The neoliberals' cultural stock is in decline.

The neoliberals' cultural stuck is in decline. When they had that suave dude Barack Obama telling everyone he was like Gandhi or Mandela, that was totally a thing. Cultural neoliberalism was rockin' da house as every branch of government, both state and Federal, was being awarded to Republicans. Then they put all of their eggs in the Hillary Clinton basket, waging a rather nasty campaign to get everyone to step in line while Clinton was and is very much about money and about the society of her John Birch Society daddy. (She and Bill did make great-looking hippies in the Sixties though, but you only see that in old photos.) Vote for her because Trump is Hitler or something.

Now they have what? Pete Buttigieg, who is smarter than you and who reeks insincerity from every pore of his skin as he delivers wooden imitations of Obama speeches? Michael Bloomberg, who brags about what he can buy? Grandpa Joe Biden, with initial-stage dementia? Hallmark card cop Amy Klobuchar, who will work with Republicans while helping maybe five or six people as she promised? Elizabeth "I'm in it for me" Warren? It's not like these people come naturally to cultural efflorescence -- they, after all, ran John Kerry, Al Gore, and Michael Dukakis -- but this has got to be a new low for them, expanding the field to twenty-plus candidates only to find themselves facing Super Tuesday with only this.

Philosophically, neoliberalism is a form of antihumanism. In an article in "American Affairs" (which I suggest you all read from beginning to end) the economist Philip Mirowski suggests several principles common to neoliberal thought. I'll just post one through four so as not to freak anyone out while making the point just as effectively:

(1) “Free” markets do not occur naturally. They must be actively constructed through political organizing.

(2) “The market” is an information processor, and the most efficient one possible—more efficient than any government or any single human ever could be. Truth can only be validated by the market.

(3) Market society is, and therefore should be, the natural and inexorable state of humankind.

(4) The political goal of neoliberals is not to destroy the state, but to take control of it, and to redefine its structure and function, in order to create and maintain the market-friendly culture.

This then, is the core of neoliberal culture. The eventual point of neoliberalism, then, is to exalt markets above people -- for the neoliberals, people are expendable but markets are superior. It took a rabid nationalist like Donald Trump to end the war in Afghanistan, whereas faithful neoliberal Barack Obama kept the war around because it provided "markets" for weapons corporations. Neoliberals hate Bernie Sanders because he wants to get rid of some of the markets for health insurance -- as long as people are buying health insurance, the neoliberals don't care if anyone dies because they can't afford to use it.

As implied in this article (password: AddletonAP2009), the neoliberal "solution" to climate change is the only one that has been tried. The point of focusing all climate change mitigation efforts upon "reducing carbon emissions," from the Rio Earth Summit of 1992 onward, is so that a new line of products can be manufactured to help consumers reduce their carbon emissions, more efficient fossil-burning machines or alternative energy machines or carbon permits or easements or something like that. The idea that manufacturing new products also consumes carbon is not assumed to be a problem. Meanwhile the fossil energy interests will stay hidden from all of this "mitigation" effort, it being assumed that the sacred "market" will drive them out of business. Whether said "market" actually does so, when obviously over the past twenty-eight years it has done nothing of the sort, is nobody's business. Neoliberals are okay with carbon taxes because they can always be abolished later, like they were in Australia, and because their ideas of carbon taxes involve low carbon taxes so as not to hurt businesses.

Neoliberalism has been the dominant doctrine throughout the world's universities since the Eighties. Academic vogues such as "postmodernism" can serve as Trojan Horse concepts for hegemonic neoliberalism. Postmodernism, to own a definition, is an aesthetic concept involving the juxtaposition of radically differing aesthetic concepts and celebrating surface observations over "deeper meanings." The postmodern essence of visual art is in collage; the postmodern musical form is the medley. Postmodernism is innocuous when it combines medieval architecture with Frank Lloyd Wright, or when it combines classical music with rock and roll. Neoliberalism, however, sees in postmodernism a market, something to create new products and separate people from their money. Postmodernism can give neoliberalism a cultural core. Postmodernism is what is behind Pete Buttigieg's assertion that people do not have to choose between revolution and the status quo. (Trust me, he's been to universities.) We just combine them in some kind of postmodern market. Never mind that such an idea eviscerates the concept of revolution.

The incubator regime for neoliberalism, as numerous authors have pointed out, was the regime in Chile under the dictatorial junta headed by Augusto Pinochet, beginning on the real September 11th, in 1973. The Department of Economics at the University of Chicago, the epicenter of neoliberal thought in America, was brought in to help Pinochet devise policy. Please keep in mind that neoliberals do not care one whit about democracy as long as the resultant regimes respect capitalism, and they're also okay with high death tolls for the same reason. Neoliberalism is a death culture. You live if you have money or if you have access to the government which invents money and forces you to use it.

The task of replacing neoliberalism with something else will be a daunting one. Neoliberals rule the planet today. It appears at this point that our primary weapon is the fact that the neoliberals don't really have any specific culture; instead, they speculate in culture for the sake of the fetishes of markets and money and property through which they destroy the planet, us, and ultimately themselves.

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Wally's picture

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Cassiodorus's picture

@Wally https://www.npr.org/2020/03/01/802023529/pete-buttigieg-suspends-preside...

So yeah. Good news!

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"There is no good future for the US if neoliberalism, and neoliberal elites, continue to rule." -- Ian Welsh

Wally's picture

@Cassiodorus

I don't think they'll go to Bernie.

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Cassiodorus's picture

@Wally It must be remembered in this regard that Buttigieg earned his strong showings in Iowa and in New Hampshire through a LOT of effort and by spending a LOT of money.

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"There is no good future for the US if neoliberalism, and neoliberal elites, continue to rule." -- Ian Welsh

@Wally with 2 old white guys the only ones left standing, IDpolitics just died.

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boriscleto's picture

@Wally @Wally @Wally He blunted Bernie in Iowa and New Hampshire. I'm sure they told him they'll make him the VP nominee.

Warren and Klobuchar will drop out after Tuesday. They'll tell Warren she can be Secretary of Treasury and they'll tell Klobuchar she can be Secretary of Office Supplies or something.

And with Mayo Pete's delegates Biden is the "national front runner" again.

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" In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and is generally considered to have been a bad move. -- Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy "

Cassiodorus's picture

@boriscleto And that would be South Carolina, which he won yesterday.

They will only be able to maintain that line through Tuesday.

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"There is no good future for the US if neoliberalism, and neoliberal elites, continue to rule." -- Ian Welsh

@Cassiodorus There are a lot of states using unverified or unverifiable voting machines and tabulators. A bunch of Biden "victories" would be easy to arrange.

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Cassiodorus's picture

@tle And also prompting lawsuits -- since said Biden "victories" would have to be invented out of whole cloth.

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"There is no good future for the US if neoliberalism, and neoliberal elites, continue to rule." -- Ian Welsh

@boriscleto Klob, yeah, I think she’s gone. Warren seems determined to fight all the way to the convention. I’ve heard she’s running on fumes financially though. I guess she may not have a choice.

I wonder what kind of horse trading is going on behind the scenes. Are they taking Maddow to heart and dropping out to clear the path for the one true anti-Sanders? What about Bloomie? And who gets VP, they can’t all have it?

I think the next week is going to be interesting, for sure.

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with-it, new president after Camal, Crooker, Beta, and the other 27 who wrestled to steer the clown car.

@Wally

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I don't want Trump to win, but I do want the establishment Dems to lose due to their cheating and undemocratic practices in the primary. And I will do whatever I can to help that happen.

Cassiodorus's picture

@entrepreneur by a candidate with a degree in English Literature from Harvard (magna cum laude). Buttigieg couldn't even win the idiot vote, which he was clearly aiming for. If you think "The shape of our democracy is the issue that affects every other issue" means something, you are displaying the Dunning-Kruger effect.

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"There is no good future for the US if neoliberalism, and neoliberal elites, continue to rule." -- Ian Welsh

the issues that we face today may someday in the future be the issues behind us, unless they are still in front of us.

@Cassiodorus

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I don't want Trump to win, but I do want the establishment Dems to lose due to their cheating and undemocratic practices in the primary. And I will do whatever I can to help that happen.

Cassiodorus's picture

@entrepreneur I start hearing that buzzing noise like when they display that big "X" on the screen when a contestant on the game show "Family Feud" makes a wrong guess. This guy clearly knows better, and yet he still does it -- even in the concession speech.

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"There is no good future for the US if neoliberalism, and neoliberal elites, continue to rule." -- Ian Welsh

@Wally I’m not ashamed to admit I figured Klob was next to go. Other than the half an endorsement she got from the Times, I think she’d be out already. Also, I figured it wouldn’t be until after stupor Tuesday we see another victim.

So, hmm. Interesting.

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thanatokephaloides's picture

@Wally

Pete Buttigieg has ended his bid for the Democratic nomination.

May his future endeavors meet with success, an they do no harm to the rest of us,

Smile

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

WoodsDweller's picture

@Wally @Wally
were poised to exceed his fund raising, so there is no point in continuing. He was never running for President, nor for Vice President, but for Governor of Indiana in 2022. Now he'll be able to roll that fat Presidential campaign balance into his Governor's run, and swamp the Republican candidate in spending.
He has proven himself to be a useful tool, in good standing with the Establishment.
There was no way he was going to claim another delegate in this race, so he's been cut loose.
Klob can take a few delegates in MN, then she'll be discarded.
But it's all OK, since Biden will get 400 delegates on Tuesday for not bothering to show up. It's in the bag, man!

EDIT:Mayor Pete Buttigieg suspends presidential race

The New York Times reported that Mayor Pete Buttigieg is suspending his campaign for president. ... He will make a public announcement at 8:30 p.m. EST.

Note that he dropped out the day AFTER South Carolina, like Deval Patrick did, to get the news cycle to himself.

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"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Albert Bartlett

@WoodsDweller Haven't we Hoosiers suffered enough?

I have to admit, his running would be interesting. He is exactly the kind of Democrat Hoosiers like (meaning he's really a Republican). The hitch would be his sexuality though. When Pence was giving bakeries and other business the right to discriminate against LGBT people here, he wasn't doing it in a vacuum, unfortunately. Outside of Indianapolis, there wasn't a ton of protest.

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@Dr. John Carpenter is trending Red in recent years, and since the departure of their last sane somewhat moderate R pol Dick Lugar. I don't think Pete could win statewide running as a Birch Bayh liberal Hoosier nor as a mod/conservaDem Evan Bayh.

He's young. He could move to IA, where he did well, or MN or even OH. Accept a teaching job at a university in one of those states, then in a few yrs run for office in the state.

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Cassiodorus's picture

@wokkamile Pete would actually have to care about people not of his social class (and join Our Revolution) if he were to advance in politics. Maybe he could claim his hubby talked him into it? The word salad thing he does is a way of expressing how little Pete actually stands for, today.

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"There is no good future for the US if neoliberalism, and neoliberal elites, continue to rule." -- Ian Welsh

@Cassiodorus more work on the whole faking an interest in regular people thing. He could probably get some decent personal advice and training on that, maybe $150/hr, or go for the $995 Special Offer of 8 sessions in a month and also the handsome "I Care About You" tote bag and coffee mug.

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@Wally
the DP honchos are in the saddle now. They don't know where Pete's supporters/voters will go and frankly don't give a damn if it's Biden, Bloomberg, Warren, or Klob. Bloomberg can gobble up Pete's staff and operatives; that's fine because those guys need the income.

The women stay in primarily as insurance against Sanders pulling 50%+ in MA and MN, but secondarily and important as well, to give the little ladies (voters) hope and keep them in the party that really, truly cares about them. The gears on the Boston machine are being oiled and turned on.

They don't have to choose between Biden and Bloomberg; they'll let the ST or possibly later voters make that decision. Works better that way to keep the illusion of democracy going.

All they have to count on now is that a majority of Democratic primary voters are stupid. A bet they've won many times before.

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Wally's picture

@Marie

I'm fine with Warren, Klobuchar, Biden and Bloomberg splitting the centrist vote.

I'm fine that Buttigieg didn't endorse Biden.

All the better for Bernie.

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Cassiodorus's picture

@Wally I had to turn off Mayor Pete's concession speech because I couldn't deal with his word salad.

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"There is no good future for the US if neoliberalism, and neoliberal elites, continue to rule." -- Ian Welsh

@Wally
at least now I can claim one correct call in this election cycle. (Unless I include my mushy comments/forewarning that SC institutions can whip up the conservadem vote.)

Do we even know that Pete's supporters/voters are centrists? They may have no more clue to where they stand politically than they do are where Pete stands. The only thing I know about them is that roughly little less than half are men and a little more than half are women, and they liked the very young, well-spoken, substance free, gay guy. Given their remaining choice, perhaps they'll evaporate as quickly as they materialized. But would expect a few of the diehards to still vote for Pete on Tuesday.

Pete will endorse right along with the DP powers that be when they have settled on either Biden or Bloomberg.

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@Marie showed a slight plurality of Pete's backers favoring Bernie as a 2d choice, just ahead of Biden, Warren as 2d picks.

Pete will have to decide, and now he has the time, whether he will continue to drift towards the center or whether he will regroup or perhaps take notice if Bernie does indeed win the nom and go on to win election, which would signal a change in the ideological center of the party.

Obviously, wrt making an endorsement, he will be watching the results of ST tomorrow. If Bernie does indeed come out with a clear victory overall, with a difficult to overcome delegate lead, then it would make it harder for him to come out in favor of Biden for instance, hitching his wagon to the wrong horse (or horse to the wagon, however these things are done).

Going with Biden wouldn't seem to be at all in keeping with the "fresh face", dynamic outsider tone of his candidacy, the guy who was offering smart, sensible solutions, and not just a rehash of old minimalism at the margins. Pete's last campaign ad was rather bold: the ad featured a series of visual images starting with JFK, then Carter, Bill Clinton and finally Obama, stating that Pete represented this same winning tradition of new idea, smart Dems somewhat from the outside, relatively new on the national stage, who call for exciting new approaches. Biden is exactly the type of shopworn old ideas guy these previous pols, and Pete, were running against.

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@wokkamile decide whether he wants to become the neoliberal blah null entity Evan Bayh or the more bold liberal reformer father Birch Bayh.

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@wokkamile
Birch to Evan. Pete is no Birch Bayh, nor is Evan.

How does dredging up images of prior presidents connotate "new?" While I tend to go light on JFK because he was in office for such a short period of time, he was more of the same than "new."

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@Marie not a major stretch to apply that term to the list of pols for president Pete used in the ad. Most/all were in fact a fresher face than their competitors or weren't quite as well known on the national stage, most were younger and represented or branded themselves as representing a new approach, bold innovative ideas, something exciting to get behind.

JFK represented the energy of youth (age 42) compared to 8 yrs of grandfather Ike and the old-seeming Nixon, who was born old. Same comparison of JFK to LBJ, another old guy who'd been around D.C. forever, who was also born old, and with a pack of cigarettes in his pocket.

Carter ran as the new face of the New South (TIME had called him "The JFK of the South", in a bit of wild hyperbole) and presented himself as The Politician Who Won't Lie to You.

Clinton was young energy, the Man from Hope, who benefitted by comparison with a fairly weak field of lisping low-watt Paul Tsongas, quirky centrist Bob Kerrey and quirky lib today/conservaDem tomorrow Jerry Brown.

Obama, we all know that one.

As I've noted somewhere here, there doesn't seem to be a favorable political path for Pete to pursue politics in IN. It's been getting redder and redder lately. He may need to move to IA or OH, even CA I suppose given his personal profile which wouldn't be a hindrance out here. As he has only light political roots in IN, a move may be very doable.

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Wally's picture

So, he still takes some votes away from Biden and Warren and even Bloomberg.

He'll have to endorse someone which I imagine he'll do tonight to get at least a bunch of his core supporters to abandon him and move to a certain othere candidate. Otherwise they will scatter. And even then a bunch may still vote for him.

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snoopydawg's picture

You got that right. From first sending men and women off to fight and kill to how they are treated once they return home. We've heard the horror stories of how people get stuck in the VA system. Not long ago we saw pictures of Walter Reed hospital that showed it's decrepit condition. 24 veterans kill them selves every day and no one is talking about it. Or the thousands that die every year from lack of affordable health care and the list of deaths from whatever could go on to infinity.

This is the price rich people and corporations are willing to pay as long as their profits go up. Look at how Boeing knew its planes had problems because of chasing their profits and allowing less educated people to work on them.

How many members of congress are talking about the high price of insulin and other drugs that have been jacked up beyond obscene amounts? The progressives in the house had to fight with Pelosi to get an inadequate bill passed even though there is no chance of it passing the senate or Trump? She couldn't even let the risk of putting control on the drug companies to be seen. But as said here they don't care how many of us die. This is just what it is even though I can't wrap my mind around it.

OT but this is funny.

I'm surprised that more people didn't do that. This is another thing I can't wrap my brain around. Both Biden and Bloomberg were horrible for blacks and yet people are still supporting them.

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"It seems to me that the problem is that group party interests, in this case, are placed above the interests of the entire society and the interests of people,"

Cassiodorus's picture

@snoopydawg And that's why you don't vote for neoliberal candidates -- if you value your life.

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"There is no good future for the US if neoliberalism, and neoliberal elites, continue to rule." -- Ian Welsh

@snoopydawg
for Bloomberg if he'd had operatives handing out collection plate envelopes with cash inside to the churchgoers as they went to church.

They vote for candidates with a poor track record for AAs because their ministers, local DP officials/operatives, and family tell them to. The AA community remains particularly sensitive to any suggestion of communism in a candidate and leader. A high percentage even distanced themselves from MLK, Jr. before he died.

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Centaurea's picture

@snoopydawg @snoopydawg

that the South is conservative. Religion-oriented and set in their ways, holding to what is familiar to them and rejecting what is different. This includes Southern blacks, many of whom who are even more conservative than many whites.

The civil rights movement may have been supported by liberals, but that does not mean that people who've benefited from the civil rights movement are necessarily liberal themselves.

Edit: full disclosure, I live in the Pacific NW now, but spent the first 50 years of my life in the Deep South.

This is another thing I can't wrap my brain around. Both Biden and Bloomberg were horrible for blacks and yet people are still supporting them.

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"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

Aaron Maté & Krystal Ball on Grayzone discussing events & personalities of the Democratic primary. It's about 20 minutes. They're both knowledgeable and smart.

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Lurking in the wings is Hillary, like some terrifying bat hanging by her feet in a cavern below the DNC. A bat with theropod instincts. -- Fred Reed https://tinyurl.com/vgvuhcl

mimi's picture

@laurel @laurel
I still wait for someone to put the content of what Krystal said in a bullet proof list of one to two pages in size.

It's hard to not getting knocked down by all the complexity of thoughts. Like you fall down by wanting to eat breakfast and then getting a double whammy burger, Michael Douglas style.

I don't want to be your buddy, Rick... have you ever heard the expression that the customer voter is always right... so, here I am, the customer voter ...that's not our policy, you have to order from our lunch menu ....here we go ... anybody gets what is wrong with this picture?

Anybody gets what is right about what Michael Douglas said in talking about his film 'Falling Down'?

I am getting nervous now. May be I better order a chicken noodle soup.

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@mimi than straight up presentations or simple interviews. I suspect they're difficult for many of us, especially when they include terms or acronyms we're not familiar with. Sometimes the best we can do is pick up the gist. I wouldn't worry about it, Mimi. Smile

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Lurking in the wings is Hillary, like some terrifying bat hanging by her feet in a cavern below the DNC. A bat with theropod instincts. -- Fred Reed https://tinyurl.com/vgvuhcl

On neoliberalism and its consequences, I like that the recent protests in Chile held up the notion that: “Neoliberalism was born and will die in Chile.”
Here's hoping that is the case. The Chilean people deserve a future free of what neoliberalism wrought. Hell, we all do.

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Cassiodorus's picture

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"There is no good future for the US if neoliberalism, and neoliberal elites, continue to rule." -- Ian Welsh

@Cassiodorus
surprises me. They really are clearing the decks for Biden. Do they have some internal polling that makes this a good move? Or are they assuming that Amy's supporters will primarily shift to Biden and secondarily to Warren?

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Cassiodorus's picture

@Marie If they had someone better than Biden, they would. Biden is going to lose to Trump, so no more Democrats in the White House for four more years, unless it's Bernie. And they hate Bernie. They are banking on 2024.

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"There is no good future for the US if neoliberalism, and neoliberal elites, continue to rule." -- Ian Welsh