Is there nothing like the perpetual keening of the minions of Capitalist Class? With apologies to Karl Marx! The Bail Out followed by Quantitative Easing isn’t/wasn’t enough? On that question see these two essays that define the term antithetical.
AEI propagandist first
NYT hack second:
And not one prosecution of any Investment House or Bank executive, whose combined criminality was ‘put behind us’ as Obama looked to the future! Obama just another Neo-Liberal conformist, whose appointments were run of the mill, in every way. That ‘Hope and Change’ evolved into the SOS, and our present economic doldrums, if that even describes an economy made up of low paying service jobs: the realization of the ‘philosophy ‘ of the Hayek/Mises/Friedman trio, with the help of that indefatigable pamphleteer Ayn Rand. This trio plus one believed the future was about Robber Capital being the master, to the groveling Worker as slave, without the mythical possibility of the Slave’s self-emancipation through a fight to the death. A schoolmaster’s daydream! See Hegel and Kojève for the ennui inducing particulars.
In his Moscow Diary Mr. Luce produces more New Cold War hysterical propaganda with the aid of his Greek chorus of policy experts: ‘Bob Legvold, the veteran Columbia University Russianist’ who chants about : “a crisis of small thinking” and “global irresponsibility”, Wolfgang Ischinger, head of the Munich Security Conference who adds: global governance had “catastrophically collapsed” and Mathew Burrows, a former senior CIA officer, who adds this wan note on the ‘defeat’ of Mrs. Clinton: ‘“I can’t imagine how depressed it would have been if Hillary Clinton had won.” Please note that at last count Mrs. Clinton led the popular vote by 2.5 million votes.
What Mr. Luce misses is that what Trump brings to his presidency is the character he portrayed on The Apprentice, that was the prelude to his run for office. That character’s raison d’etre was to keeps his apprentices in a state of apprehension, his seeming changeability, his unending demands kept those contestants in an exploitable state of not knowing, of disequilibrium, that was the key to controlling their behavior.The fear of losing in a game, in which the rewards were so great, in terms of money and prestige, was the pressure point.
In the case of Trump as politician, contemplate the facts of Nixon’s interference in the Vietnam War negotiations, and Reagan’s Iran Hostage negotiation interventions. Only in this case, as the clumsy exercise of Trump as political naif. Only Trump is not that naif, but a Caudillo, who seeks to exploit the state of ‘not knowing’ in the technocrats that Mr. Luce interviewed, as the central actors in his Moscow Diary. Call this The Panic of the Technocratic Elites, who face an opponent who practices One-upmanship with the sang-froid of a master, while seeming to be that blundering political naif.
In reading Mr. Waldron’s review of two of Mr. Sunstein’s books, in the October 9,2014 edition of The New Your Review of Books:
by Cass R. Sunstein
Yale University Press, 195 pp., $25.00
by Cass R. Sunstein
Simon and Schuster, 267 pp., $26.00
The reader is not asked to suspend judgment about the paternalism that both these books offer, but to accept Mr. Waldron’s tepid critique as somehow laudable, as it is framed in the rhetoric of the current iteration of political orthodoxy. Mr. Waldron fails to confront the question of what degree of ‘paternalism’, which is a carefully laundered word for authoritarianism, is acceptable? The ‘condescension that worried Bernard Williams’ acts as a rhetorical equivocation, that lets both Waldron and Sunstein chatter away, well within the bounds of respectable academic discourse. While avoiding the real question of authoritarianism, and the stark implications for an attempt at maintaining what remains of human freedom, within an administrative state, that seems to be in a state of perpetual economic lethargy, not to speak of endless war, no matter how carefully it be framed.
For Sunstein’s idea is that we who know better should manipulate the choice architecture so that those who are less likely to perceive what is good for them can be induced to choose the options that we have decided are in their best interest. Thaler and Sunstein talk sometimes of “asymmetric paternalism.” The guiding principle of this approach
is that we should design policies that help the least sophisticated people in society while imposing the smallest possible costs on the most sophisticated.
This is a benign impulse on their part, but it is not a million miles away from the condescension that worried Bernard Williams.
Mr. Tharoor offers very interesting insights on Fillon, the quotations from his speeches are telling. He is the Marinetti/Thatcherite candidate that has become the favorite of the ultra-respectable Financial Times. I put Marinetti first , the Futurist/Fascist artist and intellectual, because as reported in the Financial Times, Mr. Fillon is an advocate of ‘speed’ and ‘shock’ in his personal ethos, as well as his Thatcherite political program. The key to their coverage has been not to quote his speeches, that are probably replete with Imperial Nostalgia, but to report on his political rise. And to leave his political apologetics for an argued ‘Benign Empire’ and his religiously rationalized homophobia, under the rubric of his strategically unreported ‘Conservatism’. Emphasis being placed on the utterly failed Neo-Liberalism, the myth of the ‘Free Market’, that is still the object of veneration of the editorialists/hirelings at the Financial Times.
Mr. Thardoor’s essay attempts, in a short form, too many countries and their political actors, in his rhetorical portrait of the ‘global right wing serge’ and their collective Imperial Nostalgia. As Mr. Tandoor writes for the Washington Post, he hews to the Neo-Conservative Party Line of Putin as the New Stalin, and the myth of Russian Revanchism, as unexamined points of Neo-Conservative political theology: The New Cold War that Trump, Fillon and Le Pen are attempting to put into momentary political stasis, pending their political maturation, political enlightenment or their acceptance of the status quo?
The failure of The Financial Times and its writers/editorialists is that of simple honesty. Globalisation is not the problem, the problem can be defined as the Failure of the Neo-Liberalism, given political legitimacy by the rise of Thatcher and Reagan, and its collapse in 2008. And the failure of the much-touted notion of the Self-correcting Market, that was the purest of theological fiction. The rise of the dread Populists of both ‘Left’ and ‘Right’ are the specters that haunt the political imaginations of said writers/editorialists. But the winners are on the ‘Right’, as object lesson for the ‘Left’?
The ‘hard centre’, and the assertion that ‘What politics needs is the optimism of a muscular centre.’ Is this master idea a prelude to the revived political career of Tony Blair? Is he the paradigmatic figure, who will galvanize the political drift of the post-Brexit era? The many question raised by Mr. Phillips’ rhetorical intervention, in the mind of the reader, seem to remain in a kind of hopeful stasis? Awaiting the arrival of Mr. Blair in his latest political incarnation?
Just finished Chapter 4, titled ‘Splitting the Difference: Habermas’s Critique of Derrida’ by David Couzens Hoy, in this collection of essays. Clarity, insights and beautifully written. I’ve read his The Time of Our Lives : A Critical History of Temporality and found it of equal merit.
To call Obama a ‘liberal technocrat’ when he is most assuredly an unimaginative Neo-Liberal, and to utter this maladroit sentence: ‘When Vladimir Putin’s Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, John Kerry, the outgoing secretary of state, said: “You just don’t in the 21st century behave in a 19th-century fashion by invading another country on [a] completely trumped up pretext.” As Kerry is still Sec. of State, leads the incredulous reader to face the fact that the political world, that Mr. Luce describes in his essay, is not the political world that the rest of us are perceiving.
Obama could not be called a ‘Realist’ nor an ‘Idealist’ but a president who received a Nobel Peace Prize on October 9, 2009, and then, through his evolving policies, made a mockery of that bestowal. Luce’s encomium to Obama exhibits the same strengths of that of his Peace Prize: it exists in the realm of fiction, but in this instance, the writer places himself as the central civic actor, declaring before the end of Obama’s term, how readers are obliged to view that eight years. Historians, writers, thinkers and citizens will render that judgement only after the fact, not almost two months prior to the end of Obama’s second term!