More of the same: The New Austerity and the end of gradualism of Mauricio Macri. A comment by Old Socialist

Here is the ’emerging Party Line’ on the ‘Argentine Crisis’ from the Neo-Liberals, as reported in The Financial Times :

Investors have been looking for the government to ditch its policy of “gradualism” in reducing its spending, and many analysts said they welcomed the promise to eliminate the primary budget deficit by next year.

“This is the only way they will arrest this crisis,” Federico Kaune, head of emerging market debt at UBS Asset Management, said ahead of Mr Dujovne’s announcement. “They need to show that the strategy has changed from gradualism to a more orthodox fiscal tightening.”

However, fund managers say that, after mis-steps and a worsening crisis that has burnt many investors who kept faith with the government, markets will need to see tangible evidence and hard commitments before they dip back in.

When all else fails, and it has, the Neo-Liberals simply make their failed and failing Austerity more draconian! The destruction of civil society, as the in -order-too of saving The Market!  Welcome not just the truck driver to the streets, but what is left of the Middle Class and the Porteños. Mauricio Macri welcomes back the de Kirchners, or their epigones. 

Old Socialist 


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Thomas Chatterton Williams reviews two Anti-Student polemics at the New York Times. Old Socialist comments

As moving and enlightening as I found Thomas Chatterton Williams’ interview here:

He is an outsider by choice, and more importantly by experience, his role model being his father aided by his own temperament. Mr. Williams remains well within the rhetoric of Neo-Libealism by accepting this pronouncement by William Egginton about ‘rampant inequality of both economic and social capital’ this demonstrates the pernicious character of the Neo-Liberal ascendancy, not to mention Mr. Williams as fellow traveler, the perfect reviewer for these two Anti-Student polemics/hysterics. Its an American Tradition from the time of  Berkley, Mario Savio, Ronald Reagan and Clark Kerr:

Student protests

Controversy exploded in 1964 when Berkeley students led the Free Speech Movement in protest of regulations limiting political activities on campus, including Civil Rights advocacy and protests against the Vietnam War. It culminated in hundreds of arrested students at a sit-in. Kerr’s initial decision was to not expel University of California students that participated in sit-ins off campus. That decision evolved into reluctance to expel students who later would protest on campus in a series of escalating events on the Berkeley campus in late 1964. Kerr was criticized both by students for not agreeing to their demands and by conservative UC Regent Edwin Pauley and others for responding too leniently to the student unrest.[3]


In 2002, the FBI released documents used to blacklist Kerr as part of a government campaign to suppress subversive viewpoints at the University.[4] This information had been classified by the FBI and was only released after a fifteen-year legal battle that the FBI repeatedly appealed up to the Supreme Court, but agreed to settle before the Supreme Court decided on hearing the matter. President Lyndon Johnson had picked Kerr to become Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare but withdrew the nomination after the FBI background check on Kerr included damaging information the agency knew to be false.

Edwin Pauley approached CIA Director John McCone (a Berkeley alum and associate) for assistance. McCone in turn met with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.[5][6] Hoover agreed to supply Pauley with confidential FBI information on “ultra-liberal” regents, faculty members, and students, and to assist in removing Kerr. Pauley received dozens of briefings from the FBI to this end. The FBI assisted Pauley and Ronald Reagan in painting Kerr as a dangerous “liberal.”

Kerr’s perceived leniency was key in Reagan’s election as Governor of California in 1966[citation needed] and in Kerr’s dismissal as president in 1967. Shortly thereafter, Kerr’s old friend Thomas M. Storke insisted that Kerr should be allowed to participate, as previously scheduled, in the dedication of a building on the Santa Barbara campus in Storke’s honor.[7] At the dedication ceremony Kerr stated that he had left the presidency of the university just as he had entered it: “fired with enthusiasm.”[7]

Kerr’s second memoir, The Gold and the Blue: A Personal Memoir of the University of California, 1949-1967 Volume Two: Political Turmoil details what he refers to as his greatest blunders in dealing with the Free Speech Movement that ultimately led to his firing.

Berkeley provides the model for the how of college administrators, like Clark Kerr, the FBI, and unscrupulous politicians like Reagan, their successors deal with ‘student unrest’ and their leaders like Mario Savio. The duplicity/mendacity of Clark Kerr, his alliance with the utterly corrupt FBI , under the leadership of the sexual/political paranoia of Closet Case J. Edgar Hoover,  the political hysteria of FBI informer Reagan,  other respectable bourgeois politicians, and a collaborationist corporate media are still active in the political present! The political actors and propagandists are now William Egginton , Gregg Lukkianoff and Jonathan Haidt with the help of  Thomas Chatterton Williams. Mr. Williams does not play his role of ‘outsider’ in this ‘review’ The political atmospherics of hysteria  are only heightened by the present post 9-11 world.

This reader recalls the ascendancy of  the bellicose  S.I. Hayakawa, to the interventions of Alan Bloom, Roger Kimball and Dinesh D’Souza, and their allies in the American press. The historical frame for these two books: ‘The Splintering of The American Mind’ and ‘The Coddling of the American Mind’ is an homage to that Neo-Conservative Alan Bloom’s highfalutin even hyperbolic book title, receives not one mention from Mr. Williams,  his essay/review in the territory of the a-historical. Mr. Bloom and his disdain for those students that found his status as Platonic Guardian a bit comic, in his rambling scolding polemic against students of a generation ago: their narcissism and their addiction to the dreaded dreaded ‘Rock Music’. In the present Age, Bloom’s demon would have been Hip-Hop, not quite a fit with Mr. William’s anguished relationship with this protein American musical genre, while it might still have resonance.

The authors of these two books and their ‘reviewer’ offer immediate evidence of the pernicious nature of the Neo-Conservative/Neo-Liberal alliance, that defines the Political Centrism of America. Mr.Williams  is not incapable of  providing an alternative reading of this history, a bit of elementary research could have led him to a more cogent informed commentary. What might come as an unhappy surprise, to Mr. Williams, is that some his readership were alive and fully cognoscente of American History as it  unfolded  from 1960, or even before ,the political events happening of the present crisis in the Campus life of American Universities. Some of his readership read the interventions by the previous generation of the producers of Anti-Student hysteria , and have a jaundiced view of the two books paying a political homage to Bloom’s political agitprop, that demonized a generation of students as politically heretical.

The focus of both these polemics are the college campus, yet Occupy Wall Street, the Show Trail of Cecily McMillan, and Ferguson remain on the outside of another generation of these purveyors of Anti-Student polemics , and the reviewer of their two books.  The titles of  The Splintering of The American Mind’, ‘The Coddling of the American Mind’ and pay a dubious  homage to Bloom’s book. Conservatives are addicted to jejune name calling, framed  in patriarchal moral shaming! Call the technique shopworn except, to generation of Conservatives, whose desperation is expressed, now,  in face of a ‘rebellion’ of infantile demanding students. We have heard this Party Line endlessly repeated across generations.

I’m tired of reading/listening to this shit! It reminds me of the Sixties and the paranoia about Hippies/Long Hairs and Anti-War Protestors at Thanksgiving and Christmas. The political present is informed by the past, our responsibility is to remind ourselves of what that past was, and not by engaging in an a-historical  approach to the vexing questions of the political present, framed by a homage to the polemics of the past, that simply repackages shopworn thinking as somehow valuable, viable in that political present. The concept of ‘I-Gen’,  dull witted journalistic pseudo-sociology and Jean Twenge concept of ‘ obsessed with safety’ are the contributions of the authorial duo of Lukianoff and Haidt to this toxic intervention on behalf of their conceptualization of political rationalism.  That the writers of these two books, and their reviewer, don’t even mention the rise and precipitous fall of the Neo-Liberal Swindle, as one of the most telling political/economic/civic events in the lives of this purported ‘I-Gen’ leaves this reader wondering about their grasp on the reality of American life in the dismal  political present.

Old Socialist



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Nicholas Xenos describes the Straussian Method, and I provide some examples of it’s application

StephenKMackSD's Blog

Here is a copy of page 100 and 101 of Cloaked in Virtue. I have provided a link to a copy that can be enlarged for easier reading :


In this page and a half Xenos describes the Straussian method used in the interpretation of Spinoza’s Treatise and  Xenophon’s Hiero. But here is a description of the Straussian Method that applies to the whole of Strauss’ interpretive endeavors:


See this methodology, described by Mr. Xenos, used by two prominent Neo-Conservative thinkers/technocrats:

First, Mr. Fukuyama in this essay: ‘The Decay of American Political Institutions’, I’m sorry to say is no longer available. A Google search provides a link that doesn’t work! In place of that, here is a link to my January 5, 2014 comment that provides some quotations from the essay and my replies:

Second, Robert Kagan’s ‘Superpowers Don’t Get to Retire’:

Here are links to the…

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Mr. Fukuyama on the plight of the poor, a comment by Political Skeptic

StephenKMackSD's Blog

America’s favorite Straussian, Mr. Fukuyama, can be depended upon to hit the high spots of the perennial Political Moralizing that infects the hectoring rhetoric of the Right. His concern for the ‘poor’ the ‘underclass’ finds the perfect opportunity, to demonstrate his status as a Big Thinker with a wide ranging concern for the whole of the American Community. But compare this book review with this essay from the American Interest of December 2013 portentously titled the Decay of American Political Institutions. The point of this essay is an all out attack on the melorist politics of the 20th Century, beginning with Teddy Roosevelt:

Be patient with Mr. Fukuyama’s verbosity, his status as a Big Thinker renders the virtues of brevity and concision null. A reader might just ruminate on the question: of what relevance is the Straussian imperative of esoteric reading of texts philosophical and otherwise? What weight should…

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Francis Fukuyama: a Straussian on the Trump victory, Almost Marx comments

StephenKMackSD's Blog

Beware the Straussians! Intellectual bloat, windy and self-serving re-descriptions of the past, the political  present and predictions on our collective, benighted future, by the stern guiding hand of the self-appointed Philosopher King! One need only read Mr. Fukuyama’s ‘The Decay of American Political Institutions’ in which he attacks the whole of the America’s melorist politics of the 20th Century. A sample of Mr. Fukuyama’s ex cathedra pronouncements, on Brown v Board, as an example of his concern for the proper functioning of American State institutions:

So familiar is this heroic narrative to Americans that they seldom realize how peculiar it is. The primary mover in the Brown case was the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a private voluntary association. The initiative had to come from private groups, of course, because state governments in the South were controlled by pro-segregation forces. The NAACP pressed the case on…

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My current Project: Excerpt from a reply to Francis Fukuyama’s essay ‘The Decay of American Political Institutions’ by Political Observer

StephenKMackSD's Blog

‘One of the great turning points in 20th-century American history was the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, which overturned on constitutional grounds the 19th-century Plessy v. Ferguson case that had upheld legal segregation. This decision was the starting point for the civil rights movement, which, over the following decade, succeeded in dismantling the formal barriers to racial equality and guaranteed the rights of African Americans and other minorities. The courts had cut their teeth earlier over union organizing rights; new social rules based on those rights provided a model for subsequent social movements in the late 20th century, from environmental protection to women’s rights to consumer safety to gay marriage.

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Mickalene Thomas challenges Manet’s “Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe” !

“History removed them from the conversation,” she says. Thomas decided to restart that conversation, placing black women in the same poses as some of western art’s most famous works. In 2010, for instance, she took on Manet’s “Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe”, noted for its nude woman alongside clothed men, with a painting of three self-assured — and fully dressed — black women.



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