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Ideology of the Anger Left in the USA

by rootless2 Tue Dec 15th, 2009 at 06:03:42 PM EST

(mostly the same in Boomantribune) During the US Presidential primary campaign, Paul Rosenberg's essays (from here) on ideology and "hegemony" provoked nothing more than laughter from me, but he was sort of right. It's impossible to understand the destructive role of the "anger left" as represented by Taibbi, Rosenberg, Firedoglake, and others in American politics without applying some class analysis. First, consider the cohesive underlying political message of this group - which can be boiled down to

We, the people, have been betrayed by a weak, unqualified Obama who is under the control and inimical influence of a shadowy Rahm Emmanuel and too close to bankers like Ben Bernancke.

All you have to do is fill in the ethnicity of the characters, which everyone knows, and you've produced something from the traditional language of the far right. Now mentioning this provokes howls of rage from the guilty, who are deeply offended that anyone should question their enlightened bone-fides - howls that are especially ironic from people like Rosenberg who throw around the term "hegemony" apparently with no understanding of what it means.


The widespread prejudices and media themes that permeate our society affect all of us, the Pabst swilling good ol' boy with the confederate flag on his pickup no more than the earnest blog pundit with a copy of "Rules for Radicals" in his bookshelf. We all share the implicit bias of the culture in which we live - good and bad (me too, of course). This bias and cultural conditioning is not necessarily determinative, but it's there. Think of it as a current in a river that determines the direction of drift. Slapdash, sloppy, especially emotionally charged, or dishonest "thinking" tends be particularly vulnerable to this drift: the phenomenon of nice polite white people blurting out shockingly racist words under pressure is not unusual. Being black or jewish or a woman or any other target of discrimination does not confer immunity either. Anyone witnessing the embarrassing spectacle of Michael Steele trying to talk ghetto knows that black people a can believe in the most stupid racial canards about black people.

So the "anger left", which has been fuming about Obama since the primaries naturally incorporates ambient prejudice its critique -- to make up for the missing analytical content. There's a lot of anger that sounds a lot like the "knife-in-the-back" so beloved of the far right. There is a good deal of dishonesty in that the goals of some of the most prominent Anger Leftists are clearly to climb the policy/pundit hierarchy. But there is no real effort to understand how economic policy is driven by the imperatives of the corporate and military elites, and delegated to a small insular group of "intellectuals" who inhabit a tiny ideological spectrum (from Krugman to Hayek). Instead, we learn that Tim Geithner is a bad man. Rather than examine how the ideology and raw power of economic and military elites shapes congressional processes, the media, and who can get jobs in the Administration, we are asked to demand that Ben Bernanke be brought to justice for, shock, operating the Federal Reserve to benefit banks. In fact, people who do attempt to look at structural issues are derided as "stooges" or paid White House staff.

And this brings us to the effect of the Anger Left on the political operation of the Republic. Public demands for a decent reform of medical insurance are partly drowned out by cries of "sellout" and "betrayal". Every framing device of the right is reincarnated as a "Anger Left" theme. The Democrats are weak, corrupt, sold out, inept, cowardly - and sexually suspect ("bending over", "on their knees" etc.). The black President is characterized as a weak and dishonest puppet of powerful Jews. The actually powerful figures who surround the President, such as Valerie Jarret, are ignored - not surprising that a black woman disappears from view.


Results 1 - 10 of about 1,610 from firedoglake.com for "rahm emanuel". (0.32 seconds)
Results 1 - 10 of about 938 from openleft.com for "rahm emanuel". (0.32 seconds)
 Results 1 - 10 of about 101 from openleft.com for "valerie jarrett". (0.31 seconds)
 Results 1 - 10 of about 120 from firedoglake.com for "valerie jarrett". (0.21 seconds)
 Results 1 - 10 of about 98 from firedoglake.com for "Hilda Solis". (0.25 seconds)  Results 1 - 10 of about 108 from openleft.com for "Hilda Solis". (0.72 seconds)

If you look at the articles, you'll see it's worse than that - although to be fair, Hilda Solis might be ignored because she's in the Department of Labor not because she's a latina. So, functionally, the Anger Left operates to drown out actual analysis of the power structure, to reinforce right wing themes about the unworthy character of social democrats, and to endorse the psychopathology of the right. That is, the Anger Left operates like a dissident elite faction attempting to use the standard ideology to force their way up a step or two

Display:
I'm not sure why the Anger left is so angry with Obama - is he not trying to do more or less what he campaigned on?  I can understand their opposition, but not their disappointment or "anger"..

I'm also not sure what the search figures reveal.  All I know about Valerie Jarrett is that she's an old friend of Obama's from Chicago who is now a senior advisor and part of his kitchen cabinet - whereas Rahm, as the White House Chief of staff, is perhaps the second most powerful person in the administration - with a large say in appointments, control of access to the President, and, crucially, control of congressional strategy - which makes him the central figure in the current health reforms debate.  I'm not therefore surprised he gets mentioned more and I don't necessarily see this as evidence of an anti-Semitic agenda.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Dec 15th, 2009 at 07:05:53 PM EST
I don't see an anti-semitic agenda as much as a lazy politics which falls into familiar patterns. CoS is not a policy job, it's a operational job. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/26/magazine/26jarrett-t.html Hilda Solis is the most active Department of Labor head in 40 years - the business press covers her a lot because what she is doing is so important.
by rootless2 on Tue Dec 15th, 2009 at 07:20:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
job but the present occupant, given his history and his propensity to open his characteristically undiplomatic mouth in advancing his faction's interests over those of other Democratic party factions (in particular the one you are implicitly criticizing here) does in fact polticize it.

Reason number one that it was a dumb appointment.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 05:45:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ahem

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Dec 15th, 2009 at 08:26:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
Valerie Jarrett is that she's an old friend of Obama's from Chicago who is now a senior advisor and part of his kitchen cabinet

Is that not consistent with your quotes?  I have no doubt she is, and has been for a long time, a member of Obama's inner circle, but at the moment, particularly with health care centre stage, Rahm's position is more pivotal within the administration, and I am not surprised he is getting more airtime both on blogs and in the MSM.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 16th, 2009 at 07:42:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Valerie Jarrett is that she's an old friend of Obama's from Chicago

This description is an inadequate answer to the question, Who is Valerie Jarrett? This person is a life quite apart from Mr Obama. And one's examination of that person's life history, modus operandi and political achievements, precedes any characterization construed from "friendship" with Mr Obama or her familiarity with "his kitchen" appliances.

So. Beside a fifth-degree connection, I selected and read those articles to which the pull-quotes are linked in order to entice readings from ET subscribers. Have you read? Are you the least curious to learn more about who is Valerie Jarrett?

I should think so, if you care to substantiate this claim: "Rahm's position is more pivotal within the administration" than Valerie Jarrett, sous chef.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Dec 16th, 2009 at 08:25:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I read the quotes, and they didn't tell me anything I didn't already know.  Perhaps I undersold my prior knowledge, but I think you are also misconstruing the intent of my comments.  I was simply responding to the apparent implication in the Diary (which the diarist has since clarified) that Rahm's prominence in the "Anger Left" blogosphere was due to anti-Semitism rather than an objective analysis of the importance of his role.  With the health care debate currently so centre stage, I do not find it surprising even if there may be some undercurrents of anti-Semitism, conspiracy theories or type casting in their somewhere.  

If you feel Valerie's role deserves greater prominence and exposition, please write a diary about her and I will be happy to read it.  I only wish more USians would display a similar sympathetic curiosity about Irish or other politics around the world.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 16th, 2009 at 08:55:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You read the quotes.

But I asked you a simple question. Did you read the stories to which the pull-quotes are linked? There is detailed, factual information in the stories which obviate any need for my "exposition" of Ms Jarrett's biography, persona, or appointed rôle, director, Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, in a "diary".

I resurrected the ET search results in response to this statement.

The actually powerful figures who surround the President, such as Valerie Jarret, are ignored - not surprising that a black woman disappears from view.

I'll not read for you. I'll not package an opinion. That is your responsibility and judgement.

And don't group me with "USians". I click through all the links provided by innerboobz writers including yours.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Dec 16th, 2009 at 09:59:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cat:

I resurrected the ET search results in response to this statement.

The actually powerful figures who surround the President, such as Valerie Jarret, are ignored - not surprising that a black woman disappears from view.

I didn't make the comment you reference, and don't know if the authors contention - that there may be sexist/racist implications behind her omission is correct.  I don't read the World Socialist Website.  Perhaps you may wish to scold me for that as well?

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 16th, 2009 at 10:29:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think this subthread is going in a productive direction.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 16th, 2009 at 10:37:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Incorrect. Message received.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Dec 16th, 2009 at 11:23:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I understand you have a point you're trying to communicate, but when it gets to the point of
I'll not read for you. I'll not package an opinion. That is your responsibility and judgement.

And don't group me with "USians". I click through all the links provided by innerboobz writers including yours.

answered by
I don't read the World Socialist Website.  Perhaps you may wish to scold me for that as well?
as well as the parallel replies to this maybe it's best to argue another day.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 16th, 2009 at 11:31:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
otay.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Dec 16th, 2009 at 03:09:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is being part of a presidents kitchen cabinet an insult?

I assume Frank referred to:

Kitchen Cabinet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In colloquial use, "kitchen cabinet" refers to any group of trusted friends and associates, particularly in reference to a President's or presidential candidate's closest unofficial advisers. Clark Clifford was considered a member of the kitchen cabinet for John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson before he was appointed Secretary of Defense. Robert Kennedy was uniquely considered to be a kitchen cabinet member as well as a Cabinet member while he was his brother's Attorney General.

And not:

Kitchen cabinet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kitchen cabinets are the built-in furniture installed in many kitchens for storage of food, cooking equipment, and often silverware and dishes for table service. Appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers, and ovens are often integrated into kitchen cabinetry. There are plenty of options for cabinets today.[1]

Because the latter would not make any sense.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Dec 16th, 2009 at 09:19:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Ireland the term "Kitchen Cabinet" is used synonymously with "inner circle" and denotes people who are very close to and influential with the Prime Minister/President but who are not part of the formal Cabinet of Government Ministers.  It does not have any derogatory or sexist connotations.  I presume Cat knew this and was just trying to be provocative.  In any case I do not find this approach "entices" me to read his sources further or continue this conversation.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 16th, 2009 at 10:43:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ms Jarrett is an employee of the US government, a public servant. Let us not dismiss that fact. Whether her status ("prominence") or her functions, regardless of the advice and consent of the senate or the "pleasure of the president" condemns the trust vest in the office that she attends is question provoked by rootless2's observation --indictment, I'd say-- of  so-called left bank political analyses:

The actually powerful figures who surround the President, such as Valerie Jarret, are ignored - not surprising that a black woman disappears from view....

If you look at the articles, you'll see it's worse than that - although to be fair, Hilda Solis might be ignored because she's in the Department of Labor not because she's a latina.



Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Dec 16th, 2009 at 11:36:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because the latter would not make any sense.

Oh, it does, when speaking metaphorically of the functionality of certains persons engaged informally to act as the president's agents, ex post or <ex ante</i> and during ... meals.

Clifford is a funny (peculiar) example, a Cuisine art "food processor" perhaps.

The Nation called Truman "inept" and Walter Lippman declared Churchill's speech and Truman's obvious approval of it --the president applauded several times during its delivery-- were an "almost catastrophic blunder." Although Truman bobbed and weaved through these volleys of criticism in a style FDR would have approved, he was reassured by the polls of what American people were thinking about the Soviet Union. ....

In 1948 Henry Wallace ran for president as the candidate of the Progressive Party.

By '44 Boss Kelly, FDR appliance sine qua non, had concluded Wallace was a liability no matter how much praise the Nation and New Republic heaped on his anti-isolationist rhetoric and spectacular fights with Jesse Jones, corporate rustler. Truman was more suave.

His chief plank was a call for reconcilliation with Russia. In the campaign, all Wallace's flaws and past failures returned to haunt him. The Hearst newspapers got their hand on the Roerich letters and had them authenticated by a handwriting expert. Unable to call them foregeries, Wallace simply refused to discuss them, dismaying even his supporters in the press. He defended the Soviet seizure of Czechoslovakia in early 1948 and sent an open letter to Stalin with a six-point program for peace that the Soviet dictator accepted, all but smacking his lips over such an easy propaganda victory. ...Even his original sponsor, Eleanor Roosevelt, deserted him and declared for Truman. On election day, Wallace got 1,157,140 votes --2.37 percent of the national total-- and failed to prevent Truman's victory, the real purpose of his bizarre campaign. [Fleming, 554-555]

Clifford was in the kitch for the MIC, I think, history has concluded.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Dec 16th, 2009 at 11:07:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
is he not trying to do more or less what he campaigned on

a lot less, imo, tho i do continue to support his being a lesser evil.

i knew his rhetoric would be hard to match in reality, but i'd kinda appreciate it if he levelled with us more about why he has backtracked on so many vital issues, such as his vociferous endorsement of a very different health care system than is emerging, for a start.

weak tea, so far, torture still continuing, and what i find really galling, his not giving up bush's executive powers, yet not using them to slice through a bunch of gordian knots first.

even a simple ' i really thought i was going to be able to do more, but i decided staying alive was more important' would do much to help to see him as less omnipotent than the role confers, and help people hang in there with him as he makes slow, good, incremental changes, but only after stroking all the assholes who have foxed themselves into being heavy hitters, while the middle class crumbles.

or a candid admission that his speeches were calculated to please and motivate a whole bunch of hopiated followers who then could be jettisoned like ballast which is slowing him down in the business of empire. haha.

i think his approval poll numbers might be a whole lot higher if he explained the kind of forces pressuring him better, to those, like myself, who wonder if we have been mightily hoodwinked by a very classy act, but largely just an act.

 

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Dec 16th, 2009 at 09:39:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
currently drawing the ire of the left in the US: Rahm Emanuel, who has declared war, on a number of occasions, on the left wing of the Democratic party (Google Duckworth/Cegelis for but one example) and is pretty much (and deservedly so) despised by that wing. I imagine the feeling is mutual, too and explains the ads attacking him from the left of late.

When Obama named him, I immediately assumed a defensive posture viz. what would come, policy-wise, and appear to be correct in that posture. It signaled that little progress would be made, and we see this in the inherited wars and Obama's reticence to finally do the right thing and withdraw US troops. We see this on economic and fiscal policy, which is essentially are "more of same," money for bankers and little for everyone else, with even the much vaunted stimulus package wasted on the sorts of tax cuts the right-wing cherish while real stimulus measures such as aid to states was stripped out. We see this on bankrutpcy "reform" We see this on various civil rights issues (e.g torture, illegal detention, gay rights to name a few examples) as well as authoritarian creep (embrace of Bush's executive-branch prerogatives).

And, of course,  we see Rahm's fat fingers all over healthcare "reform".

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 05:30:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The "Anger Left" is just a temper tantrum.  Perhaps, as you say, a distraction.  

But there is no Left in the US.  Hasn't been for years--perhaps since the 1960s.  

Ah, health care reform!  But you can no more reform health care than you can reform Wall Street.  Worse, the Medical-Industrial Complex is to be the next big bubble.  The one key provision of the health care bill will be the one requiring you to pay money to the insurance companies whether you want to or not.  Whether they will pay claims or not.  Obligatory insurance payments is how the bubble is to get started.  

It is indeed foolish to get angry at Obama.  He is doing exactly what his employers want him to do.  Understand who THEY are and everything becomes clear.  

Hint:  We are encouraged to think that we hired Obama, but we didn't.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Tue Dec 15th, 2009 at 11:06:12 PM EST
Gaianne:
It is indeed foolish to get angry at Obama.  He is doing exactly what his employers want him to do.  Understand who THEY are and everything becomes clear.

so true, why attack the puppet?

shame the string-pullers, much better use of energy.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Dec 16th, 2009 at 10:17:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Public financing of elections would cut those puppet strings...

And a functional bribery law would do wonders at effacing the lobbyists...

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Thu Dec 17th, 2009 at 02:55:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why is it that we never hear about Uganda, where the problems are many times worse than in the middle east? The left doesn't seem to be any more interested in Africa than the right is...
by asdf on Wed Dec 16th, 2009 at 01:02:50 AM EST
The "left" is allowing itself to be defined by the actions of the right - and even in the neo-cons wildest dreams - Uganda has never been a major threat or opportunity for the USA.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 16th, 2009 at 07:45:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We never hear about Uganda??

We never hear about Sudan. We never hear about Congo. We never hear about Myanmar.

All would be somewhat fair. But I have been deluged with Uganda news from the American left, ever since that anti-gay law and the links to American evangelicals came to light.

The left will be the left, as Booman says. It will talk about things that fit into left wing frames. The right will do the opposite.

From what I perceive there is less of a basic concern about the truth on the right, certainly the American right that's writing stuff online, so I'm less able to get information from them.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 06:56:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Specifically I don't see that there is a coherent "Anger Left".
Calling the Democrats weak has been a staple of their partisans for as long as I can remember. If they are only weak and enthralled one can pretend that they are, all evidence to the contrary aside, not really in favor of genocidal wars and corporatism. It's hardly surprising that even the more stringent critics of specific policies would use the same language.
by generic on Wed Dec 16th, 2009 at 10:53:37 AM EST
from those who honestly disagree with the main domestic and foreign policies of the Obama administration?

rootless 2 A: You can't, so everyone who disagrees with the main domestic and foreign policies of the Obama administration is an anti-Semite and a racist.

Dumb, trollish.

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Wed Dec 16th, 2009 at 03:02:02 PM EST
What a load of nonsense. Al Giordano is an uncompromising critic who doesn't have to resort to speculating about Rahm Emmanuel's role in manipulating the poor puppet. Barbara Lee strongly attacked the Administrations Afghanistan policies without making right wing talking points in "left" disguise. The "Anger Left" is addicted to its vitriolic language in which every right wing cliche about the liberals/left is animated again. We have everything from shadowy Jewish puppetmasters and bankers to the traditional sexist-homophobic sexual jeering ("bending over") and an absolute unwillingness to articulate a criticism that does not exhibit these signs.
by rootless2 on Wed Dec 16th, 2009 at 03:34:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and authentically vitriolic racism & anti-semitism charges? Do you have examples where "Taibbi, Rosenberg, [and] Firedoglake"

  1. 'speculate about Rahm Emmanuel's role in manipulating the poor puppet [Obama].' [Don't forget that the examples require the characterization of Obama as a puppet.]

  2. 'make right wing talking points in "left" disguise.' [To show this you first have to demonstrate that various talking points are right-wing ones and then you have to show that all of the above charged employ one or more of them after disguising them.]

  3. are 'addicted to its vitriolic language in which every right wing cliche about the liberals/left is animated again.' [Here you need to define what 'vitriolic' means for you, you have to show something is a right-wing cliche, and then you have to show all of those three are employing one or more of them.]

  4. employ 'everything from shadowy Jewish puppetmasters and bankers to the traditional sexist-homophobic sexual jeering ("bending over") and [have] an absolute unwillingness to articulate a criticism that does not exhibit these signs.' [To show proof here you need to quote where all of the charged employ imagery of "shadowy Jewish puppet masters and bankers," (and don't forget the shadowy and puppetmaster parts). You also need to show that the above three sources never publish articles that don't employ either 'bending over' language or '"shadowy Jewish puppet masters and bankers' imagery.


fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Thu Dec 17th, 2009 at 04:21:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sigh. I obviously was not clear. I do not say that Taibbi et al are making anti-semitic statements, I say that the wild talk of "betrayal" and lazy politics essentially adopts the framework of the far right and is compatible with their ideology.

A radical argument would focus on the structural power of finance capital. A reactionary argument describes a betrayal, a shadowy cabal, etc.

by rootless2 on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 04:00:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Betrayal isn't a framework identified with the far right, though it may be a framework frequently employed by them. Just because their frame may be compatible with one employed by the far right doesn't mean the frame is compatible with a far rightist ideology but not with other ideologies. For example, Taibbi et al's Obama betrayal frame is perfectly compatible with a moderately left ideology; they say leftists should feel betrayed and should act with that background knowledge, act more wisely, in their future political efforts. Perhaps, just maybe, such moderate leftists will act on less naivete about the influence of massive amounts of campaign cash delivered to Obama by the corporate elite? That's a ideologically lefty kind of enlightenment, I think, and is compatible, I suppose, with the betrayal frame.


fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 06:03:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I disagree. The narrative of betrayal and conspiracy is inherently right wing and is tied deeply to the resentment and fear that is the motor of fascism.
by rootless2 on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 08:00:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
is inherently totalitarian in the context of organizational analyses. Arendt exhausted a lot of time and ink on forensics. Contemporary discourse I think pinned to either "left-" or "right-" wing alliance of an actor misses the point. That is the fallacy of obedience to a common enterprise, frequently reduced by mass communication to "shared responsibility," of belonging to this political party or the other. Less often and more insidious, obedience to common law or collection of mores expressed as a community.

Arendt might argue that betrayal isn't a valid accusation to be leveled on "leaders" by persons of a political standing amounting to powerlessness. Conspiracy, on the other hand, especially given unresolved suspicions of criminality that envelops regulation of social conduct by government, generally, is entirely germane to an examination of any common enterprise and reasons to consent to participation in realizing it.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 11:55:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The narrative of betrayal and conspiracy is inherently right wing and is tied deeply to the resentment and fear that is the motor of fascism.
Yes, just look at well known rightwing extremist Naomi Klein...

And really, fascism as being rightwing? Totalitarian movements are neither inherently right or left. See: national socialist Germany and real socialist Russia.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 06:25:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good God! Are you really arguing that Fascism is not right wing? Did I fall into the NRO Corner by mistake?
by rootless2 on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 09:12:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The issue is debatable...


En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 04:16:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not seriously. After all, when the mask fell, Friedman was a supporter of Pinochet and Hayek even went there to tout "economic freedom" which is apparently compatible with police torture states. The "left" project is always centered on humanism and egalitarianism while the right's project is centered on some authoritarian system. Stalin's police state was naturally drawn to the same patriarchal authority laden emotional themes as the Czar and Hitler.
by rootless2 on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 05:19:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I find the 'authoritarian' label much more useful than the label 'right-wing' and there is no shortage of authoritarian 'left-wing' examples.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 05:26:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To me, one of the problems of Marxism is that it eventually confused the mechanism (state control of production) with the goal of human liberation and put the first above the second. The attempt to distinguish left/right based on economic system is, I find, not helpful. Is China left or right? Does the US DOD, one of the largest economic planning organizations in the history of the world fit into capitalism or socialism? But one point I was attempting to make here is that the forms of authoritarian/right propaganda are not good vehicles for supposedly left-wing critique as they carry a message that cannot be separated from the form.
by rootless2 on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 06:30:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But isn't the real qualifier how the belief is arrived at?

Following your authoritarian model, it still needs some structural underpinning. People believe things through psychological mechanisms, and I tend to sort them into external authorities outside the psyche/genome/culture, or inside.

As time goes by, external authoritization through leaders' use of supernatural morality as bulwark for their pronouncements might be reduced. Or not.

I'm very wary of the current trends in propaganda, because all propaganda is based on authority. It hardly seems that propaganda that tells you to trust your own derivation of truth through observation and falsifiability is propaganda at all, but that's what it's being called now. viz, the climate change denial movement. discredit the scientists.

Trust Nothing is not the formula for social happiness.

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 09:26:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You still have a difference between solidary vs. selfish on the one hand and authoritarian vs. libertarian on the other. Authoritarian enforcement of solidarity is not unheard of (just look at the "forced collectivizations" in the Republican rearguard during Spain's civil war, as well as the gradual Stalinist takeover of the Republican side). It is probably the case that there is a correlation between the two axes but there is enough variation in the other direction to make two axes necessary, both with selfish libertarians (Randian/Hayekian neoliberals, anarchocapitalists...) and "authoritarian solidarity" (assorted left movements from violent "liberation" movements to the Pol Pots, Stalins and Maos of this world).

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 21st, 2009 at 06:01:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and Lincoln at Gettysburg by Garry Wills ("The Betrayal," NY Review of Books, 2 Dec 2009, excerpted below).

Others I respect have given up on him before now. I can see why. His backtracking on the treatment of torture (and photographs of torture), his hesitations to give up on rendition, on detentions, on military commissions, and on signing statements, are disheartening continuations of George W. Bush's heritage. But I kept hoping that he was using these concessions to buy leeway for his most important position, for the ground on which his presidential bid was predicated.

There was only one thing that brought him to the attention of the nation as a future president. It was opposition to the Iraq war. None of his serious rivals for the Democratic nomination had that credential--not Hillary Clinton, not Joseph Biden, not John Edwards. It set him apart. He put in clarion terms the truth about that war--that it was a dumb war, that it went after an enemy where he was not hiding, that it had no indigenous base of support, that it had no sensible goal and no foreseeable cutoff point.

He said that he would not oppose war in general, but dumb wars. On that basis, we went for him. And now he betrays us. Although he talked of a larger commitment to Afghanistan during his campaign, he has now officially adopted his very own war, one with all the disqualifications that he attacked in the Iraq engagement. This war too is a dumb one. It has even less indigenous props than Iraq did.

Read more...

I surmise, Mr Wills's sense, his vote for Obama was betrayed, arises as much from an apprehension that Mr Obama is not a prinicipled person as from the senseless human sacrifice for which he now stands. Mr Wills possesses an extremely refined appreciation for tell-tale traits of transcendentalism in political speech. I would not argue, Mr Wills is opposed to "just war" or any war, merely that he finds Mr Obama's methods and rationale unpersuasive.

Lincoln at Gettysburg is a very interesting book. It accomplishes two tasks through a literary critque of Lincoln's dedication of the battlefield  cemetary: (i) to query the moral premises of martial law evoked by Lincoln; and (ii) to execavate patriotic myths (Aeschylus, Pericles, Plato, etc) of the polis operating in Lincoln's epitaphoi and, one could argue, American presidential rhetoric ever since.

Sponsored by either republican or democratic party. Now that America's battlefield is boundless.

[4.] Athenians differ from all others in their death because they live in a different way, with a chracteristic regimen (politeia)....

[6.] So the fallen heroes in the Kerameikos advance their nobility (eugenia) by going to school to the polis and its values (politeia). Thus, by their death, they teach others to live, making their city [cf. Raygun] a training (paideia) for the whole civilized world. [1992:56-58]

etc etc

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 11:05:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
a tiny ideological spectrum (from Krugman to Hayek)

LOL. Tiny indeed. From hug-the-state socialists to destroy-the-state libertarian wackos.

Still it's fortunate for the American economic elite that the PC-left worries so terribly much about ethnic things. Yes, the banksters are evil. Lots of banksters are Jewish. Does this mean Jews are evil? Of course not. Well, some are. But that has nothing to do with them being Jewish. Indeed, the fact that so many bankers (and others in the elite) are Jewish have simple cultural and historical explanations, ironically based in the fact that Jews faced lots of antisemitism historically speaking and were forced into certain professions, professions that made them far more prosperous than people in general.

The facts remain. Obama stabbed progessive Americans in the back. He has flooded the White House with people from GS. He has donated vast amounts of taxpayer cash to banks. But I guess me saying this makes me a racist, an antisemite (ask shergald if she thinks I'm one) and I will become persona non grata among all my politically correct friends in academia. Good thing for me I don't have any.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Dec 16th, 2009 at 11:39:17 PM EST
For a scholarly discussion of the Jewish question in European and American sociology, I'm reading Kevin MacDonald's "Culture of Critique".

He has much to say about the holiness of Holocaust, and the trained kneejerk responses that slap the label of 'anti-semite' on anyone who dare mention the possibility of ethnic cohesion of the Cohens.

If Jews want to stick together and raise smart kids and take over the reins of government, that's not a bad thing. Somebody's got to. Why not smart people with skills in the business of government business?

So they bought Obama? Was it a good purchase? The left is so purist and fragmented it can't function. Why shouldn't some group get together and say "we can do it better".

Perhaps the question is who was running the country when the Savings and Loan bubble burst, and who repealed Glass-Steagall, and who turned a blind eye to derivatives so complex they couldn't be understood?

It was a huge con job, but I tend to look for stupidity before I assume evil. I don't think anyone running the financial system wanted it to fail. I think the tragedy of the commons will suffice.

I'd dismiss the Angry Left and substitute the ideological left.

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Thu Dec 17th, 2009 at 03:04:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ormondotvos:
trained kneejerk responses that slap the label of 'anti-semite' on anyone who dare mention the possibility of ethnic cohesion of the Cohens.

What bothers me is the antisemitic label slapped on anyone who criticizes Israel.

But "ethnic cohesion" and "Jews want to stick together and raise smart kids and take over the reins of government" are something else again.

Kevin Macdonald (a considerable presence on white America site VDARE), says of the book you reference:

The Culture of Critique series - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

People often say after reading the first book that they think I really admire Jews, but they are unlikely to say that about the last two and especially about CofC.

I wonder what kind of "people" Macdonald talks to?

Anyway, I'll give him and his books a miss.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 17th, 2009 at 04:27:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"If Jews want to stick together and raise smart kids and take over the reins of government, that's not a bad thing." Who could see anything anti-semitic in that?
by rootless2 on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:53:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, maybe someone who wonders why we have to be told there's a "Jewish question".

Again?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 04:31:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
indeed. Good thing that anti-semitism is just a relic of the past and only appears now as a way of discrediting people who criticize Israel. /sarcasm
by rootless2 on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 05:06:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean, who is really the antisemite? The one who criticise evil banksters or the one who automatically connect evil bankster with Jews?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 06:28:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's kind of telling that you can ask this question under a post based on a VDARE author http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VDARE I'd say the real anti-semite is the one who associates with holocaust denying, racist, uh, anti-semites. What we call someone who wants to pretend all that unpleasantness is now a mere relic of the past except when used as a PR stunt, I'm not sure.
by rootless2 on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 05:32:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How the Hell am I supposed to know who or what VDARE is? And what in the world does the holocaust have to do with this or anything?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 11:11:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, I think that the post-war European left's insistence that race and anti-semitism are things of the past is a crippling problem. Rather like insisting that colonialism is a thing of the past. "the facts remain. Obama stabbed progessive Americans in the back." Is that a "fact"? By what definition of "fact"? "He has donated vast amounts of taxpayer cash to banks." Really? According to who?
by rootless2 on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:56:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, I think that the post-war European left's insistence that race and anti-semitism are things of the past is a crippling problem.

this is profoundly true, unfortunately.

watching the news about the arbeit macht frei sign theft, they showed the camp, and mentioned the decision to leave it intact rather than destroy it.

the sight moved me deeply, there were a few trees, and this death factory. the horror of what humans reduced themselves to hit me so hard, it was nauseating, dizzying.

that wasn't so long ago, yet fascism polishes its boots here in europe under our noses, (never mind the USA), seeing brutality and unpunished collusion between industry, government and criminality, right now, and then it hit me that i kept waiting for israel to quit punishing the palestinians for what the germans had done, instead of paying more attention to the everyday racism that is semi-hidden in many outwardly 'normal' people.

indeed i suspect the sign was stolen for its collector value, some sick, evil person will celebrate his unholy treasure.

seeing the mussolini memorabilia on sale in the antique shops, his sayings lovingly repainted freshly on village buildings, then his newly minted portraits in shops, i wonder why the holocaust was horrible enough for some people, so afraid of modernity, change, freedom, creativity, just soullessly addicted to brute power.

we can't judge israel without first facing down and denouncing fascism right here.

my local gas station attendant, a nice guy, (to me), had a fucking swastika up in his office, next to a pic of berlusconi!

what do you do? collar him and try to 'educate' him?

i chose to go to other gas stations, as if that helps!

i get the feeling that liberality could flourish only in boom years, and i fear the return of 'la miseria'  as government cheats so much its people return to the poverty and want they lived with before the sixties, the beginning of the vespa and fiat 600 years, when even the poorer had some hope of bettering their lives with some consumer novelty.

now we contemplate the peopling of europe with immigrants to pay our pensions, which would be less necessary if we treated these poorer countries right and hadn't caused so much need for immigration in the first place.

and this incites more racism and wastes more nergy that could be used for really dealing with our problems at home, spending the country's wealth more fairly.

this is the antidote to fascism, imo.

when a country's wealth is drained off to foreign corporations and international criminals, how can it pick itself up out of the mud, no matter how rich or influential it was in the past?

italy has not really _processed _ its deal with the devil it made, and its role in the causative chain that ended up with auschwitz, (the closest it got was benigni's 'la vita e bella').

that's why the EU is so important, it's our local UN, and by grouping together these old battle-scarred nations we can set a global example of how we believe the whole world could be.

with all its flaws, obvious and otherwise, its aspirations are more enlightened than anywhere, though i am also in admiration of many aspects of latin american socialism.

my dream is that in 20 years they'll 'meet in the middle', but we'll have to see.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 05:43:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are two large leaps here that I personally have trouble following:

European Tribune - Comments - Ideology of the Anger Left in the USA

It's impossible to understand the destructive role of the "anger left" as represented by Taibbi, Rosenberg, Firedoglake, and others in American politics without applying some class analysis. First, consider the cohesive underlying political message of this group - which can be boiled down to
We, the people, have been betrayed by a weak, unqualified Obama who is under the control and inimical influence of a shadowy Rahm Emmanuel and too close to bankers like Ben Bernancke.

All you have to do is fill in the ethnicity of the characters, which everyone knows, and you've produced something from the traditional language of the far right.

I.e.:

  1. A major portion of criticism from the left boils down to accusations of conspiracy.
  2. Said criticism is next door to racist demagogy.

All I can really say right now is: [citation needed].

There are just grounds for disappointment Obama's decisions, even acknowledging that he himself is no progressive. The administration's inexplicable adherence to the Bush "security" doctrine is perhaps the most egregious example.

Secondly, from a European perspective, the criticisms of HCR do not even sound particularly "leftist". Indeed, only a very small slice of the European political spectrum - the Economist neolibs - would count the current senate HCR proposal as "decent reform of medical insurance".

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Thu Dec 17th, 2009 at 07:03:20 AM EST
It was an angry left - a very angry left - that created substantial movement in US politics a century or so ago.

If that left had been less angry and had limited themselves to intellectual deconstructions of power structures, it's a reasonable bet that the power structures would have remained in place.

In fact it's very much a leftist failing to believe that all you have to do is criticise something with enough mature rationality, and it will magically stop functioning, stunned into irrelevance by the power of a clever and insightful argument.

It doesn't seem to work like that in the real world.

As for the anti-semitism - what? Where?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Dec 17th, 2009 at 07:39:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What are you talking about?
by rootless2 on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:52:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What are you talking about?

!!!!??? Ever hear of the Progressive Movement in the USA. Upton Sinclair, Sinclair Lewis, the Suffragette Movement, Henry George, The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City, etc. etc. etc.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 10:04:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A century ago is 1909 - about 8 years before Wilson and Palmer destroyed the labor movement, split the Henry George movement, suckered the Deweyites, sent Emma and Sasha and Big Bill Haywood to Russia and instituted the War State. Is that the period of success we are discussing?
by rootless2 on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 10:40:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, though the movement went back well before 1900 and had continuing effect through the 30s. The Progressives moved from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party over this period.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 12:41:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you want to talk of a parallel, you might consider the CIO organizing drives of the 1930s in which they embraced the weak vacillating FDR as an ally and used the space he created to build the labor movement. If today's "left" had run the CIO, they would have blown off all that messy organizing crap to spend time demanding FDR fire Harold Ickes or something equally idiotic.
by rootless2 on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 09:08:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The difference this time is the absence of "The Spectre of CommunismTM. The collapse of the Soviet Union, unanticipated as it was, emboldened "neo-conservatives", using Neo-Classical Economics augmented by Hayek's libertarian individualism which was buttressed by Ayn Rand's novels, to press on with the roll-back of The New Deal after capturing the House in '94. So we had "the end of Welfare, as we know it" and the repeal of Glass-Steagall under Clinton and then just enough of the "sheaple" voted for "W" so that the five Republican Supreme Court Justices could award "W" the Presidency.

There is plenty of anger amongst the electorate, but in times of danger, people, and especially sheaple, tend to revert to craving a strong traditional leader, like moths to the flame. Real change involves breaking the hold of the financial elite over Washington, redistributing large portions of their ill-gotten gains to the sheaple they have fleeced and de-legitimating the noxious rhetoric that has, by now, been written into the brain structures of at least two generations of voters.

The best hope for accomplishing those goals is to mobilize and direct that anger and despair into a political movement that is capable of accomplishing that change. From a psychological point of view, anger is a road out of depression. The key lies in channeling that anger into constructive actions.

The danger is that violence perceived to originate from political opponents of the existing order plays into the hands of right wing leaders by alarming their followers and recruiting back into their fold loosely affiliated "independents".

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 11:44:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This FDR?

If Obama had done half as much during his first year as Roosevelt did in his first two months, nobody would be complaining.

Well, except the Teabaggers. But they're insane.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 10:51:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not necessarily conspiracy, but betrayal. Read Taibbi's article. "What we do know is that Barack Obama pulled a bait-and-switch on us." http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/31234647/obamas_big_sellout/6 Or Sirota As my column shows, this is what happened this week on health care - and it was ugly. Really ugly. We saw the president break a promise and go out of his way to stop legislation so as to protect the drug industry's profiteering price cartel. Or Sirota Reviewing President Rahm Emanuel's Health Care Speech http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-sirota/reviewing-president-rahm_b_281559.html Or FDL Obama's Betrayal Of The Left Spells Problems For The Democratic Party http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/18450 etc.
by rootless2 on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:50:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So when we see betrayal, a blatant selling out of the interests of the taxpayers in the interests of a tiny elite, we should keep silent lest anyone might infer we're criticising Jews? That's a surefire way to enable financial treason if I ever saw one.

Now that's actually quite an interesting conspiracy theory, as in an entertaining one.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 06:33:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What a peculiar reading.
by rootless2 on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 09:13:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One constructive criticism: what you say about the knee-jerk, uncritical (in analytical terms) left is, in my experience, correct. It is easily the most incompetent left in the world. A lot like, here in France and for decades (not so much anymore) we had the most incompetent right in the world.

But, there is in fact a critical/analytical basis for opposing, from the left, the Obama administration and for undermining what passes for social democrats in the US.

Careful to not paint everyone with the same broad brush.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 05:50:52 AM EST
I certainly agree that there is a basis for criticism. Even from within the incrementalist framework of the Democratic Party we have quite brilliant people like Barbara Lee who are not afraid to oppose for example the imperial idiocy of the Afghani campaign. And Al Giordano is an example of someone who outside the accepted bounds of the Democratic Party, yet who has a reasonable critique. Frankly, I don't have a problem with people who will argue that only radical opposition can work - although I disagree on tactical grounds. What annoys me no end, however, is the kind of "left" critique which is surprised and offended that the Federal Reserve acts to protect financial elites or that cites Paul Krugman's works as a basis for an alternative economics policy.
by rootless2 on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 06:02:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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