Dangerous Neoliberalism Edition
Sometimes you find a paragraph that says what you would like to say brilliantly and this is one of those paragraphs.
Many times I’ve tried to explain the impact of free market fundamentalism, Hayek, Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand, all of whose combined effect might well be summed up by the word, neoliberalism.
I strongly agree and endorse the following statement from George Monbiot in his essay from The Guardian, Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems.
“Perhaps the most dangerous impact of neoliberalism is not the economic crises it has caused, but the political crisis. As the domain of the state is reduced, our ability to change the course of our lives through voting also contracts. Instead, neoliberal theory asserts, people can exercise choice through spending. But some have more to spend than others: in the great consumer or shareholder democracy, votes are not equally distributed. The result is a disempowerment of the poor and middle. As parties of the right and former left adopt similar neoliberal policies, disempowerment turns to disenfranchisement. Large numbers of people have been shed from politics.”
I think Donald Trump is President now due in part to feelings of powerlessness on the part of the middle class due to their loss of economic and political power — and much more due to Hilary Clinton’s embrace of this maniacal philosophy more worthy of a James Bond Villain than someone wanting to be the leader of a free people.
7 thoughts on “Dangerous Neoliberalism Edition”
True enough. I believe the underlying reason Trump won is the lack of trust the voters had with the “system” and the people who have run it for so long. Absent trust, the voters will cast their ballot for the most anti-system candidate.
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I think there are many reasons Trump won. But ultimately, it was because we have a system that betrays the concept of democracy, it undermines the concept of one-person-one-vote, and shreds the concept of majority rule. While the idea that we must protect the minority from oppression by the majority has merit, this system that effectively allows the majority to be oppressed by the minority is a complete travesty. Beyond all of that, the fact that the Democratic National Committee’s corrupt nature was exposed and that neither major party candidate was qualified, had a huge negative impact on what transpired.
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Thanks! James Pilant
I’m not sure which part of my comment is unclear. I’ll expand a little on the individual points.
“…we have a system that betrays the concept of democracy, it undermines the concept of one-person-one-vote, and shreds the concept of majority rule.”
The concept of “democracy” is undermined by the fact that the candidate who wins the office does not often win a “majority” of votes, as we’ve seen once again in 2016. As a result, the democratic concept of one-person-one-vote is virtually neutralized by a system that not only nullifies so many votes, but also discourages so many from bothering themselves to vote. This is accomplished through the Electoral College system as well as through approaches like “closed primaries” in which only registered members of “the party” are allowed to vote to nominate a candidate, which reduces the process to a matter of something like “club membership”. The concept of political parties and factions was recognized even by the Founders as a problem and many were opposed to the idea.
Then there is the problem of “big money in politics”. The impact of big money is manifold and undeniable, despite not necessarily guaranteeing election victory.
“… this system that effectively allows the majority to be oppressed by the minority is a complete travesty.”
As we watch Trump make cabinet appointments which are in clear opposition to the majority views of various issues, we see the majority becoming oppressed by the minority. This is in direct opposition to the concept of democracy and to the protections against that oppression that the Founders attempted to provide.
“…the Democratic National Committee’s corrupt nature was exposed …”
The revelations during the Democratic primary campaign of the DNC’s clear bias in favor of one candidate over the other was, in my view, a definite strike against not only the Democrat Party, but also their preordained candidate of choice. Even as Bernie Sanders consistently drew considerably larger crowds at his rallies and was shown in virtually every poll to have a far better likelihood to defeat Trump and Clinton was shown to be more likely to lose than Sanders would be, the DNC continued to undermine Sanders and his supporters, along with the major network media outlets that seemingly did everything they could to ignore Sanders’ campaign successes.
“…neither major party candidate was qualified …”
Trump presented as an ill-informed dolt with no clear plan for governing and who, according to the former communications director of Trump’s now-defunct Super PAC, was never serious about becoming president but was, instead, merely running as a “protest candidate”. Consider the following:
In an open letter to voters supporting Donald Trump in the Republican presidential primary, the former communications director of Trump’s now-defunct Super PAC said that the former reality television star not only never expected to be the Republican nominee, much less president, but never even wanted to be.
Writing for the website xojane.com, Stephanie Cegielski said that when she was brought aboard as communications director for the Make America Great Again PAC last summer, the instructions from Trump Tower were to make sure that Trump finished a respectable second in the GOP primary. It was made clear that Trump was running not as a serious contender, but as a “protest” candidate.
“I don’t think even Trump thought he would get this far,” she wrote. “And I don’t even know that he wanted to, which is perhaps the scariest prospect of all.
The “open letter” she wrote can be found here:
Hillary Clinton’s record of being on the wrong side of virtually every issue she ever voted on or spoke in support of and then later changing her rhetoric when it suited her or evading some issues altogether prove her to be one of the worst candidates the Democrats have ever nominated. Of course, that statement depends on whether or not a person agrees with the progressive agenda Bernie Sanders presented, which Clinton began referencing after she noticed the success Sanders was having with voters.
That sort of waffling and evasionary tactics do not impart a sense of trust, thus she lost many voters from within and from outside the party. Another aspect related to undermining a sense of trust of the Democratic Primary that discouraged many from supporting Clinton was the pledging of support for Clinton by the party electors before the primary election process had taken effect.
In the end, it seems the only voters who viewed either candidate as worthy of the office were voters who were either religiously faithful to party name, Democrat or Republican, or voters who were too ill-informed to realize the lack of qualifications most of us would expect in a presidential candidate, not to mention the loss of integrity of the entire process. I see this election as a major turning point in American society – what it means for our future is impossible to know at this point.
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I’d be pleased to post this as a guest column with your permission? jp
Okay, go ahead and post it. It might be interesting to see if there are any comments to it.
It’ll be tonight. jp
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