Janan Ganesh advocates a ‘steel-tipped liberalism’. A comment by Political Observer

Mr. Ganesh is a talented feuilletonist, a form of journalism that was popular in continental Europe, pioneered by the exiled German poet Heine, that became the target of the ire, contempt of the most famous journalist in historical memory, Karl Kraus. As a journalistic form it is endlessly useful in its permutations/adaptations : Mr. Ganesh’s particular version of this genre is etched in acid and its companions bile and contempt.

In his latest essay ominously headlined:  Only a steel-tipped liberalism can defeat the populists’ . That ‘steel-tipped liberalism’ is in fact Neo-Liberalism, an utterly failed utopian scheme, on its last legs.While the sub-headline takes its impetus from the very ‘Populists’ he preaches against: ‘Politicians will need to hold the hawkish line and harden it on migration’ What might the reader take from this? That Mr. Ganesh defends, in his ex post facto way, the  importation of cheap labor from former European colonies? Or that this strategy  was once an effort by Conservatives, and the eventual Neo-Liberals, to check the power of Labor Unions? No surprise that the imponderables of human beings, and their suffering, involved in this evolving situation are beyond the ken of  Mr. Ganesh’s moral imagination.

The highlights of the Ganesh Arguments are worth an inspection, although considerations of space makes comments on each daunting, if not impossible:

Bathtub Fallacy, The most insidious art in politics is the steering of one’s opponent into fringe positions, Leaders of the Third Way, But liberal politicians will need to at least hold the hawkish line — on national security, crime, welfare dependency — that took them into office in the very recent past, and harden it on migration., Liberalism only wins when it is dunked in molten steel. , Canada’s prime minister and dreamboat of cosmopolitan piety, Justin Trudeau., They are beatable with patience and discipline. It would be worse than ironic if, in their efforts to de-liberalise the west, they made their opponents more liberal than they ever were before, than is sensible, than is electable.

My foreshortened collection of his arguments demonstrates, with a kind of clarity, that the position of Mr. Ganesh, and his carefully confected political antagonists, share some arresting political commonalities.

Political Observer




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.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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