janan.ganesh@ft.com political misapprehensions episode DLXXII: The Democratic Party has rejoined The Party of War. A comment by American Writer

There are in Mr. Ganesh’s latest political feuilleton some serio-comic moments. His perpetual political misapprehension, or is it a cultivated ignorance? that  deserve highlighting , my focus will be as selective as Mr. Ganesh’s!

“Turn out the lights when Mattis leaves”, tweeted Democratic congressman Adam Schiff, upon the defence secretary’s resignation last week.

The ‘Center’ of American political life is now dominated by the alliance between the New Democrats and the Neo-Conservative. Rep. Schiff is a true believer in that Party Line: Russian Revanchism and the myth of ‘Russian Meddling’ in the 2016 election. In sum a full time political hysteric for the New Cold War.

It took the trauma of Mr Trump’s presidency to focus Democratic minds.

Mrs. Clinton was always ‘tougher than any man in the room’ i.e. the absolute ally of the Neo-Conservative War Mongers! The house -broken Schiff just repeats the Party Line!

These intellectual conversions go beyond policy to ways of seeing the world. Parts of the left took to relativism as it oozed out of the universities in the 1970s.

Relativism’ was the Party Line of the critics of Rorty and Post-Modernists like Derrida- too sophisticated for this newspaper writer! Its echos the yammerings of Canadian Frontiersman Jordan Peterson’s attack on the Marxist-Postmodernists, based on his cultivated historical ignorance, masquerading as the current expression of  The Patriarchal Enlightenment!

None of this is to mock. Democrats are ending up in the correct place on lots of issues, even if tardily and for the wrong reasons. Nor is this phenomenon unique to American progressives.

A very sophisticated iteration of ‘mocking’ is Mr Ganesh’s metier! What is an American ‘Progressive’? The drivel that used to be the calling card of Neo-Liberal Ariana Huffington? protege of Milton Freedman and acolyte of Obama? Those ‘Progressives’  have now come to their senses and joined The Party of War! Mr. Ganesh is in an almost celebratory mood, but he can’t leave behind his skill as polemicist!

But of all the US left’s conversions since 2016, the most consequential for the world could be its renewed commitment to American leadership, up to and perhaps including the military kind. There was nothing inevitable about it. The opposite seemed more likely not long ago.

The ‘Left’ in America is not Schiff nor any other New Democrat, but Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein, and many others, newly elected to the House. An inconvenient fact, that has everything to do with Mr. Ganesh cultivated myopia!

At least since the Vietnam war soured, Democrats have been coy about the projection of hard power.

Mr. Ganesh can’t bring himself to say that America lost the Vietnam War! It didn’t ‘sour’ as he frames it, in the most trivial terms. Call it the exercise of a retrograde apologetics?

Either way, a party that was trending towards a mild pessimism about American power now increasingly seethes at the declinists, quietists and isolationists.

The ‘Declinists’ ,that Mr. Ganesh includes in his notion that the Democrats ‘seethes’ against, are the Neo-Conservatives, who are the New Democrats staunchest allies in the ‘Political Center’ that is The Party of Perpetual War!

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