Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Second time also as tragedy?

Historical memory is short: it was the horror of total war and the unimaginable crimes of crazed totalitarian or authoritarian ideologies that made the post-war West so selfsecure in its liberalism and social market economy. Reason and progress seemed very inviting after the feverish nightmare. But all nightmares are far gone now: the world has been made secure for the free movement of capital, for consumerism, for materialism. Liberalism is at most half-understood and thus half-heartedly defended by the technocratic elites adviced (or is it instructed) by the financial sector while increasingly large sections of population is left out, discarded.

But it wasn't capital and materialism that was to be secured after the Second World War, it was the people - naturally often helped by those things, as tools for safety and progress, securely harnessed to the welfare state. And liberalism itself, the hollow ideology: made for discussion, polyphony, tolerance and rational scepticism, made for no particular end - safe to protect the people from the fanatism and hatred of extreme ideologies that our human nature is so easily prone to.

And now we rehearse the 1930's again.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Affair of the Diamond Necklace

The "great affair" - nothing great about it - surely brings out the sheer, incredible awfulness of the pre-revolutionary France. So much worse than the society that followed though I have never had much warmth towards the Revolution or Napoleon's regime. But those decadent painted dolls feasting while the society starves - those petty intrigues, small, ignorant personalities, nowhere near measuring up to their ludicriously august positions. Marie Antoinette surely among the least bad of them but still a living symbol of injustice and waste with no personal foresight or wisdom (until it was too late).

Saturday, November 19, 2016

We need Keynes and we need him now

The neo-liberal consensus has brought us to Brexit and Trump (cum the various Eastern European neo-fascisms). And it might even be too late now. But in any case we desperately need positive, activist, optimistic message from the liberal democratic main stream parties. If this madness will not stop, things will get even worse. And they are bloody bad already. When was the last time the West had such incompetent, stubborn and blind elites? The 1930's? The 1910's? This stupidity has to stop.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Politics of resentment and moral corruption

It was 2004 when I realized how rotten the once robust system had gotten: moral decadence in the money infested late empire politics. Facts did not matter, short sighted resentments and utterly ruthless propaganda mattered: the pendulum was stuck. The deep structures of historical and economic change brought forward globalization and ever increasing power of capital in relation to work - and the relatively liberalistic economic policies even by the moderate centre "left" did not give much to large sections of the middle and working classes who had to run harder to stand merely still. Then the corrupt media, cynical conservative elites, deranged billionaire donors combined with a history of nasty racialist sentiments and grievances co-operated and manipulated these temporary - one hopes - seizures of power.

There was no activist, self-confident, Keynesian compromize offered, only some half-hearted, much vilified attempts that did not form a coherent "new deal", even feebler in the dysfunctional and Brüningian EU than in the US. And now we have a charlatan, a xenophobe rabble rouser in the White House possibly leading an isolationist administration that might not support the post-war security arrangements, so painstakingly built by a more confident, more open republic. Who knows to what catastrophes this will lead, to what further collapses.