2016: The Left’s Last Stand Against Neoliberalism?

by William Skink

While I understand some of the ridicule that comes this direction regarding the more conspiratorial subjects we examine here, I really struggle to understand the mockery directed at the years of criticism I, JC and others have heaped on the ideology of neoliberalism.

Before writing a post there is usually some article I’ve noticed that I file away in the back of my mind for the right time to use. When I read George Monbiot’s piece on the ideology at the root of all our problems I knew if I waited I would have opportunity to reference it.

Well, once again ID has provided the perfect opportunity with this repost of a 6 month old missive on privilege and useful idiocy of the inactivists on the enlightened left. From the link:

Where many I admire offer trenchant, sensible critiques of the politically calculated timidity of the Democratic Party, the enlightened left, in a desperate bid for moral and intellectual superiority, only seems to offer a nihilistic, absolutist position that offers nothing but the smug posturing of those who have little to fear.

In general, the truth is that we’d be better off ignoring them. Their irrational anger and logic-free claims have little appeal outside a small group of similarly privileged, similarly ignorant inactivists who somehow imagine that posting diatribes online to the same small audience will change the world. They don’t trouble themselves with understanding domestic or foreign policy, preferring to throw around words like “Zionist,” “hegemony,” and “NeoLiberal” as if those are actual arguments, not just poorly understood catchphrases.

While the author couldn’t be bothered to update this weak hit piece from last year, a comment from this year, thanks to the repost, shows that this isn’t November, 2015 anymore. Here is the comment from Tom Clark:

So a a Progressive New Deal Democrat I am no longer allowed to use the term neoliberal? I am an avid supporter of Senator Sanders and his efforts to bring the Democratic party back to where it was from 1932 through 1992. There is a major split in the Democratic party and it is much more serious than many of the Hillary supporters think it is. Neoliberal “Third Way” politics has not only shifted the Democratic party to the center, it has betrayed the working people of this country. I am currently reading Thomas Franks new book Listen Liberals, and even though most of the issues he discusses are ones that I have agreed with for the past ten years or so he has brought up some that I had not contemplated before. In this article you chastise people who are privileged and are not threatened by the right wing, yet today that is what makes up the core of the Democratic party. Upper income white professionals run not only the national party but most state and county levels as well. This is where the disconnect has occurred, while they are very supportive of social issues such as abortion rights and LGBT issues, they have supported poor trade deals such as NAFTA and TPP, relaxed banking regulations and other predatory practices that hurt the working class. This is why many of us do not trust Hillary Clinton, she has never stood up for the working person and now that she wants to be President we are supposed to believe that she now will. Once she is elected she will appoint more Harvard educated policy people and once again pivot to the center. For the past 35 years there has been a long slow spiraling decline of the working middle class in this country and many of us on the left see electing Hillary Clinton as just more of the same. So I will continue using the term neoliberal, and not as a good thing.

Well said, Tom.

Democrat apologists are losing the argument that the Democratic Party is corrupt to the core, and the Clinton pivot to neoliberal triangulation is one of the main reasons why. Shove Hillary Clinton down our throats, and it won’t be fictional Russian nihilists that benefit, but the ruling class who have suckered partisans into thinking their incrementalism and symbolic identity politics is worth selling their political souls for.

It is not, and carrying on desperate attacks like the ones experienced here over the last few years shows which side of the argument is getting desperate.

For those interested in reading a good critique of neoliberalism, please read the Monbiot piece. It is excellent.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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10 Responses to 2016: The Left’s Last Stand Against Neoliberalism?

  1. Greg Strandberg says:

    I also read that comment earlier today and thought it worth pointing out in a post all it’s own. Good job.

  2. steve kelly says:

    Anti-Socratic talk wants only to persuade. Truth is never the ultimate goal. Successful persuasion gets the blue ribbon. It’s why party Democrats don’t do issues, they do elections, and then do next to nothing until the next election.

  3. I once emailed Noam Chomsky and asked him about neoliberalism. He responds to emails from regular Joes. I said I did not understand what it was, and also that Neoliberals were hard to distinguish from neoconservatives.

    He wrote back that Neoliberals “are neither new, nor liberal.”

    • JC says:

      Did you read the Monbiot piece? He gets right to it:

      “The term neoliberalism was coined at a meeting in Paris in 1938. Among the delegates were two men who came to define the ideology, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek.”

      You don’t need an email from Chomsky to learn something. And his answer just said what it wasn’t, not what it was. Fairly opaque and uninformative if you ask me.

    • Ah, duly chastised. I must have done a drive-by.

      Chomsky was succinct, accurate, and was not condescending or rude to a perfect stranger. This was over sixteen years ago, when I was still enamored with him.

  4. Big Swede says:

    I guess I’m a little confused. Would a neoliberal get kicked out of a commune for not working?


    • no, a neoliberal would be getting Soros money to infiltrate the commune in order to co-opt then commodify it.

      • steve kelly says:

        …or a neoliberal would sell the worthless, non-working slave to an unsuspecting foreign investment company, while shorting the global market for worthless, non-working slaves.

        • How many Randians does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

          At least 11 – ten to do the work, but one millionaire too. Without the millionaire, the workers would not have a light bulb, a socket, and would not know which way to turn it.

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