Centrists Aren’t Political Realists. Leftists Are.
November 23, 2019 at 7:07 AM - Views: 43 #229309eridaniParticipant
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But this supposedly hardheaded outlook only makes sense if we take the narrowest view of “realism” imaginable and ignore the necessity of transforming the political status quo even when it’s staring us in the face. Those on the Left who advocate a sweeping overhaul of the country’s economic and political institutions aren’t, after all, proposing to remake the system for the sake of it, but because the consequences of failing to do so are often too catastrophic to fathom.
Thousands will continue to die every year unless the world’s richest country guarantees health care to all its citizens as a right. Unless we take a positively sociopathic view of human life, how can it conceivably be considered realistic, let alone “pragmatic,” to allow the current system to continue with only minor tinkering? Similarly, the global scientific consensus makes it abundantly clear that only swift and profound changes in human activity can possibly avert worldwide environmental catastrophe and the innumerable horrors it would inevitably bring with it.
The same applies on a wider scale when it comes to how we view the current political moment and reflect on what our response to it should be. A world of breathtaking poverty and injustice that may well be on the brink of a cataclysmic civilizational collapse is hardly one crying out for another round of centrist meliorism, just as a political system that enables Donald Trump to become president is clearly in dire need of overhaul. How blinkered does your worldview have to be to hold that minor policy changes tempered by conservative realism are the most advisable or effective responses to reactionary fanaticism and looming ecological calamity? How many shades of myopia does it require to think that technocratic measures like tax credits or expanded personal savings accounts could be the foundation stones of a durable electoral alternative, let alone ever be sufficient to give the average person a more secure and dignified life?
If the ultimate goal is actually to provide quality health care to everyone, meaningfully improve the average American’s standard of living, tackle the root causes of Trumpism, or prevent planet-wide environmental collapse, only the Left’s preferred course — to stake out clear ideological terrain, marry it to an ambitious, transformative policy agenda, and build a mass movement to carry it through — can reasonably be called “realistic.” By failing to recognize the necessity of change on a massive scale, today’s self-identified liberal pragmatists in fact show themselves to be deeply naive about the world they inhabit – and indulge in a fantasy that endangers us all.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction
November 23, 2019 at 7:43 AM #229322Flying SquirrelParticipant
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Excellent article, very shareable.
November 23, 2019 at 1:52 PM #229360daleanimeParticipant
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Jacobin is currently my favorite magazine subscription. Well worth every dime.
When the going gets tough, the tough help each other.
November 23, 2019 at 1:55 PM #229362MizzGrizzParticipant
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Love this article!
I submit that baby boomers,who comprise the majority of centrists,felt that the Sixties failed.They did,but not for the reasons the so called centrists believe. The Sixties didn’t fail because the ideas and goals were unreachable,as many from that time seem to think now.The Sixties failed because people like them quit trying once they realized that the goals of attaining a just society was going to be hard work.
Thereafter,like veterans of the French Revolution,they decided to settle for what was “possible” only.
November 23, 2019 at 4:49 PM #229435tk2kewlParticipant
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Centrists are at best enablers of the ongoing destruction of humanity.
November 23, 2019 at 6:09 PM #229489chknltlParticipant
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Are Hillary supporters centrists? At risk of broadbrushing the lot of them, what could I call a ‘typical’ middle of the road Hillary supporter?
From what I can tell, despite those who support it, corporatism is neither right, left nor center. It owns everything.
I have in real life a close friend who hates Bernie Sanders because he was “the real reason that Hillary lost”.
She looked at me last night as though I shared in this blame because she knew that I refused to vote for POTUS in 2016.
“You are going to do your civic duty and vote against Trump ‘THIS TIME’?” she asked me accusingly.
“First..we live in a blue state.” I responded, “It did not nor will it matter who I vote or hold my vote from because Washington is solidly blue no matter who!”
“Secondly… I will not vote for nor support a corporate lackey!”, I went on, “Corporatism and more specifically capitalism out of control is killing our democracy, is killing our country and killing all life on our planet!”
“I can not nor will I support corporatist candidates” “Bernie Sanders or Tulsi Gabbard have my vote. I see nobody else as worthy of my vote-I refuse to do that to future generations!”
Despite my words, with MSDNC on their tv as our background, it was made clear to me that I may have been farting in a church. These friends are as far away from me politically as some of my FOX watching friends are.
My friends call themselves right or left but the way they act reflect only where they get their news from or more appropriately where they soak in their propaganda.
That propaganda is corporate-it caters to the propaganda purveyors bottom line only. I just do not see that as left or right or even centrist.
Fox Noise, MSDNC, both are simply corporate, regardless how their viewers self identify: they support corporatism. That is why I asked at the opening if Hillary supporters are centrists.
So far, I have woken one person up…he is a right winger from Oklahoma.
Unlike my Hillary supporting friends above he does not have a college degree-no he does not even a high school degree, his interest in politics have nothing to do with his education.
He is diabetic and his insulin costs are wiping out his monthly budget.
He wants better and realizes, (because I made him aware), that it will never be corporate Republicans nor corporate Democrats who will help him.
So my undereducated diabetic freind from Oklahoma will take a chance on Bernie.
If only I could wake more people up. I won’t stop trying.
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