Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Capitalism, the Right-Wing Critique, and Context

Right now the strong desire of "real" conservatives and the Tea Party Patriots to end sociopathic robot Mitt Romney's path to the White House is creating an entirely favorable moment for the critique of neoliberalism that Romney represents. It's not just Newt but now Alan West (R-Crazed Loon) is accusing the former Bain Capital economic hit man of destroying the economy in order to line his pockets. To be sure, West wants to associate neoliberalism with the center and center left; this position, however, falls to the ground what with Hyak's Road to Serfdom and the various virtues of selfishness the Right, conservatives, and neoliberalism misappropriated from Smith.

Consider Romney's "I like to fire people." He insists that in "context" all he meant was "choice is good." Sure, but the idea of choice as "firing" is telling. It speaks directly to the neoliberal and conservative desire to economize all social relations; to degrade interpersonal relations by making each and everyone about masters and servants. 

Oddly enough, something like 99% of the population doesn't think this way. Most of us think of our relations, even those mediated by economic transactions, as being multilayered affairs in which the personal, the political, and the economic each in the own way and proper sphere condition, without determining, decisions about keeping or changing any other individual, organization, or institution off our On Notice Board or, even more important, from being dead to us.

The Romneys and his neoliberal cohorts see the world as one big round of economically rational decision-making in which the key determinate of economic rationality is the extent of their share of the haul.  Conservatives add to this toxic mix of anti-human policies and slow-motion suicide a conviction that the way things are currently organized, political, economically, socially, and culturally, is best of all possible worlds and that those currently maintaining the worlds as it is are the onliest ones who can do the job properly.

It is now time for the forces of positive change, as opposed to creative destruction and reactionary change, to insist on the something else.

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