It’s time to give socialism a try
No it isn’t. It’s time for you to rethink a few things, admit a few things—LEARN a few things. The rest of us are way ahead of you, and we’re getting a little tired of waiting for the short bus to finally catch up.
Astoundingly, this WaPo op-ed seems not to be parody or satire. It’s really kind of pitiful at this point; the stubborn fools really, truly have nothing else. NOTHING. The Left is so completely mired in the gooey morass of pure folly they couldn’t be dug out with a backhoe. All they can think to do is keep eyes dutifully averted from their ideology’s manifest failures, hoping against hope the rest of us don’t see, and just…go right on regurgitating the same tired, irrelevant crap.
In the United States, we’ve arrived at a pair of mutually exclusive convictions: that liberal, capitalist democracies are guaranteed by their nature to succeed and that in our Trumpist moment they seem to be failing in deeply unsettling ways.
“Failing,” is it? Oh sure, your ideology is, but that “Trumpist moment” you so bitterly lament sure ain’t. With unemployment at record lows; incomes rising; businesses bringing money, jobs, and opportunity back from overseas tax shelters; the stock market soaring to previously undreamed of heights; and even manufacturing showing signs of reviving? If this is failure, we’ll take more of it, please.
For liberals — and by this I mean inheritors of the long liberal tradition, not specifically those who might also be called progressives —
Boy, talk about splitting hairs, about distinctions without a difference. Here’s a more honest interpretation: “Liberal makes meaningless distinction in hopes of appearing more moderate…while promoting socialism.” Pull the other one, hon, it has a bell on it.
efforts to square these two notions have typically combined expressions of high anxiety with reassurances that, if we only have the right attitude, everything will set itself aright.
Which is nothing but more of the usual: if we only wish hard enough, all our totalitarian dreams will finally come true! The anxiety is fitting enough, though: they’ve failed over and over, we’ve seen through them at last, and so we elected someone to undo the damage their Golden Idol did. He’s doing so unexpectedly quickly, with positive results evident to all and undeniable by the mentally sound among us.
Lefty’s only response so far: A) complain bitterly about a reviving economy, more people working, and more money in people’s pockets, and B) insist—nay, demand!—that we go back to their hapless floundering about IMMEDIATELY—that we turn the reins back over to them so they can drive us right back into the liberal sinkhole for good.
Hanging on and hoping for the best is certainly one approach to rescuing the best of liberalism from its discontents,
Its failures, you mean. Its innumerable, almost boringly predictable, colossal failures.
but my answer is admittedly more ambitious: It’s time to give socialism a try.
And there it is again: the only POSSIBLE solution to the failure of liberalism is…MORE LIBERALISM. In some quarters also referred to as “doubling down on stupid.”
But my sense is that while Sullivan, Mounk and all the other concerned liberal observers are right that something is wrong with the state of American liberalism, the problem is much deeper than they allow.
Oh, you bet your sweet bippy it is.
I don’t think business-as-usual but better is enough to fix what’s broken here. I think the problem lies at the root of the thing, with capitalism itself.
How very…insightful. American liberalism—violently, viscerally opposed to capitalism like a drowning man is opposed to more water—is in trouble, and the problem is…umm, capitalism.
Jeez, can’t you guys even be somewhat coherent? It’s like you’re not even trying anymore. You’re all just phoning it in.
In fact, both Sullivan’s and Mounk’s complaints — that Americans appear to be isolated, viciously competitive, suspicious of one another and spiritually shallow;
According to who, exactly? You miserable elitist tapeworms in your exorbitantly-priced urban ratholes, quivering in terror at the nascent American renaissance? You surely can’t be talking about normal Americans, who are in the main living contentedly in quiet, peaceful homes surrounded by loving families; perhaps competitive but by no means viciously so; suspicious not of each other but of YOU and your ilk, their would-be masters, and quite rightly too; comforted and enriched by the Christian faith you deride and mock from the depths of your mindless ignorance—while you yourselves provide a near-comical example of true spiritual shallowness by mindlessly chasing after every fad guru, shaman, mystic, quack, crackpot, or plain charlatan who knows an easy mark when he sees a city full of them.
You flock to the bookstores and lecture halls in search of, well, whatever. But the peace you gain is fleeting, the comfort insubstantial, the contentment illusory—because you have no faith. Your egotism and narcissism will not allow you to relinquish their primacy and subsume yourself in humble acceptance of a higher power. Such sad excuses for “spirituality” are merely a game, an empty ritual bereft of meaning and incapable of imparting wisdom. Because in the end, try as you might, you just can’t bring yourself to really, truly believe. Your vanity condemns you to a pursuit that is eternal, and eternally fruitless, with the only reward at the end of it all being…nothingness.
The Christian faithful you so despise, while perhaps now and then harboring doubts as their faith is tested by life’s travails, are much happier than you’ll ever manage to be. Which, deep down in the place you don’t talk about at parties, is the real reason you despise them.
we are anxiously looking for some kind of attachment to something real and profound in an age of decreasing trust and regard — seem to be emblematic of capitalism, which encourages and requires fierce individualism,
Okay, that’s fair enough. And not a bad thing, either.
self-interested disregard for the other,
Which I suppose would be why America leads the world in charitable giving and volunteerism, and why conservatives (i.e. supporters of capitalism) far outstrip liberals in philanthropy here at home.
and resentment of arrangements into which one deposits more than he or she withdraws.
Right. Be sure to note all the “resentment” at the next church-sponsored soup kitchen, charity bake sale, or paper drive you attend. Why, they’re a veritable boiling cauldron of “resentment,” they are.
Capitalism is an ideology that is far more encompassing than it admits, and one that turns every relationship into a calculable exchange. Bodies, time, energy, creativity, love — all become commodities to be priced and sold. Alienation reigns. There is no room for sustained contemplation and little interest in public morality; everything collapses down to the level of the atomized individual.
More ignorant horseshit. No room for contemplation? Little interest in public morality? Well, that last might be true in a minor way; what most of us have is a willingness to live and let live, to let others walk their own path without interference from us. To leave people the hell alone, in other words. Which is the one thing so-called liberals can never, ever do.
Not to be confused for a totalitarian nostalgist, I would support a kind of socialism that would be democratic and aimed primarily at decommodifying labor, reducing the vast inequality brought about by capitalism, and breaking capital’s stranglehold over politics and culture.
“Not to be confused for a totalitarian nostalgist, I would like to advocate nostalgic totalitarianism.” Whereupon we descend into Mark-1, Mod-0 liberal adolescent fantasy. To wit: juvenile shallowness masquerading as Deep Thought, pie-in-the-sky nitwittery indulging pretentions to profundity.
“Democratic”? The People spoke loudly enough last election, rejecting you utterly. Your petulant refusal to accept the results of democracy has been shoved in our faces without cessation ever since. “Decommodifying labor”? To quote the old joke from Soviet Russia: “we pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us.” “Inequality”? An immutable fact of life on this planet—one that, if approached with the right attitude, can serve as an inspiration to better one’s lot. “Breaking capital’s stranglehold” etc? NEVER going to happen. EVER. It most certainly never did in any previous doomed attempt at socialism, and it won’t with yours either.
The entirety of this dim bulb’s stinking pile of rhetorical desperation does accomplish one useful thing, I admit. It establishes beyond doubt the unassailable veracity of yet another reality of human life, namely: Some people never learn.
You keep right on dreamin’ your sweet, sweet dreams, honey. There’ll always be plenty of grown-ups solidly grounded in reality around, willing and able to counter fantasist codswallop with 24-karat truth…and to protect American prosperity and freedom from the monsters under the Left side of the bed.