"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Oct 30, 2010

Stupid Liberal Naïveté

Like BDR, I read Balloon Juice as a bellwether of institutional liberalism, the sort of place where you can comment from a position somewhat to the left of Harry Truman and count on thirty or so zombie crackpot realists going full tilt on your disreputable, unreasonable, impractical, childish hippieness.

So, I was somewhat shocked to find the lead off to this Broder article in disagreement with his main thesis.

Broder writes:

"...OH, YES, I know that Democrats have fallen into a peck of trouble and may lose control of Congress. But even if they do, Obama can still storm back to win a second term in 2012. He is that much better than the competition...

[Broder goes on to suggest that two forces face Obama, providing him with an opportunity to succeed even and especially if his party loses control of Congress: the business cycle, and...]

...What else might affect the economy? The answer is obvious, but its implications are frightening. War and peace influence the economy. 

Look back at FDR and the Great Depression. What finally resolved that economic crisis? World War II.

Here is where Obama is likely to prevail. With strong Republican support in Congress for challenging Iran's ambition to become a nuclear power, he can spend much of 2011 and 2012 orchestrating a showdown with the mullahs. This will help him politically because the opposition party will be urging him on. And as tensions rise and we accelerate preparations for war, the economy will improve.

I am not suggesting, of course, that the president incite a war to get reelected. But the nation will rally around Obama because Iran is the greatest threat to the world in the young century.*  If he can confront this threat and contain Iran's nuclear ambitions, he will have made the world safer and may be regarded as one of the most successful presidents in history." 

To which the solon at BJ responds, "This strikes me as both cynical and naive."

I don't know if this is the right forum in which to contest, discuss or debate Broder's central assertion, that WW2 "fixed" the American economy. We'd have to determine what broke, to decide what fixed it, as well as decide once and for all what the proper state of economic health is, or was. In other words, we'd have to firmly believe in all the tenets of institutional liberalism, and perhaps even lean into the Benthamist wind and wonder aloud at common good, commonweal and the greatest benefit for the greatest number - as well as what sort of panopticon would best secure it.

Which standards and ends mean jack fuck all to me, since they invariably stand in for "what's good for those who rule." There, dispensed with...

What surprised me, nonetheless, was the solonic assertion that Broder's's thesis was both cynical and naive. Broder's argument is precisely the argument I'd expect from a crackpot realist - even one who pretends to despise war right up until he discovers that Jews are fighting a couple of them under a banner emblazoned with the Magen David, or when he discusses wars safely ensconced in the bone rooms of the past, and always waged against Hitlers, Kaisers and redneck slave owners.

I guess I should take a moment to note that the BJ solon starts by describing Broder's piece as "an otherwise surprisingly reasonable column."

A column, you should probably know, devoted to only two propositions. First, Obama is smarter than any of his likely Republican opponents. And second, Obama should rally the nation around some Iran hate in order to get re-elected, and have more opportunities to be that wicked smart dude who defeated John McCain in the last, best, most important election before the next, most important one.

Which means, I think, that the BJ solon thinks it's utterly reasonable to making cooing noises about Obama's brain, and terribly naive and cynical to suggest that Obama do anything political or powerful with it.

Now, I'm not especially sold on Obama's intelligence. Nor do I frankly fucking care. Guy wanted power. Guy spent gadzoodles of other people's money getting it. Guy paid them back with bank bail outs, wholesale giveaways of public receipts to automakers, expanded warfare and institutional sanction for the many extensions of power enacted by his predecessor. In other words, guy acted like any other dick who wanted to rule others and break some heads doing so.

So, I cannot for the life of me understand what's "cynical" or "naive" about suggesting that he do a little more of the same, to keep that power for a bit longer, to the benefit of them who brought him there.

Then again, I'm not a shitty and actually naive little liberal who thinks that guys with trillions of dollars worth of soldiery and soldier toys will somehow play nice, on account of the sentiments of shitty little liberals, or in deference to their managerial conceits...

* - purest swill, but I don't need to tell you that, do I?...


Now, to clear both solonic liberalism and Versaille bloodthirst out of your heads:

I think I first saw this particular version, courtesy of BDR.

And, for the simple joy of it:


augustus818 said...

The Mental Midget game of Risk continues. What always strikes me as strange is that people like Broder can say any of that and keep a straight face. We don't even have to look farther back than five minutes ago to see where this argument has ended up. With more people dead. Damn them and their arrogant insolence.

Jack Crow said...

I don't think Broder needs to keep a straight face, Aug. He cashes a paycheck, instead.

But, Broder comes out better for it, I think. He takes the money from the House The Dollar Built and he tells their lies out in the open.

What excuse has the liberal who can with a straight face embrace the mandate of power, but continuously fail to comprehend how it's got, and how it's held?



Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Here is where Obama is likely to prevail. With strong Republican support in Congress for challenging Iran's ambition to become a nuclear power, he can spend much of 2011 and 2012 orchestrating a showdown with the mullahs.

Damn, now even the authoritarian thugs are projecting their fantasies on Obama.

Justin said...

* - purest swill, but I don't need to tell you that, do I?...

In that statements like Broder's that you are responding to betray a whole worldview of unquestioned assumptions, his statement may have been the most revealing in the entire article. The perversion of language by the ruling class is often startling. In this case, the threat that Iran presents to the world is the threat of having a credible deterrent against U.S. or U.S. backed aggression against Iran. That is literally what a threat to world peace means to people like Broder. I never quite get over how they view the world as theirs.

Jack Crow said...

Nicely stated, Justin. Succinct. A "threat" is any position which resists a conqueror,or might resist a conqueror.

I think it's easy to come to that worldview, though. Power rests on abuse. In that environment, people filter into abused, and abusers. Those who rise to the top may have suffered all manner of violent and moral assault, on the way there - but they also learned how to do it to others.

Respect, Jack