Monday, June 15, 2015

Politics, Clinton, and "Fighting"

Back in 2000 when Al Gore ran for the presidency by "fighting for the people against the powerful" I was offended. And then when I looked at his campaign website, I found more fights, as in fighting for seniors, fighting for children, etc.

Come on, I thought. We are all Americans. Why do we need to fight?

But of course, Al Gore was right. Politics is a fight, it is civil war by other means.

But we stalwarts in the bourgeoisie and the established middle class don't want to open old fights. We want to prosper and flourish in the existing system with its various status quos and compromises.

Now comes Hillary Clinton with her Four Fights. Not for her the Four Freedoms of Franklin Delano Roosevelt; Hillary's into Fighting. Here's what she said in her campaign relaunch speech on June 14, 2015.
"If you'll give me the chance, I'll wage and win Four Fights for you," Clinton told the crowd. Those fights are: 1) the fight "to make the economy work for everyday Americans"; 2) the fight "to strengthen America's families"; 3) the fight "to harness all of America's power, smarts, and values to maintain our leadership for peace, security, and prosperity"; and 4) the fight for "reforming our government and revitalizing our democracy."
Yeah. Don't we all. But there's one little problem. Well, four problems, if you want to get technical. Today's Democratic Party and today's liberals like Hillary Clinton are the main force in the land that's standing in the way of these Four Fights. Let's take them one by one.

  1. Make the economy work for everyday Americans. The whole point of the administrative welfare state and the entitlement programs is to sew up the economy into silos and turn the economy into a rigid administrative system that responds to powerful national interests. For everyday Americans to get ahead they need a political and economic space that keeps the Bigs on the sidelines so they don't gobble up all the opportunities for themselves and their clients. Don't look for today's Democrats to do that.
  2. Strengthen America's families. When Democrats say this they always mean more entitlements and government handouts. But the way to strengthen America's families is to reduce government handouts so that women need men once again in order to start a family and provision it. The decay in American's families is a result of government programs that encourage women to marry the state instead of the father of their children. Don't look for today's Democrats to incentivize women to marry men rather than government.
  3. Harness all of America's power, smarts, and values to maintain our leadership for peace, security, and prosperity. This of course is about the Pax Americana. But it is so attenuated that it is meaningless. Because it means  nothing until it is informed by a strategy. I talked to a military strategist a week ago, and he approved of President Obama's aimlessness because the American people weren't ready to do anything. Very good. But the Next President of the United States is going to have to formulate and persuade the American people about America's role in the world. Don't look for today's Democrats to do that.
  4. Reforming our government and revitalizing our democracy. Oh please. If there is one thing today's Democratic Party stands for it is to oppose all efforts to reform government. I get that "revitalizing our democracy" means mobilizing the Democratic base to believe that Republicans want to take them back to the Jim Crow era. Don't look for today's Democrats to take one step in reforming our government and revitalizing our democracy.
What Hillary Clinton is really telling us, between the lines, is that she knows what America needs but  she really can't do anything about it.

The simple fact about the modern era is that we have learned that our prosperity comes from technological and entrepreneurial surprises that emerge out of nowhere and cunningly sidestep the best efforts of government to block them. Everything that the modern educated elite and the modern Democratic Party stands for amounts to stopping economic change and protecting established interests from the wave of the future.

The best thing that can happen to America is for Hillary Clinton to lose the next election and for Republicans to undo as many of the entitlements and carve-outs that Democrats have written into the law over the past century. They won't dare to do much, of course, because humans are dogs-in-the-manger that defend their privileges till the world is collapsing around them.

But there is always the chance that they might do something, and that's worth voting for. And fighting for.

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