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Monday, December 13, 2010

False Equivalence of Fail

I regularly castigate people who occupy with me the more radical precincts of the secular sustainable social democratic left but who argue from that vantage as I do not that there is an equivalence between the Republican and Democrat parties.

Usually, I emphasize that such equivalence theses fatally underestimate just how dangerous and reactionary the Republican party has become in this consummating moment of Movement Republicanism, that proposing such an equivalence mistakes as political radicalism a kind of effective apoliticism, an indifference (unless it inspires literal revolutionary organization) at the level of available action to political differences that make a difference, mistakes as fidelity to ideals an indifference to the piecemeal reforms that tend toward ideal ends, mistakes as affirming everything what amounts to denying something is anything just because it is not everything.

But it is worth noting that false equivalence theses not only produce profoundly skewed estimations of political accomplishments, flawed and inadequate though they may be granted to be, but confuse our grasp of definitive differences in the conditions attending the ways in which our two parties do tend so miserably to fail us.

Those who glibly declare America nothing more than a one-party corporatist state pretending to be a democracy (and I am far from denying that one can indeed assume a theoretical vantage from which this becomes a source for insights and grounds for practical political organizing -- say, for movements to change the salient characteristics of corporate charters, to limit their terms, to circumscribe their functions, to introduce clauses making corporate entities beholden to the public good, all characteristics that actually have been associated with the corporate form in earlier moments of its legal history and could be so again), can lose sight from such abstract heights of differences that make a real difference in the way these two parties tend, among other things, to prop up corporate-militarism, come what may.

It is regularly noted that Republicans are more disciplined than Democrats, that Democrats are incapable of doing the right thing even when they themselves want to do the right thing, even when they hold all the apparent levers of power to manage the feat, and overabundant majorities support them in doing it, so that not only is there no political risk or cost to doing what they themselves want to do but failing to do so actively damages them. This is noted usually with perplexity or frustration, often making lazy recourse in the final analysis, tragically and embarrassingly enough, to obnoxious sexist genuflections to resolute "balls" as arrayed against irresolute "wusses" none of which makes any kind of empirical or historical sense at all.

On issue after issue after issue, it is true, Democrats seem to snatch defeat from the jaws of easy victory, meanwhile Republicans seem never to be satisfied, victory emboldens them to push ever more outrageously for more, no matter how unpopular, no matter how ruinous, and even when they hold every lever of power or forbid others from holding the levers long enough to do anything with them, Republicans seem to experience themselves as desperately under siege, forever outraged victims, endlessly defensive as they engage in offense after offense.

I think it is crucial to grasp that the Republicans represent an incoherent coalition of embattled minorities, white racist patriarchal theocrats and oligarchs in a diversifying, secularizing, planetizing world.

Republicans declare themselves victims even as they victimize because they grasp that they are out of step with the world, Republicans declare themselves embattled defenders even as they prevail in their offenses because they know they lost the Culture Wars and they sense the precarity of their ill-gotten loot in a networked planet of greenhouse storms. Republicans fight with the discipline of an army that is forever fighting The Last War, and there is no victory that will or even can assuage their discontent or unease, because they are right that they have lost.

To point out that corporate-militarism and white racist patriarchal oligarchy have lost and can no longer win is far from the same thing as declaring secular sustainable social democracy must or even likely will prevail, by the way. Far from it. It's not even to deny them the possibility of victory after victory in skirmish after skirmish. Though the reactionaries cannot win the world, they can indeed manage on and on to stave off the final defeat, fueled by panic, by resentment, by rage, and in failing to be defeated encompass the destruction of the world and hence the defeat of the ones who defeated them.

It is interesting to note that Democrats would seem to have the wind of history at their backs, they aspire to the secular sustainable social democracy the larger world cries out for and which the elite-incumbency decries. But precisely because both majorities and basic sense align with the Democratic platform and tendency it is very difficult to organize that majority to battle in its name. While Republicans in victory never relinquish their embattled victimhood, nor the righteous indignation and rage and militant discipline that follows from it, because victory in political skirmishes takes place within the larger context of a world that disapproves of their aspirations, a world in which they lost the Culture Wars, so too Democrats who, precisely to the contrary, won the Culture Wars, can never quite be made to believe in the reality of their losses to these reactionary bigots and greedheads when all the world seems to find them ignorant and awful and faintly ridiculous, can never quite be mobilized or organized to fight and sacrifice and compromise in the name of a victory that seems already long won in a diffuse sense that never quite translates into abiding institutional terms or concrete outcomes.

Not only do Democrats find it difficult to conjure the discipline to fight where we must because the majorities on whose side we are and on whom we depend for victory can rarely be prevailed upon to grasp the urgency of the battle at hand, but the temperament to govern such a secular, sustainable, social democratic world is drawn to the calm assessment of contingent consensus assessments of fact as well as to the patient reconciliation of diverse stakeholder stakes in shared concerns, a temperament none of whose skills translate particularly well to the campaign trail.

It is a truism that Republicans campaign well but govern poorly if at all, while Democrats govern comparatively well but too rarely have the chance because they must first win elections to do so. Now that so much of governance itself has come to be shaped by the urgencies of campaigning -- the need to raise vast sums of money for re-election the very day after an election is won, the need to frame the narrative and figurative terms of the news cycle -- the administrative and governmental temperament is disadvantaged all the more, to the cost of us all, but especially to the disadvantage of Democrats and any last vestiges of pragmatism (not the same thing as either cynicism or opportunism you know) in pockets of the GOP that might somehow have escaped the triumph of Movement Republicanism with that party.

So, too, the inherent corruption of a political system so hopelessly beholden to money, the obscene monetary demands of contemporary campaigning, the kinds of wealth that carve out the limited span of attention and interest of politicians swimming in the hopelessly vast complex ocean of problems and demands in continent and planet-scaled polities, all are incomparably more injurious to Democratic than to Republican ends. That so many Congresspersons are millionaires, that so many pundits and heads of political organizations are rich and/or famous, that so many interns must rely on the largess of deep pockets to make their way through a labyrinth of low paying jobs to gain the experience and influence of players in Washingtonian games, all create conditions of deep and intransigent structural separation between the people and their presumed representatives in government.

To the extent that the political aspirations of the Republican party align with those of a small minority of religious authoritarians out of step with the assumptions of a diverse secular majority and with those of a small minority of incumbent-elite moneyed interests out of step with the needs of a precarious majority it goes without saying that there will always be such a separation between the concrete interests of the Republican party and the interests of the majorities who must nonetheless be mobilized to elect them into power in even notionally democratic states such as our own. Understanding this, the very rich and the cultural reactionaries who are the chief Republican constituencies are quite prepared to lay their money down to span this separation.

Needless to say, the role of money in our politics, the suffusion of governance with the norms of marketing, the complacency of the secular conjoined to the rage and anxiety of the insecure all benefit Republicans over Democrats, circumventing the advantage that would otherwise clearly fall to the party in tune with majorities in a system in which, notionally at least, majorities rule within the bounds of the rule of law.

What is often attributed in the aftermath of their serial failures to a stealthy advocacy of oligarchy on the part of Democrats hypocritically mouthing platitudes about equity and diversity and reasonableness seems to me more likely the straightforward expression of the class position of representatives and pundits and wonks who, however earnestly they advocate from values and for outcomes that benefit majorities in their real diversity also happen to occupy positions of wealth and privilege that insulate them from the worst consequences of failures for the majority and so disconnect them the urgent stakes that actually freight those values and outcomes.

In a political world in which one of the two organized parties is committed of necessity and by design to screwing majorities by through willful deception and demagoguery and the other party is run by people whose wealth and privilege insulate them from the worst consequences of failure for the majorities in whose interests they govern and advocate, however earnestly, there is little to connect in any abiding kind of way the concerns of the subculture of politicians to the terms of the larger secular diverse precarious culture in whose name they govern.

The endless psychological profiles of timid or entitled or bullying political figures, the cartoonish reductions of public figures to villains and heroes, none of these are adequate to the structural dynamisms that are reflected in our disastrous and indifferent politics. Neither are ideological analyses always relevant, when what is wanted is not a better argument or more legible appeal to shared values but a more visceral experience of consequences on the part of those whose decisions bring them about.

The expectation that things become real only when they are for sale as commodities, the expectation that the experience of freedom arises from the purchase of commodities and the application of force, the expectation that everyone always exaggerates and deceives in an effort to sell things -- very much including "themselves" -- to others: In my view it is the utter suffusion of public life with the forms and norms of marketing and promotional discourse that has created the present, abiding, probably fatal crisis of our Republic and of our Planet.

To those who read Amor Mundi regularly, I may as well as that the usual villains in my posts -- Movement Republicans and futurologists -- seem to me both, and equally, to be utterly the product of, absolutely dependent on, perfect exemplars of the debased forms and norms of marketing and promotion and self-promotion, the consummation of gambles peddled as ideas, impressions peddled as facts, schemes peddled as promises, hyperbole peddled as consideration, force peddled as freedom.

I think what is wanted are steeply progressive taxes funding the provision of rich and reliable health, education, and welfare entitlements (ideally in my view single payer healthcare, lifelong education, and a basic guaranteed income) to ensure that the terms of consent to all exchanges are nonduressed and that wealth not concentrate in ways that disfigure the actually collaborative substance of all productivity. Also, elections need to be publicly financed to eliminate the obscene spectacle of waste and corruption that now prevails. These are commonplace solutions, but no less indispensable for that.

Of course, I no longer expect either state of affairs (steeply progressive taxation, public funding of elections) to eventuate in time to stave off looming economic and ecologic collapses, and so I would hope that the shared problems of the world will be addressed instead by functional socially democratic polities elsewhere in the world. Perhaps the collapse and marginalization of the United States could create conditions under which this nation might conjure the will or be shepherded by other powers to re-write our governance in the image of the secular sustainable social democracy that already better comports with the interests of majorities of the people. Recognizing that neither party seems capable of providing abiding agency expressing the aspirations and advocating the needs of those majorities is not the same thing as resigning oneself to false characterizations of their equivalence. The differences between the parties are manifold, and a proper recognition of these differences might even provide indigenous resources for hope where now there seems to be very little such hope indeed.


Alan2102 said...

Far be it from me to claim equivalence of the two parties.

I can now see that the Democrats are WORSE than the Republicans. Their policies and preferences are almost as bad. But, much worse still is the ILLUSION of major desirable difference that still persists -- even in very intelligent brains such as yours, Dale. It is that illusion that is now responsible for the near-complete collapse of resistance to all the worst (corporate/military-industrial/imperial/etc.) trends underway. The Obama phenomenon has set back progressive reform much more than would have obtained under the Republicans. The Bush II era -- superficially (and actually) disastrous in many ways -- had the interesting effect of acting to radicalize and mobilize resistance among many elements that one would NEVER have expected to raise a voice. Whereas the Obama epoch has had the opposite effect -- a narcotic effect, while the destruction and the outrages continue nearly as rapidly (and on some fronts as or more rapidly) as under Bush. It is a remarkable thing to behold, really. I would not have believed it, were I not actually witnessing it.

Much more could be said, but I need to get to sleep. I'll leave you with just one snippet as an example (below). Whatever happened to the antiwar movement? Ha. Something called "Obama" fell on top of it, and it disintegrated. This is a good example of what I'm talking about, because Obama is in objective terms actually MORE of a warmonger than Bush, while at the same time being percieved (delusionally) as some sort of peace-maker. With Obama, we have the worst of both worlds: in this case, ALL the war, bloodshed, mayhem and chaos (chaos that often stretches out for generations in the affected areas), with NONE of the resistance thereto, NONE of the outrage. Resistance and outrage have been neutralized, neutered. They don't even exist. This is WORSE than under Bush.

[...continued on next message; I over-ran the character limit]

Alan2102 said...

[...continued from previous...]

Whatever Happened to the Antiwar Movement?

by Justin Raimondo, October 27, 2010

Note: The following is the text of a talk given Oct. 25 at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Whatever happened to the antiwar movement?

Remember all those marches, all those placards, those giant puppets and loud displays of moral outrage?

It's vanished! Gone! Evaporated like morning mist!

At one point, millions were marching in the streets in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, people all over the world, and then - nothing! Never in the history of politics has a movement retreated faster and more completely - but in this case, it was a voluntary retreat, an act of self-abolition.

George W. Bush was the perfect hate object: obtuse, dogmatic in his ignorance, and boyishly uninformed, he had all the traits we loved to hate. It was easy to feel disdain for a President who seemed way in over his head. And his neoconservative advisers were almost caricatures of evil, such as Richard Perle, who looks and talks like a cartoon villain: or Donald Rumsfeld, whose blustering belligerence was easily parodied, not least of all by himself.

But now there's a new warmonger in town, a new Caesar who is not quite such an easy target. As Medea Benjamin, noted peace activist and founder of "Code Pink," put it:

"We don't have a very vibrant anti-war movement anymore. The issues have not changed very much. . Now we have a surge [in Afghanistan] that we would have been furious about under George Bush, yet it's hard to mobilize people under Obama. We have the same anti-war movement and not the same passion."

Indeed, most Americans who were marching in the streets, denouncing what they called "Bush's war," voted for Barack Obama for President. They supported him enthusiastically, a number of the activist types campaigned for him, and now that we're living through what Bob Woodward calls "Obama's Wars," these former peaceniks have buttoned their lips.

When Obama was elected, the main peace coalition, which called itself United for Peace and Justice, congratulated him in a front page article on their web site - and then promptly dissolved! Oh, they still claim to oppose the wars we are fighting - in theory - but in practice they just aren't all that interested in doing anything about it.


Dale Carrico said...

I'm curious, Alan. Perhaps you are aware of the many pieces of legislation on which Obama campaigned and which the House actually passed -- from healthcare reform WITH a public option, to cap and trade, to the DREAM act, to the Repeal of DADT, and on and on and on. I wonder if you think the Democratic Party responsible for all that is also WORSE than the white racist anti-Choice queer bashing anti-governmental climate change denialist fascists of the Republican Party?

Do the Democrats and Republicans in the House seem to you equivalent or, as you say, are those Democrats WORSE than Republicans, too, by your lights? How do you account for these differences, if you do? You do know of course that the House Democrats lost the majority to a klatch of know nothing greedhead liars despite doing most of what America voted for them to do, unlike the dysfunctional Senate, mostly because Americans are too stupid and lazy to be bothered to vote on the basis of knowledge instead of convulsive fits of greed or fear or punitive upset unconnected to substance.

Are you one of those American Idiots, too, Alan? Deep down beneath that veneer of armchair radical certainties?

Do you allow any consideration of the breaking of the Senate as a functional institution by historically unprecedented flabbergastingly irresponsible Republican obstructionism into your facile comic book?

As someone opposed to Afghanistan BEFORE the obscenity of Iraq and throughout this whole nightmare, I do hope polls indicating 60% disapproval of the immoral idiotic war-adventure in Afghanistan might provide some grounds for a re-emergent anti-war movement to get us out of these travesties.

I agree there is plenty to disapprove of in the Obama Administration -- the continued expansion of the unitary executive, the horrifying decision not to investigate war crimes concerning torture, wiretapping, deceiving into war, among them.

And yet there is plenty I can disagree with vociferously without attributing stealth villainy to Obama or Reid, from what has seemed to me a lukewarm record on lgbtq issues at best, to too cozy an embrace of the banksters and Clintonian neoliberals.

As I have written elsewhere, the loss of the House also changes things such that I have even less patience for compromise than before, since it seems to me compromise is no longer likely to yield even inadequate reform in the direction of ideals, let alone good policy.

But I need no infantile demonization, nor palpably idiotic equivalency theses to capture the failures of the Democrats nor to hold in view the real differences between awful ineffectual compromised Democrats and Movement Republicans.

You seem to fancy yourself a radical. But you seem to me completely out of your depth, honestly. You speak of deep dark illusions when structural analyses (some of them enabling pretty radical critiques as it happens) are readily available. If you eschew political reform as constrained by parties and given institutions altogether, by all means embrace revolutionary activity instead. I doubt that will accomplish what you hope for, but at least it won't reduce you to an apologist for outright religious and market fundamentalist authoritarians, and all in the name of left purity of all things!

Otherwise, you seem just another privileged kid whining because political reality is too hard, reform too complicated, prancing around flinging big talk slogans for attention. Be better than that. Use your brain and grow up so you can actually help out.

Dale Carrico said...

Justin Raimondo is a market libertarian by the way. That makes him right-wing and makes you...?

Dale Carrico said...

From my Dispatches from Libertopia: An Anthology of Wingnut Chestnuts and Democratizing Remedies (which I strongly encourage you to read and comment on):

X. However much they insist on their difference from conventional conservative politicians no American-style market libertarian argument will ever have any life in the actual world except to the extent that it is appropriated by conservatives for conservative ends.

XI. Staunchly "anti-war" market libertarians tend to be sublimely indifferent to the extent to which modern war-making is an essentially entrepreneurial activity.

XII. The only way to end modern wars is to make war-making unprofitable. It would be curious indeed to mistake free marketeers for allies in such a struggle.

XIII. Nobody who believes society to be a war of all against all will ever truly collaborate in the work to end all war.

XXV. Pre-emptive war adventuring is to legitimate defense as hyperbolic financial speculation is to substantial production. It is no accident that pre-emptive war would suffuse public discourse in an epoch of bubble-economics. War hysteria and irrational exuberance are kindred pathologies.

XXXVI. The Ayn Randian "objectivists" and the would-be Darwinian/Utilitarian market-rationalizers often like to fancy themselves atheists rather than the passionate wish-fulfillment fantasists they palpably are, just as social conservatives and theocratic Christianists often like to fancy themselves anti-materialist as they jockey ferociously for the biggest slices of material pie at hand. These ostensibly opposed factions are, of course, always only engaging in sectarian skirmishes within Movement Conservatism more generally over just which self-appointed priestly elite gets to rule the worldly toypile in the name of just which imaginary deity.

Alan2102 said...

I can understand the petulance and the name-callling, Dale. It must be difficult for guys like you, watching the country being destroyed at even greater speed under Obama than Bush. I admit once again that it is astonishing, even to someone with cynical tendencies like me.

Your language reflects your denial. "Too cozy an embrace of the banksters and Clintonian neoliberals". "Too cozy" -- sounds so cute, doesn't it? Cute, and malleable. Hey, if we just get some more Democrats into office, we can make things a little less cozy on that score, right? The reality of course is that they are not just "too cozy"; they are joined at the hip.

But the denial is perfectly understandable. There's only so much pain any one person can take at a given moment. As the pain intensifies and carries us all along the (Kubler-Rossian) stages beyond denial, then real positive change will become possible. That might sound pessimistic, but I don't think so. Maturation, the throwing off of infantile illusions, and the facing of (sometimes painful) reality is a growth process, and in the end highly positive and desirable.



"The only way to end modern wars is to make war-making unprofitable. It would be curious indeed to mistake free marketeers for allies in such a struggle."

I AGREE. Free marketeers should absolutely NOT be considered allies in such a struggle. However, what if left resistance has collapsed completely, and the only ones vigorously and persistently arguing the case against war happen to be the (execrable) free marketeers? What then?

Oh yes, you "DO hope polls indicating 60% disapproval of the immoral idiotic war-adventure in Afghanistan might provide some grounds for a re-emergent anti-war movement". That's very nice. You hope. Might. Someday. Re-emergent. Maybe. And you might be right. It might happen, any year now. And meanwhile? That is a question for you, since you are the exponent of the incremental.

Alan2102 said...

PSS: you're certainly correct that I'm out of my depth. It has been that way since Kindergarten.

Dale Carrico said...

It must be difficult for guys like you, watching the country being destroyed at even greater speed under Obama than Bush.

I disagree with that assessment, as it happens.

"Too cozy" -- sounds so cute, doesn't it? Cute, and malleable. Hey, if we just get some more Democrats into office, we can make things a little less cozy on that score, right?

More, and better, Democrats. That's exactly right. Not all Democrats are joined at the hip with the banksters, and when you imply otherwise you are painting with too broad a brush to facilitate the cartoon worldview you are peddling.

That's very nice. You hope. Might.... And meanwhile? That is a question for you, since you are the exponent of the incremental.

Just what is it that you are concretely doing that you think exceeds my incrementalism? Reading Ayn Rand with your libertopian friends while they make anti-war noises and dream about company towns and debtors prisons? Reform and incrementalism is literally the only game in town unless you are [1] actively involved in IRV reform to enable third parties to function as anything but spoilers [2] actively involved in work to enable public funding of elections to diminish the corrupting suffusion of money or [3] engaged in active revolutionary organization (which I disagree will work but it would at least justify your foolish more- radical- than- thou tone as almost nothing else could, especially given just how left of center your interlocutor, me, happens to be in fact).

It's not name-calling to expose the entailments of your positions and slap on the label that fits.

Dale Carrico said...

I note, by the way, that glorious war-clad Alan has failed to account for the fact that the same Democratic Party which passed progressive legislation in the House failed to do so in the Senate. Either he judges the legislation passed by the House "equivalent" or "worse" than that Republicans wanted and will pass in the House now (an assessment absurd on its face in my view), or his radicalism by way of conspiracy theory plus narcissistic look at me making sweeping declamations performance art is incapable of addressing institutional realities like filibuster rules which actually are quite susceptible to reform to those with the stomach and patience for such things. I suspect the exposure of such failings is the sort of thing he prefers to pretend is "name-calling."

Alan2102 said...

"Not all Democrats are joined at the hip with the banksters, and when you imply otherwise you are painting with too broad a brush"

You're right. But not right enough to make a difference. This is a case of distinction without difference. As you know, there has been no substantive resistance by the Dems to any of the outrageous financial shenanigans of the last 2 years (or for that matter last ANY years; hell, the roots of this crisis go back to Clinton). Both parties have been utterly in the thrall of the banksters, offering not even gestures of resistance; on the contrary, they've virtually all been enthusiastic yea-sayers to the massive fraud, criminality and looting. It is really something, and unprecedented. It is no conspiracy, since it is happening right in the open.

OK maybe not ALL. Maybe only 99%. There's always the occasional Bernie Sanders or Denny Kucinich or Ronnie Paul -- the occasional voices of dissent. But (is it really necessary to say this?) they are hopelessly ineffective. So, yes, I paint with a broad brush -- broad enough to represent reality, without going out of my way to (pedantically) tabulate the insignificant exceptions.

"Just what is it that you are concretely doing that you think exceeds my incrementalism?"

Perhaps you recall (and wish to forget? and wish to direct attention elsewhere?) where this portion of our exchange came from. I posted a snippet from a Raimondo column describing the collapse of the antiwar movement under Obama. My point was that that was the effect of the Obama phenomenon: narcosis, and collapse of a morally vital initiative. About this, you have had nothing to say. Except that you have vague hopes that maybe, someday there might kinda sorta be a recrudescence of that old antiwar spirit (when the hopium starts wearing off, say?). In direct response to your question: I'm doing nothing that "exceeds" your incrementalism, if you're looking for specific good deeds. But then, of course, that's beside the point, and I doubt anyway that "specific good deeds" of any conventional sort are going to make a damn bit of difference.

"Reading Ayn Rand with your libertopian friends"

Ah yes, you know me so well. I post a short snippet from Justin Raimondo, and now you know ALL about me, my tastes, and my friends. FYI, I never enjoyed Rand's tracts; I found them boring, pretentious, preachy and wrong-headed. (The ones I read, anyway; I think I only got through half or so of a couple of them, before giving up.) And I don't have any libertarian friends or even acquaintances. For that matter I'm not even a regular reader of, though I stop in now and then. They have some excellent content.

Again, I do understand the name-calling and peevishness, and eagerness to pigeon-hole me, even in complete ignorance about me. It does not surprise me, and I don't blame you. You and many many others are going to go through a LOT of this kind of agony in the years ahead, as your precious institutional idols are smashed, one by one. It is part of the process of collapse, now underway. The upside is that most of what will be destroyed will be stuff that needs to be destroyed. Although the collapse will be widely percieved as "terrible" -- and will indeed have some grim human costs, as things unfold -- there's actually much more of a positive and beneficial nature in it. Or at least that's what I think. I'm an incurable optimist.

Dale Carrico said...

not right enough to make a difference

So none of the legislative accomplishments of the House to which I already pointed are sufficiently different to make a difference in your eyes? If you think that, we simply disagree.

It isn't name-calling to point out a market libertarian is a market libertarian. I do not claim to know all there is to know about you, I only point out that Raimondo is a right-wing figure and given that you have just declared the Democratic left inferior to the Republican right, it seems relevant to draw attention to these things, especially since you seem to fancy you are a radical leftist. You can be sure that I am far from thinking in making these points that I know all there is to know about you. I daresay I know next to nothing about you. You haven't yet shown yourself to be interesting enough to know more about, frankly.

You do seem to regard as "doing something" merely engaging in more-radical-than-thou bloviating that doesn't connect to any concrete actions you can name. Which was indeed rather my point in calling attention to it.

I see that by the conclusion of your response you refer to "my precious idols," and seem to get a lot of gloating satisfaction from the imagination of the agony I'll go through together with countless millions upon millions of others when (presumably) Resource Descent and/or WMD-inflected militarism finds its horrific consummation -- all this despite my endless readily available critiques here, for years and years, of almost every aspect of the corporate-militarist status quo. What a stirring left radicalism!

But, for me, one needs to actually propose the path along which one might arrive somewhere better from where one is to provide a vantage whose radicalism is equal to the injustice and idiocy of our distressing moment. While not every post provides all of these, regular readers will assure you that my recommendations traffic between the ideal, the ranting, the satirical, the pragmatic, and that a more general perspective emerges out of the dynamic.

If you eschew legislative routes via instituted processes as you sometimes seem to do in your comments, just what alternative are you proposing? Violent insurrection, going galt, separatist communities, what? If you propose campaigns to alter those institutions to transform those available routes, just which ones do you have in mind by what means?

Part of the reason I throw out these little sidebars about medicare buy-in or greening the defense budget or campaign finance reform -- or, more specifically, IRV (as we did indeed agitate for and achieve here in Oakland) before one wastes time in third party efforts that amount to spoilers -- is precisely to provide more radical readers with organizational-agitational outcomes beyond just waving their hands around declaring everything utterly hopelessly debased.

From a practical standpoint there is often little difference between the complacent declaration that all is well and the demoralized declaration that everything is rotten. I don't think you seem particularly optimistic, at least not in your comments here. I think you fancy yourself a radical and want to be congratulated for that without much in the way of substance to show for it.