Sunday 31 January 2016

Liberal Panic.

Speaking about the growing hostility among American liberals against Bernie Sanders' political campaign and their increasingly obvious pro-Hillary Clinton bias (as evidenced, among others, by Paul Krugman, who just re-embraced the "Very Serious People" title he until recently derided), Prof. David Ruccio explains liberal ideology:
"That’s how liberal ideology works in economics. And, as it turns out, that’s exactly how liberal ideology is being deployed in our current political debate -- to normalize one, very limited set of options and to marginalize any discontent or desire that threatens to go beyond them."
Even though Ruccio largely limits himself to the American political scene, I believe his exposition has more general application.


Across the Atlantic there is an example of the broader applicability of Ruccio's observations. A few days ago Glenn Greenwald wrote about the backlash against Jeremy Corbyn in the U.K.
"Britain is well into Stage 7 [i.e. 'full-scale and unrestrained meltdown, panic, lashing-out, threats, recriminations, self-important foot-stomping, overt union with the Right, complete fury (I can no longer in good conscience support this party of misfits, terrorist-lovers, communists, and heathens)'], and may even invent a whole new level (anonymous British military officials expressly threatened a 'mutiny' if Corbyn were democratically elected as prime minister). The Democratic media and political establishment has been in the heart of Stage 5 for weeks and is now entering Stage 6. The arrival of Stage 7 is guaranteed if Sanders wins Iowa."

Ruccio explains this overreaction in fairly neutral terms. Gavin Mueller, a couple of years ago, used more descriptive words:
"[T]he rich hate us. They disdain us. They mock us. And they fear us, even though the current balance of forces favors them overwhelmingly and sometimes 'common ruin of the contending classes' seems like an optimistic outcome."

This weak-kneed, "chicken little" panic among the "educated bourgeoisie" would be merely risible (as Mother Jones' case shows), if it did not point to the limits of liberal democracy: we the people are free to choose … provided we choose what we are allowed to.

The stench of hysterical fear seems not entirely unlike that in 1920s Britain and Europe: keep and eye on this space.


  1. Did you read Glenn Greenwald's post on Krugman's self-appointment as a very serious person?

  2. @Ramanan

    No. Thanks for the link.