Tuesday, June 26, 2018

"None of the Above" - Starting with Trudeau

What's worse, Italy now joining other European states that have succumbed to the far right, Erdogan cementing strongman rule in Turkey or the growing concern that Trump might win the presidency again in 2020? It's probably not the rise of the far right in Germany or France or Britain, at least not yet. And we're not losing much sleep over what has spread through Poland or Hungary or the Philippines either. Did I mention Burma or India?

It's all of these things taken together that should trouble us. There's an inescapable truth to these developments - liberal democracy is under attack and, in my opinion, it's supposedly well-intentioned but myopic leaders unable or unwilling to steer their nations clear of the scrap heap that awaits democracies beset too long by neoliberalism who must bear the blame.

Neoliberalism benefits the few, not the many. It shifts not only economic but also political power into the hands of those who control commerce and finance. The populace, left on the outside looking in, lose their faith in liberal democracy for having failed them.

Only their problem isn't liberal democracy. By the time the economic and political power shift happens, liberal democracy remains in name only, a mere trapping of popular legitimacy.

Globalism, of the sort we've endured these past 30+ years, treats progressivism as obsolete, a quaint vestige of times past. Yet it is that very progressivism that binds the political caste to the public and their wellbeing in service to the public interest instead of the narrow, private interest. It is progressivism that bonds the people to their nation.  It is the glue of social cohesion so essential when hard times arrive.

Alas we have a generation of political types suckled on the idea that globalism, multi-national trade pacts, agreements among governments that really serve a silent third party, the private sector, are imbued with  some inevitability. They pursue this path, failing or refusing to see the devastating role neoliberalism has played in undermining liberal democracy in so many other nations.

This is the way of the world. We must not deviate. Perpetual, exponential growth must be pursued at all costs. Who says, Justin Trudeau? Bill Morneau? The far-from-liberal Liberal caucus? Or is it Andrew Scheer or even Jagmeet Singh?  The fact is they all say it. We are shackled to it.

When Morneau warned young Canadians to accept that their fate was one of "job churn," life in the precariat with little hope of security, he was speaking from a corporate sector perspective. He didn't say we're going to prevent this, we're going to fight this so that you can have a good chance of a secure, worthwhile future. There was none of that.

If you're a young person listening to Morneau's crap, how endeared are you to liberal democracy in the age of neoliberalism? How must it feel to be written off as the "collateral damage" of neoliberalism, taking one for the team that won't be making a place for you? Do you feel your government has your best interests at heart? How could you possibly feel good about a government that so indifferently throws your future under the bus? Unless you come from Trudeau-grade wealth and privilege, how could you not feel disaffected, alienated from your government?

Earlier this month former Bank of Canada governor, David Dodge, predicted that some Canadians protesting the TransMountain pipeline will pay for it with their lives. He followed that urging that the government hold fast, keep the courage to take those lives:
“Nevertheless, we have to be willing to enforce the law once it’s there … It’s going to take some fortitude to stand up.”
Those opposed to this dark farce know the Trudeau government is incredibly selective about the laws it will enforce and the laws it skirts shamelessly where this pipeline is involved. You're not enforcing the law if you only enforce the bits that work for you.

So, how does that make you feel about liberal democracy in the age of neoliberalism or any form of democracy in a petro-state?

Do we really imagine that we're that much better than the people of other nations? Is our democracy immune to the contagion that has spread through former liberal democracies?

That Justin Trudeau cares very little about rebuilding democracy in Canada was manifest in his quick and facile rejection of his campaign promise for electoral reform. All the excuses he gave were pap, self-serving bullshit.

Where is Trudeau's commitment to defending Canadian democracy in this era of spreading authoritarianism and illiberal democracy? He remains the loyal servant of neoliberalism and globalism, despite all the evidence of how much those two forces have done to foment disaffection, undermine democracy and clear the path for the rise of authoritarian pimps stoking xenophobia and nativism.

You'll never have the measure of this prime minister until you manage to discern the difference between platitude and principle. This prime minister goes heavy on the first and extremely light on the second. He's offered us no grand vision for steering Canada safely through the tumult that's sweeping so many other nations. Perhaps he imagines that Canada will safely tick along without more. We're suckers if we fall for that.


Karl Kolchak said...

Justin Trudeau = Barack Obama. Seriously, everything you just wrote about Truduau goes double for the Great Black Hope, who topped it off by slaughtering tens of thousands of innocent civilians across the Middle East and turning Libya into a failed state where slavery has once again reared its ugly head.

I don't know about Canada, but public opinion polls in America have shown increasing support for a military coup d'etat among young adults. It is truly frightening to think that the generation that will be coming to power 20 years hence is losing all respect for liberal democracy. Dark days indeed lie ahead.

The Mound of Sound said...

A military coup, Karl? Tell me you're having me on. Do you really sense that America's young people have become that disaffected?

Trailblazer said...

It is quite possible the USA will disintegrate .
It will not happen in our lifetime and may not be violent .
The difference between the slave states and the rest of the USA is becoming more noticeable.
In other words there is no 'United" states.

Do we really imagine that we're that much better than the people of other nations? Is our democracy immune to the contagion that has spread through former liberal democracies?

No we are not, we are no different possibly because we lack political leadership for all parties.

Where is Trudeau's commitment to defending Canadian democracy in this era of spreading authoritarianism and illiberal democracy?

Trudeau is a flake .
Where Harpers hidden agenda had religious overtures; Trudeau's is kumbaya ,smoking hallucinatory drugs and wearing girls knickers.
I have reviled other PM's but Trudeau leaves me between the points of laughing or vomiting.


Purple library guy said...

The southern US may go in a different direction from what many people would currently expect. Demographics would suggest the days of white supremacy in the South are numbered. The whites could probably hang on if they were willing to co-opt the Hispanics, but they seem deeply unwilling to do so.

As to the hollowing out of liberal democracy and the rise of the more-or-less-fascist right . . . this kind of thing is hardly new. Liberal democracy is sometimes more hollow, sometimes less hollow, but it's always pretty hollow. The forces seeking to hollow it out are always there, and always strong; the capitalist system is designed for their benefit, not the benefit of democracy or the people. And those guys don't know the meaning of the word "enough". The engine is designed to get more, more, always MORE. And to get it, it eats everything--but most specifically, it eats the natural world, which is the freest profit, and it eats anything the working person gets his hands on beyond the merest subsistence. The system must destroy all social forces trying to keep back either some working/middle class prosperity or some part of the natural world from the engine.

Of course, people resist that. But as long as the basic nature of the system is in place, it will always be a rearguard action and victories will always be partial and short-lived; given time and effort, the very rich will always bring things back to situations like the one we are currently in. The more extreme the hollowing of democracy, the more powerless people feel, the less stake they have remaining in things as they are, the more they will gravitate to solutions that seem to hold out some promise of radical departure. Some go left, some go right. Hence the saying "socialism or barbarism".

Northern PoV said...

"It will not happen in our lifetime and may not be violent ."

Don't be too sure TB. Like the Chinese curse says, these are very interesting times.

"Civil unrest" will likely grow.
After all, it is a 'great' American tradition. It successfully dismantled a most of the official apartheid state in the USA and helped liberate Vietnam in the second half of the 20th century.
But the right wing is much more sophisticated now. The anti-Iraq protests (bigger than the anti-Vietnam protests and prior to the launch of the war), and Occupy were huge but quickly extinguished then buried.

Alas the coming civil unrest pushback will just give tRumps' (or Pences' or whoevers') rapidly growing law'n'order forces the excuse to really crack down.

Under that scenario a violent insurrection is very possible,
Canada will suffer (or disappear if it is unsuccessful),
ironically it will become 'our only hope'

Anonymous said...

"I don't know about Canada, but public opinion polls in America have shown increasing support for a military coup d'etat among young adults."

Ah, the folly of youth!

One could call them the Triggered Generation. The finest in Animal-Farmer Husbandry. Pay a bunch of meatpuppets to generate hysteria across the Fake Media and a whole bunch more will join in for free hoping to get some thrown their way. And the kiddies, who think of these vacuous birdbrains as heroes, eat it all up. (That's also how they get People of Color to vote for the ghetto-life.)

I suspect the neoliberal wing (real cunning lawyer-politicians) want the neoprog socialist wing to act up as crazy as possible going into the midterm elections – which are a referendum on a president's performance. (And he's packing WAY more heat than Reagan.)

They know they're in for a walloping because they got no ideas, no leadership and no vision. They threw everything at Trump and failed. All they can do now is bunker down and save as much of the Bribe Factory as they can.

So after the election, when the Democrats go down to an historic defeat, they will pin all the blame on the "Bernie Bro" wing. "The people rejected Bernie's SOCIALIST unicorn-in-every pot. The people rejected Bernie's SOCIALIST identity politicking. The people rejected Bernie's SOCIALIST mobs of blackshirts rioting in the streets. Look at what has he done to our party! Look at what he's done to the country!"

Then they'll pivot. (Easy peasy. They WERE calling Blacks "super-predators" a couple decades ago. Bombing Muslim civilians a few years back. They aren't the ones married to this Cultural Left ideology. They didn't even support Gay Marriage until the 2012 SC ruling!)

Out with the old Blue Blood. In with the new. And all the kiddies will cheer, because they'll think the New Great Hope will defeat Trump. That's all they care about. That's all they know about. That's the way they were designed.

(Welcome to the Machine.)

Anonymous said...

Actual fascists are the ones who shout down their opponents and try to kill the debate.

America has a big problem with its southern border. Millions of illegals in the country already. So many coming through they don't have the resources to process them.

If you're position is open-border immigration anarchy then goody for you. Have your rainbow unicorn cake and eat it too! It makes absolutely no sense to me. But everyone is entitled to their opinion. (No matter how flaky, impractical and ill-thought-out.)

Trump's solution is to fix the border, bring back traditional levels of immigration and pressure Latin American oligarchs into paying their workers higher wages to stop them from trying to weasel their way into America.

People who think they're scoring points with outlandish and hysterical rhetoric may just be fooling themselves. If you have a cause, you are not doing it any good.

Purple library guy said...

We're throwing the term America around rather loosely here. The USA has a problem with its southern border, yes, specifically a problem of its own making. It insists on destabilizing any Latin American country that shows signs of reducing misery, poverty and inequality. This creates millions of desperate people who will do anything to get away from where they are. But also, the "problem" is not what it seems. Let's be clear: The US elites who foam about illegal immigrants don't really want to stop them and never have. They want to employ them for dirt wages, and use them to drive down general wages with their competition.
For that to work, they have to be demonized. They have to be afraid. They have to be too busy dodging ICE to go around forming or joining any unions or protesting or anything. Keep them terrified and hungry. And, that lets them do double duty, as an enemy to point out to the idiot voters to distract them from their real problems. For the rich employers, especially in agribusiness, it's win-win . . . as long as nobody actually stops the gravy train immigrants from getting in.

Anonymous said...

For the love of Humanity...get your head out of your backside hole. Don't you see what's coming even here in this country? Karl is on the money. Canadians are sooooo nauseatingly naive. Go live in a country like Mexico and learn a little about what is actually happening.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps inexperienced junior actually dreamed about abolishing the FPTP system, but elites made him an offer he could not refuse. The FPTP system is the most important tool of political control which these elites have in their disposal.

The scourge of neoliberalism and globalism infiltrated our democratic system via the elites. Steve Bannon described it quite well, to get rid of this menace we must wrestle control from the "coastal U.S. elites" or, in Canada case, from Montreal&Toronto mafias.

Purple library guy said...

Anon at 2:01 PM, I can't even tell who you're talking to.

Anonymous said...

"The FPTP system is the most important tool of political control which these elites have in their disposal."

Very true. All we get is a pretense of democracy under FPTP. (Canada's Fake News keeps keeps Canadians in the dark and feeds them horseshit on electoral reform.)

It wasn't Junior who killed it. It was the neoprog hippies who demanded proportional representation or nothing.

Some elite probably bribed Nathan Cullen to say if Trudeau legislated ranked ballots it would be the equivalent of waging "political nuclear warfare." That was the final straw for him. Made the decision for him.

Anonymous said...

"The USA has a problem with its southern border, yes, specifically a problem of its own making. It insists on destabilizing any Latin American country that shows signs of reducing misery, poverty and inequality."

Exactly. But it's Deep-State military-industrial-complex corruption. (The American upper-class think of the Americas as their colonies.)

My bet is that Trump is going to want to repurpose the 'war on drugs' across the Americas to stop the flood of refugees and illegals getting in under false refugee claims. (They pay a coyote to smuggle their families across the border. Turn themselves in. Wait 20 days in custody. Then they are released with a court date and never come back. Since a 1997 court ruling.)

If you read news reports of ICE raids, it always show them busting some company that is hiring illegals for under-the-table wages.

Notice both neoliberals and cultural-Left neoprogs support the same agenda now, which is open-border immigration anarchy. The both want to tear down the Mexican border, turn America into a sanctuary country, abolish ICE and let illegals take jobs away from Americans at will. (Disagree and you're a "Nazi racist.")

Clearly the Millennial socialist set have not put much thought into their positions. They were probably conditioned with this nonsense in schools and universities. Instilled ideology like 'Hitler Youth'. All they know is how to bark at people who deviate from the sacred doctrine like pod people.

Purple library guy said...

The whole idea of "stealing people's jobs" is ludicrous. More people create the requirement for more jobs; you need more grocery stores and furniture sales and housing construction and so on and so forth. If immigrants are taking jobs, that is working, then they also have effective demand and so their presence creates jobs at the same time because they buy stuff like everyone else. Immigrants just grow the economy by the amount of their production and demand. If there are too many all at once, it can be disruptive in other ways, but the "stealing people's jobs" problem is a fabrication. Anyone who believes it is being conned.

The problem is not immigrants as such. It is the demonization of immigrants. To the extent that immigrants have reduced bargaining power and are underpaid, they reduce the general quality of life by, first, having less effective demand (so their presence doesn't create as many other jobs as it should) and, second, through their presence making it easier for employers to reduce wages generally ("If you won't take the job at this pay, I know someone who will"). These problems disappear if the immigrants are not at risk of deportation, can access the same social services as everyone else, join the same unions and professional associations etc.--if, in short, barriers to them commanding the same salary as everyone else are eliminated. If they get the same pay, then they command the same demand, and they don't represent a "reserve army of labour" that bosses can use to ratchet down wages. If you're going to have immigrants, then, it's to normal people's benefit if those immigrants are treated, and above all paid, equally.

But the thing is, what's a problem for real people (immigrants dragging wages down) is the major point for employers. They're always trying to find ways of making the work-force tiered, of making sure there are big chunks of the population who are desperate one way or another to keep everyone else looking over their shoulder. It's why they always seem so unhappy whenever unemployment goes down very low, even though from a sane perspective that should be good news. Getting everyone to hate on immigrants is just one of the ways. Creating a ton of unimportant, victimless crimes they can selectively jail blacks for is another--and yes, that was deliberate, Nixon taped himself saying so.