Wednesday, June 15, 2016
A Long Read Recommendation
The New Republic has put forth a very worthwhile series of essays on what underlies the split that has been a part of the Democratic party for a long time now. And I have to say that it is well worth the time go through all of them.
From my perspective, of course, a good deal of that split comes from the time worn difficulty that Liberals and Progressives have always had on dealing with the contradictions, and shortcomings, of Capitalism. The center of that split, however, has always been the faith that Capitalism can be kept worthwhile as long as the average folks can stay organized enough to keep the reforms coming as needed. In fact, even in the extremes of Socialistic Progressivism was the idea that Capitalism just needed to be run by the will of the people, rather than by the will abstract markets, or market hegemonists.
And perhaps in simpler technological times there was some truth to that faith, given that competition, or the pace of technological change, wasn't anything like it is today. The advent of information processing, and retrieval, systems, however, has blown all of that out of the water now. To the point that, for Capitalism to work at all, it needs unhindered control of all of the aspects of flow and process. And of course, in that context, "working" applies mostly to the movers and holders of the counters that give that "ism" it's name. Everybody else is simply factors in the front end of production, and the back end of consumption. Factors that need to do what they're told because doing anything else simply creates more issues of cost.
As the first essay in the N.R. list makes clear, however, the historic "split" should put no doubt at all to the fact that, for the most part, the Democratic party has been simply "Republican" light as far as economic issues go. And for precisely that reason, without listening nearly enough to the Progressive side of things, have they been completely useless in countering the Republican push of the so called "center" to a place where disaster has come to feel like it's in our face for real now. It's as if, instead of the metaphors of "right" and "left," we've come to have "down" and "up;" whereupon people now think that ass holes are belly buttons, and are surprised that stuff comes out of them at all, much less the stink it causes. And the trend is for more down, where you just know what the orifice some people will be talking out of will be very soon now, if not already.
In any case, though, do read these essays. And as you do, keep asking the question. Are Liberals and progressives fighting over the wrong issue? Does the degree of reforming Capitalism, or the efficacy of them singularly, or in mutual interaction, matter any more? Isn't it about time to start asking whether it is in any way viable at all now? About considering just how much technological change it requires for any operating system to become irrelevant for the conditions now made manifest?