Dear Establishment, turn off your CNN and explain this

This post is by: tibblebits

Political theatre in 2016 is turning to be the quite the spectacle. From a 73 year old socialist bringing revolutionary ideals into the democratic discourse, to a real estate tycoon (virtually) single-handedly turning the party of Lincoln and Reagan on its head with extreme race baiting, painfully cringe-worthy tweets, and an astounding lack of policy awareness. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. There are so many questions that this election cycle raises: Will the GOP ever be the same again? Does Socialism stand a chance? Who is in my corner?

In political theatre it is helpful to identify with a candidate. To find someone you can trust, someone who understands. My gut tells me that the majority of Americans vote like this. Here’s the story: they live their lives with occasional updates to their beliefs regarding the future, observe their material surroundings, and if their material reality and expectations for that reality diverge in substantial ways, then they vote for the opposition. If not, they vote for the status-quo. Personally, I do not identify with any of the candidates. My corner is empty aside from my (digital) stacks of Marxist literature.

It’s disappointing that Trumpian politics is too focused on the anti-globalist narrative to take a good, hard look at the state of the Union. His oppositional movement, interpreted as a reaction to neoliberal policies, is right up my alley, but his racism and sincere ignorance shuts me down. Bernie was my man for awhile, but his movement was co-opted by whiny, middle-class white kids looking to stamp “free” on every institution that can reasonably be argued to be a public good, that is, non-excludable and non-rivalrous, such as health care and post-secondary education. The problem is that neither of those goods are public in the formal sense as someone occupying a hospital bed or chair in a university classroom necessarily excludes someone else from occupying that same bed or chair. Hence, health care and education are not public goods in the economic sense. I digress, but my point is that stamping “free” on everything is by no means Socialism, and is no way to build a socialist movement.

I ask again, who is my corner? Who identifies with the weakest? The poorest? The people who build? The people who struggle? The people who weren’t born with a trust fund, a 529 plan, or documentation of their citizenship status? It seems to me that no one is willing to fight for them in 2016. Hillary Clinton might pay lip-service to these groups, and will surely push for “reforms” that address the proximate needs of such groups. Unfortunately, however, Clinton will do nothing to address the root affliction; anarchic production and extreme concentration of capital. These two paradoxes necessarily follow from liberal-capitalist ideology that tells us that “The ‘common good’ of a collective – a race, a class, a state – was the claim and justification of every tyranny ever established over men” (Rand, The Fountainhead). Consider, for a moment, that Rand is correct that collective action for the common good necessarily leads to tyranny. Wouldn’t you rather the tyranny be visible and towards a common good? Wouldn’t the worst type of tyranny be one whose tyrant is an invisible hand?

The meme below very accurately summarizes my feelings regarding this election cycle.


This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Dear Establishment, turn off your CNN and explain this

  1. morgandick says:

    To be perfectly honest, I found myself nodding my head in agreement with your post throughout the entire reading. It was refreshing to hear several of my personal opinions about this election written down so eloquently. I particularly enjoyed how you brought in the reading and it’s relation to this election. Job well done! (p.s – I particularly enjoyed the meme).

  2. Satchel Wells says:

    I would much rather be able to see the tyranny and see it moving towards a public good rather than an Adam Smith-esc invisible hand guiding us towards a public good. With it being visible, the people have a chance to intervene if the tyranny isn’t working in the interests of the public good possible disposing or re-orientating the tyranny towards accomplishing their original goal.

    I feel that in our society, we see some of the actions of government as tyrannical even though they are in interest of the public good because our personal interests don’t align with the people as a whole

  3. Satchel Wells says:

    If there was a tyrannical government, I would rather their action be visible instead of hidden. If their actions are all for the public good, at least with them being visible myself and others can draw our own opinions and choose to rise against the tyranny rather than being left in the dark. Adam Smith’s invisible hand theory always creeped me out so having the actions as visible would definitely be preferred.

  4. jakeivey says:

    Your post is very well written and it is obvious that a lot of thought went into writing it. I cant say that I agree with all of your points but I do find my self in the same corner, without a clear cut candidate. As the election date gets closer, I’m keeping an open mind as I feel that I haven’t heard any true persuasive arguments to sway me one way or the other. With 3 upcoming debates and hours of media coverage I will continue to learn more and conduct more research to form an educated opinion.

  5. pinkfreud96 says:

    Your post did a great job of laying out a few of the lingering questions that this crazy election has left in its wake. Incidentally, the answers to your three questions in the opening paragraph constitute “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” (Not in that order, however).

    On the bad side, the GOP will never be the same again after Trump’s mutation of it. Regardless of whether he wins or not in November, his block of voters–the nativist, anti-PC, alt-right subset of Republicans–will be here to stay. Considering how definitively he split the Republican party and its top leaders, the force he has awakened (no pun intended) will be an appealing one to campaign on for at least the next couple of elections, in a number of states. I suspect there will be a “Trump Contingent” in the 2017 Congress, in the same way that a number of “Berniecrats” will probably make it into the House and Senate.

    On the good side, Socialism in the United States is definitely going to win out. It more than stands a chance, but only in the somewhat near future. Bernie Sanders won the youth (<30) vote against Clinton by an insane margin–almost 3 to 1–and earned more youth votes than Trump and Clinton combined (Link below). Not only that, but in the Democratic primary, Bernie won the youth vote in literally every single demographic: female, male, Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, and all income and education levels. His vision is one shared by the voters of tomorrow and the next 60 years, not (as much with) the voters of the past 60 years. Imagine the doubly progressive children of the current Bernie voters, and it's hard to picture the Democratic Party as anything less than Bernie's Party in a couple decades.

    Which, is a contrast from the ugly truth that you observed earlier. There is nobody (who can realistically win) in your Marxist corner, or even on your side of the room in this current election. The current Democratic Party under the leadership of Hillary Clinton will merely pay lip service to the issues that are relevant to the far-left wing of the party. She is most assuredly the corporate candidate of 2016, one who has pushed the Citizens United ruling to its limit through exploiting a loophole that permits the use of paid online trolls–facilitated by her infamous ally David Brock's SuperPAC, Correct The Record–in direct coordination with the Clinton campaign (Link below). She clearly has no intention of addressing climate change to any significant degree, as her stubborn support for earthquake-inducing hydraulic fracking will confirm. Her VP selection of TIm Kaine reinforces that conclusion and additionally undermines her supposed reversal on support for the TPP trade deal. The trade deal she called "the gold standard" and publicly supported over 40 times was voted on for fast-track processing in Congress, which would make it impossible to view by the public prior to passage. Only 13 Senate Democrats voted for the fast-track authority. I'll grant you one guess to name the Virginian Democrat who wanted that American middle-class-decimating bill to pass unexamined. Hillary started her pivot to the center a long while ago, where she naturally gravitates, and she won't be coming back to try and appeal to scorned Bernie supporters anytime soon.

    And, seriously, the drone picture is spot on. I don't recall any candidate standing up against drone warfare, one of the most potent terrorist-creating tools in the world. Amen to the view that the two-party hegemons are no discernible choice at all, at the very least when it comes to war! We're decidedly on that path already, no matter who takes the cake on November 8th.

  6. Tanner Swanson says:

    I think you make a mistake here in thinking that Rand condones in any way a plutocratic system, which seems to be what your are suggesting. Indeed, in the paired reading for that day we read Sumner who spoke vocally against such a system, stating exactly what you did, that it is perhaps more dangerous because such a system is far more obscured.

    Indeed, in Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand’s most famous book, some of the main villians in the books are cronies/plutocrats, all cozy-ed up to the government officials. Even outside of government, she abhorred monopolistic companies that denigrated free markets by prohibiting competition.

    Additionally, I would be curious to know what you would expect of politicians to fix problems facing weaker political classes. If education and healthcare are not public goods, how do we fix them without supporting the plutocratic system you fear so much?

Leave a Reply