Monday, February 10, 2020

Out of the Dust from the Collapse of Neoliberalism Comes...

A pundit wrote that Trump is not some fluke, an aberration. He is instead the culmination of a process of decay that began decades ago. Trump, or someone of his odious ilk, was an inevitability.

Noam Chomsky was interviewed at Truthout recently. He contends that we're now witnessing the collapse of the neoliberal order. Some of us might have desperately hoped that would herald a restoration of progressive democracy. Instead, Chomsky points out, as neoliberalism falters, authoritarianism steps into the vacuum.

What might be debatable is whether [Trump] is indeed the most dangerous criminal in human history (which happens to be my personal view). Hitler had been perhaps the leading candidate for this honor. His goal was to rid the German-run world of Jews, Roma, homosexuals and other “deviants,” along with tens of millions of Slav “Untermenschen.” But Hitler was not dedicated with fervor to destroying the prospects of organized human life on Earth in the not-distant future (along with millions of other species). 
Trump is. And those who think he doesn’t know what he’s doing haven’t been looking closely. 
Is that a wild and ludicrous exaggeration? Or the very simple and apparent truth? It’s not difficult to figure out the answer. We’ve discussed it often before. There is no need to review what is happening on Trump’s watch while he devotes every effort to accelerating the race to catastrophe, trailed by such lesser lights as Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro and Australia’s Scott Morrison.
Trump’s war on organized life on Earth is only the barest beginning. More narrowly, in recent days, the Chosen One has issued executive orders ridding the country of the plague of regulations that protect children from mercury poisoning and preserve the country’s water supplies and lands, along with other impediments to further enrichment of Trump’s primary constituency, extreme wealth and corporate power.

On the side, he has been casually proceeding to dismantle the last vestiges of the arms control regime that has provided some limited degree of security from terminal nuclear war, eliciting cheers from the military industry. And as we have just learned, the great pacifist who is committed to end interventions “dropped more bombs and other munitions in Afghanistan last year than any other year since documentation began in 2006, Air Force data shows.”
Chomsky on why Sanders is a perceived threat to establishment Democrats.
Even more threatening than Sanders’s proposals to carry forward New Deal-style policies, I think, is his inspiring a popular movement that is steadily engaged in political action and direct activism to change the social order — a movement of people, mostly young, who have not internalized the norms of liberal democracy: that the public are “ignorant and meddlesome outsiders” who are to be “spectators, not participants in action,” entitled to push a lever every four years but are then to return to their TV sets and video games while the “responsible men” look after serious matters. 
This is a fundamental principle of democracy as expounded by prominent and influential liberal 20th–century American intellectuals, who took cognizance of “the stupidity of the average man” and recognized that we should not be deluded by “democratic dogmatisms about men being the best judges of their own interests.” They are not; we are — the “responsible men,” the “intelligent minority.” The “bewildered herd” must therefore be “put in their place” by “necessary illusions” and “emotionally potent simplifications.”

The demise of neoliberalism and the advent of chaos.
As the neoliberal order is visibly collapsing, it is giving rise to “morbid symptoms” (to borrow Gramsci’s famous phrase when the fascist plague was looming). Among these are the spread of authoritarianism and the far right. More generally, what we are witnessing is quite understandable anger, resentment and contempt for the political institutions that have implemented the neoliberal assault — but also the rise of activist movements that seek to overcome the ills of global society and to stem and reverse the race to destruction. 
The confrontation could hardly have been exhibited more dramatically than by the appearance of Greta Thunberg [at Davos] immediately after the most powerful man in the world — the leader in the race to destruction — had admonished the Masters to disdain the “heirs of yesterday’s foolish fortune tellers” (virtually 100 percent of climate scientists) and to take up his wrecking ball.


Toby said...

" . . . those who think he [Trump] doesn’t know what he’s doing haven’t been looking closely."

Chomsky loses me there. He implies that Trump has a goal and a plan to attain it. What I see mostly is chaos.

Toby said...

Mound, the ibupuspitawati post above is a link to an Asian gambling site. This spammer has been here before.

Trailblazer said...

Toby is correct, Trump has no plan,that I can see, and 'wings it' daily.
Trump is about image and wealth , two states of mind that cannot be measured!
Trump offers so much to today's politicians who are generally wealthy and wish for more.


The Disaffected Lib said...

I too have doubts about Trump following some master plan. I think he's more reflexive. At the core of his psyche lurks a need to cheat and steal. He's a grifter.

Anonymous said...

One comment about Sanders. In 2016, corporate media’s response to Sanders was to dismiss him as nothing but fringe and ignore him. Then the DNC then took over and cheated him out of the nomination.
This time around, the DNC’s chosen one, Biden, is struggling and Sanders is again doing well. It will be interesting to see how the DNC plays it from here.
As to the billionaire owners of corporate media, it is now obvious they are getting very concerned. In the last few days, we have seen so called ‘moderate’ stalwarts like Chris Matthews ranting about his possibly being executed in Central Park by Castro (of all people) and the Reds. Asinine BS at it’s worst. Then Chuck Todd follows up with his smear of Sanders supporters being compared to Nazi Brownshirts. Seems the word is out to the lackeys: Go full Alex Jones or look for another job. Sanders MUST BE STOPPED at all costs. And It’s only February. Mac

Danneau said...

Trump many not have a plan of his own, and articulating anything is a stretch for the man, but there are those pulling the strings, and the legions of self-interested whack-jobs that revolve through the doors of cabinet posts and industry who, individually may or may not have the destruction of all life in mind, but the net effect of the collective of ignorance and spite comes down to a short future for all of us.

I watched the interview with Chomsky, I think through Films for Action, and it mirrors what he's been saying for decades adapted for out Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. No surprises, just that the scope of the problem has expanded beyond measure.

Ben Burd said...

As much as I would like to see Bernie win, it is politically impossible in the big scheme of things. Trump will destroy him with Mantras "Socialism is bad and Americans don't elect Socialists!" and the rest.

Independents are not going to be swayed by his policies, and mainstream crossovers will not vote for "vote for anyone but Trump"

So where does that leave us with the safe middle?

Warren should be the compromise but will she have the breakthrough needed?

Oh Mound so many questions, just glad I don't have to make a decision!

Owen Gray said...

We live in an Age of Nihilism. And the future is not bright.

The Disaffected Lib said...

Trump may not have a plan. What about Stephen Miller?

John B. said...

Which of the Democrats could put together the best team? if Bernie were to be elected President, could he convince Stephen Miller and Mnuchin to stay on?