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The future… August 4, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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This is troubling, a piece in Slate which examines one of those who have supplied intellectual ballast (of sorts) to a certain very reactionary strand on the right in the US.

 

Tennessee-born economist James McGill Buchanan was horrified [at desegregation]. Over the course of the next few decades, the libertarian thinker found comfortable homes at a series of research universities and spent his time articulating a new grand vision of American society, a country in which government would be close to nonexistent, and would have no obligation to provide education—or health care, or old-age support, or food, or housing—to anyone.

But even more than that was what was a fundamentally anti-democratic underpinning to all the above.

This radical vision has become theplaybook for a network of people looking to override democracy in order to shift more money to the wealthiest few…

And:

… Buchanan helped Chile’s dictator craft a profoundly undemocratic constitution.

In the course of an interview between Rebecca Onion of Slate and Nancy MacLean of Duke University who has written a book on this it is clear that the scope of this far right vision is one which essentially sees democracy being diverted and obstructed and that those who cleave to it continue to move forward in their efforts to implement it.

What’s perhaps more troubling is that this is a project that isn’t really linked into Trump, or the alt-right, as such. Is indeed more problematic because it eschews all the bombast of those particular strains and instead focuses on fairly clear set goals. MacLean is clear this isn’t a conspiracy in the usual sense of the word, but there is a deceitfulness in terms of goals not being made clear, and it uses an instrumental approach to racism and so on. Maclean’s definitions of the approach is in a quiet way quite terrifying:

 

People who believe it will harm their liberty for other people to have full citizenship and be able to work together to govern society. And that somehow that goes much deeper than money to me. It’s hard to find the right words for it, but it’s a whole way of being in the world and seeing others. Assuming one’s right to dominate.

 

And:

…they’re doing because they understand that their ideas make them a permanent minority. They cannot win if they are honest about what they’re doing. That’s why they’re doing things in the deceitful and frightening ways that they are.

 

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Comments»

1. dublinstreams - August 4, 2017

Libertarians don’t want a competent government the mess in the White House is perfect for them.

Rich people on the left do this to, Chuck Feeney gave money secretly to universities for years, is that ok? If I mention Soros using his money to influence countries will I be called anti-semetic? The attitude seesm to be that because the rightwing might be even more rich, regressive, religious and harmful that we should ignore rich leftwingers manipulating governments.

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WorldbyStorm - August 4, 2017

Feeney is one thing Soros another. To me ends aren’t unimportant. But then so is transparency. And if something isn’t illegal does one say one won’t take money if the right are taking it? Though I’m all for minimising such monies. I won’t pretend to be entirely neutral though between left and right.

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Dr. X - August 4, 2017

I used to work for Dr. Soros – or at least his donations paid my wages for a year – and he’s alright by me. And I can tell you from the inside that the demonic portrait of him and his operations is something very far from the truth. When you see a 25 year old American kid try to ‘upskill’ a roomful of middle-aged Russian academics, well you just have to laugh.

I don’t think this kid was deliberately trying to be patronising, but that’s how he came across. . . and you can imagine how that went down.

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dublinstreams - August 4, 2017

Because there is demonic portrait of him then one dismisses all criticism of what he does.

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dublinstreams - August 4, 2017

I don’tknow difference between Soros and Feeney.

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2. bjg - August 4, 2017

It might be worth reading Michael Munger’s review of Nancy MacLean’s book here http://www.independent.org/issues/article.asp?id=9115

Not being familiar with the works of James Buchanan, I am not taking sides on this, just pointing out that there are at least two of them.

bjg

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WorldbyStorm - August 4, 2017

I don’t know. I think the Koch’s are fairly clearly on the wrong side on a range of issues (though in fairness to them they’re also on the right side in a smaller number of cases). Nor am I instinctively averse to libertarianism, indeed large parts of it I find myself in sympathy with and I’d love to find some way to synthesise it and left wing thinking in some useful form but my alarm bells do go of while scanning through the piece I see the argument about the necessity for the process Chile went through in 1976 onwards due to the problems of ‘too much democracy’ triggering a counter coup to a putative democratic restoration.

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