Is he a Gozer worshiper who will open a cleft from our universe to another more horrible universe? Will he require all men wear hair exactly like his?
We find out why our intrepid correspondent is apoplectic about Trump in his last graph.
"The popular, sitting liberal president has enacted the most important egalitarian social reforms in half a century, including higher taxes on the rich, lower taxes on the poor, and significant new income transfers to poor and working-class Americans through health-care reform and other measures. All of this has happened without the alliance with white supremacy that compromised the New Deal, or the disastrous war that accompanied the Great Society. The case for democratic, pluralistic, incremental, market-friendly governance rooted in empiricism — i.e., liberalism — has never been stronger than now. What an odd time to abandon a successful program for an ideology that has failed everywhere it has been tried."
He thinks Obama is great, and liberal. But mostly Obama has used blunt force trauma, executive action, to achieve his goals. This is only one step from dissolving Congress altogether and doing government naked, er, as dictator. Obama's great actions with Congress were a few cash for clunker like stimulus deals, failures all, Obamacare, a failure, and successful Republican derivative actions like free trade agreements.
Loving this guy for his liberalism is a bit crazy, since he has little interest in liberalism, and much interest but no skill in unilateral action. Obama is like a W. Clinton lite. Clinton attempted to convert healthcare to a government agency, failed, and nearly lost the Presidency. He realized his mistake, listening to his wife, cut her from power, and began to implement Republican reforms like welfare reform, and free trade deals. Pretty much all of his successes were Republican derived, and all of his failures were Democrat derived.
While Trump is not particularly favorable to liberalism, this is because he is essentially a center left progressive who is vehemently anti-immigration. His policies are the same as Hillary's but with the anti-immigrant element. Trump is uncontrollable, while Hillary will follow the playbook to a T. And there is the risk Trump could blow up all of American politics, and neither establishment likes that idea.
Now it seems clear, Trump is Hillary, and our intrepid correspondent is likely fearful that once Trumps platform is known, it will appeal to many Democrats, and Hillay, the unlikable, will have great difficulty retaining these Democrats.
Here is a nice article on liberalism versus progressivism. Hillary, Sanders, and Trump are all progressives. I am a liberal, classical liberal to be correct.
liberal versus progressive