Saturday, October 29, 2016
Saturday, October 22, 2016
Nothing is better than The Wire, in my opinion, in showing us how compassionate neoliberalism really operates. Tommy Carcetti, the man who mirrors neoliberals like Clinton male and female, Bloomberg, O'Malley, and Schwarzenegger, will do anything to get elected. Carcetti gives off the appearance of a family man with a family right out of a Norman Rockwell painting but behind his wife's back he carries out at least one extramarital affair. One imagines that he is carrying on more. He practises patented compassionate neoliberal macchiavelianism when he manipulates a close Black politician to run for mayor against the incumbent Black mayor in order to assure that the Black vote splits giving him the election victory.
The dominant reform that compassionate neoliberals seem to offer in The Wire is gentrification through rehabilitating old homes or building new upscale apartments and condos. This may increase monies brought in through taxes but it leads to, to pick a few obvious examples, the displacement of those who really need the government to do something for them, the poor, it leads to a decline in other housing stock, it leads to increased black market activities, it leads to resignation, and it leads to increased corruption.
The real hero of The Wire is the precinct commander Howard "Bunny" Colvin, who creates "hamsterdams", zones where drugs can be sold relatively freely. The sell your drugs here zones have their downsides but they also lead to decreased crime in other parts of Baltimore. To his credit, Carcetti jumps on board this scheme. When he is told that his support of the free drug selling zones will hurt his chances to be elected mayor of Baltimore, however, he follows the tried and true compassionate neoliberal path, he bails.
Thursday, October 6, 2016
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Something else that isn't novel about the alt right is its use of exaggeration and fear. Recently in Facebook post Yiannapoulos criticised a group of vegan feminists who, according to him, linked male misogny and the maltreatment of animals, two of the central symbols, apparently, in the demonology of the alt right as it was in the old new right. Just like other apologetic and polemical demagogues Yiannapoulos uses exaggeration and fear as a form of manipulation in order to gain power and financial resources (which he apparently doesn't use to pay employees). What alt right demagogues and all demagogues never give you is the facts but I will. According to Gallup in 2012 5% of Americans were vegetarian. This percentage has remained pretty much constant over the last ten years. 6% of Americans were vegetarians in 1999 and 2001. 5% of 18 to 29 year olds were vegetarian in 2012. 4% of 30 to 49s were vegetarian in 2012. Only 2% of Americans said they were vegans in 2012. Why don't apologetic and polemical demagogues give the people the facts, such as the number of vegans, vegetarians, and radical feminists who link veganism and feminism are small and have been so for some time? Because all demagogues know that nothing comes close to the use of exaggeration and fear when it comes to manipulating the masses. They are, after all, the pied pipers.
Another thing the alt right won't tell you is who they really are. The alt right may have come up with a nice little catchphrase to describe themselves and to distinguish themselves from the old right and the old new right. In the final analysis, however, the alt right is the same as the old right and the old new right. They are theocrats. They are authoritarians. They want people to behave and to speak like they think they should behave and speak. They are not libertarians with a live and let live ideology, in other words. And to top it all off they appear to be blissfully unaware of the irony here, namely that they, who are decrying political correctness constantly, are pushing their own version of political correctness. Ob la di ob la da.
Sunday, October 2, 2016
"The Choice" (PBS, 27 September 2016). Donald Trump is a typical fin de siecle capitalist. He commodifies everything especially pretty girls and loves to engage in conspicuous consumption which he sees as a measure of his capitalist "success". Like most capitalists he is a bully boy who is used to getting his own way and he is, as all capitalists are on some level, a narcissist. Hillary Rodham Clinton, on the other hand, despite her supposed feminist convictions changed her hair, dissed the glasses, lost weight, and put on different clothes to help Bubba get elected. She calls it pragmatism. I call it Machiavellianism. Money, lots of it, to her, is the medium that allows her to achieve her political ambitions.