I’m supposed to be surprised at capitalist libertarian hypocrisy? Really? Daily Bullshit, May 15, 2016

For-profit schools

The schools described in this article are no longer for-profit. A merger enabled them to achieve non-profit status. But the abuses are the same.

Sarah Lazare, “Meet the Ayn Rand Enthusiast Whose Private College Empire Reaps a Fortune From the Government,” Truthout, May 15, 2016, http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/36034-meet-the-ayn-rand-enthusiast-whose-private-college-empire-reaps-a-fortune-from-the-government


The racism against Barack Obama

Robb Willer, Matthew Feinberg, and Rachel Wetts, “Threats to Racial Status Promote Tea Party Support Among White Americans,” Social Science Research Network, May 4, 2016, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2770186

Grio, “Scientists change Obama’s skin color to make white people support conservative politics,” May 15, 2016, http://thegrio.com/2016/05/15/scientists-change-obamas-skin-color-to-make-white-people-support-conservative-politics/


Brexit

The headlines and the ledes I’m seeing even in the original Telegraph article deploy the words ‘Hitler’ and ‘Nazi’ while downplaying that what Boris Johnson actually did was cite the Third Reich as one of a number of failed attempts at European unification. Johnson didn’t even list Hitler first, so for the media to emphasize the Nazis, as they are doing, unfairly suggests that Johnson is guilty of hyperbole. One can agree with what Johnson says or disagree with it, and one can agree or disagree that the European Union is is a worthwhile or a doomed project, but how would the media have responded had Johnson omitted the Nazis from his list?

The former mayor of London, who is a keen classical scholar, argues that the past 2,000 years of European history have been characterised by repeated attempts to unify Europe under a single government in order to recover the continent’s lost “golden age” under the Romans.

“Napoleon, Hitler, various people tried this out, and it ends tragically,” he says.

“The EU is an attempt to do this by different methods.[1]

But there’s also something else for those of us in the U.S. to take note of: Johnson expresses outrage that “the top executives of big UK firms were earning 120 times [and now over 150 times] the average pay of the shop floor.”[2] In the U.S., that figure has approached 500 times.

Having said that, I should point out that Johnson is deploying what in the U.S. I would label an authoritarian populist argument. It demonizes central authority, emphasizes regulatory and immigration burdens, and appeals to working class concerns. Meanwhile, the arguments for remaining in the European Union appear to be classically neoliberal. This is a similar divide to the one seen in the 2016 U.S. election, where Donald Trump may well prevail.

Boris Johnson, “Of course our City fat cats love the EU – it’s why they earn so much,” Telegraph, May 15, 2016, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/15/of-course-our-city-fat-cats-love-the-eu–its-why-they-earn-so-mu/

Jules Johnston, “Boris Johnson compares EU to Nazi superstate,” Politico, May 15, 2016, http://www.politico.eu/article/boris-johnson-compares-eu-to-nazi-superstate-brexit-ukip/

Tim Ross, “Boris Johnson: The EU wants a superstate, just as Hitler did,” Telegraph, May 15, 2016, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/14/boris-johnson-the-eu-wants-a-superstate-just-as-hitler-did/


Donald Trump

The bottom line appears to be that Republicans who despise Donald Trump have no credible alternative. And even those they approach are unwilling to accept the risks of an independent candidacy. That might be why they are capitulating even faster than I expected.

Philip Rucker and Robert Costa, “Inside the GOP effort to draft an independent candidate to derail Trump,” Washington Post, May 14, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/inside-the-gop-effort-to-draft-an-independent-candidate-to-derail-trump/2016/05/14/1b04682e-1877-11e6-924d-838753295f9a_story.html


Footnotes

  1. [1]Tim Ross, “Boris Johnson: The EU wants a superstate, just as Hitler did,” Telegraph, May 15, 2016, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/14/boris-johnson-the-eu-wants-a-superstate-just-as-hitler-did/
  2. [2]Boris Johnson, “Of course our City fat cats love the EU – it’s why they earn so much,” Telegraph, May 15, 2016, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/15/of-course-our-city-fat-cats-love-the-eu–its-why-they-earn-so-mu/

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