Friday, September 23, 2016
Trump or Clinton? Neither!
Happens all the time these days. I post something on Facebook indicating I don’t support Hillary and immediately get this from Jane, a friend of a friend: “So your thought is to elect Trump? And that would be better?”
Instead of writing another editorial, I’ll just give you our ensuing dialogue.
Eric Mader: No. My thought is not "to elect Trump”. My thought is rather: A vote is a vote FOR someone, not merely a vote against someone else. Hillary does not deserve the votes of honest citizens, and I refuse to swell her numbers (and thus the illusion of her legitimacy) by giving her my vote. I will no longer join in the Democrat vs. Republican race to the bottom, but will vote third party. The mainstream Democrats deserve to lose, and I'm willing to take the risk of Trump in office if it will help delegitimize these utter fakes.
Jane Doe: Wow. If Trump wins, our world will be pretty scary, and if you supported the tenets of Bernie you will be in for a rude awakening. Unfortunately, at this time a vote for third party is a vote for Trump.
Eric Mader: You’re just being patronizing, Jane. I'm well aware of what rude awakenings there may be. And no: A vote for a third party is emphatically NOT a vote for Trump. A vote for a third party is a vote for a third party. That's why it's called "a vote for a third party".
Jane Doe: Call it what you will, but a Trump presidency certainly would not "delegitimize these utter fakes". He appears to be the biggest fake of them all. And because you are a US citizen you can express your opinions freely and vote for who you want. Good luck.
Eric Mader: Your response is characteristic. Realizing that I will not be voting Hillary, you immediately change the subject to Trump and how he's a bigger fake than Hillary--"the biggest fake of them all". I think which of these two is the bigger fake is arguable, because they are fakes in such different ways, but ultimately the argument is beside the point.
If a place offered you lunch with the choice of shit in a bowl or shit on a stick, your logic would have to be that the shit on the stick is the only wise choice because, look, the amount of shit in the bowl is larger. My choice is to not eat lunch. Who is wiser? Which is the course of action more likely to put that shit restaurant out of business, yours or mine?
I am not voting for Trump, so I'm not sure why you even mention him. The only way to delegitimize fakes in a democracy is not to vote for them. I'm not going to vote for them. You, however, are in the camp that keeps saying: "Mm, this shit on a stick, it really isn't that bad. Creamy actually. Mm, everyone should eat here."
I worked hard to elect Obama twice, the first time enthusiastically, the second time not so much. For me, this election is not between Trump and Hillary, it's between the possibility of democracy and the reality of corporate control over our whole political process. Whether you can see this or not, it is Hillary who is the consummate corporate candidate, which is why, surprise surprise, so many Republican establishment figures are now coming out in her favor. They're doing so because their Republican commitments, all along, have not been to maintaining a democratic republic but rather to furthering the smooth corporate takeover of our republic--ensuring, in short, that government continues to sell out the population to corporate interests. They know--which is bizarre, isn't it?--that the GOP candidate, this time, is actually a less reliable corporate rubber stamp than the Democratic candidate.
Anyhow, good luck to you. I'm fifty now, and I won't be supporting these people any more. I've spent thousands upon thousands of hours in politics, going back to my undergrad years, and am no longer giving the benefit of the doubt to anyone who's spent as much time sucking Wall Street and the corporate elites as Hillary has.
Check out my book Idiocy, Ltd. and begin the long, hard reckoning.
Posted by Eric Mader at 3:37 PM No comments:
Labels: 2016 election, Clinton, corporate elite, Hillary Clinton, politics, third party, Trump, Wall Street
Thursday, September 22, 2016
The Despair Election: Michael Hanby on our Exhausted Options
First, go read philosopher Michael Hanby’s brilliant remarks on the widespread sense among people great and small that our political order (the liberalism ushered in by the Enlightenment) is “exhausted” and somehow can’t respond to the crisis we’re in.
Then consider my following comments on how left and right function in our political thinking and day-to-day wrangling--or rather, how they fail to function. I see this dichotomy of left vs. right as one of the subsidiary blinders making our liberal horizon much more difficult to see past.
How might we overcome this impasse and begin to forge a more workable politics of hope?
Reply to Hanby:
One of our problems, along with the conceptual horizons imposed by liberalism, is the obsolete language of “left” and “right” that we continue to apply when weighing our options. This too is part of why we can’t construct a politics of hope, and in my reading this outworn dichotomy helps explain the decline of the left into identity politics and of the right into free-market fundamentalism/free trade or Trumpian nationalism.
Classical liberalism presents itself not as a tentative theory of how society might be organized but as a theory of nature. It claims to lay out the forces of nature and to make these a model for social order. Thus free-market fundamentalism, letting the market function “as nature intended”. It’s an absurd position when applied dogmatically, and no more “natural” than other economic arrangements humans might develop.
The only truly rock solid aspect of classical liberalism in my mind is its theory of individual dignity, the permanent and nonnegotiable value of each individual in essence and before the law. The left has taken this and run with it and turned it into identity politics, which has morphed into a virtual divination of individual desire and self-definition. This is of course something quite different from the classical liberal understanding of the nonnegotiable value of the individual. The capitalist right, on the other hand, has taken liberal individual rights and turned them into a theory of individual responsibility for one’s economic fate, which is helpful in ways, but not decisive or even fully explanatory as to why people end up where they are. Free trade enthusiasts have put a lot of people in dire economic straits, but when you listen to these enthusiasts they speak as if their economics somehow represents nature, as opposed to what such economics really is: a shallow apologetics for the practices of international corporations.
Further, as I suggest, our two camps left and right are no longer even distinctly left and right in any traditional sense. The market forces and self-marketing that lead to the fetishization of identity by the left are the same market forces championed by the capitalist right. In America today, both left and right are merely different bourgeois cults of Self. The right’s cult of Self is the old one of the self-made man, whereas the left’s, an utter betrayal of any real left politics, echoes the thrust of market forces in a different way, playing off the myriad little marketable differences between individuals or demographics. The “left” has thus morphed into just another version of the vast capitalist marketing cult that America itself has become: iPhone, myWorld, iChat, iVictim, SelfieLove, iBornThisWay, iPride, iDentity.
It should be no surprise that the inalienable dignity of the individual, that rock solid core of liberal thinking, grew directly from the Christian soil of Paul’s assertion of the equality of all--men, women, Greek, Jew, freed, slave--in Christ. (Galatians 3:28) The now internationalized Western concept of human rights is merely a universalized version of Paul’s thought, hatched in a Christian Europe by philosophes who didn’t recognize just how Christian they were.
After all the utopian dusts settle, whether the dust of Adam Smith or the dust of PC Non-Discrimination, we must see that the one thing holding us together is this recognition that the political order must respect human rights. The core issue at present, the most fundamental way of respecting human rights, is thus that we legislate in ways that reflect a realistic understanding of these rights. In short, we must wisely theorize these rights if we are to preserve them. As for the right’s free-market fundamentalism/free trade or the left’s PC progressivism, they each are proving to be pipe dreams that don’t address the economic or legal challenges in coherent ways. They each sacrifice true rights at one altar or another in the vast temple of the Market.
The obsolete language of “left” and “right” keeps us blinded to the real human challenges. It keeps us unwilling to grapple with our concrete economic and legal problems, if only because we’re too busy cheerleading either one version of the capitalist cult or the other.
I’m looking forward to Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option (to be published in 2017) mainly as providing some answers as to how the remnant of faithful Christians in this mayhem might both hold their faith intact while perhaps simultaneously developing less utopian modes of thinking about community. For us Christians, the current political order may very well be shaping up to be something like the pagan Roman Empire was to the early church. We finally have to face that, politically speaking, we are in the world but not of it. At least as regards any hope we might have of swaying the forces that capitalism has unleashed via its largely bogus “left” and “right” branches. I do not think left and right are completely useless as political concepts, but that they are less and less helpful in America, as the two sides are coming ever more to resemble each other.
Crucially, we must give up cheering for either of our two national parties, which have grown into one Corporate Oligarchical Party. We must focus our energies elsewhere, in building more solid local communities. When or whether these communities might offer alternative political parties is a different and less pressing question.
Posted by Eric Mader at 4:27 PM No comments:
Labels: 2016 election, crisis of civilization, Enlightenment, identity politics, liberalism, Michael Hanby
Sunday, September 11, 2016
The "Deplorables" Reply to Hillary Clinton
“Basket of Deplorables”?
That’s what Hillary Clinton called tens of millions of Americans yesterday, claiming that those opposed to her were racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, xenophobic.
I know the current liberal PC definition of terms like racist or homophobic, and it's likely I'd be called these things by many an unhinged activist. So I'm with the deplorables myself. And I feel solidarity with them.
We see through you, Hillary. Play your PC “-phobic” card all you want. We’re not buying it. Over the past dozen years, liberals have thrown around the word "bigot" so much that the word has lost its meaning. It is debased. All one has to do is disagree with the robots of political correctness on any small point and one is a bigot. I disagree with them on many many points.
We Americans who see what's going on aren't afraid of your smear words because we see the illegitimate way you define these words. And the way you, Hillary, use them to distract people from their real problems. Namely: Corporate control of our government. Namely: You yourself and everything you stand for.
No. Just because we think Black America needs to officially condemn its gangsta rap culture and take more responsibility for its communities doesn’t make us racist. It makes us awake to what is happening.
Just because we think LGBT activists don’t have the right to dictate sex and gender norms for our whole culture doesn’t make us homophobic. It makes us, uh, sane.
Just because we call radical Islamic terrorism by its real name doesn’t make us Islamophobic.
Just because we don’t of approve our elected leaders (your party, Hillary) exporting our jobs to foreign countries doesn’t make us xenophobic.
We see through you, Hillary. We’ve watched official Washington, your party included, sell us down the river for two decades now. Everything we know about you tells us you’ll do nothing but sell the last bit of us left to be sold.
We see that you have nothing but scorn for our values and traditions. Your former boss, Barack Obama, has shown this scorn time and again. We know you are full of such scorn too. Your words yesterday prove it.
In our minds, Hillary, the real deplorables are those who imagine you will stand for working Americans. We know very well you will not. You will stand for your PC special interest groups on the one hand, and Wall Street and the corporate boards on the other.
We see through you. We don’t accept your insulting labels. We are not "racist", "homophobic", etc., etc. We are Americans with our own vision of what our country should be. And we aren’t going to give you our vote in November. Count on it.
Posted by Eric Mader at 5:13 PM 5 comments:
Labels: basket of deplorables, Hillary Clinton, politics, reply, response
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