The right-wing project… August 16, 2012Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, US Politics.
Beverley Gage on the Slate Political Gabfest last week made the following point, which I think is extremely important to remember – and not just in relation to the US Presidential election. Speaking about Paul Ryan and the praise he has received for his budgetary plan – and noting that the plan is politically and economically impossible to implement, she continued by pointing out that the Ryan’s of the world aren’t dedicated to running the contemporary economy more efficiently but of changing it entirely. And in this respect the plans for government are not about ‘reform’ but effectively about excision.
She points out that far from Ryan being unique the idea of ‘dealing with’ social security has a long pedigree on the Republican right.
Goldwater, Reagan… It’s all about wanting to do something about social security.
The really interesting question is why social security? What is so meaningful about the government giving relatively small cheques to old people. That is at the core of this ideological divide. And what’s interesting to me and one of the things that Paul Ryan carries on the awareness that a lot of people’s ideas about government are not created by some sort of big ideological debate, but are created out of people’s actual experience of government and if you have government in your life doing something like sending you a cheque that really matters to you then you are going to have a more positive view and then in part your world view is shaped out of those experiences. And I think in recent years the kind of ‘starve the beast’ language of parts of the Republican party anyway has been very much about awareness about that and not only about changing policy for policies sake but wanting to change the ways that people experience government in ways that will therefore change their voting patterns.
I think that’s a key point. Whether successful or not politicians like Ryan are about dismantling the relationships with the state. It’s an interesting question as to whether that’s an achievable goal – I’d put good money on the prospect that a society that was as minarchist as his ilk appear to desire as the ultimate expression of their politics is functionally impossible to implement, the private sector simply cannot address broad societal requirements. But that won’t, of course, stop people from pushing hard in that direction and clearly with little regard for the collateral damage inflicted in the process.