Saturday, February 04, 2017

Don't be Frozen Like a Deer in the Headlights -- Embrace Socialism

From my perspective, the world is spinning out of control.  I went to read my favorite blogs today, and all was gloom, doom, and, above all, disdain for others.

In desperation, I turned to Steve Randy Waldmann www.interfluidity.com, and was not disappointed.  Steve without fail writes thoughtful and constructive posts, without gratuitous name calling.  His post today commented on Ezra Klein's gloomy discussion of political polarization in the U.S.  Ezra concluded his post as follows:
Polarization is going to get a lot worse before it starts getting better.
Waldmann points out some fundamentals of our political system that underlie the increasing polarization noted by Klein,  Professional politicians emphasize issues which differentiate the parties, while downplaying potential wedge issues such as immigration and trade.  Eventually, a politician like Trump comes along and hits on the populist issues which have been overlooked by the mainstream politicians.  

Commenters on Waldmann's post point out that the U.S. is not alone in experiencing increasing polarization these days.  So it's not plausible to assign all the blame to the U.S. political system and our rampant gerrymandering.

I agree that polarization is a global phenomenon, with, for example, Corbyn and Hamon demonstrating leftist strength in Britain and France (also Beppe Grillo in Italy). On the other side you have Putin in Russia and Duterte in the Philippines. Populism is the single underlying factor. To put it in crasser terms, it’s the economy, stupid.

Capitalism makes the economy paramount, so it’s not surprising that our neo-liberal, capitalist global consensus is churning in favor of popular demand for ever increasing economic strength. The right wants to deliver by removing all impediments to national prosperity, despite the obvious need for many of the impediments (fairness, environmental protection, compassion, maintain peace). The socialists want to derail the train whose momentum is heading to the competitive abyss.

Ezra Klein and other centrists hand-wringers seem to see where the train is headed, but remain frozen like deer in the headlights. In my opinion, we all should join with Sanders, Corbyn, Hamon, the Pope, and other socialists and deal with pressing human, and populist, human needs.  There is a significant movement, heavily weighted toward youth, that is leading the way.


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