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.
@BretStephensNYT names himself, in his praise of the Trump lowered corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%. ‘Those whom the gods will mock, first they make pompous economic forecasters.’ Its reeks of a dull-witted pastiche of Heidegger’s Delphic utterances, after his ‘turn’, much to highfalutin for this intellectual rube called ‘pundit’? This policy is a windfall, or the best these greedy corporations might ever get? The ‘American’ beneficiaries of that tax break who will re-repatriate their billions, trillions!
Where have Mr. Stephens perennial manufactured Trump hysterics gone? Look no further than Mr. Stephens’ Corporatist politics, in sum, his vision is of a polity run by and for rapacious Corporations: who seek the mirage of unending growth, in a world that has reached the end of that road, in terms of environment catastrophe, actual and potential. And of the inability of ‘The Market‘ to provide a sustainable model, or better yet a tenable Mythology . The economic present, in the watershed of the 2008 Depression, and the failure of The Self-correcting Market to manifest itself, to put it in a regrettable passive construction, are subject to Mr. Stephens selective ideological myopia.
The economy grew by 15.5 percent from the second quarter of 2009 to the second quarter of 2016. During the (slightly longer) Reagan boom of 1982-90, it grew by more than 38 percent. The failure to understand this meant a failure to appreciate the depth of American discontent. It helps explain how Hillary Clinton lost her unlosable election to a man whose central claim to office was that he understood business.
The enviable economic model of Reagan remains revelatory, a touchstone in Mr. Stephens essay. The model of ‘development’, as replacement for a destructive, not to speak of doomed ‘growth’ model, of Manfred Max Neef ,are beyond the ken, of the stunted economic/political imagination of Mr. Stephens.
Mr. Stephens attacks the New Democrats, who are no less loyal adherents to the Free Market Mythology, for their failure, for their lack of ‘grace’ toward the Trump economic leadership, sounding comically like Emily Post of several generations ago:
Had the economy tumbled over the past year his critics would surely have blamed him. It’s ill grace to deny him all credit when it’s doing so well.
What follows is a collection of Conservative economic cliches, again in praise of Trump’s enlightened economic policies: more of the same Neo-Liberalism of both Parties. This amounts to a Corporatism of greater or lesser degree. The bad bet the Democrats have made on the ‘Shutdown’ and the Trump Party line of the disloyalty of the New Democrats, in the DACA matter.
The reader is, as always, taken aback by the cultivated historical ignorance of Mr. Stephens, and a great many Americans, who think themselves entitled, whose self-conception is the ‘as if’ that they are a part of something eternal, The American State, as it is presently constituted. What ever happened to John Kennedy’s A Nation of Immigrants? to engage in the most superficial kind of bourgeois historical inquiry.
We are a historically realized state, founded on the genocide of Native Peoples , Slavery and the theft of land subject to an erasure by ‘pundits’ like Mr. Stephens. We exist as an historical inevitability created by an ersatz ‘Free Market Mythology’ , made possible by continuous strategic governmental intervention, a set of facts inconvenient to the Mt. Pelerin mystagogues!