Jeff Deist on the politics of the moment: Socialist Left, alt-Right, and the Myth of Democratic Consensus: a comment by American Writer

Mr. Deist’s political monologue was interesting even compelling listening. Yet when it came to examination/explanation of the Left as being friendly to The World Bank and the IMF, it was a description more in keeping with Neo-Liberals like Clinton and Obama, rather that any actual Leftist, that I can recall. Also he makes the charge that the Left remains in the thrall of Identity Politics. Perhaps we might look at this as a rhetorical gambit to avoid the very real question of Utopianism on both Right and Left. The unfettered Market that Mr. Deist continually presents  as the answer to a failed politics, and a equally failed idea and practice, not speak of its status as a cornerstone of America’s political faith, of democratic consensus. Mr. Deist leaves the Utopian question alone, in order to make much of Identity Politics as illegitimate, even without foundation, when the reality of contemporary American Conservatism is its overt hostility to people of color, gays, Muslims etc. For an institutional confirmation  of this, one need only look to Selby County v. Holder that nullified the pre-clearance clause of the Voting Rights Act, to see one salient, egregious example of the power of the  Neo-Confederate/Originalist quartet and their ally Justice Kennedy. The claim of the majority that ‘things have changed’ utterly eviscerated by Justice Ginsberg’s withering dissent . On the question of Left Utopianism the name of Marx could have been a target worth at least a mention. Marx and Marxism being the all purpose specter of the Right.

Sen. Sanders is a Democratic Socialist who  fits easily into  the  American Political Tradition that is briefly mentioned in Deist’s low key polemic. One can also look to the long career of Eugene V. Debs as Union leader and presidential candidate as another political inconvenience.

Mr. Deist demonstrates an  trustworthiness on the question of the ‘Left’, but what I found most disturbing was his almost unhinged hostility to democracy and democratic consensus! Does he believe in the political efficacy/relevance of the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, The Bill of Rights? Or is his political fealty to the wisdom of The Market as political/economic/ethical/historical singularity?

I have just re-read chapter 9 of Malachi Haim Hacohen’s Karl Popper, the Formative Years 1902-1945. This chapter is devoted to Popper’s critique of Plato, Hegel and Marx and ‘Historicism’. And what Mr. Haim Hacohen presents to the reader is that the friends who acted as editors of his manuscript of The Open Society had to edit carefully the vulgar negative characterizations of those three thinkers. Mr. Deist could have used such friends and allies, if they even exist.

American Writer

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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