Against “Neoliberalism”

orrery Where and when did what passes for the left swallow “neoliberalism” as the preferred word for “capitalism”?

This linguistic transition is a major case of C. Wright Mills’ liberal practicality, a.k.a. dunder-headed chickening-out by would-be lefties.

It is also a major vector of conceptual error and misdirection.

Not the least of such errors is the presumption that the word “neoliberalism” is “very common, recognizable.”

Balderdash. The word is certainly rampant in the sphere of what remains of the left, but we all know, or at least ought to know, how isolated and ignored we are. In the wider world, to use the term “neoliberalism” is to speak a foreign tongue, as well as to suggest that one’s ideas and claims are so confusing as to need their own special introductions.

Everybody drawing breath knows what capitalism is. “Neoliberalism,” meanwhile, always requires at least a long, convoluted paragraph of explanation as a preface to its further usage.

So, one has to ask: Are we trying to stay moribund?

And while we’re at it, pray tell: When was it that capitalists ever favored or pursued anything but the package of things that supposedly define “neoliberalism”? There remains the powerful, long-running liberal myth of the post-WWII Golden Age of caipitalist acceptance of equality and welfare state programs. That, however, is simply false history. At the level of overclass motives and policy prescriptions, there was then and is now nothing “neo” going in the boardrooms and the private jets.

The Reagan Restoration was — and remains — a real thing (even though it started under Carter), but redoubling is not invention, and laissez faire/free trade (the liberalism of the concept, as distinct from the newer, wider modern meaning as a tag for those who think capitalism isn’t perfect and needs some public correction) has never been the only, or even the main, practical essence of capitalism. The state, despite the ideology and the fake history, has always been right in there, and massively so.

This whole “neoliberalism” thing is, to lift a phrase from E.P. Thompson, an orrery of errors. The sooner we drop it in favor of simplicity, clarity, and directness, the better. Kind of like “consumer.”

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Obummercare in Action

Over 30 million residents of the United States are still uninsured, as planned by the architects of the Heritage Foundation’s successful plan for averting civilized behavior public, single-payer medical insurance.

Those few who gain insurance under RomneyObamacare generally gain shitty insurance with high “deductibles.” According to The Wall Street Journal:

“[T]he share of the population with high-deductible insurance plans has grown significantly since 2009. That year, around 22.5% of respondents had private coverage that required them to pay a larger share of their upfront coverage costs in exchange for a lower premium. In early 2014, some 36% had plans with an annual deductible of at least $1,250 for an individual or $2,500 for a family.”

And those who get this magical gift of terrible coverage for access to the unrestrained U.S. medical racket profession? Here they are in the Soviet pose that comes with their victimization ability to seek new insurance:

line for insurance

And the other big result of RomneyObamacare? Also as planned by Heritage, per today’s New York Times:

“[S]ince the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010, the relationship between the Obama administration and insurers has evolved into a powerful, mutually beneficial partnership that has been a boon to the nation’s largest private health plans and led to a profitable surge in their Medicaid enrollment.”

And they say planning can’t work…

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Liberalism and the Internet

old car photo So, in a display of a very slight drying of the wet noodle he has for a backbone, Zerobama now — after being careful not to mention the topic during the recent The Bi-Annual Election Show — “asks” that the FCC classify internet service provision as a common carrier. Of course, not only is this an “ask,” but Prez Z specifically also says the FCC should, despite the proposed new (but long overdue) classification, continue “forbearing from rate regulation.” “Forbearing from rate regulation,” of course, means renouncing price controls.

The unregulated regime of corporate capitalist-dominated internet service provision in the United States imposes an indefensibly but predictably slow and expensive internet infrastructure. Yet, even if the FCC were to ignore its corporate masters and grant Zerobama’s humble request, he asks that they do so only if they render themselves unable to use the main benefit of common carrier designation — price control!

Meanwhile, the U.S. Postal Service wastes away in the desert, dabbing at its shrinking, rusty thimbleful of water droplets. Imagine what the corporate profit ranchers would do to prevent us from upholding the U.S. Constitution and allowing the USPS to deliver the modern mail at the lowest possible cost and with the best modern technical standards.

Of course, liberals have always favored regulation over public enterprise, for the all-too-obvious reason.

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Surrendering the Brain

Science fiction has hinted at such transitions, but they may be nearer at hand than you might presume, here in our market totalitarian culture. Check out the new brain substitute from your friends at Amazon.com:

Television, of course, could very justly be seen as another brain substitute. But it, at least, is generally used with the awareness of its idiot boxery. This Orwellian device invites its smiling victims to congratulate themselves for how cutting edge it is to surrender your last few scraps of self-directed inquiry and action over to the corporate behavior-programming/commodity-pushing nexus.

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More of the Same

duopoly

But, of course:

“The most expensive midterm campaign in American history stumbled into Election Day on Tuesday with voters’ interest at record lows…

“[C]andidates in both parties have done little to inspire the electorate.

“For all the money and nail-biting races this year, the outcome is not likely to result in a drastic change of policy.”

[The New York Times]

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The Future of the Book

book cover Today marks the publication of Find Me I’m Yours, a novel with not only a run-on sentence for a title, but corporate capitalist product placements throughout. One would be very hard-pressed to find a more fitting example of the thrust of this market totalitarian culture.

The entire project is unabashedly, intentionally, 110% a marketing ploy. It consists, according to The New York Times, of the “book” in question, plus 33 associated websites “intended to host sponsored content,” all created and managed by a crew of 35 writers and internet engineers. So far, the main sponsor of the operation is “the Cumberland Packing Corporation, the Brooklyn-based company that makes Sweet’N Low.”

What did Cumberland buy? Here’s a sample, as recounted by the NYT:

The heroine of “Find Me I’m Yours,” a new novel by Hillary Carlip, is a quirky young woman named Mags who works at an online bridal magazine and is searching for love in Los Angeles.

But the story also has another, less obvious protagonist: Sweet’N Low, the artificial sweetener.

Sweet’N Low appears several times in the 356-page story, in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. In one scene, Mags, a Sweet’N Low devotee, shows off her nails, which she has painted to resemble the product’s pink packets. In another, she gets teased by a co-worker for putting Sweet’N Low in her coffee.

“Hellooo, isn’t it bad for you?” the friend asks. Mags replies that she has researched the claims online and found studies showing that the product is safe: “They fed lab rats twenty-five hundred packets of Sweet’N Low a day … And still the F.D.A. or E.P.A., or whatevs agency, couldn’t connect the dots from any kind of cancer in humans to my party in a packet.”

authors The author of this epochal prose is the former Gong Show champion and self-promoting “artist” known as Hillary Carlip. Lest you have the “Hillary” name and the teeny-bopper mentation fool you, cast eyes upon the great laureate author, who stands pictured at on the left in the photo at right with her business partner. Not exactly, as the Gong Show reference tips, a spring hen.

This project, pathetic and insubstantial as it is, is so completely disgusting, so utterly whorish, TCT finds itself, for once, unable to decide which snippets to select as proof of its revulsion. Just look for yourself!

It’s all being proffered, of course, as “a new business model for publishers.” Apparently, this kind of putrid sheepshit is what will pass for “books,” while the print-literacy-hating profit ranching system finishes ridding itself of the problem of potentially informed masses.

Feel free to drop a little offering of your own on this one.

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