Now that #Brexit has already passed, #EU decides to help workers: Daily Bullshit, August 26, 2016

As I pick up the pieces from my email fiasco of the last few days (explained in yesterday’s post, notice of which was not disseminated in the usual fashion), it’s increasingly apparent that some mail has indeed been lost. I’m continuing to make progress but some of this is slow going, in part due to issues with FreeBSD ports. (Hey guys, graphics/gd has been broken with circular dependencies for several weeks now. Don’t you think maybe it’s time to fix that?)


Brexit

Apparently Britain’s impending withdrawal from the European Union both eases a turn to improved social protections (Britain’s neoliberal government has been a prominent skeptic) and impresses upon elites the need to stem populist movements. Businesses oppose the move, claiming the problem is competitiveness rather than what they claim are already ample social protections in Europe. The story does not offer substantiation for the latter claim,[1] although among Wall Street Journal readers, this might be taken for granted.

“Competitiveness,” of course, is the very argument for globalization and a race to the bottom in wages and working conditions, as well as deregulation generally. This is the hallmark of a neoliberal regime: Employers are empowered to improve their bottom line at the expense of workers, all while pointing to cheaper workers in other lands, and prefer a pool of desperate potential workers—“a bottom tier of workers trapped in declining economic sectors with stagnant wages who lack skills to gain work elsewhere”[2]—to be readily available to replace workers who might dare to seek better wages or working conditions.[3] This is why, in the present paradigm, political power is essential to balance economic power, why regulatory capture (of political interests by economic interests) is such a problem, and why so-called anarchocapitalists have no right to the “anarchist” label.

Laurence Norman, “EU Hopes Helping Workers Will Blunt Populism,” Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/eu-hopes-helping-workers-will-blunt-populism-1472157500


Israel

I’m always a little startled to see conservatives criticize the U.S. relationship with Israel, but this is one things that marks a bright line between neoconservatives and traditionalist conservatives: The former are absolutely uncritical of Israel and even of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, while the latter favor a far less aggressive—some might even say isolationist—foreign policy.

Daniel Larison, “A Useless ‘Alliance’ with Israel,” American Conservative, August 24, 2016, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/a-useless-alliance-with-israel/


Donald Trump

I’m still really trying to avoid talking about the presidential election campaign this year, but this matter of the “alt-right” is a point of technical interest. First, Donald Trump is over-generalizing but probably mostly right when he claims “[n]obody even knows what [the ‘alt-right’] is.”[4] I haven’t evaluated Hillary Clinton’s speech to determine whether or not she knows what it is, so I’ll refrain from commenting on Trump’s assertion that “she didn’t know what it was.”[5]

Suffice it to say, the “alt-right” certainly know who they are. I identify them as paleoconservatives and on a web site entitled the Alternative Right, they are certainly happy to tell you who they are (I’m saving you the click):

Equality is bullshit. Hierarchy is essential. The races are different. The sexes are different. Morality matters and degeneracy is real. All cultures are not equal and we are not obligated to think they are. Man is a fallen creature and there is more to life than hollow materialism. Finally, the white race matters, and civilisation is precious. This is the Alt-Right.[6]

It’s tempting to view paleoconservatives as a breed apart from other conservatives, but in my dissertation, on the topic of unauthorized migrants, I wasn’t able to clearly delineate them from authoritarian populists and I observed that Donald Trump was appealing to both.[7] And what they say in that passage is pretty much common to nearly all conservatives (except capitalist libertarians). The real difference between paleoconservatives and other conservatives, as a practical matter, is in rhetoric: Paleoconservatives profess what they believe while other conservatives are in denial about their racism (and capitalist libertarians are in denial about their authoritarianism).

Alternative Right, “We are the Alt-Right,” August 26, 2016, http://alternative-right.blogspot.com/2016/08/we-are-alt-right.html

Caitlin MacNeal, “Trump When Asked About Alt-Right: ‘Nobody Even Knows What It Is,'” Talking Points Memo, August 26, 2016, http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-alt-right-nobody-knows


  1. [1]Laurence Norman, “EU Hopes Helping Workers Will Blunt Populism,” Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/eu-hopes-helping-workers-will-blunt-populism-1472157500
  2. [2]Laurence Norman, “EU Hopes Helping Workers Will Blunt Populism,” Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/eu-hopes-helping-workers-will-blunt-populism-1472157500
  3. [3]George Kent, Ending Hunger Worldwide (Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2011).
  4. [4]Caitlin MacNeal, “Trump When Asked About Alt-Right: ‘Nobody Even Knows What It Is,'” Talking Points Memo, August 26, 2016, http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-alt-right-nobody-knows
  5. [5]Caitlin MacNeal, “Trump When Asked About Alt-Right: ‘Nobody Even Knows What It Is,'” Talking Points Memo, August 26, 2016, http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-alt-right-nobody-knows
  6. [6]Alternative Right, “We are the Alt-Right,” August 26, 2016, http://alternative-right.blogspot.com/2016/08/we-are-alt-right.html
  7. [7]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).

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