liberalism

The Dark Night of the Liberal Soul

My reflections about the identity crisis inside the Democratic Party is the topic of my The American Conservative piece.

The fact that a socialist in his 70s was able to be a real challenger to the Clinton establishment shows that third-way liberalism doesn’t sell like in the old days. While some describe Sanders as an unreconstructed New Deal Democrat, for a lot of his life he was an independent and third-party guy. His ideals were closer to the romantic vision of the socialist revolution than to the incremental reforms that liberals always promise.

Read the whole thing to know why this division could affect the of American liberalism.

Civil War 2.0 Will Be Livestreamed

The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
will not be televised, will not be televised.
The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live.

The events of this summer are a taste of what’s to come in the fall, and even more so, November 9, 2016.

Someone is going to win the Presidential election, and regardless of whether it’s Trump or Clinton, the loser’s supporters are going to feel existential angst about America, and their place in it, far beyond the usual.

Pat Buchanan advises us to take a Chill Pill; “For when a real powder keg blew in the ’60s, I was there. And this is not it.” And yet…in “The ’60s” (and the early ’70s, which is when some of the worst SHTF) we had the evening TV news and the papers. The crazy spread slower then. This time, any and every incident is going to be magnified and extremely accelerated. (more…)

Time of coalitions

berniesandersfans

These are strange times in American politics with outsiders like Trump and Sanders gaining momentum. Jeb Bush is out and Super Tuesday could complicate Hillary Clinton. How does it happen? Lefties try to blame everything on neoliberalism but the editorial of The American Conservative says that these ideology is dying. Sanders is un-reconstructed New Deal liberal who calls himself a socialist while Trump is more heterodox probably could be defined as an anti-immigrant moderate. Despite ideology, coalitions would be build thinking in November. Let’s have fun and try to guess.

The Trump Coalition. Last week big news was the endorsement of moderate governor like Chris Christie, but more recently his refusal to disavow white nationalist David Duke has been making reactions both on liberals and conservatives that think is naïve to believe that Trump doesn’t know who is David Duke and what is the Ku Klux Klan. Trump has an appeal on the former supporters of Pat Buchanan, white working class rural Americans but also on certain moderates attracted to a “Dealmaker”, he is even doing well by some polls among Hispanic Republicans. The endorsement of Jane Brewer is very significant, she was a hardliner on immigration and a supporter of Obamacare. In the general election some predict he could gain some independents and if Hillary wins maybe even some Bernie supporters. But if Sanders wins, The Donald would had a hard time, is difficult to be more anti-establishment than an old Jewish socialist.

The racist supporters of Trump coalition add to the rhetoric of its leader could alienate minority voters. The big government plans could scare libertarians. His distrust in foreign interventionism is making neocons panicking. Certainly a candidate with loyal followers and hateful enemies.

The Clinton Coalition. The victory in South Carolina shows that Hillary is strong among African-American community, but Latinos are divided and white progressives are feeling the Bern. Ideologically she is pushing her feminism in search woman voters but may not work after Steinem embracement. She was trying to focus in domestic issues rather than in foreign policy where her hawkishness is out of touch with the mostly dovish Democratic base but Bernie made some punches with her on the matter of having a War Criminal like Henry Kissinger as adviser. Neocons like her and in the case of a Trump victory in the Republican primaries they would support her.

A lot of progressives see her ties to Wall Street as distrustful. A Jewish progressive feminist like Jill Stein running as Green Party candidate could made the things difficult for Hillary and some Sanders supporters had even pledge to not support Hillary in November.

The Anti-Trump Coalition. Donors and party insiders would like us to believe that these is really strong coalition, capable of defeat the populist Trump. But I think that is too late for that, Trump is going to be the nominee. Some are trying to go third party, more explicitly a neocon third party. I wonder how much support it could get. The neocon candidate of the primary was Lindsay Graham who’s polling was an embarrassment, it’s true that candidates like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio were also neocons but their appeal was not necessarily their foreign policy. The position of Trump about Israel is quite interesting, he says he would be neutral on Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Probably some might try to portray him as an anti-Semite but that due to his close ties with Israel that would be hard. The question of a VP could be crucial if neocons are able put one of their own in that position, however Trump has shown he is independent minded and don’t want to be push by anyone.

Some Republican congressman and maybe even some former Presidential candidates could refuse to endorse Trump. Probably even the Bush family would reject The Donald. There had been talks about the future of George P. Bush who currently holds office in Texas but if he decides to endorse Trump, he might have problems in a future, living in a state were Latinos are becoming the majority. Texas is a state where the GOP had been able to gain an important share of the Latino vote but some may find Trump too divisive to support him and emigrate to the Democratic Party. Is very difficult that George W. Bush difficult would support Trump after he accuse him of being responsible of 9/11. That a former GOP president would refuse to endorse a nominee of his own party could be signal of the end of an era.

The Sanders Coalition. While initially he was accused of attracting only male white progressives. He now is leading with young woman and making waves among the Latino community. The endorsements of current congressman are quite diverse ethnically and religiously with Keith Ellison, Raúl Grijalva, Tulsi Gabbard and Peter Welch. The endorsement of Gabbard is particularly interesting because she is of Samoan descent and of Hindu faith. She is not a progressive even by the heterodox American standards having express doubts of the Iran deal and being in the past praised by neocons, however she is the face of shifting demographic.

Some say a Sanders versus Trump race would be socialism versus fascism. America probably will choose socialism, a fascist like FDR had already been elected and even praised by Bernie. If the neocons fail go get a third party a choice between Sanders and The Donald would be tough. On the one hand, Bernie had embrace Military-Industrial Complex, especially wasteful F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin which are assembled in Vermont and Trump is unpredictable, could the neocons join hands with their comrades of the Fourth International, that would been fun to watch. The same reason that maybe even some neocons feel the Bern is the one who scare progressives, Bernie says he is socialist but on foreign policy he has embraced military Keynesianism, that’s why some progressives still if he is Democratic nominee would back Jill Stein in November.

Dreams, consciousness and sanity

It’s interesting that before he became the first human to die live on the Web, Tim Leary changed his tune (and the title of one of his books) from Exo-Psychology to Info-Psychology.

Leary acknowledged that his one-time obsession with space exploration and the future of humanity off-planet was at least partly the result of his time in jail in the 1960s and 70s and the natural tendency of the mind to want to free itself by flying high above the prison grounds. For an old dude, he seems to have rapidly grasped the possibilities of the Web and some of the changes to our lives that digital world would bring. He apparently continued to consume plenty of drugs up until the end. The funny thing, to me, is that there’s no indication that in all his years of psychonauting he ever deeply explored the free, easily available and abundant resource that’s provided to us every night: The Dreamscape. (more…)

Brag about leaving the country? Shut up, cause you aren’t going anywhere

Is it finally time to ditch America?

I ask in light of a series of disturbing signs that threaten the national peace. Black activists openly flaunting the law and disrupting traffic; a federal judge ruling that homosexuality and heterosexuality don’t exist; the working class getting squeezed more than ever; a diktat passing in New York City that will fine employers up to $250,000 if they refuse to acknowledge transsexual individuals by their preferred pronouns, including they, ze, or ir; and just plain anti-white animus passing off as legitimate journalism.

There’s no other way to say it: American ain’t what she used to be.

The economic powerhouse that once beat the Nazis to a pulp is now a sniveling brat that can’t win a war. Our level of material comfort inches upward, but our real standard of living – that is living full, meaningful lives as individuals in families and citizens in a country – is falling precipitously. A 2012 report from National Journal revealed how distrusting Americans have become of traditional institutions. Churches, schools, government, and the media have all lost their luster thanks to scandal and corruption festering in the ranks. As one working class interviewee put it, “You can’t trust anybody or any­thing any­more.”

Amen, brother. The knives are out for the regular guy trying to keep a job and raise a family. The elite class want is this way, and keep pressuring the whole country to adopt their cosmopolitan view of human equality.

With America’s social fabric becoming increasingly frayed, is that a good enough reason to pack your bags and hit the road?

(more…)

Environmentalism against Liberalism

cop21

The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference or COP21 was held during the last two weeks at Paris. The event that comprise most of the countries of the world is supposed to generate a compromise on reducing pollution emissions to fight climate change. A noble ideal but as recent news show, regulatory states agencies do things worst for ecology. The event as usually is celebrated by the most statist left and questioned by hypocrite big government conservatives. But maybe there is room for hope. Surprisingly, the iconic liberal environmentalist Bill McKibben made a statement that almost sounded libertarian: “Climate Protest Movement, Not COP21, Key to Preventing Uninhabitable World”.

Bill McKibben is right about climate change because the solution is not to be done by governments but by people and communities who are going to be most effective. The problem is that the answer that McKibben and most liberal environmentalist propose is more state power. The climate justice movement has a catchy slogan that says: “System Change, Not Climate Change”. The idea is useful but there isn’t a real system change if the liberal environmentalist proposals are implemented. Karl Hess once said:

I don’t think you can clean up the environment the liberal way, either, through regulation. The only way, it seems to me to clean it up is to get back to the concept of individual responsibility, so that people are responsible for their actions; so that when you damage the environment, the people affected by it hold you responsible.

Now the fact of the matter is that modern green movement was born as reaction of both Conservativism and Marxism. The original Green Party had the motto: neither left nor right but forward. Initially they were sympathetic to anarchist ideas. In fact the legendary Murray Bookchin was a member of the local green chapter in Vermont. The fact that they weren’t Marxists at least originally made some problems with the left that accuse the green movement of bourgeois reformism. While funny enough, people like Reagan speechwriter John McClaughry was sympathetic to the Green Party with the time he condemned their defense of green socialism.

Today the answer of McKibben could not be understand by a suddenly libertarian instinct but by over-regulated spirit. The activists denounce the limits of the agreements because they were pushing for more. The protest is always welcome but it seem that it could useful some new ideas to solve the problem of climate change. I think free market environmentalism is the answer. Although I don’t think that what I have in mind is the same as Ronald Bailey, I think that cosmopolitan libertarians on issues like ecology are worse than even some liberals. After all the Koch brothers used eminent domain to defend XL Pipeline, an argument that made angry left-libertarians. Conservative libertarians had been sympathetic to some free market ecology although I think some still wait that a relatively sane Republican candidate would bring that to the table. While I had sympathy for both groups, I think that left-libertarians some time dismiss the possibility of electoral politics in process of ecology while the paleolibertarians are too hopeful in it. I think a character that could solve the discussion is Karl Hess is respected both by paleolibertarians and left-libertarians. His proposal for a libertarian environmentalism was both conservative and revolutionary. While the slogan “System Change not Climate Change” shows a distaste for liberal reformism, I don’t think eco-socialism has the answer. With renewal energies getting cheaper, the moment for a free market perspective on environmental issues is now but the problem is that there is public leader for that cause.

Karl Hess was a man of left but he never conflicted his radicalism with honest sympathy to conservativism. The Ron Paul campaign could had bring left-wing environmental concerns with free market solutions but it didn’t. Some talk about we are living the end of liberalism maybe that is true. But if environmentalism is still alive the question is whether their opposition to some agreements would then go in libertarian direction would be too hopeful. The answer is in the frontlines where people and their communities fight for the preservation of their habitat, a lot of times against governments, corporations and sometimes even environmentalist organizations.