July 2, 2018

THE lEFT IS THE rIGHT:

THE DIRTBAG CONVERGENCE: Anti-humanists and populists on the extremes of the American political spectrum find common cause attacking the norms of the liberal establishment of progressive plutocrats (Jacob Siegel, July 1, 2018, The Tablet)

The far left and far right converge around an axial opposition to hegemonic liberalism. This manifests in attacks on liberal democratic norms that attempt to pierce to the heart of liberal values and "anti-imperialist" rhetoric that often amounts to support for Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria and the embrace of Russian imperialism. The specter of an unholy illiberal alliance can be deployed to stigmatize ideas that threaten the centrist establishment, as happened with the Bernie Bro label spread by Clinton operatives to kneecap the competition. But in other cases it is abundantly real--and the histrionic outcry that greets any public acknowledgement of today's growing left-right convergence only testifies to its existence.

Dormant existential issues and first principles have returned as immanent political matters.  While the existence of the Soviet Union and narrative of the Cold War gave powerful substance to a liberal rhetoric of democracy, the failed wars of democratization in the Middle East had the reverse effect, associating the democratic ideal with the imperial sloganeering of a stumbling, ineffectual empire.

Listen to the modern prophets and you'll hear that liberalism is dying, democracy is in crisis, and capitalism is ready to explode.  "We must get it out of our heads that this is a doomed time," Saul Bellow wrote in Herzog. Fifty-four years later and the doomsday sentimentalism the novel dismissed as "mere junk from fashionable magazines" is back in full bloom.



Posted by at July 2, 2018 3:57 AM

  

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