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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fighting the Single Most Dangerous Organized Force in the World

The single most dangerous organized force in the country right now in my opinion is the Republican Party in this moment of its catastrophic disconnection from reality.

This disconnection manifested itself in a comically terrifying way over the course of the latest election in the freakshow primary, the unskewed polling nonsense, and then in the very real confusion of the Romney campaign at losing an election they were obviously losing -- in addition to the bewilderment of the key players on the tee vee in the aftermath of the election, which might be dismissed as gamesmanship at some level, they spent unprecedented millions on a "transition team" premised on that victory that just can't be dismissed as kabuki but only as serious delusion. Death Panel Summer and Birtherism and even the Clinton Impeachment were all earlier exhibitions of this wingnut disconnect, of course. But the disconnection is more significantly indicated in the rejection of Keynesian economics by pretty much the whole party from top to bottom that stands in the way of the obvious solution to our unemployment crises through a vast investment in sustainable infrastructure and renewable energy (or even in the misrecognition of the human tragedy of this unemployment crisis as one eclipsed by a fiscal non-crisis that is threatening only the unearned privileges of a miserable miserly plutocratic micro-minority), the sincere or pretended climate-change denialism by pretty much the whole party from top to bottom that stands in the way of action in the face of the single most urgent civilizational threat of our time, the widespread disdain of Darwin, science, fact-based and harm-reduction policy-making models more generally, the capture of the right by a gun-lobby promoting a gun-culture expressing a more deeply apocalyptic anti-governmental anti-civilizational hyper-individualism than most sensible people are willing to contemplate, the endless exhibitions of patriarchal sexism and heterosexism that endlessly frustrate efforts to provide access to healthcare and education and opportunity to women and girls and of white-racism that bedevil hopes for immigration reform let alone any real address of racist legacies stratifying our society, squandering so much energy, intelligence, and potential.

Because the Republican Party is one of the most powerful forces in American society and America is by many measures one of the most powerful forces in the world, the disconnection of the Republican Party from reality is even more dangerous the wider your planetary perspective and the longer your historical prospect in my view. I think the Republican Party in its deranging Movement Republican phase achieved its consummation in the criminal war-adventuring of George W. Bush and since then has been in a state of ever amplifying crisis and dysfunction and marginalization. But I have no doubt at all that the GOP will remain long capable of authoring extraordinary destruction in this country and in the world in the midst of its ongoing self-destruction.

Although Obama's crucial victories symptomize generational demographic transformation in our country, I think that this is not what he means when he says he wants to be a "transformational" president. I do believe that no small part of Obama's politics consists of his trying to redirect the Republican Party out of its Movement Conservative madness by constantly trying to open spaces in which the GOP is either allowed to make a spectacle of its dysfunction in ways that accelerate its self-marginalization or to act on its better angels and gain power through its partnership with him toward solving actually real shared problems in actually real ways. Given the fact that the Congress lacks the numbers to strong arm his agenda through either house, let alone administer it across all the layers of our federal system and multilateral institutions, this effort on Obama's part is necessary both in absolutely practical terms here and now as well as in light of the larger question of renewing our civic agencies to address our shared planetary problems.

If I didn't think the Republican Party was the most dangerous force in the country and hence in the world in this moment, my politics would look more conventionally radical lefty, I'm sure, simply concerned with economic justice, devoted to sustainability, and celebrating multiculture and especially the creative arts and scientific research. But I judge the GOP the chief (far from the only) obstacle to progressive accomplishment in my country and in the world right now, and that is the lens through which I read quite a lot of politics.

To fail to grasp the conspicuous enemy in the room isn't a sign of great seriousness in my view, and those who bray about Obama's secretmuslikenyasocialist betrayals on the right or about Obama's cryptofascicorporatist betrayals on the left, or about how exhilarating and emancipatory anarchist happenings are or about how exhilarating and emancipatory the latest or imaginarily emerging sooper-gizmos are, all seem to me, you will forgive me, more nonsensical and misguided than words can say.

I agree that getting stuck in the muck of compromised and compromising politics at the partisan level isn't exactly elevating, but nobody consults our aesthetic preferences in advance as to who our objective enemies are going to be, or the level of the sociocultural terrain at which those enemies will be most effectively engaged in the service of sustainable equity-in-diversity. You know, progress.


brian said...

nice post, but, isn't the single most dangerous organized force in the world today the us military?

Dale Carrico said...

No, I really don't think so, even as a teacher and advocate of non-violent civil resistance and foe of militarization I don't think so. Obviously, one wants to shrink the military budget, one wants to eliminate weapons stockpiles, one wants to redirect foreign policy to multilateral diplomacy, but all of that is a function of marginalizing Movement Republicanism (there are DNC hawks assuredly but sensible constituent-supported countervailing forces are all also in the DNC).

Also, one cannot wish away the military industrial complex, especially when it presently functions as the stealthy economic planning vector of our putative "free market" society. The military provided the point of elaboration in the post Civil War context for the emergence of the welfare state via veterans widows and orphan support (see Theda Skocpol for peerless scholarship on this topic), was shoehorned further in the progressive era, became a vehicle for desegregation in the post WW2 context (and continued on for women and glbt right up to the present) and will be a centerpiece in renewable public infrastructure investment -- solar power generation, electric/ hybrid vehicular fleet, refurbished installations with diminished carbon footprints, etc. -- to bring prices down to enable a shift to a sustainable economy.

My point is definitely not the suggestion that the one justifies the other, or ameliorates the crimes and horrors of the other, but the suggestion that the politics of de-militarization requires a generational (probably multi-generational) policy focus that is selective and intelligent. Anyway, I am even more frightened of neocons than the armed forces as such precisely because of what the armed forces become in their hands, even if I might wish away the armed forces everywhere to prevent this danger if magic powers were available to politics (they aren't).