Ron Paul Challenges Liberals – or Maybe Not
Matt Stoller, the former Senior Policy Advisor to Rep. Alan Grayson and a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute has a couple of very interesting articles posted at Naked Capitalism, Why Ron Paul Challenges Liberals, and the follow-up, Naked Capitalism, “A Home for All Sorts of Bircher Nonsense”
These are thought-provoking, in many ways insightful, and strike me as required reading, for a variety of reasons, including some valuable historical insights. However, one thought they provoke from me is that the main thesis is spectacularly wrong-headed. Stollar talks about what a great ally Paul’s staff was, when working on certain issues. I should say, “when working against certain issues” or things, like war and the unfettered evil workings of the Federal Reserve. The correct vocabulary is worth emphasizing. Liberals and Libertarians may find common ground in what they are against, but it is quite unlikely that they will ever find anything substantial that they both are for.
Stollar goes on to point out what he calls “a big problem” with liberalism. This is the mixture of two elements, support for federal power and the anti-war sentiment that arose with Viet Nam and has continued though today. In the same paragraph, Stollar says, “Liberalism doesn’t really exist much within the Democratic Party so much anymore.” This is an important thought, but he doesn’t pursue it, and as he goes on seems to conflate Democrats with Liberals, as suits his convenience. In the final paragraph of the first post he refers to: “a completely hollow liberal intellectual apparatus arguing for increasing the power of corporations through the Federal government to enact their agenda.” Seriously, WTF? I have absolutely no idea what the hell that is supposed to mean.
The second article is especially weak, and essentially devoid of any intellectual content. Stollar decides to “highlight a few of the reactions here without much of a rebuttal.” Why would anyone do that? Does he believe the reactions are self-refuting? Is he too lazy to rebut, or does he simply not have a good rebuttal?
At least he clearly sets forth the thesis of the first article: “that the same financing structures that are used to finance mass industrial warfare were used to create a liberal national economy and social safety.” Here is the source of Stollar’s alleged intra-liberal conflict, that Paul is somehow supposed to illuminate and inform. Though Stollar says: “I’ll be describing in much more detail the shifting of the social contract underlying this failure, which has nothing to do with Ron Paul and would exist with or without him.” So referencing Paul in the first place was a bit of a red herring.
He then goes on to provide extended quotes from posts by David Atkins, who he describes as “wrestling with what liberalism is” and Digby, who he simply rejects out of hand, though with a lot of words that don’t quite reach the level of snark
What Stollar describes as “contradictions within modern liberalism” boils down to liberalism needing big government to be interventionist, as Atkins demonstrates, but not imperialistic. But this is a totally coherent position. The problem lies not with progressive liberalism, but with the practical realities of managing a power system – which is what governemnt is – in a way that advances the common good, while holding the drive for imperialistic and domestic domination in check. This is going to be a central practical problem with any governing system or political philosophy – at least for one that takes seriously the idea of advancing the common good. To say it is the problem of liberalism is to ignore human nature, political reality, and the entirety of history.
Thus, a liberal can hold the positions that American involvement in WW II was necessary, but that our involvement in Viet Nam was not. Ditto Kosovo, vis-a-vis Iraq. One can also recognize that the only entity with enough heft to balance the power of trans-national mega-corporations is government, but Stollar does not choose to give that any consideration.
Stollar concludes: “As the New Deal era model sheds the last trappings of anything resembling social justice or equity for what used to be called the middle class (a process which Tom Ferguson has been relentlessly documenting since the early 1980s), the breakdown will become impossible to ignore. You can already see how flimsy the arguments are, from the partisans.“
I don’t know how one gets from the systematic dismantling of the New Deal by successive Republican administrations (and you can include both Clinton and Obama in this list) to the New Deal model shedding anything at all. And, no, I can’t see how flimsy liberal partisan arguments have anything to do with an assault on the middle class that has taken place from the right.
Stollar has constructed a straw man problem. Which is a shame, since there are real problems to be dealt with. One is the growth of right wing populism, as exemplified by the Tea Party – at least to the extent that is is real, and not a Fox News fabrication. Another is to harness the energy of the Occupy Movements, which provide some evidence that there is progressive populism that could be a source of real political strength. Most critically, though, as things stand now, there is no political left in this country with any actual power.
Corey Robin describes the central problem of American liberalism in the 21st Century, and closes the loop back to Stollar’s Ron Paul idea like this.
Digging a level deeper, the reason we don’t have such a spokesperson is that our political system is essentially owned by corporate interests, which is why we get alleged liberals like Clinton and Obama in Democratic leadership, while genuine progressives like Bernie Sanders, Dennis Kucinich, and even Alan Grayson are marginalized. On top of this, the right has a vigorous and powerful propaganda machine – hence the Tea Party; and the small number of progressive voices in broadcast media is nowhere close to providing a balance.
Money owns politics, and corporate interests, along with a small entrenched elite, own the vast majority of the money. The key to achieving progressive solutions is to get the money out of politics. But in the wake of Citizens United, that prospect is a forlorn hope. That is my “coherent structural critique of the American political order” in one short paragraph.
Cross posted at Retirement Blues
“a completely hollow liberal intellectual apparatus arguing for increasing the power of corporations through the Federal government to enact their agenda.” Seriously, WTF? I have absolutely no idea what the hell that is ..”
I could guess… i have no idea if it is what Stoller means:
the political “left” (nominally the democrats, but it actually doesn’t matter) to the extent they expand government power create the machinery which the corporate power seizes and uses for its own purposes. i would guess this is practically a universal law of government: people who want power seize the existing institutions of power and subvert them. it doesn’t much matter if the existing institutions were originally “right” or “left.”
i’d have had a little more hope that “real” liberals could find that balance between socially necessary government power and “excessive” imperialism, but that doesn’t actually appear to be within the grasp of human nature: Vietnam was brought to us by a “liberal” President, and Social Security is being destroyed by a “liberal” President with almost unanimous support from “progressives.”
“Digging a level deeper, the reason we don’t have such a spokesperson is that our political system is essentially owned by corporate interests, which is why we get alleged liberals like Clinton and Obama in Democratic leadership, while genuine progressives like Bernie Sanders, Dennis Kucinich, and even Alan Grayson are marginalized.”
The question is – why has the left failed where the right has partially succeeded? Ron Paul is much more prominent than Kucinich. Although pro-business, Paul is not a corporatist. Is a large portion of the right immune to corporate influence but not so the political left?
Also, I agree with coberly’s guess about the liberals increasing the power of corporations quote. If that is correct, the quote would make more sense if it said – a completely hollow liberal intellectual apparatus [effectively] increasing the power of corporations [by expanding the power of] the Federal government [with the naive expectation that it will] enact their agenda.
“while genuine progressives like Bernie Sanders, Dennis Kucinich, and even Alan Grayson are marginalized”
This really exposes the problem with the Left in this country. Many on the Left believe that these three are reasonable and principled politicians with a “pure” agenda. There has always been a severe minorty of people who believe that. The Left has tried very hard to seperate themselves from Obama, or at least pretend they are. The entire idea that Obama is somehow not progressive enough, or is not a “real” lefty is such a laughable idea, and the population does not buy it.
The main issue comes down to results. The Progressive agenda implemented thru the Democratic party is and always has been a complete failure in terms of fulfilling the American dream of freedom and prosperity thru rugged individualism. Progressives in the Republican party fail miserably as well, and it really explains why the Tea Party arose. The Progressives have to lie to the population to further their agenda, and the population is finally catching on, so as they lose political power….they are beginning to panic, especially since support for overturning the Golden Crown of Liberalism and Progresive thought….or ObamaCare and AGW…may just become reality, and we get a post like this to complain about it when in reality Stoller is just pointing out the obvious.
I guess Stoller is playing on the literal, historical emergence of American liberalism. The rise of the modern liberal interventionist state coincided with the rise of the US as an international power in WWI with Wilson.
That war did iin some sense facilitate it’s rise is true. This was true with the Civil War as well-there was a temporary income tax, overall the size of the state increased. During Wison’s term it was WWI that enabled us to get the nominal income tax raised to bring in significant revenue from the rich.
When you say that it is not logically incoherent to demand a government that is interventionist but not imperialistic this is true. He’s playing on the historical fact that the two did coincide-arguably they enabled government interventionism to grow faster than it otehr wise coud have without world war.
I guess as you suggest, there are times when military intervention were justified and times they weren’t.
There are also times that it was benefical to us economically-the Civil War, WWI, WWII and times which it wasn’t-Iraq.
During the 30s FDR was right to resist the “isolationists”-basicaly until WWII isolationism was offical U.S> policy- but during the Iraq war we saw “isolationism” used as a spurious charge against anyone who rightly questioned teh Iraq war.
I get your point, but Stoller seems to mean something quite specific, not just basic human tendencies.
Viet Nam was brought to us by Ike. I also lay the current Iranian situation at his feet, as the result of what he did in 1953. But – to your point – there is virtually no difference between R’s and D’s on foreign policy. Well, except that D’s seem to do it marginally better. But that’s competence, not ideology. The great arc of American post WW II imperialistic foreign policy has indeed be a virtual constant, transcending parties and presidents. It’s also been one ghastly muck-up, but that’s a different story.
The thing about BHO is that he never was a progressive. I don’t think he even played one on TV. He was mis-characterized as one by McCain, who cynically thought he could parlay the L-word into more votes.
Yes, Paul is an anomoly. There is no doubt that he seriously believes in the positions he takes. I seriously think he is bat-shit crzy. He doesn’t represent an explicitely pro-business agenda, but he espouses Austrian economics, and that is almost as good, from their PoV.
Re: the quote, you and Dale may be right. But to get there, you’re reading something other than what Stoller wrote.
You have baffled me. The Progressive agenda implemented thru the Democratic party is and always has been a complete failure in terms of fulfilling the American dream of freedom and prosperity thru rugged individualism.
Rugged individualism is part of the American mythos. But it’s a fantasy. And it’s a libertarian fantasy – essentially antithetical to progressive ideals. Read the Atkins link in the main post to see why, and then Digby’s to get the gist of the progressive agenda.
I don’t know what you think progressivism is, or which progressives you think are lying. We had a progressive domestic agenda after WW II up though about the mid 70’s – America’s golden age. Since Reagan, progressive political power has been essentially non-existent.
If you want lies, look to the right. I don’t know of any progressive who misleads anyone.
The entire idea that Obama is somehow not progressive enough, or is not a “real” lefty is such a laughable idea, and the population does not buy it.
Seriously – go learn what progressives actually believe, and then look at Obama’s record. You are spouting nonsense.
I think the answer is fairly obvious. To the extent “the right” favors low taxes and no regulation, it is “for” the corporations, and the corps are glad to spend their money to get them elected… and on TV.
On the other hand the “real left” doesn’t seem to be for anything coherent at all. I thought they were “for” Social Security, but it has become apparent that what they are really for is “Old Age Welfare,” something very different.
It turns out, I believe, that neither the popular right nor the popular left has any understanding of either politics or policy. They are for their particular party because they read “opinions” carefully crafted to agree with their prior opinion held over from one generation to another… some of which are perfectly valid, but which have nothing to do with the actual policies of their parties.
“obvious” to you and others who believe what makes them feel good … like “rugged individualists” too dumb to look around them and see that rugged individualism has not made any sense since the stone age. but it makes a great movie.
Right on, Jazz Man. Also please note that the population is barely holding its head above water. They don’t have time to parse the difference between “left” and “progressive.” As to buying the idea that this President is a socialist,at least half the voting public doesn’t believe that or don’t care.
In any case, it’s silly to call Dems or Progressives real leftists. There’s no advocate for state ownership of the means of production, the abolition of private property or any number of classically socialist, marxist, or otherwise “left wing” ideas. Having said that, any President who would move heaven and earth to subsidize the private health insurance industry can scarcely be acused of being hostile to private enterprise. We’re talking billions every year. HI companies’ profits are already showing significant growth with only a few provisions of the ACA being in place.
The R’s can spare us the whining. It’s boring. NancyO
Don’t encourage the fool with a reply to his ignorance. His words have the stench of flatulence and we all know where that hot air comes from. He makes a statement, “Many on the Left believe that these three are reasonable and principled politicians with a “pure” agenda.” Then ignores its content and goes on to other less progressive examples of Democrats without whether and how that belief of those on the left is not justified by the ideas and actions of the three named.
The fool makes no effort at all to justifiy his own illogical statements. He talks as though there is a genuine liberal/progressive faction in control of the Democratic Party. As I point out, he is blowing hot air.
“a completely hollow liberal intellectual apparatus arguing for increasing the power of corporations through the Federal government to enact their agenda.” Seriously, WTF? I have absolutely no idea what the hell that is supposed to mean.
it’s called neoliberalism. not sure how that’s so difficult to understand unless you don’t believe it be hollow…
“i’d have had a little more hope that “real” liberals could find that balance between socially necessary government power and “excessive” imperialism, but that doesn’t actually appear to be within the grasp of human nature”
This is something about which I’m very curious. Who decides what is “excessive?” What measurement do they use?
Please spend some time and try to catch up….obviously you haven’t the slightest clue of what you speak.
“The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is the largest caucus within the Democratic caucus in the United States Congress with 83 declared members, and works to advance progressive issues and positions.”
“I am somebody who is no doubt a Progressive.”-Barack Obama 2008
There is no difference between the so called “Left” and Progressives. You can try all you want to hide from it, and maybe those who agree with you will support the notion, but you have to be able to prove it, and besides calling everyone else a liar who doesn’t agree with the notion, you clearly are not going to be able to that.
Again, I know why Progressives are trying to distance themselves from Obama, it makes sense, but pointing to Obama’s record is not making the case for you. It is clearly hurting it, because Obama has accomplished quite a bit of the Progressive Agenda, and Obama’s rhetoric fails cleanly in line with everything Progressives stand for and want to accomplish. It is just a political tactic to try and acheive this seperation now.
Claiming Obama is not a “Leftist” or a “Progressive” because he was not able to nail down every single so called “Progressive” agenda item in 3 years is just laughable on it’s face. It’s like claiming G.W. Bush was not a Neo-Conservative because he only invaded Iraq and Afghanistan when clearly the movement wanted him in Iran, Syria, and Africa as well.
Although, there is not a set-in-stone guideline that so called “Progressives” can rally around to form one coherrent agenda platform, the overwhelming majority of those that seek “Progress” agree upon The Big Three.
1.) Health Care Reform specifically a Single Payer System-CHECK
Obama and the Democrats may not have got the full blown Single Payer System with the end around passage of ObamaCare, but there is no question that the legislation was designed with complete Obama blessing to ensure that once full enactment of the law happend it would only be a short amount of time before the full blown Single Payer System would be forced upon the American population.
2.) Cap & Trade-CHECK
Obama has done everything thing he can do for now to get this done, and fully agrees with accomplishing this agenda…thank god he hasn’t been able to get there yet.
3.) Financial and Banking reform-CHECK
There is no reason to comment specifically about this one, you have abosultely no case what-so-ever to claim that Obama is not in line with so called “Progressives,” and that he has not accomplished anything.
I don’t recall saying he hasn’t accomplished anything. Please don’t make unfunded claims about what I’m saying. I will say Obama is to the right of Clinotn, and Clinton was to the right of Eisenhower.
1) Shortly after assuming office, Obama appealed a district court ruling that granted prisoners in Afghanistan the right to challenge the legality of their detention, adopting the legal argument straight from the Bush DOJ.
2) On March 8, 2011, Obama issued a new executive order, formally codifying the permanent role of the Guantánamo Bay facility in the administration’s policy of indefinite detention, and as the location for military tribunals.
3) In October 2009, Obama signed the Military Commissions Act of 2009 into law. Attorney General Eric Holder has also assured critics that, in the unlikely case that a terrorism suspect is found not guilty by a civilian court, the administration will imprison him anyway, using what they call the president’s “post-acquittal detention powers.”
See, I can cherry pick every bit as well as you can. These items are absolutley inconsisent with progressive values. BHO calling himself progressive is as valid as GWB calling his brand of conservatism compassionate.
Cherry orchard found here. http://www.obamatheconservative.com/
But really, every bit of this is off topic. The post is not about Obama.
I don’t have any context or examples relating this to progressive liberalism, or a liberal intellectual apparatus. As far as can figure out, neoliberalism is the economic equivalent of what neoconservatism is politically.
i could be wrong, though. Do have specific examples?
I don’t recall engaging otter before, and I don’t generally assume someone is a troll on first contact.
He is digging a rather impressive troll hole, though.
So joining a club, or maybe a caucus, and giving it a name assures that the members of that club hold ideals that one might assume to be compatible with such a caucus. Is that the same as sayiing the Fox News actually broadcasts news because of its name. Or is it the same as saying that Dick Cheney and George Bush are patriots in their lust for wars of adventure because they say so. Or, as in G.W.s case they wear a military jacket. A rose by any name may still have the scent of the rose, but a pile of shit called a rose is still a stinking heap.
Yes, there are members of the Congress that hold and espouse a progressive approach to governing, but they are still a small minority of that body.
my guess is that you are playing games. but all human choices are choices between degrees of doubt. the only people who have clear ideas about what is and is not excessive or constitutional or bibilical… are insane.
you are quite right.
sadly, i grew up in chicago and when you meet an a**h*** in the alley you have to be ready to talk him down or beat him up.
the time may be coming when it’s too late to talk.
The problem with the bolded part of the statement is that it is totally convoluted and self contradictory. First, what is this “completely hollow liberal apparatus”? If such a group can be identified how does any of its actions assure empowerment of corporations through the federal government? If legislation is enacted that sets up financial regulations in order to reduce corporate misbehavior how does that empower the corporations regulated? The point is pointless. Argue all you want about the deficiencies of inadequate government, and define inadequate in any manner that you please, but that has nothing to do with the ideology of those in the government. Though it may be that some ideologies lend themselves to the attraction of adherents are intent on setting up an inadequate government. That’s just poor government resulting from poor choices of the governed.
“I will say Obama is to the right of Clinton”
I didn’t even read the rest of your comment….that’s just ridiculous. How can you expect me to take you serious now?
To the right of Clinton? Really? I’m not uneducated, and i am not politically uninformed, and I’m not young. C’mon Man seriously you need to start over…I await a serious response.
I am quite done with you. You will get a serious response when you ask a serious question. Also, it will give you a bit more credeince if it’s on topic.
Have a nice day.
Oh heck, Stoller is just discovering a very old and respectable argument that his opponents seem to find incomprehensible. I am not going to waste much time on people who have never encountered it, but they can try Lenin “Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism”, John Hobson, Rosa Luxenberg and Hilferding on the relationship betwen finance capitalism and imperialism, post -WWII Japanese Marxist Uno Kuzo on stages theory, and more recently, Michael Hudson’s historical work on the ingredients of liberalism and modern banking created in the Early Modern for the generation and sustenance of mass mobilized national armies. David Graeber also deals with it in his “Debt”
Ok, to try to summarize Hudson’s argument briefly and likely inadequately, the Thirty Years War was economically devastating to the monarchies and they realized to finance the modern war machine the “King’s debt” needed to become the “people’s debt” and thus nationalism, consent of the governed and liberalism, and modern credit national banking were necessary.
You really should explore Hudson’s website.
The DW-Nominate people say this about Senator Obama: “Senator Obama is at most marginally more liberal than Senator Clinton but the difference is negligible.” (http://voteview.com/Clinton_and_Obama.htm)
Unfortunately, the DW-Nominate people do not say that “liberal” and “conservative” mean, but they can still score senators and congressmen on that dimension over time.
IMO, Obama has shifted considerably to the right as President. Why, I do not know. Perhaps it is principled, based upon the idea that, as President, he represents the whole country, or based upon the hope that the political parties can come together in the hour of national crisis. Perhaps it is based upon some political calculaton that is beyond my ken. Perhaps it is based upon who he is, since this will be his last political office.
“Viet Nam was brought to us by Ike.”
Anyone who comes to that conclusion given the history of U.S. involvement in southeast Asia is a sycophant for the DNC and NOT an objective student of history.
“I also lay the current Iranian situation at his feet, as the result of what he did in 1953.”
“Viet Nam was brought to us by Ike.”
Anyone who comes to that conclusion given the history of U.S. involvement in southeast Asia is a sycophant for the DNC and NOT an objective student of history.
“I also lay the current Iranian situation at his feet, as the result of what he did in 1953.”
Apparently you’re not aware that a) Eisenhower encouraged the French to remain in Indochina, thereby leading to the French defeat at the hands of the Viet Mihn, b) Eisenhower cancelled the reunification elections scheduled to be held in South Vietnam because they would have led to Ho Chi Mihn being the new President of the newly-united Vietnam and “We didn’t save South Vietnam from Communism to hand it over to the Communists at the ballot box”, and c) Eisenhower sent the first advisors into South Vietnam.
That said, Eisenhower was at least wise enough to not send large numbers of ground troops into Vietnam. That took That B*&*** LBJ (yes, I generally use expletives around his name), in response to the collapse of the South Vietnamese Army after Diem was overthrown and executed, to come up with an excuse to send in the U.S. troops.
Regarding the situation in Iran, the CIA-led installation of the brutal Shah of Iran in 1953, overthrowing the democratically elected government, most certainly has a huge amount to do with the current situation in Iran. Without the Shah, there would have been no Ayatollah Khomeni leading a revolution against the Shah. Without the Ayatollah leading the revolution, there would have been no Islamic Republic of Iran. Without an Islamic Republic of Iran, what we’d basically have there in the heartland of ancient Persia would be something akin to India — a basically friendly democracy that nevertheless persues its own neutral foreign policy rather than aligning with any one “side” in the Great Game. But by destroying their democracy then suppressing the population brutally using US weapons provided to a US puppet ruler for the next 25 years… (shrug). Tends to have repercussions. Just sayin’.
Bad Tux wrote:
“Apparently you’re not aware that…”
No, I’m well aware. Funny thing is that history goes back before 1952. You see, Ho Chi Minh was ignored by many Democratic Presidents, starting with Woodrow Wilson. Even after Minh aided the U.S. during WWII (providing intel, rescuing U.S. servicemen), Truman not only ignored Minh’s requests for recognition of an independent nation (here’s a letter kept at the Smithsonian:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:HoChiMinhTelegramToTruman1946.png), but aided France, with both weapons and money, in its attempts to recolonize Vietnam. In fact, he ignored his own State Department which recommended “recognition of the New Democratic Republic of Vietnam and independence for the Vietnamese people. “
“Eisenhower sent the first advisors into South Vietnam.”
You need to check the timeline. Truman sent MAAG to Vietnam in 1950 and military advisors were part of his package.
“Eisenhower encouraged the French to remain in Indochina”
The French invaded Hanoi in 1946, under Truman’s watch as the U.S. president believed IndoChina belonged to France anyway. This occurred almost 7 years BEFORE Eisenhower would become president.
“Regarding the situation in Iran…”
Again, the bias in this telling of history is clear. Although they were upset at the CIA’s involvement in their election (who wouldn’t be when a foreign manipulation), the conflict in Iran was/is about modernity and religion. Instead of getting your take on this issue from Chomsky, you should ask some Iranians themselves, like some students under 30. It changed my view of the situation.
When one stops regurgitating the pseudo-history in mediocre texts and idiotic movies and views their depictions with a skeptical eye, you begin to get a real feeling for past events. But go on and think Eisenhower is the one to blame for Vietnam. It’s the easy thing to do.
Huh? The CIA overthrew the elected government of Iran and installed a vicious dictator who the U.S. then armed and encouraged to repress the people for the next 25 years. That’s a bit more than “interfere with an election”, duh.
Regarding Truman, I’ve long been of the belief that he is quite overrated as a President. His Presidency was pretty much a long series of disasters including both the many foreign policy disasters that occurred on his watch — the Iron Curtain in Europe, the fall of China to Mao, the Korean quagmire and Douglas Macarthur situation, etc. — but also a recession that was every bit as severe as the current recession caused by the rapid draw-down of government spending after WW2. It was not until Eisenhower’s presidency that U.S. GDP reached once again the same level as it’d been at in 1944, and most of that was because of the ramp-up of spending for the Korean War. Just another argument for the importance of fiscal policy when it comes to economic growth… hrm. Which reminds me that Obama’s situation today is similar to Truman’s in 1948 — the economy is clearly on the upswing again, but still far from what it should have been if proper economic policies had been in place. Truman won that one, with a little help from the Chicago machine. Hmm, who else has a little help from the Chicago machine today? ;).
The GDP spike during WW II was an aberation. See attached chart. The idea that we could sustain the high , even with the entire rest if the world’s industrial might basically laid waste, is a chimera of the left.
See attached image of GDP growth
And I agree with Kevin on Iran. It was a religion vs. modernization (the Shah pushed way to fast) uprising. And definitely the new regime is much worse than the Shah…
Islam will change
i have to agree with you about this. to say that ike brought us the vietnam war is to sin against language, history, and common sense. it is political reasoning at its most flagrant.
as for the “current iranian situation”… a case could be made that what “we” did in 1953 has “led” to what we see today… but “we” have been doing it for the rest of the 60 years since, so picking on ike is … well, about as sensible as blaming Richard I. (which, i understand, “they” do.)
disagree with you on this. neoliberalism is an ideology, with a base intellectual premise that it is possible to utilize free-market mechanisms to further liberal goals. hence, for instance, you have taxation policy that provides incentives for corporations (and people) to hopefully “do the right thing,” instead of mandating that it be done, or having the government do it instead. you have a belief that you can set up free market exchanges instead of adminstering health care through a single payer system. you have a push to corporatize the school system by dems. and you have neoliberals at the Treasury bending over backwards to justify their stance towards the financial sector by saying that it will all trickle down to the rest of us eventually.
this has proven to be a hollow ideology since it has resulted in a lurch to the right on a host of issues, a reinforcement of the conservative ideology that everything can best be accomplished through the “free-market,” a (legitimate) feeling of a lack of distinction from republicans and tremendous disconnect from the people that neoliberals profess to want to help (i.e., as technocrats, they don’t want to do the hard work of actual convincing the people that what they are doing is the right thing). from my reading, this is what stoller is referring to here (i’m not commenting on the rest of his post). as it is the ideology the dem party has followed since clinton (if not beforehand), and is clearly the one that obama adheres to, is rather paternalistic (as is liberalism as a whole in many cases, but that’s another story) and look where it has gotten progressives.
and yes, there are alternatives…in the sense that you can either a) make your case for doing the right thing on moral grounds and/or b) create an intellectual movement around seeking systemic change instead of changes in adminstrations and/or c) include and empower the people who you profess to help in setting the agenda so as to build broader popular support.
jazzbumpa: “Viet Nam was brought to us by Ike.”
kevin: “Anyone who comes to that conclusion given the history of U.S. involvement in southeast Asia is a sycophant for the DNC and NOT an objective student of history.”
Viet Nam was supposed to have free elections in 1954, after they overthrew the French. Guess who prevented those elections and divided Viet Nam: the French and the U. S. under Ike. During the Cold War, no U. S. president was going to let South Viet Nam fall without a fight. With Ike the die was cast.
“a base intellectual premise that it is possible to utilize free-market mechanisms to further liberal goals. hence, for instance, you have taxation policy that provides incentives for corporations (and people) to hopefully “do the right thing,” instead of mandating that it be done, or having the government do it instead.”
in other words you limit the government to pushing up a rope. and never having to take responsibility for making policy work.
this is not an honest “ideology,” it’s just a clever cover for aiding the corporate power while still getting votes from people who think they are democrats.
and, as i have learned, you CAN’T “convince” people. you can “lead” them with rhetoric, to a good place or a bad. having looked at the “arguments”, I am not entirely sure this is a bad thing… eventually the people can tell when they are in a bad place. they can NEVER tell a good argument from a bad one.
when i say “convince” i am not necessarily talking about changing someone’s mind. i am talking about educating those that should be supporters of why they should be supporters. if you can’t “convince” or educate or lead or whatever you want to call it the very people you are supposedly helping, then there is a real problem…and the dem establishment and liberals (and even progressives) have fallen way short in this aspect imho. going back and forth on blogs does relatively little to educate someone who’s being foreclosed on what their options are or to get them to support any movement that would actually change their situation. admittedly, i am commenting on this blog and have my own, so i have no reservations that i am in a glass house. but it really may be time to stop trying to prove we are smarter than someone else online and instead do the hard work that is necessary for real change (up to the person to decide whether it should be within the system or not…but i choose the latter)
i mostly agree. but as for “convincing” i have had a bad experience trying to convince “liberals” that Social Security is not welfare, and must not be welfare. i have seen no evidence whatsoever of actual cognitive activity.
on the other hand, there are ways to reach people who are ready to be persuaded. it isn’t quite the same as convincing them by reason, but it is way better than “proving we are smarter than they are.”
It depends on what your defintion of Welfare is, and depends on what part of S.S we are talking about. Social Security is most certainly a Ponzi Scheme…anyone who doesn’t admit that is just a propoganda artist.
It’s Pay-Go so your not saving for your own benefit. Your benefit is somelses money. You always pretend as if the S.S. surplus is absolute and the program can never effect deficits or changes in tax policy…which it most certianly does.
There is no offical contract….so those that pay very little receive the most benefit. Depending on your definition this most certainly is a form of welfare. I.know.I.Know…it’s Insurance, but if were just Insurance then why do you still get the benefit if you don’t need it? After all, your contribution has already been spent by the time you get the benefit, so why should you get the benefit if you already have the means? Well…I guess it can’t be insurance then can it?
From Samuelson’s article:
“In a 1960 decision (Flemming v. Nestor), the court expressly rejected the argument that people have a contractual right to Social Security, citing the 1935 Social Security Act (“The right to alter, amend, or repeal any provision of this Act is hereby reserved to Congress”). Congress can change the program whenever it wants.”
I like to use that one, because I know it just drives you guys nuts. 🙂
So it’s not Retirement, It’s not a Ponzi Scheme, It’s not Welfare, and It’s not Insurance…..Gee what is it then? I am absolutely convinced that it is actually the Mystical God of Do Gooderness….and we must never touch S.S at all cost or Statists’ will die of a broken heart, and we would never want that would we?
i don’t usually say this. but i stopped reading with your remark about ponzi scheme. that is something only a complete ignoramus would say.
Actually, I’ve never heard anyone in the DNC mention that Ike prevented a free election in one country, and overthrew a democratically elected government in an other.
I kinda had to go learn those FACTS on my own.
FWIW, Churchill came to Truman witht he idea of overthrowing the democratically elected Iranian goveenmt, and Harry told him to go bag his British Arse. Then, after Ike was elected he made the request again and Ike and Dulles thought it was just peachy-keen.
But if that makes me a sycophant in your eyes, Keven, feel free to go back to reading World Nut Daily.
I just read Hudson’s “Democracy and Debt” post. He presents a pretty clear picture of what happens when finance sector oligarchs take control of governments – which, as he also points out – is exactly what is happening both here and in Europe.
He’s talking about a process which has played out repeatedly in history. And his solutions are exactly a progressive program of finance reform.
Based on this, I have no conflict with Hudson, and see no hint that he would agree with Stoller’s thesis.
Didn’t make any sense in the stone age, either.
you are like a very young and not too bright child who has read that “a rat is a four legged animal with hair” and concludes that all four legged animals with hair are rats. so a dog is just a big rat, and a horse is a very big rat.
a ponzi scheme is a fraud that steals people’s money by misrepresenting it’s finances. the finances of SS are very very clearly spelled out in the law. no one has ever lost money by “investing” in SS (except the poor victim of Flemming.. which shows not that SS is a fraud, but that the Congress can steal your money if you don’t watch out. I am trying to watch out for you and get the people to watch out. Sadly most of them are as dumb as you are and beleive the lies of the man with a sure thing on Wall Street he wants to sell you.)
What SS and Ponzi have in common is that they both rely on “later investors” to pay the benefits of “earlier investors.” Unfortunately for your argument that therefore they are the same is the fact that EVERY investment relies on later investors (or customers) to pay the “benefits” of earlier investors.
You are led astray by the claim that SS has “no assets.” In fact SS has better assets than any private investment. You can always run out of customers and your blue chip goes belly up. But SS has an infinite source of customers… “later investors.” And there is no fraud here… even without “forced savings” if the people understood SS they would be glad to “invest.” Because even though each generation “pays for” (in a primitive understanding of how money works) the one that went before, the fact is that each generation has more money than the one that went before, so even without increasing its tax rate, it is able to pay a profit or interest to the older generation, and will receive the same profit or interest from the next generation when it (the present generation) retires. There is no reason for this arrangement to ever end,
SS is not welfare because it is paid for entirely by the people who will get the benefits… benefits that are greater than what they paid in by the magic of pay as you go in a growing economy.
No one is being taxed to give money to someone else.
The payout formula is structured so that those who do not earn enough over a lifetime to have saved enough to retire are helped out by the “excess” of those who have earned more. This is not a “tax transfer,” it is an insurance payment. Those who earned more are in effect those who “did not have a fire,” and their payments to those who did (earned less) are exactly how an insurance plan is supposed to work. You probably can’t follow the distinction, but try to note that with “welfare” the “rich” guy is taxed to pay for someone who has not “paid his premium”. With SS, everyone pays the premium and you don’t know until the end if you are going to be one of “the rich” or one of those who needs to “collect” on his insurance.
as for the money being spent…. well, i think i just described how pay as you go works. if you are worried about the trust fund, you just fail to understand that when you put money in a bank, the bank spends it. that’s how savings and borrowing and lending work. but if you can’t understand that you are left with parroting the lies of those who are paid to fool the ignorant.
there is no “do gooderness” in this. just a very sensible way for people to insure they won’t starve when they get old. they do it with their own money. and they don’t take a damn thing from you.
claiming that you don’t need no steenking SS because you are going to get rich and won’t need no benefits is exactly the […]
that is true too. our libertarian friends are completely unaware that evolution favored cooperation.
all they really have is a two year olds idea of pffreedom to do what they want without let or hindrance. and they are easy suckers for the confidence men who encourage them to believe in rugged individualism while the highly organized politicians on the right conspire to take away from them their ability to cooperate for mutual protection.
no. you are stretching “logic” too far here. it may be that American imperial policy… or defense of the free world, as they put it… was evident by Ike’s messing with Vietnam, but you have to go at least one more deliberate step before you actually start a war.
can’t say for sure, but to the extent in means anything to have one president or another, ike seemed pretty chary of going to war. and to the extent it doesn’t mean anything, then there isn’t much point in singling out ike as against lbj.
you are not being quite fair here. the sycophant phrase was actually attached to your vietnam remark, which i addressed in my reply to Min.
as for Iran, your original statement was more defensible, but again, it would seem to be stretching a bit to single out Ike for what was American policy for fifty years after he was dead..