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

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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