Your liberal order sucks

A lot of folks seem to appreciate my tough love for Russia. Specifically, when I point out that the negative attitude many countries have towards Russia and the preference its neighbors have towards the West isn’t in fact due to some kind of American mind-control conspiracy but rather the behavior of the Russian government and the society it has built over the years. Essentially it’s a matter of projection- they can’t face their own problems so they imagine that they must be coming from outside. Well guess what, me hearties- this doesn’t just apply to Russia.

Today’s one of those days when I have to write a post that gives you an idea as to why I’m not getting invitations to speak at conferences. Honestly I’ve been trying to write this post for some time now, ever since Brexit. I’ve written about Brexit before, but I wanted to go beyond that particular event and tackle the Chicken Littles clucking about how the “liberal order” is being destroyed and of course it’s all Putin’s fault. For all you defenders of the “international liberal order” out there let me dump the bucket of ice water on your head. Your liberal order is failing because quite frankly, it sucks, and people are getting tired of it. Even its many accomplishments are negated by the fact that many in your societies can’t even appreciate and enjoy them, and this is largely due to your corporate-dominated, largely unregulated, for-profit media.

The reason I’ve been holding off on this article for a while is because I was reading a lot of other articles for inspiration and I couldn’t decide which one or ones to comment on. Luckily, this week I found one that seems to fit the bill perfectly. The headline says it all- the EU had it coming. Sure, you can blame it on right-wing nationalism and xenophobia; It’s a step in the right direction as opposed to blaming Putin. But did it ever occur to anyone to ask why nationalism and xenophobia were on the rise in the first place?

Sure, in a modern capitalist society people want a sense of identity, to be a part of something like a nation. But there’s a much more important factor I believe- nationalism implies, if not flat out declares, that members of the “nation” will get preferential treatment. Resources, jobs, social spending, they’ll all be spent on members of the nation instead of immigrants or foreign superstates. This is has serious appeal, regardless of whether or not right-wing demagogues ever deliver on their promises or have any actual coherent plan at all (HINT: They don’t). Take it from my personal experience- people don’t become far-rightists overnight. It starts with alienation, lack of purpose and hope for the future, and most of all, the idea that other, undeserving people are getting something that “should” be rightfully yours. It comes from a desire to avoid being on the bottom of society, incidentally the part of society many liberal pundits have no connection to.

Alas, the “end of history” crowd, the capitalists, the investors, the politicians, and the professionals who served them were not concerned about this social phenomenon. Indeed many of them at one time or another dabbled in racism, xenophobia, nationalism, or right-wing populism of some sort. As far as they were concerned, there was no alternative to their enlightened, perpetual rule, and because modern globalization was good for them they assumed it must be good for everybody.Much like American Democrats in the early 90’s, they seem to have decided that the working classes would have no choice but to accept them regardless of their platform.

And speaking of working classes. I also find it rather amusing that around the time of the economic crisis it really seemed to me that the European ruling class in particular embarked upon a campaign of anti-Communist hysteria rivaling that of the Cold War if not exceeding it at times. I’m not sure what the exact motives were here, but there is great irony in watching their liberal order get assailed not by leftist and Communists, but rather by far right-wing extremists who mouth the same arguments and liken the EU to the Soviet Union.

Speaking from a materialist point of view, I acknowledge the superiority of the liberal order, or at least the ideal version of it that its advocates put forth. I will not deny any of its real accomplishments. Nor will I deny its superiority to the non-alternatives we’ve seen so far. That being said, it is a highly flawed system and it is starting to crack under the weight of its own contradictions. If you are unable to convince large swaths of your own population that your system is superior to the alternatives, that’s your failure. You need to own it and stop blaming Putin like some kind of Eurovatnik.

Personally I don’t think you can ultimately resolve those contradictions. I think the whole system needs to change. If we don’t build a real alternative, then a continent of corrupt kleptocracies and national rivalries might just be the outcome. Sure, Mr. Putin and his gang of thieves, should they still be around at the time, will certainly take advantage of the opportunities such an outcome would provide. But they won’t be able to claim credit for destroying the EU. Only Europeans are capable of doing that.

 

 

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35 thoughts on “Your liberal order sucks

  1. gbd_crwx

    Well considering that the brittish have been screwed over by their own guys but blamed it on the EU…You’d at least hope this could lead to some change in the UK too

    Reply
    1. gbd_crwx

      btw I think there is a change coming. Ten years ago noone would have spoken up against this, now not so much.

      Reply
    2. Jim Kovpak Post author

      Yeah I was kind of hoping the immediate backpedaling and ship abandonment of the Leave leaders might teach their supporters something. The dog caught the car and doesn’t know what to do with it.

      Reply
  2. Mr. Hack

    As I can find little to criticize in your observations, I can only hope to read part two of this thread that will ultimately cover how ‘the whole system needs to change.’ I realize that part 2 may be a bit longer than part 1.

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      I try to avoid that on this blog because 1. It’s too preachy. I tend to discuss those things with other activists, preferably in person. 2. If I did, this whole blog would basically be about me and my political beliefs, something I don’t want.

      Reply
    2. Jim Kovpak Post author

      But essentially the message is this- take care of your people, otherwise they’ll turn against you. It sounds simple but today’s modern ruling class seems to have forgotten that.

      Reply
      1. Asehpe

        But out of curiosity, how could they have done it much better than they have? With subsidized, socialized medical care, with all kinds of employment guarantees (including unemployment money for quite a long time if you find yourself unemployed), and other similar things, it seemed to me the governing elite was exactly trying to take care of their own people. Isn’t this a problem of perception — that “other people”, “foreigners” etc. were seen as being privileged over locals when this was not the case?

      2. gbd_crwx

        Well, the UK’s economy have lost a lot of manufacturing jobs, and although many of them would have gone anyway, no new ones were created, and what came instead was financial services in London while the Industrial North was left to rot. To add insult to injury, the tories dissolved the Metropolitan counties topunish them for voting Labour which stymied any chance of a concerted effort fix their problems. The devolution of powers to Combined authorities that current government is launching now (or at least was launching) is probably an effort to correct some of these things but the question is if this is enough.

        (For exampleof an indicator, just look at the amount of Money per head that is being spent on transport infra structure in London compared to the rest of the country)

      3. AndyT

        @Asehpe

        Well, while in some Western Countries people are actually enjoying many benefits, the situation in other parts of Europe isn’t as easy.

        For example, while Italy has a good NHS, people are asked for more and more taxes – and with a high unemployment rate, this is hardly a good thing.

        Also, American, British and French military escapades in Syria, Libya, etc. are driving more and more frightened and hopeless people to our coasts – and while the EU help Italy give them food, shelter, etc., Italian people themselves gets much less from Brussels – which somewhat breeds more anti-EU, anti-immigrants sentiment.

        The Italian people feel somehow neglected by the European élites…

      4. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but my impression is that Italy is also very divided between regions, and between Rome and the rest of the country? If so, you can see why the EU project is, like the author of that article linked in the post says, a failure in many respects. When you have countries with strong regionalism or national rivalries (Slovakia and Hungary for example), you can’t expect people to see themselves as part of a greater superstate.

      5. AndyT

        @Jim

        Well, there is a huge divide between the North and the South of Italy, with the former being the economic heart of the country, with strong ties to the rest of Europe, and the latter being still plagued by long centuries of feudalism – and organized crime.

        While the EU has been giving a lot of money to help the South improve its situation, a high level of corruption, nepotism etc. have prevented such resources from getting many results.

        Meanwhile, the North feels neglected by Brussels – they are like “We make this Country go on, and you keep imposing your bureaucracy and austerity on us, while helping the South and the immigrants, too?”

        Interesting enough, while this divide is actually holding Italy back, it has also prevented the Northern League – the most eurosceptic Italian party – from building momentum – since they have treated the Southerners as parasites for decades, its attempt to reinvent itself as a National, right-wing party has been mediocre at best.

        The Five Stars Movement has far more support in every part of the Country – it has just won the mayorship of Rome – but its latest views on the EU have been ambiguous.

  3. AndyT

    I wish any “Eurovatnik” and “Euro-ultras” could read this piece of yours, Jim.

    Dear Euro-fans, stop blaming Putin, China, Trump or Le Pen – they are not part of a worldwide conspiracy against Brussels – at most, they are just taking advantage of your mistakes.

    Yelling “no populism!” or “beware of them because they’re racist/homophobic/incompetent” will not help you, really.

    A larger and larger part of your voters is so fed up with you and your austerity-driven policies that any other narrative, no matter how unconving and/or disturbing, can gain ground.

    And the more you speak against them, the more people might end up thinking “Well, if those establishment types keep ranting against Farage/Hofer/Le Pen etc., it means the latter can really destroy this f*****g EU – and I’ll vote for them, then!”

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      THIS! They complain about populism yet they never seem to look back through history at times when populism was wildly…popular. It tended to crop up in times of economic crisis, stagnation, or instability (or all three).

      Another issue I think is how the establishment handles things like racism and multiculturalism. When people attacked the latter, the response is typically “Well you’re racist and multiculturalism is good- end of story.” A MUCH better response is: “Excuse me but exactly what do you mean when you say you don’t like “multiculturalism?” When did you think this country was a monoculture?”

      This is a big problem with liberals especially- they’ll argue with the other side without challenging any of their assumptions. Chomsky pointed this out in a documentary about class in America once (IIRC). He was talking about how the news media just accepted the idea that there was a welfare crisis in America, thus framing the debate as “We cannot afford to give money to lazy people” vs. “Yes it costs money but we have to be compassionate.” What liberals should have been doing is comparing welfare spending to that of other budget items (like military), pointing out the benefits, showing how cash payouts worked better, how it was better for the community, and how many people on welfare actually work full-time or part-time jobs, and how we’re basically subsidizing companies that don’t pay a living wage.

      But liberals went with “yeah it’s bad but we have to be compassionate,” which may resonate with other well-to-do liberals but no working or even middle class people who are being told their taxes are too high.

      Reply
      1. AndyT

        Many liberals are all about principles and ideals – which would not be bad, if they could realise people have less lofty yet more concrete needs.

      2. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Or that principles requires one to act in accordance with them. One of the reasons why Russian propagandists portray human rights as a Western political tool is because there are many cases when US administrations (and their allies) have used them exactly as such.

      3. wildthang

        I will have to disagree with you both.

        @AndyT people are only fed up with austerity driven EU measures as long as they are not affected by them. You would not believe what Eurosceptics in Germany say about Spain, Greece and Portugal (lazy bastards would be the least offensive term associated with them). Around here EU-sceptics are “sick” of transfering money towards Greece…

        @Jim, the point you are making is not correct either, imo. I have seen discussion upon discussion about all kinds of issues, the biggest problem is that our sceptics do not care about numbers. If they say that Greeks only work 30hours/week or that they retire at the age of 45, and you counter them with actual numbers they just won’t believe it, because someone (Petry, Bachmann, Lucke, some other shithead) said otherwise already and this fits way better into their narrative.
        Don’t you remember that one interview with some prominent brexiter and his lovely quote “I think people are sick of experts and scientists”? That is the problem in my opinion, we have no chance of convincing someone who is keenly set upon blaming someone else (south europeans, immigrants, americans, russians, whomever).

        Also, I do not think that the extent of the blaming of Russia or Putin is _that_ big as it is vice versa, I have not read a single article in Germany implying that any of our woes is Putin’s fault (German perspective), safe for maybe a forecasted increase of refugees at our borders (that did not actually happen, but that is pretty much all the paranoia I can think of).

      4. Jim Kovpak Post author

        Trust me, I get the numbers and fact-free voter thing. This is my concern about Trump as well. You can show someone that they are dead wrong, right to their faces, and their response doesn’t change. But again, we have to ask how society got this way. For-profit media contributed. The lack of critical thinking in schools could be another factor. People complain about Brexit voters not being educated, but what efforts were being made to better educated them several years ago?

      5. AndyT

        @Jim

        I think some people know emerging characters such as Trump, Farage etc. aren’t probably going to fix their problems – but they feel such guys might at least “punish” the haughty, holier-than-thou élites whose leadership they have tolerated so far.

  4. AndyT

    @wildthang

    Well, I think there are different kinds of Eurosceptics – on the one hand, you have people from Germany, Austria, etc. unwilling to see their money used to help to bail “broken” Countries out; on the other hand, you have Italian, Spanish, Greek guys which resent austerity and see the EU as a Germany-based, oppressive system.

    Reply
    1. wildthang

      The latter have some point, though i do not agree with them entirely, the former are just selfish cunts

      Yes, it reminds me a little of the late weimar republic, when the communists saw the bourgeois administration as their true enemy instead of the NSDAP, ah, well, we’re fucked, I guess…

      Reply
      1. AndyT

        And part of the bourgeois élite, in turn, viewed the Nazis as viable allies against the Communists…

      2. wildthang

        I wasn’t questioning that, by “bourgeois” I meant the democratic middle, if you will, the German word of bourgeois has a a bit of a different meaning, “bürgerlich” in that context means liberal democrat or smth close to it.

      3. AndyT

        Ok, thanks for the explanation.

        Yes – let’s look at the controversy about Corbyn’s exploits for Iranian media…

    1. AndyT

      Not so much, actually – the same old story about some left-wing personality buying into the “my enemy’s enemy can be my friend” mentality.

      Reply
  5. leearango123@gmail.com

    Contained, I spoke to a young lady years ago who claimed she was kidnapped and taken to McDill. She stayed with other young girls in a darkened room.

    At night they would give them something and in the morning they knew they had been violated, but who would help.
    I thought she was not well, so just because when ever I got a chance I started researching, my system was boot and all data removed. It’s very strange, I was reviewing NATO and they were taking American Children and adopting out to 3 world Country’s. Who does that. I am not insane .
    Thank you

    Reply

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