A letter to Walter Rhett

Dear Walter,
Your reply to Mr. Douthat’s essay of April 19, 2014 melodramatically titled Marx Rises Again,  was, as always, beautifully argued and written. What Mr. Douthat leaves out of his rather weak propagandizing, which is a companion piece to his essay of March 22,2014 Russia Without Illusions, advocating a New Containment without a New Cold War, was the fact of Liberation Theology as an indigenous occurrence of Marxist doctrine inside the Catholic Church. It was inconvenient to the attack on the ‘Specter of Marx’ that now haunts the West and America in particular, as Mr. Douthat presents it. Sounding in more muted tones Opus Dei religious zealotry, in a political/religious context.  The focus of his attack Mr. Piketti’s new book, based on empirically verified facts- Mr. Picketti speaks for himself in this interview with Prospect Magazine:

http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/derbyshire/the-rise-and-fall-and-rise-again-of-inequality-an-interview-with-thomas-piketty/#.U1PfOldNwbx

An excerpt demonstrates the inspiration/impetus for his book:

‘By studying wealth and capital—and in my book I use these two terms interchangeably—I am returning to the pre-Kuznets tradition of 19th-century economists who looked at wealth and inheritance. And novelists were of course very much interested in wealth in this period, because the entire society was constructed around wealth and capital.

One aspect of the book that many reviewers have commented on is the way you use examples from literature, particularly the dilemma that confronts Rastignac in Balzac’s novel Le père Goriot. Now you’re clearly not using those literary examples merely as decoration or light relief are you?

The primary reason for using these examples is that they influenced me a lot in my research. For a long time I’ve been trying to answer the “Rastignac dilemma” [that by marrying Mme Victorine, he’ll be able to get his hands on her fortune and achieve an annual income ten times that which he could earn as a royal prosecutor]. And I’ve been asking myself why it is that inheritance flows today seem to be lower than at the time of Balzac. What has changed? And it took me a long time to understand that, in a way, we are returning to very high inheritance flows. I’m not claiming that we’re returning to a world identical to Balzac’s, but in some ways we are in a transition.

Reading those 19th-century novels helped me to explore the question what has really changed since Balzac’s times. What are the deep reasons for those changes? Are they going to continue? Or can things go into reverse? What these novels show is that income and wealth are not only about numbers. They are about power relations between different groups of people. So using these literary references is a way to acknowledge that. It’s important to understand that behind the numbers, the data, you have social groups, people with hopes and disappointments. Money is always more than money.’

This, a confirmation of, or better yet, an echo of Mr. Richard Bronk’s the Romantic Economist? Just a thought.
Then the rhetorical embrace of the most dubious – the recrudescence of Neo-Faschists in Europe  and the Tea Party in the USA:

‘This possibility might help explain why the far left remains, for now, politically weak even as it enjoys a miniature intellectual renaissance. And it might hint at a reason that so much populist energy, in both the United States and Europe, has come from the right instead — from movements like the Tea Party, Britain’s UKIP, France’s National Front and others that incorporate some Piketty-esque arguments (attacks on crony capitalism; critiques of globalization) but foreground cultural anxieties instead’.

Then, Mr. Douthat demonstrates, in his last sentence, that he has missed the reality of the failure of the Free Market Delusion and the misdirected rage of the Tea Party, UKIP etc. The rage directed at the ‘Other’ in all it’s political manifestations might better be directed at the Free Market Buccaneers and their apologists, Mr Douthat being prominent among them. In the Douthat World View, politics is not the art of the possible, but the art of the self-serving.

‘Which is to say that while the Marxist revival is interesting enough, to become more relevant it needs to become a little more … reactionary.’

Best regards,

StephenKMackSD

 

 

 

Aside | Posted on by | Leave a comment

The American Political Melodrama Epiosode CCCIX , Comedy Edition: David Brooks on President Obama’s ‘Manhood Problem’ An essay by Political Cynic

Transcript of Mr. Brooks’ comment:

‘DAVID BROOKS: And, let’s face it, Obama, whether deservedly or not, does have a (I’ll say it crudely) but a manhood problem in the Middle East: Is he tough enough to stand up to somebody like Assad, somebody like Putin? I think a lot of the rap is unfair. But certainly in the Middle East, there’s an assumption he’s not tough–’

 

Mr. Brooks is adroit at the first order concerns of a New York Times pundit, cultivate bourgeois political respectability. So, he places, at a distance, his reluctantly uttered accusation in the rhetorical realm of conjecture, with the inference that many are thinking the same thing, even those inside the Obama Administration. But the moralizing duty falls onto the broad shoulders of Mr. Brooks.

Political Cynic 

 

 

   

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Cold War Redux, Episode XXI: Mr. Eli Lake on ‘Open Skies’ An Essay by Political Cynic

‘The Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. military and American intelligence agencies have quietly pushed the White House in recent weeks to deny a new Russian surveillance plane the right to fly over U.S. territory. This week, the White House finally began consideration of the decision whether to certify the new Russian aircraft under the so-called “Open Skies Treaty.” And now the question becomes: Will the spies and generals get their way? ‘

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My comments at Left, Right and Center: Week ending April 13, 2014

As much as I respect Chrystia Freeland, I must say that she totally ignores American and E.U. meddling in Ukrainian political affairs. The exact same thing she condemns the Dictator Putin for! According to reliable sources America spent 5 billion dollars to subvert a duly elected government, aided by 100 million from the E.U. The American front group was the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy an utterly notorious Neo-Conservative organization. A mention of fellow traveler Victoria Nuland and her husband Robert Kagan seems completely appropriate as the meddlers who aided, birthed this ‘revolution’. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

David Brooks on McCutcheon, an essay by Political Observer

One approaches the David Brooks essay of April 3, 2014 titled Party all the Time with a certain amusement at the ludicrous assertion that somehow campaign finance reform should be abandoned, for a strategy of increasing the power of Parties and therefore weakening the power of PACs. As Mr. Brooks argues it, this, the important, indeed, the salient lesson of McCutcheon: Mr. Brooks is a master at changing the uncomfortable political subject, by injecting this kind of self-serving red herring into the debate. A illustrative quote:

In their book “Better Parties, Better Government,” Peter J. Wallison and Joel M. Gora propose the best way to reform campaign finance: eliminate the restrictions on political parties to finance the campaigns of their candidates; loosen the limitations on giving to parties; keep the limits on giving to PACs.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Eli Lake headline argues: ‘Exclusive: U.S. Won’t Share Invasion Intel With Ukraine.’ A comment by Political Observer

Donate Button with Credit Cards
‘The Daily Beast has learned., U.S. officials and members of Congress briefed on the crisis in Ukraine tell The Daily Beast, Congressional staffers briefed on the matter say U.S. intelligence agencies have, A senior U.S. intelligence official confirmed to The Daily Beast that, This official said,’ : with this collection of anonymous sources Mr. Lake confirms his status as the J.J. Hunsecker of ‘foreign policy reporters’. Add to this mix of quotations, the speculations of friendly sources, Michael Turner, Stephen Blank, Olexander Motsyk,Vice Admiral Frank Pandolfe, and even Secretary of State John Kerry, and we have the Lake Method. Call it the shopworn chatter of a Neo-Conservative ideologue. And note the provocative, even inflammatory title: Exclusive: U.S. Won’t Share Invasion Intel With Ukraine.

Political Observer

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mr. Leslie Gelb advises President Obama on Ukraine: An essay by Political Cynic

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Mr. Gelb, in his essay titled Obama Must Show He’ll use Military Means to Deter Russia in Ukraine,proves without doubt that he is a Neo-Liberal jingo, although this side of his foreign policy thought is usually muted. It also demonstrates that the difference between the Neo-Liberals and the Neo-Conservatives is completely imaginary, and that Wilsonian Idealism is the continuing malady of American Policy Thinkers, even in their dotage!

Mr. Gelb all but calls President Obama a coward, and then offers the president strategic advice on deployment of F-22′s, as if he were clueless as to the escalation that represents.We should give this advice the scorn it deserves! Mr. Gelb has no military experience, whatever.

The Daily Beast has become a nest of War Mongers, featuring the work of Eli Lake, a notorious manufacturer of propaganda, added to this is the voice of Mr. Gelb, beating the war drum.

Political Cynic

P.S. Please read Mr. Dettmer’s essay and look at the ‘incriminating picture gallery’ that is utterly pathetic, in terms of effective propaganda. For the full effect read Mr.D’s melodramatic hysteria mongering, or should it be dubbed a excerpt from his forthcoming non-fiction novel The Battle for Hearts and Minds:The Revolution in Ukraine co-authored by Victoria Nuland with advice from Robert Kagan?

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment