The ideology / movement that goes by the name “Neoliberalism” is characterized by 10 telling features. It thrives within the paradigm, inaugurated by Reaganism, that the State is generally the source of the problem, almost never the solution, to domestic problems… and that the free market is the cure-all for all such problems. Here, the free market is the “best” (however defined) way to organize every aspect of social life. The upshot of hyper-privatization and deregulation eliminates the concept and valuing of community and the public sphere, supplanting it with a handful of private interests which are allowed to control as much as possible of social life in order to maximize profit for themselves…at everyone else’s expense. “Public service” becomes anathema, and “business enterprise” becomes the sine qua non, the ultimate and glorified factor, in society. In this scheme, all people are seen and treated as customers and benefit-maximizing agents rather than as fellow humans.
The scheme typically boils down to the following: Concentrating power in the form of private power while instilling fear of concentrated power in the form of state power. Thus, while we’re fleeing menacing caricatures of statism, we’re running right into the arms of corporatism and corporate domination—which operate under the enticing pretexts of “freedom” (the pretense of a glorified “free market”). The euphemism “economic liberalization” is employed, which actually means “takeover of the economy by corporate power…often via State-corporate collusion.”
The 10 primary elements of “Neoliberalism”:
1 Hyper-financialization/securitization of the economy (invariably involving some type of speculation-on-steroids, and often involving securitization-based growth).
2 Endorsement for economic systems that abet U.S. militarism and economic imperialism (often involving extensive war profiteering) with ventures and interventions in struggling / developing countries. Since it favors corporate power over universal enfranchisement, it tends to endorse corporate interests even at the expense of exploiting the rank and file of local populations. (For this reason, it is symbiotic with Neocon foreign policy).
3 A penchant for (and encouragement of) hyper-consumerism amongst the general populace—who are seen as target customers more than as civilians.
4 Hyper-commercialization and hyper-privatization (i.e. a push to privatize everything under the sun, including public infrastructure; and to commercialize everything under the sun, including basic public services).
5 A tendency to abet systems of exploitation (specifically, of the subaltern segments of a population)…especially those in developing countries, typically by transnational corporations (e.g. putting so-called “free trade” over fair trade.)
6 A tendency toward marginalization (and sometimes even oppression) of the ill-positioned and the poor—in order to benefit a well-positioned few (e.g. by funneling funds into the pockets of plutocrats), and to maximize the profits of the prevailing corporations. (This often involves the commoditization of humans.) Tell-tale signs of this are a systematic disregard for human rights / civil liberties amongst the subaltern segments of the population (in order to benefit narrow sectors), as well as neglect of negative “externalities”, of adverse neighborhood effects, of consumer protections, and of information asymmetries.) Basically: the concentration of wealth/power in the hands of a few via schemes of upward redistribution of wealth/power from the many into the hands of a few.
7 Schemes for augmenting socio-economic stratification. (Concentration of wealth in narrow sectors of the general populace, entailing massive, flagrantly ameritorcratic inequality.)
8 Concentration of power (primarily in the form of corporate power and financial wealth) in the hands of the few—typically at the expense of everyone else. This entails plutocratic states of affairs (in which corporate interests trump the interests of the rank and file).
9 Corporatism: collusion between the State and Big Business (government-corporate collusion)
10 The deification / fetishization of the so-called “free market”, the glorification of “laissez-faire capitalism”, and the vilification of basic socialized/public infrastructure. (This includes vehement anti-Keynsianism—the vilification and demonization of Keynesian economics, and the promulgation of myths like “trickle-down economics”, etc.)
The consequences of the implementation of the ideology are typically:
A plutocratic state of affairs (oligarchs and plutocrats consolidating power in the hands of a few; highly concentrated wealth in a few hands)
Rampant de-regulation of investment banking and corporate activity
Systematic government-corporate collusion (“corporatism”)
Drastic economic stratification (i.e. massive wealth inequality/disparities)
1st world economic imperialism in the developing and 3rd world
Privatization of the public sphere.
Institutionalization of corporate socialism (a.k.a. corporate welfare). This involves the collusion between the State and Big Business (i.e. “corporatism”) and therefore the promulgation of corporate / banking power/interests at the expense of the general populace. It includes moves against anything that would regulate (render transparent and accountable) investment banking and corporate activity…or that would deprive Big Business of target markets or maximized, short-term profits for the few well-positioned within the system. Among other things, this involves socializing risk/cost while privatizing profits (as with NYC’s MTA, Fanny May and Freddy Mac, Wall Street banks, etc.), orchestrating sweetheart government contracts to for-profit ventures, dolling out subsidies (handouts) to corporations, etc.
There seem to be 6 primary polemical tools employed to provide rationalizations for this activity:
1 Demonization of all taxation (taxes per se as inherently evil)
2 Demonization of the State qua State (i.e. of the public sector). In other words, the depiction of non-police, domestic roles of the State as inherently antithetical to freedom and liberty.
3 Promulgation of myths like “trickle down economics” and shams like supply-side economic policy (e.g. “Reaganomics”).
4 Caricaturing socialized/public infrastructure as Soviet-style “Communism” (by depicting it as inherently Statist and painting it as totalitarian in nature). Here, socializing ANYTHING is said to be tantamount to paving the way to Stalinist/Maoist-style tyranny. Any organized labor and labor advocacy organizations are vilified in due course.
5 Free market fundamentalism: The romanticizing of laissez-faire capitalism. Here, State oversight or ANY State involvement in society is caricatured as the government intervening in private affairs, “government take-over”, etc. (interference with the free market, encroachment on liberties, etc.) This involves the vilification of John Maynard Keynes and the invocation of distorted caricatures of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand”, as well as the glorification of corporate titans, materialism and financial wealth.
6 Commercial freedom is held to be the primary freedom, rather than a derivative freedom. Thus, basic human rights are subordinated to commercial freedoms, rather than vice versa.
As I understand it, the movement started with the “Austrian School” of economics (of which Von Mises was the flag-ship icon), then segued into what was then called the “Chicago School” of economics, via F.A. Hayek (of which Milton Friedman was the flagship icon).
In the last decade or two, those of the “Chicago School” who’ve traditionally provided scholarly ballast to the Neoliberal ideology (via “intellectual capture”) have been dubbed the “fresh water” economists. Meanwhile, progressive scholars in the field were dubbed “salt water” economists (the flagship icon of whom is J.K. Galbraith…though the current go-to thinker seems to be Joseph Stiglitz). The salt-waters tend to be at the U. Cal’s, Columbia, Cornell, Yale, Harvard, MIT etc.
The fresh-water economists are characterized by “free market fundamentalism” (Robert Lucas, John Cochrane, and Eugene Fama at U. Chicago; Arthur Laffer, Rubin, L. Summers, A. Greenspan, Tim Geithner, etc.)
Meanwhile, the salt-water economists are basically Neo-Keynsians and progressives (Simon Johnson at MIT, Joseph Stiglitz at Columbia, and Paul Krugman from Princeton, for example).
Two landmark works promoting Neolbieral ideology are Milton Friedman’s iconic work, “Capitalism & Freedom” (a very brief statement of the ideology, serving as a sort of Neoliberal Manifesto) and Friedrich Hayek’s “Road To Serfdom”.
Two landmark works critiquing Neoliberal ideology are Naomi Klein’s 2007 “The Shock Doctrine” and David Harvey’s 2005 “A Brief History of Neoliberalism” (though there are many, many more useful works of scholarship).
Right wing “think-tanks” (like the Heritage Foundation, the AEI, the Club For Growth, and Americans For Prosperity) are essentially Neoliberal propaganda factories, operating as cults, passing charlatans off as “scholars”, and appropriating legitimate scholars (via “intellectual capture”) with lucrative deals and enticing prizes to bolster the institution’s clout.
IN SUM, Tell-tail Features of Neoliberalism:
Touting of myths like “trickle-down economics”; pushing policies that have been proven to be derelict over and over (supply-side economics).
Economic imperialism: A system of control / exploitation of foreign lands for economic benefits here at home.
Free market fundamentalism: Fetishization of the free market (of laissez-fair capitalism).
Exploitation and marginalization of the subaltern segment of the population (i.e. of most of the general populace, a.k.a. the rank and file)
Hyper-privatization (privatization of the public sphere)
Rampant de-regulation of corporate / banking activity (vilification of ROTA for Big Business)
“Free trade” over fair trade. A “free trade” system rigged in favor of corporate interests (at the expense of the subaltern population).
Being ideologically against labor rights and all organized labor activity.
The upward redistribution of wealth
Regressive taxation schemes (massive tax breaks for big business and the super-rich).
Maximization of aggregate “economic growth”—which ends up being highly concentrated in narrow sectors of society.
Inconsistently-applied standards—in favor of incumbent power structures. In other words: Imposition of categorical restrictions on other nations that the U.S. isn’t willing to impose on itself, and categorical entitlements endowed to the U.S. that it isn’t willing to give to anyone else. (Manifest destiny, American exceptionalism, providentialism, etc.)
Capital accumulation—effected via corporatist activity, operating under the auspices of “small government”. This is used to effect the privatization of the public sector…and consequently the concentration of wealth (consolidation of power) into a few hands.
Neoliberalism is predicated on the now defunct RCT (rational choice theory), the notoriously failed EMH (efficient market hypothesis), and the idea that laissez-faire capitalism (anarcho-capitalism) is the quintessence of democracy. This involves the reduction of human beings to atomizable, utility-maximizing agents—thereby rendering “individualism” a matter of narcissism and myopic self-interest (as opposed to Kantian autonomy). The financial sector is romanticized as the most optimal and fair way to allocate capital (i.e. the most efficient way to channel society’s resources into the most promising enterprises).
Any manner of public works/infrastructure is demonized
Concentrated power in the form of the State is hyper-dramatized as the sole menace, while highly concentrated power in the form of corporate (private) power is romanticized.
The notion of “freedom” is rendered a function of “commercial freedom”.
Corporatism: Collusion between the State and corporate interests
Corporate socialism/welfare: Socialization of losses and privatization of gains…while channeling public funds (hand-outs), as subsidies, to massive corporations with whom corporatist politicians are colluding. This is done via State-corporate collusion (a.k.a. “corporatism”).
The concern is using the State as a siphoning mechanism—a mechanism for funneling public funds into private hands. (The result: highly-concentrated wealth / power.) This is a huge problem—and one, I think, we can all agree is in dire need of addressing.
When a few people win from a system they’ve rigged for their own benefit (and the majority of the population suffers because of it), something is drastically amiss. Much of the dysfunction can be attributed to State-corporate collusion, often dubbed “corporatism” (a.k.a. crony capitalism, fascistic elements, anarcho-capitalism, a plutocratic state of affairs, etc.)
Neo-liberal policy has not only failed miserably wherever and whenever it’s been tried, but it has actually been utterly disastrous everywhere it’s been implemented…from Chile in the 70’s to China in the 80’s to Russia in the 90’s to New Orleans in the last decade… not to mention the United States as a whole in the last 40 years. (!)
This is something that begs for a solution. We know what the solution is, if we simply look at all the places that have employed more Keynesian policies. Every time, such examples have been stupendously successful: from Scandinavia to Germany—the healthiest, the most just and democratic nations on earth.
REVERSE ENGINEERING THE NEOLIBERAL MENTALITY:
For anything that exists in the public domain, the market fundamentalist is programmed to automatically think: BLOATED BUREAUCRACY. Meanwhile, for anything that exists in the private sector, the market fundamentalist is programmed to automatically think: FREE ENTERPRISE. Each correlation becomes so inextricably linked in his mind that nothing can be understood outside of this ironclad dichotomy.
A State-run mechanism to provide services to the rank and file? Bloated bureaucracy.
A trans-national corporation exploiting people to maximize profits? Free enterprise.
It’s that simple.
Public works: bloated bureaucracy. Big Business: free enterprise.
Public works: tyranny. Big Business: liberty.
Public works: all that is evil. Big Business: all that is good.
These queer associations are thoroughly ingrained in the brains of those who’ve been seduced by the right-wing libertarian narrative. The connections are simple, catchy, and require zero knowledge of economics. The words are provocative and memorable. The logic is easily digestible. Thinking of things in any other way soon becomes inconceivable. “More investment in public infrastructure? Are you crazy? Isn’t that what STALIN did?”
Each time a right-wing libertarian hears “public service”, he’s programmed to think “bloated bureaucracy”. Any time he hears about capital gains or dividends, he’s programmed to think: the quintessence of freedom. PSI is seen as nothing other than intervention in one’s personal life: interfering with one’s private affairs, infringing on one’s prerogative. PSI, then, can only ever be a matter of depriving us of our individual liberties. The deification of “the market” is the natural result of this mindset.
Here, the private sector is seen as the only true vehicle for “freedom”. By the same token, government can only ever be a vehicle for “communism”…or some other menacing-sounding –ism. So, the conclusion easily follows: The government should just leave everyone alone and let the chips fall where they may. If certain people somehow manage to accumulate lots of power for themselves, they must have accumulated it for a reason. So be it. They’re worthy OF the power because they HAVE the power. End of story. As long as the government stays out of the way, all will be well.
The narrative has an undeniable appeal. No cognitive exertion is required. Just some quick word-associations, and the indoctrination is complete.
Meanwhile: Taxes on the super-rich or on big corporations is equated with some kind of tyrannical imposition. “Get the government off our backs” the rabble is programmed to say any time the State attempts ROTA on Big Business or attempts to levy more taxes on the wealthiest. If I am a middle-class right-wing libertarian, ROTA on Big Business is seen as an attack on MY liberties. By thinking this way, the rabble will eagerly join corporate power in the pleas to “get government out of our way.” Out of who’s way? Out of “our” way. It’s a bait-and-switch. The ruse is complete.
How does this thinking work?
Credulity and ignorance are the incubators for most dogma. This case is no different. A pre-requisite for being taken in by this sham is misunderstanding of even basic macro-economics. The key for corporatists, as with stage magicians, is to use diversion: Get the audience to fixate on one thing (the dangers of too much State power) so that they are rendered oblivious to where the REAL action is happening (the dangers of too much private power).
Government SERVICE FOR the rabble is twisted into meaning government CONTROL OVER the rabble. Such a rhetorical sleight-of-hand is tragically effective. Turn something eminently democratic into something that sounds menacing and ANTI-democratic. (Only in this bizarre-o-world view of public service could Tea Partier’s possibly construe a public option for healthcare as a GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER of their lives. It’s like seeing the local fire department as a “government takeover” of the community’s safety.)
Thus, the subaltern is persuaded to not only support but to CHEER FOR the conditions that perpetuate his subaltern status. As with Stockholm Syndrome, the victim comes to embrace—even revere—his captor. Here, the rabble develops a phobia for ROTA and PSI even as they become infatuated with a romanticized vision of private power. Point in case: the 2009 Tea Party rallies.
In this scheme, the rabble becomes convinced: If it’s not something that the powerful want, then it must be something that will be detrimental to US. Taxing THEM means taxing US. Regulating Big Business means depriving everyone of liberty. Inconveniencing THEM means harming US. If THEY can’t earn more money, then WE can’t earn more money.
The inevitable conclusion to this surreal logic: Everyone gets more freedom of we allow Big Business to have more freedom. The right of businesses to maximize profits is conflated with human rights. The prerogative of corporate power is equated with civil liberties. When property rights are allowed to trump human rights, we quickly find, the less powerful will allow the more powerful to run amok. It goes utterly unacknowledged that PSI is more to thank for any weal our society has enjoyed than the deeds of corporate power.
Perorations about “growth” and “prosperity” and “freedom” are commonplace in Neoliberal polemic, but it is never specified: growth / prosperity for whom? What SENSE of “freedom”? (Alas, a well-executed buzz-word typically takes care of itself; no context required.) These are questions that aren’t even posed, let alone answered adequately. But why engage in enquiries when the answers are all provided in the form of appealing platitudes and enticing bromides?
Right-wing libertarian talking points are so much more conducive to jazzy rhetorical flourishes than is a meticulous discussion of the nuts and bolts of PSI. The logistics of public works don’t fit as well into catchy platitudes as do simple-minded assertions about “growth” and “prosperity” and “freedom”—words that have been reified to the extent of exhaustion.
Via Neoliberal indoctrination, the rank and file is persuaded that their best interest is consummate with the interests of corporate power. Anything that would limit corporate power is thus seen as an attack on the rank and file. It’s like inverted, reverse, backwards, up-side-down Marx in a fun-house mirror.
NEOLIBERAL MYTHS 101: AMERICA PAYS TOO MUCH TAXES:
As measured in terms of total tax revenue as a share of overall GDP the average tax burden for countries that are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in 2008 was almost 45%; the U.S. was only about 26%. The U.S. pays less taxes as a share of GDP than Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Austria, France, Netherlands, Germany, United Kingdom, Canada, Spain, Switzerland and Japan. Guess which economies are doing better than the U.S. for the past decade: Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Austria, France, Netherlands, Germany, the U.K, Canada, and Switzerland. Meanwhile, Spain and Japan will be a-okay, and they have far superior public infrastructure and social services…along with the other ten nations listed above. The CURRENT U.S. federal tax burden as share of GDP is only 14.8%–a 60 year low. (!)
MEANWHILE… there are large corporations that aren’t paying ANY taxes lately, most notably: General Electric and Exxon-Mobil. As measured in terms of share of DXP, the S. actually has THE LOWEST corporate tax burden of any OECD nation. Corporations’ tax shelter practices similar to those used by Exxon-Mobil shift a $100 billion tax burden onto U.S. taxpayers EACH YEAR. In fact, in 2008, the Government Accountability Office found that “two out of every three United States corporations paid no federal income taxes from 1998 through 2005.”
Taking into account the gigantic tax loopholes and exemptions, the EFFECTIVE tax rate for Big Business is considerably lower than almost any developed nation in the world—and about average for the OECD members: about 27%. Moreover, the bigger you are, the LESS you pay. The effective tax rate for the biggest corporations is only about 15%.
Poor people often pay too much in taxes (e.g. payroll and excise, even if not income tax) while the biggest corporations don’t pay nearly enough. The U.S. has a quite low tax burden overall.
The crisis of 1893/6, the crisis of 1907, the speculation bubble collapse of 1929, the S&L crisis of 1987, the dot-com bubble collapse of 2000, and the real-estate / derivatives bubble collapse of 2008: Here are cases where hyper-speculation almost brought the nation’s economy down—and had devastating fall-out NOT for the rich, but for the rank and file.
J.P. Morgan was an honest man. Character was the most important thing to him. Though he was an opportunist of the highest order, he was a civic-minded opportunist.
The notion of a 100% honest businessman today seems anathema. A Wall Street tycoon of impeccable character has quite literally become an oxymoron. Why is this?
The Supreme Court’s 1/21/10 decision in Citizens United v. FEC green-lighted unlimited corporate spending in federal elections via granting corporations the same free-speech rights as individual humans. In doing so, it severely impaired our already dilapidated democracy—sabotaging the democratic process and undermining the principles on which elections are based. By rendering “The People” subordinate to corporate power, the despicable decision reflected the true agenda of the right wing here in the U.S.
AGAINST NEOLIBERAL ECONOMIC IDEOLOGY:
Is it any coincidence that the nations with the LEAST Neoliberal economies in the first world are PRECISELY the ones doing the best? (Scandinavia and Germany are, of course, the most flagrant examples.) Meanwhile, to the degree certain countries instituted Neoliberal economic policy corresponds almost without fail to the degree that they have courted grave dysfunction (case in point: Iceland).
CONSEQUENCES OF NEOLIBERALISM:
Neoliberal ideology translated into policy is nothing short of the subordination of political power to private / economic power. The state is thereby rendered the device by which corporate interests are advanced. If this is not anti-democratic, then “democracy” has no coherent meaning. This is most certainly the antithesis of humanism, but that fact seems not to affect people who don’t assess things based on humanist principles, but rather gauge credence based on how ENTICING the rhetoric they’re offered SOUNDS.
The perpetuation of established privilege, the maintenance of structural inequality, the aggrandizement of private centers of concentrated power, and the preservation of socio-economic stratification are all on the right-wing agenda, executed under the aegis of “democracy”…done in the name of “freedom”. This packaging of Neoliberal policy enables it to sell well to the credulous and ill-informed.
The evidence against the claims of Neoliberalism is extensive and easily available to those willing and able to look for it. Yet this seems not to be happening. Once having subscribed to a dogma, one is often satisfied.
This morally bankrupt ideology will hopefully be divested of its establishment approbation (and all social esteem) before too long. Insofar as its utter loss of credence becomes widely recognized, the general public will demand its prompt demise. Until then, Neoliberalism will continue to sell well, due to its enticing packaging and the extensive PR its promulgators employ.
The standard gimmick is to glorify investment in the private sector whilst down-playing the value of investment in the public sector. In other words: romanticize corporate power while neglecting the role of socialized infrastructure. For the Neoliberal, the former represents FREEDOM while the latter represents the road to tyranny. The former stimulates the economy, according to the supply-side paradigm; the latter stimulates the economy IN REALITY. PSI is anathema to the Neoliberal, who’s depiction of the world is predicated on a romantic vision of private enterprise.
In a healthy and just society, private enterprise plays a crucial role in economic activity, but exists by percolating up from the conditions fostered by PSI. Funneling more money into the pockets of the rich allows them to hoard more wealth (by investing it in / for themselves) and/or to consume more luxury products…for themselves…in a way that little of the money spent ends up driving activity for the rank and file. There is little—if any—trickle-down effect of wealth.
What is better, me having a little more money to buy a big-screen TV that was made in China…or the municipality having more funds to devote to public schools, public health, and public works? The value of public works and public infrastructure must trump the emphasis on consumerism.
ROI on tax-cuts for the rich comes in the form of benefits exclusively for the rich. The ROI on investment in PSI is benefits for the general populace. This is a choice—we select which road based on our priorities. So long as the State is run by businessmen instead of public servants, we will go down the road that benefits the aristocracy at the expense of the proletariat. We hear “economic growth”, but economic growth FOR WHOM? We’re told certain things will expand the economy, but expand it FOR WHOM? For any given course of action, there is SOME benefit for SOMEONE: Cui bono?
NEOLIBERAL COMPLICITY IN ECONOMIC PROBLEMS:
The policies of corporatist minions like Hank Paulson and Tim Geithner are to blame for the economic collapse. Geithner—a Neoliberal shill—was at the helm at the NY Fed in the half-decade run-up to the disaster. His mentor, Hank Paulson (perhaps one of the most corrupt insiders of the last decade) engineered the biggest project for corporate welfare in U.S. history: a staggering handout to AIG and Citigroup (and his cronies at Goldman Sachs via AIG) WITHOUT ANY STRINGS ATTACHED. This included a tax-payer subsidy—a publicly-subsidized capital injection—with almost NO CONDITIONS.
The Bush-Paulson-Geithner TARP is perhaps the most flagrant and egregious instance of corporate socialism that has ever taken place. Now, in the Obama administration, there is no bigger friend to corporate power than Tim Geithner. Along with the G.O.P., Geithner was at the helm of the effort to COMPLETELY GUT any/all financial reform, fighting tooth and nail to prevent ANY substantive corrective measures (ROTA) from being part of the legislation. He was, essentially, the hired henchman for the banking industry. (Note his vehement opposition to the Volcker Rule, for example.)
Along with arch-right-wing operator Rahm Emmanuel (who’d fought to gut healthcare reform), Geithner is at the right hand of Obama. We must be reminded: these are “Democrats”. It is telling to note that, AFTER progressives voted for Obama, Obama then immediately proceeded on his radical turn to the right, doing things that, had Progressives known ahead of time he’d do, would have never voted for him. Only AFTER he’d duped Progressives into supporting him with lip-service to Progressive ideals (via soaring rhetoric) did Obama turn around and appoint right-wing operatives (Summers, Geithner, Emmanuel) to the highest posts in his administration. This flagrant betrayal is despicable. The result has been frustration, exasperation, and consternation within Progressive segments of the population.
The privatization of government encouraged by Neoliberal policy is at the root of this process. The m.o. of Neoliberalism is to maximize corporate profits at the expense of the rank and file—enriching a well-positioned few even if it means cheating everyone else. The U.S. citizenry has been duped.
The most ill-informed and credulous segments of the general populace have eagerly endorsed this racket simply because it has been wrapped in the U.S. flag. In other words, snazzy packaging has allowed the sham to continue simply because it’s been packaged in an enticing way. The right wing of the country (i.e. the G.O.P.) has proven masterful at convincing such segments to go along with agendas that HURT the rank and file.
The out-of-touch and uneducated are constantly duped into rallying around an agenda that screws them over. This bizarre phenomenon is exasperating to behold. It can mainly be attributed by the efficacy with which Republican leaders and corporatists haven been able to promulgate right-wing propaganda via an MSM that is staggeringly compliant and jingoism that is disturbingly effective.
The explanation for this is quite straight-forward: The ill-informed and credulous go along with the right-wing agenda precisely because they are ill-informed and credulous. They will endorse policies that are antithetical to the general welfare because it’s been marketed well. Unbeknownst to the cheering crowds, it is done all so that a select few can enrich themselves…at the expense of those in the cheering crowds. This is the political version of Stockholm Syndrome.
We understand perfectly well why corporate executives and the super-wealthy vote Republican—and why they wholeheartedly endorse these despicable policies. They WANT the system to be rigged in their favor—even if it means screwing over everyone else. But when we observe the large swaths of the rank and file play along with the scheme, we become befuddled and even flabbergasted. Can SO MANY people be so egregiously bamboozled?
As the reactionary elements of the citizenry avidly wave their flags and talk of “patriotism”, succumbing to jingoism and the trappings of hyper-nationalism, they enthusiastically go along with the rackets which siphon money from their pockets into the coffers of corporations that care nothing about them. Such a fiasco is essentially an occurrence of collective Stockholm Syndrome.
When the rape victim falls in love with the rapist, we are astonished and repulsed. But when millions of credulous civilians become enamored with the political and economic forces that rape them, we’re all-too-often utterly complacent. Would we react the same way to a cancer patient who praises the disease that’s killing her?
Behold the Tea Party movements, where America’s least educated and most out-of-touch cheer on the forces that repeatedly screw them over. This unwitting masochism is flummoxing to observe. “WHAT are they possibly THINKING?” we ask ourselves. “Do they even REALIZE…?”
The right-wing elements that are raping the general populace for their own aggrandizement are corporatists wearing the guise of public servants. Seated in high positions in the government, they serve their corporate handlers even as they smile for the camera and encourage flocks of Tea Partiers to…well…be Tea Partiers. Progressives long for the day that the jig is up.
Those duped into endorsing the right wing policies of the G.O.P. shoot themselves in the foot. Those who vociferously rally around right-wing agendas are essentially analogous to rape victims falling in love with and glorifying their rapists.
It’s time we make the rape victims—the rabble—aware that their infatuations have been directed at the rapist all along. “The object of your devotion,” we should bring to their attention, “Is precisely what ails you. It’s time to tear the mask off our assailant, expose him for what he is, and bring him to justice.”
The right wing is no friend of the common man. Until the common man realizes this, things will continue to go badly for him. Step number one is to put our foot down and demand all corporate socialism stop immediately. A good place to start is the war profiteering and other rackets that screw over the general populace so that a few insiders can enrich themselves.