Andy Divine on the American Opioid Crisis. Political Observer comments

The reader marvels at Andy Divine’s latest essay , after some introductory remarks, a commentary on a ‘deeper American story’ that segues into this description of America’s Opioid Crisis:

The scale and darkness of this phenomenon is a sign of a civilization in a more acute crisis than we knew, a nation overwhelmed by a warp-speed, postindustrial world, a culture yearning to give up, indifferent to life and death, enraptured by withdrawal and nothingness. America, having pioneered the modern way of life, is now in the midst of trying to escape it.

Mr. Divine briefly mentions ‘the economic stress the country is enduring’ as the briefest description of the Crash of 2008, and ensuing Depression that is still with us in 2018. That  Crisis has led, ten years later, to an endemic cultural,existential, political despair about the present and the future. The corporation that is the capitalist model of our present and future is Jeff Bezos’ new Sweat Shop called Amazon. Mr. Divine avoids, at all costs, his advocacy and apologetics for the revelation of The Free Market, that has ended in catastrophe. He avoids the obvious reasons for the Opioid Crisis, except for ‘our own collapse in morality and self-control’ , this merde an integral part of the Neo-Conservative obsession with ‘Decadence’! The moral, political melodrama is framed :

The scale and darkness of this phenomenon is a sign of a civilization in a more acute crisis than we knew, a nation overwhelmed by a warp-speed, postindustrial world, a culture yearning to give up, indifferent to life and death, enraptured by withdrawal and nothingness. America, having pioneered the modern way of life, is now in the midst of trying to escape it.

Mr. Divine then asks the burning question: How does an opioid make you feel? He then spends six paragraphs explaining to the reader how the user feels, and names some of the celebrated users  ‘ including the poets Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Keats, and Baudelaire, and the novelist Walter Scott including the poets Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Keats, and Baudelaire, and the novelist Walter Scott — were as infused with opium as the late Beatles were with LSD.’ That Opoids and Hallucinogens are two distinct kinds of drugs is of no concern to this writer.

This followed by a potted history of The Poppy in American life, and other pressing matters like this about Neo-Conservative Daniel Bell:

It’s been several decades since Daniel Bell wrote The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism, but his insights have proven prescient. Ever-more-powerful market forces actually undermine the foundations of social stability, wreaking havoc on tradition, religion, and robust civil associations, destroying what conservatives value the most. They create a less human world. They make us less happy. They generate pain.

Or this ‘if’ on Marx, that Bret Stephens found to be eminently quotable:

If Marx posited that religion is the opiate of the people, then we have reached a new, more clarifying moment in the history of the West: Opiates are now the religion of the people. A verse by the poet William Brewer sums up this new world:

Where once was faith,

there are sirens: red lights spinning

door to door, a record twenty-four

in one day, all the bodies

at the morgue filled with light.

Not to be missed is Mr. Divine’s last compellingly readable paragraph, in which he dons the Prophet’s Robe, imagine the scene, starring Charlton Heston, in Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 Hollywood blockbuster Biblical kitsch ‘The Ten Commandments’:

We have seen this story before — in America and elsewhere.
The allure of opiates’ joys are filling a hole in the human heart and soul today as they have since the dawn of civilization. But this time, the drugs are not merely laced with danger and addiction. In a way never experienced by humanity before, the pharmaceutically sophisticated and ever more intense bastard children of the sturdy little flower bring mass death in their wake. This time, they are agents of an eternal and enveloping darkness. And there is a long, long path ahead, and many more bodies to count, before we will see any light.

Political Observer








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American Writer on more Billy Graham Merde!

Melani McAlister doesn’t just recite the Party Line on Billy Graham, she constructs an apologetic for this Old Time Religion Entrepreneur, whose religion and politics were equally banal and utterly conformist

Billy Graham, who died Wednesday at the age of 99, may have been “America’s Pastor,” but he was also a man of the world. From the early days of his ministry, when he visited U.S. military forces in Korea, to his quiet message of healing at Washington Cathedral in the aftermath of September 11, Graham was a frequent commentator on—and participant in—global politics. He used his status as the most important American religious figure of the 20th century to help lead American evangelicals into a more robust engagement with the rest of the world. He was also an institution builder who was deeply invested in Christianity as a global faith.

There were other people who taught more missionaries, and some who reached more people on television; there were even those whose preaching events rivaled Graham’s in size. But no one else did as much to turn evangelicalism into an international movement that could stand alongside—and ultimately challenge—both the Vatican and the liberal World Council of Churches for the mantle of global Christian leadership.

In Graham’s early days, he was known as both a straightforward anti-communist and a crusader for souls. “Either Communism must die, or Christianity must die,” he famously said, “because it is actually a battle between Christ and the anti-Christ.” When the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association organized the World Congress on Evangelism in 1966, they chose to hold it in the divided city of Berlin, which Graham called a “symbol of freedom and democracy.” For Graham and his people, the Cold War and the expansion of American-style evangelicalism were two sides of the same coin. This was a vision that held sway among American evangelicals for the next two decades, although it would also soon be challenged by the very globalization of the church that Graham sought to champion.

Ms. McAlister presents this:

Graham also understood, and celebrated, the fact that the future of the evangelical movement lay with leaders in the Global South.

And then this about the Global South, and the utterly un-mentioned Catholic Liberation Theologian, Gustavo Gutiérrez :

One faction, led by Graham, saw evangelism as their single most urgent priority. The other, led largely by a contingent of social-justice minded Latin Americans, believed that evangelicals must make a commitment to “social concern” for the poor and oppressed. Their list of evangelicalism’s failings was long and political: We have frequently denied the rights of the underprivileged, they said; we have distorted the gospel and offered simplistic answers to complex problems; we have been partisan in condemning totalitarianism but ignoring racism. The group saw themselves as offering a fundamental challenge to the American-style evangelism embodied by Billy Graham. Graham never came around to this view, but he did come to recognize that the future of the evangelical movement lay in the Global South.

Mr. Graham was a political moral conformist whose stances on Nixon, the War in Vietnam, Apartheid and The War on Terror, LGBT rights and Islam were completely predictable, dominated by his need to seem within the ‘political mainstream’. Franklin is a reactionary theocrat, a mirror image of the Iranian mullahs. Billy was just an Empire Builder for Christ in the Age of the 21 inch black and white screen.

Ms. McAlister almost constructs a believable critique of Graham, while maintaining, at all costs, her bourgeois academic respectability.

For readers old enough to recall Elizabeth Hardwick’s essay from the New York Review of Books of August 16, 1979 titled The Portable Canterbury, in which she reviews these three books:

Billy Graham: A Parable of American Righteousness

by Marshall Frady
Little, Brown, 546 pp., $12.95

Billy Graham: Evangelist to the World

by John Pollock
Harper & Row, 324 pp., $10.00

Angels: God’s Secret Agents

by Billy Graham

Doubleday, 175 pp., $4.95

The David Levine caricature is irresistibly evocative portrait of Mr. Graham. Some long, but eminently readable, selective quotation from Ms. Hardwick’s essay are both tellingly observed and elegantly written. Ms. McAlister is, to put it charitably,  an American provincial of the Neo-Liberal Age.

The long, hectic pilgrimages, or “crusades” as the preferred word has it, to India, the Soviet Union, South Africa, Australia, Korea (South), and even to the foreign territory of Madison Square Garden: these are his biography. And Graham himself is a sort of double emanation: he is both the pilgrim and the shrine, the portable Canterbury to be visited and experienced. For God’s Star it is an iron routine, with the shape and the form of the appearance settled and unchanging, except for various scriptural texts read out and briefly connected to a generality, and sometimes for conservative political asides suitable to the nation under the siege of the crusade. This is, as it must be, a long-running play, sustained by the inspiration that comes to Graham, as it does to gifted actors, from the presence of the audience.

In Graham’s life and in his enterprise, it is as if one were to make a large foot-print with one’s initials on it signifying a single choice under which all the rest of experience would somehow be subsumed. This in many ways makes Graham a resistant object for Frady’s intense contemplation. First of all, if Graham is in a sense deprived by the habits of his mind, cut off from the vitality of struggling language, Frady is all language and flowing connection. Fluent sentences and paragraphs, a streaming abundance of imagery, a Faulknerian enchantment with the scenery in which these bare lives flourish. Frady’s biography of George Wallace1 and the present large work on Graham are outstanding works of literature, not quite like any other in their intention and quality.

Imaginative saturation, a special kind of interest and intelligence, much that is quirky and novelistic, high creative ambitions are brought to bear on his charmless, driven Americans, Wallace and Graham. Wallace’s nastiness and gift of tongues almost accumulate in Frady’s fascination with speech rhythm and anecdote into a kind of charm.

Validation by the powerful and well-known is a natural wish of one absorbed in number, one for whom any remaining pocket of smallness or obscurity is a defeat. And this need for validation will multiply in those lives that are marked by the exploitation of personality. Graham is anything but an exception. His “vulnerability was that, while he contended that he looked on all his associations now in government and commerce as mere openings for a fuller propagation of his ministry, at the same time he also was given to a compulsive entrancement with all those larger affairs and offices of the world.”

Current evangelism is as far as one can go in the pursuit of faith without works. Graham has brought to perfection the notion of a global parish, that is, no parish at all. He is relieved of the need to make private visits, to gather boxes of old clothes in the church basement, to perform weddings, bury the dead, to encourage rummage sales and pie-suppers. Not only is he relieved, but the saved are also, if they like, outside the demands of works in community with others. With their salvation kits, they are like patients making a single visit to a clinic and who are thereby recorded in the cure statistics. The commitment does not require one to attend Mass or to go about ringing doorbells, selling the Watch Tower, refusing blood transfusions and military service, making hasty recalculations of the procrastinating Day of Judgment.

In speaking of demonstrations, he was inclined to promote his own large gatherings. “I have been holding demonstrations myself for fifteen years—but in a stadium where it was legal.” At a meeting with Martin Luther King, he said, “So let me do my work in the stadium…and you do yours in the streets.” Perhaps Graham feared some usurpation of his authority and of the national attention as the cameras directed themselves to the hymn-singing “fellowship” in Selma and other southern cities.

Marshall Frady, with his high sense of American scenery and his creative ordering of the meaning of character as it displays itself in history, writes about Graham and King that they were “like the antipodal prophets of that continuing duality in the American nature between the Plymouth asperities and the readiness for spiritual adventure, between the authoritarian and the visionary.” Of King: “The genius of his otherwise baroque and ponderous metaphors was that they were the rhetoric of the human spirit gathering itself to terrific and massive struggle.”

To the numb and static vocabulary of Graham, the bad language of the Nixon tapes was a personal affront and a spiritual distress of the first order. Or perhaps it was the first and last order. The will to power cannot be admitted by Graham, who in his own driven will falls back upon the “stewardship mentioned so many times by Christ.” And what did he decide when he could no longer fail to name something askew in Nixon? “I think it was sleeping pills. Sleeping pills and demons.” As Frady expresses it, “Thus he has made his final peace with it: it had all been an exterior, artificial, demonic, chemical intervention. The fault had lain, not in Nixon, but in the dark stars and dark winds of the underworld.”

As the emblem to the Graham biography, Frady quotes from Billy Budd. And he returns to this theme in the matter of Nixon, telling of a visitor to Graham reading out Melville’s passages on Claggart’s evil. The visitor must have been Marshall Frady himself. Who else? In thinking of Graham, he writes: “There was also something about his equally abiding eager innocence throughout his relationship with Nixon that somehow strikingly evoked, more than anything else, Herman Melville’s moral fable Billy Budd.”

The television ministry: “the means of Graham’s greatest single impact on his own country.” It is “a massive closed system with its own vision and terms of evaluation and its own independent dynamic for self-preservation.” Almost impossible to recall the lonely and stricken aspect of the old evangelical tent and street corner, the listeners with hangovers and prison records, the hand-organ performances on a desolate evening, the forbidding, charitable soup kitchen. Or the rural gravity of Dinah, the anxious refinement of the elder Gosses.

Ms. Hardwick’s essay is behind a pay wall, but for $4.95 you can read her essay with its unmatched insights and translucent literary style: a breath of fresh air from 1979!

American Writer








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At The Financial Times: ‘Argentine Reform’, the battle between the Porteños and the Oligarchs!

Neo-Liberal ‘Reformer’ Macri vs Union Boss Hugo Moyano, or the Oligarchs are about to collide with the Porteños, might be a more apt description for this ‘news report’ by Mr. Mander. The 24 hour strike advocated by this ‘Union Boss’ is the purest kind of political theater, or just the blackmail of the lower orders spoiled by the de Kirchner coddling. So might the narrative be, as told by a Financial Times reporter?

First Mr. Mander supplies this, sure to send the regular reader of the august Financial Times into a fit of righteous indignation over this provocation by Federico Suarez:

“We can’t allow this neoliberal government to take away all our rights just for the benefit of the rich,” says Federico Suarez, a builder who supports the strike and describes Mr Macri as “scum”.

Mr. Mander interrupts the flow of his narrative to offer this evaluation of Mr. Moyano as leader and person, framed by this bit of reportorial dishonesty, disguised as speculation by anonymous sources, in sum hearsay : ‘…some believe’ , its truth value?

…some believe that Mr Moyano, the head of a union clan who denies charges that he has embezzled union welfare funds, may be trying to gain lenient treatment in the courts in return for toning down his confrontational stance.

But patience! the next  quotes are from the Oligarchs:

“The rate of inflation today is determined by the unions, not the central bank,” says Nicolás Catena, a leading figure in Argentina’s wine industry and a respected economist.

“It was very ingenuous to think that direct investment would suddenly leap just because of the change of government,” says Eduardo Costantini, a veteran financier and real estate developer.

Although foreign direct investment has increased from about $7bn a year in the latter years of the previous populist government to nearly $11bn last year, it remains low at 1.7 per cent of gross domestic product, compared with an average of about 3 per cent in the region, according to Treasury minister Nicolás Dujovne.

On Mr. Costantini’s investments:

He himself has bought more than $200m worth of land in Buenos Aires over the past year and is investing $400m in a real estate development in the downtown financial district.

The truth about the Neo-Liberalization of the Argentine economy, and the ‘strong medicine’ of Austerity, that is its sine qua non, is left to dotcom entrepreneur Alec Oxenford :

Even so, the resistance to the government’s attempts to liberalise Argentina’s economy means that progress is much slower than investors — and Mr Macri — might like. “I’m sure that Macri’s natural inclination as a businessman is to go full speed ahead. Shock therapy is in his nature,” says Alec Oxenford, a dotcom entrepreneur.

But beware, those ‘coddled  porteños’ exert a power of their own,that strikes fear in the hearts of the ‘Reformers‘ , to continue in the vein of rhetorical melodrama engaged in by Mr. Mander :

In one of the most dramatic examples of the challenges Mr Macri faces, protesters showered police with rocks outside Congress before his coalition managed to push through a watered down pension reform in December, still knocking the president’s approval ratings.  

What can ‘The Reformers’ hope for? There is no possibility of Macri winning over , in sum, bribing this  ‘corrupt Union Boss‘ and his followers. A Show Trail of  Mr. Moyano might offer the perfect opportunity, to help to avoid another ‘watered down’ attempt at Reform?

Political Cynic







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At The Financial Times: Mr. Andrei Soldatov on Russian Skullduggery: Political Realist scoffs

Mr. Andrei Soldatov has something to sell, an ‘analyst’ who shares the prejudices of The Financial Times editors, his ‘expertise’ on Russian skullduggery: ‘The Red Web: The Struggle Between Russia’s Digital Dictators and the New Online Revolutionaries’. The hyperbolic title alone evokes a kind of muted awe! Destined for the Best-Seller’s List?

Not much in this essay  except a ‘history made to measure’ of the ‘the second Chechen war’ and Putin as its inept orchestrator, as a kind of telling behavioral paradigm ?  The New Cold War , cultivated by the political alliance between the New Democrats and the porcine Spartans, the bellicose Neo-Conservatives, and their concerted propaganda campaign, waged over time, comes to fruition via the ‘investigation’ by FBI hack Mueller: a melodrama conceived with the 21 inch black and white screen of 1952 American in mind , starring ‘The Thirteen’ of  ‘a St Petersburg-based “troll farm” ‘. And now a word from our sponsor!

The ‘as if’ of this essay, by Mr. Andrei Soldatov, is that somehow Putin The Terrible has won some kind of victory in a Propaganda War between the US and Russia. Both Mueller and Soldatov would have produced a more adroit kind of propaganda,  had they both consulted Edward L. Bernays’ 1928 classic monograph called Propaganda.

Political Realist

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Netanyahu: Mad Man! Political Observer comments

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was once portrayed in the Western Press as a mad man, for his statements awash in his cultivated ideological/historical ignorance of the Holocaust, not to speak of his belief in the 12th Imam, as signs of his irrationalism. How many Western Leaders believe in the Virgin Birth and the ascent of Jesus, and other cornerstones of the Catholic Faith?
Mr. Netanyahu faces the possibility of arrest over charges of corruption, but now waves the remains of an Iranian drone and threatens an all out attack on Iran. Israel has between 100-200 nuclear bombs and the means to deliver them to targets in Iran. While Israeli apologists maintain the fiction that those bombs don’t exist. And or bragging in print about this ‘open secret’. Mordechai Vanunu is the person of conscience, in fact hero, who revealed the existence of these weapons to the world.
American diplomats and the President need to cut off all aid to Israel until Mr. Netanyahu offers an unambiguous retraction of this war mongering.It will never happen, but the world community must condemn this in the strongest terms. Let AIPAC lead the way to sanity. More delusional thinking.
Iran is another pariah nation like Russia and North Korea, not just subject to the scorn freely printed in the Western Press, but to the war cries of demagogues like Mr. Netanyahu. Yet he has the will and the power to plunge the world more deeply into the ‘Clash of Civilizations’ that will dwarf the Shoah, in its exercise of unalloyed nihilism, acting as political self exculpation.
Political Observer

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@FT: Beware! Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi has a vision of the future! Political Observer comments

Headline: Uber chief executive says group about more than car transport

Sub-headline: Dara Khosrowshahi offers expanded vision by which company will be the Amazon of rides

Uber and it’s latest Technocrat, Dara Khosrowshahi have a vision: the complete co-option of states and municipalities to exercise their political/moral responsibility to their citizens, yes citizens not consumers, to put strict enforceable rules as to who, and how, public transportation will be provided by private companies, in sum,  governed in the public interest! Its called government for a reason!

Its quite simple, except to the acolytes of an utterly failed Neo-Liberal Model of ‘Market Ascendancy’ now in its tenth year of what? How about this, ‘profound malaise’ or some other benign locution? The Amazon of rides makes the reader wonder at the breadth of Mr.Khosrowshahi ‘vision’ as a kind of  Capitalist Monopoly.

Mr. Khosrowshahi models his company on Mr. Bezos’ ever expanding reach, by being a paid propagandist for the CIA, and owner of the Washington Post, the Neo-Con Paper of Record. That newspaper has seen better days, as chronicled in dependable Hollywood  kitsch, starring two bankable names Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep in ‘The Post’. Mr. Bezos’ ambitions and their fulfillment has become the paradigm by which Mr. Khosrowshahi models his transportation company. What the world needs is one more would be oligarch with a vision! Bezos, Soros, the Koch brothers, Bloomberg etc., etc. This ‘news story’ resembles a press release in its brevity and lack of actual content.

Political Observer


 Headline: New TfL rules put further brake on Uber’s ambitions

Sub-headline: Private-hire operators will be forced to limit the time their drivers work

‘London’s transport authority has intensified its battle with Uber by announcing it will introduce regulations that would force ride-hailing apps to limit the time their drivers work and turn over travel data to the government. The new regulations from Transport for London would cover all private-hire companies, including traditional minicab groups. But the agency said the overhaul was specifically aimed at the “many new services being offered” — a clear reference to Uber, which is by far the largest new entrant in the British capital.

“The private-hire market is unrecognisable from when current legislation was introduced,” said Helen Chapman, interim director of licensing, regulation and charging at TfL.

The announcement comes six months after TfL decided not to renew Uber’s license to operate in London, finding it was not “fit and proper” because its service presented public-safety problems — including a failure to report “serious criminal offences”.

Uber has appealed against the decision and is allowed to continue its operations ahead of a hearing expected this summer.’

Looks like the TfL just put the kibosh on the plans of  Mr. Khosrowshahi, although Uber has a friend in M. 37%, Macron, whose Neo-Liberalization of the French  economy seems to be gaining momentum:

Headline: Uber wins French employment case

Sub-headline:  Labour tribunal decides Uber was not an employer, in contrast with UK ruling

Uber has won a legal battle in France over the employment status of one of its drivers after a labour tribunal said the ride hailing app was “in the business of intermediation and not that of a transportation service” and therefore did not act as an employer.

The decision from the industrial tribunal highlights the complexity of defining and regulating the service even after Europe’s top court said in December it should be treated as a traditional taxi company instead of a technology group.

On Thursday the French tribunal ruled in favour of Uber against a driver, Florian Menard, who argued he was not self-employed and that his service contract with the company should be reclassified as an employment contract. He argued for compensation in lieu of paid holidays and “concealed work”.

The tribunal said Mr Menard had been free to drive the hours he chose and to refuse trips. “The tribunal holds that the parties are bound by no employment contract and that this is in fact a commercial contract concluded between Mr Menard and Uber,” the ruling said. Mr Menard has one month to appeal.

Uber has faced widespread protests in France over working conditions and low pay. Protests have also swept the UK where Uber lost a key legal appeal in November after a London tribunal upheld a ruling that it must treat drivers as “workers” entitled to the minimum wage and holiday pay.

Political Observer

Posted 1:46 PM PST


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Neo-Liberal @lindsey_brink imagines a ‘Free Market Welfare State’, or thinking the impossible @dailybeast journalistic sink-hole. Almost Marx wonders at Mr. Brink’s cultivated historical ignorance, wedded to a misbegotten Utopianism!


The Daily Beast introduces Mr. Brink’s essay by means of an annoyingly vulgar photo montage, first grab the readership’s attention with a telling bit of  visual propaganda! before the reader even engages with Mr. Lindsey’s  advocacy for  ‘A Free Market Welfare State’ ! Or should the reader call it by its actual name the Guaranteed Income? reeks too much of the dreaded Welfare Stateism! But Mr. Lindsey’s opening paragraphs are demonstrative of the denial of responsibility that the Midwives of Trump use as an utterly unconvincing set of arguments for their lack of political culpability,

Opposition to the Trump presidency has thus far been almost entirely reactive. And understandably so: Responding to the incessant outrages and provocations is an exhausting, full-time job.

But over the longer term, righteous indignation isn’t enough. We need to recognize that Trump is a symptom of deeper ills. While containing the damage he causes is absolutely necessary, we also have to look past him and address the root causes that made his political rise possible.

The platitudinous, allied to vulgar moralizing defines Mr. Lindsey’s intervention:

There’s only one sure way to chase the dark forces of authoritarianism, demagoguery, and division out of positions of power and influence.

Success in that task is going to require fresh thinking and a new policy vision that defies prevailing ideological orthodoxies on both sides.

The case for a new policy vision begins with the recognition that Trump’s appeal, and the appeal of any populist demagogue, is fundamentally negative.

In this gathering crisis of legitimacy, voters who have lost faith in the established system are easily drawn to unqualified and irresponsible outsiders who could never dream of attaining high office in better-ordered times.

In the present case, Donald Trump’s political persona is the perfect antithesis of America’s highly educated, cosmopolitan meritocracy: thuggish and anti-intellectual, racially divisive, utterly unqualified, and tragicomically incompetent.

When Trump supporters feel that they personally are being attacked as “deplorable” racists and xenophobes, they are highly unlikely to respond by joining political ranks with their abusers.

Furthermore, since political opportunities for demagogues arise only when the legitimacy of the established order has badly eroded, the emergence of a populist insurgency is a clear indicator of elite failure on a massive scale.

The most effective way to defend liberal democracy in a crisis of legitimacy is, first of all, to acknowledge the crisis.

The focus of that policy vision should be the great, encompassing interest that unites all Americans across lines of race, class, gender, and religion: restoring economic dynamism and broadly shared prosperity after years of slow growth and high inequality.

Put these two trends together, and you’ll understand why, on election night in 2016, only 30 percent of Americans told pollsters that they expected their children to be better off than they are.

Meeting the great challenge of reviving the American Dream requires us to stake out new and currently unoccupied territory on the ideological spectrum.

Concerns about boosting growth, unleashing entrepreneurship, and removing barriers to competition are usually associated with the political right, while support for strengthening the safety net and social insurance is strongly identified with the left.

Mr. Lindsey knows not the virtue of brevity, but knows the opportunity that his essay offers:

At the Niskanen Center, a think tank in Washington, D.C., my colleagues and I are doing just that. We are working to identify and enact policies that simultaneously pursue two goals typically considered to be in conflict: a freer, more dynamic private sector and a bigger, more effective public sector. What we’re aiming for, in the words of my colleague Will Wilkinson, is a “free-market welfare state.”

In the midst of a collapsed Capitalism: the 2008 Depression and the failure to make right that collapse,  in one of foundational dogmas of the Neo-Liberal swindle, the Self-correcting Market, that has failed to manifest itself ,ten years after that economic catastrophe. While the 99% are moored in the immiseration of the failed Free Market Mythology, the 1% are reaping record profits, and their intellectual hirelings/false prophets offer fanciful alternatives. Mr. Lindsey offers more of the same poisonous mythology, tinctured with the imperatives of a recrudescent Welfare State, as the answer to an utterly dysfunctional Capitalism? A spoonful of sugar!

Except for the maladroitly framed notion of the Free Market Welfare State: Neo-Liberalism is eternal in the political imaginations of a bought and paid for intellectual class, whose primary loyalty is to rescue Capitalism from its predictable excesses, by means of a vaunted benevolence. A pastiche of Disraeli’s notion of a benevolent landed British aristocracy, as foundational to political stability, and its corollary the civic tranquility of the lower orders? The probability, a much too sophisticated historical analogy!

Almost Marx

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