Neoliberalism’s death rattle cult … it still moves, come and grab … its truth

By ann summers

“We can’t be sure how many people really support Trump, Edsall reports, since there’s considerable evidence that they aren’t telling pollsters the truth. Voting for Trump, it appears, is something white people do in the shadows. It’s a forbidden desire that is both liberating and self-destructive, not unlike the married heterosexual who has a same-sex lover on the down-low, or the executive who powers through the day on crystal meth and OxyContin. On some level you know the whole thing can’t end well, but boy does it feel good right now.

I have argued on multiple occasions that white Americans, considered in the aggregate, exhibit signs of an unconscious or semi-conscious death wish. I mean that both in the Freudian sense of a longing for release that is both erotic and self-destructive — the intermingling of Eros and Thanatos — and in a more straightforward sense.” 

Cornel West on the end of neoliberalism still tries to rehabilitate the Bernie-or-Bust (BoB) counterfactual position (“Sanders would have defeated Trump”), without providing a critique of the exceptional American capitalism that now continues as a strategy of tension entertaining the RWNJs with spectacles of the Left in chaos and crisis.

The left needs to plan post-protest, because if we are in a post-truth media age, the public sphere may be irretrievably shattered by the autocratic attraction of celebrity narcissism.

… the exploitation of national crises to push through controversial policies while citizens are too emotionally and physically distracted by disasters or upheavals to mount an effective resistance.

The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang. The political triumph of Donald Trump shattered the establishments in the Democratic and Republican parties – both wedded to the rule of Big Money and to the reign of meretricious politicians.782f523ec254856ebba435050712296f

This lethal fusion of economic insecurity and cultural scapegoating brought neoliberalism to its knees. In short, the abysmal failure of the Democratic party to speak to the arrested mobility and escalating poverty of working people unleashed a hate-filled populism and protectionism that threaten to tear apart the fragile fiber of what is left of US democracy. And since the most explosive fault lines in present-day America are first and foremost racial, then gender, homophobic, ethnic and religious, we gird ourselves for a frightening future.

Wrong, neoliberalism is something that just doesn’t end, if anything it has been resuscitated as a dissonant economic regime, with the irregulated(sic) strategy of tension brought by what passes for Trumpian strategy.

Post-truth media as policy prescription now gives the US a revival of the key elements of neoliberalism as a secondary mode of production now animated by ethno-nationalism. Barbarism got its human face, just in time for Halloween.

The main points of neoliberalism have now been given a pageant treatment and there is miscongeniality(sic) in the now normalized street-level hatred that can only get worse, only to be arbitrated and enabled by a paramilitarized police with pent-up racial animus in the rank and file.

Racism as lookism now has new life, giving skin-color privilege somehow a power it always had, made more covert by civility and restrained by democracy and mocked by those angry about a misunderstood complaint about political correctness.

The ignorant are now the theorists of an exceptional American idiocracy.

“On some level you know the whole thing can’t end well, but boy does it feel good right now.”

It’s not goodbye, it’s the double bind of “why did you decide to sue me for being your victim,and now I also have to get a restraining order”.

The main points of neo-liberalism include:

  1. THE RULE OF THE MARKET. Liberating “free” enterprise or private enterprise from any bonds imposed by the government (the state) no matter how much social damage this causes. Greater openness to international trade and investment, as in NAFTA. Reduce wages by de-unionizing workers and eliminating workers’ rights that had been won over many years of struggle. No more price controls. All in all, total freedom of movement for capital, goods and services. To convince us this is good for us, they say “an unregulated market is the best way to increase economic growth, which will ultimately benefit everyone.” It’s like Reagan’s “supply-side” and “trickle-down” economics — but somehow the wealth didn’t trickle down very much.
  2. CUTTING PUBLIC EXPENDITURE FOR SOCIAL SERVICES like education and health care. REDUCING THE SAFETY-NET FOR THE POOR, and even maintenance of roads, bridges, water supply — again in the name of reducing government’s role. Of course, they don’t oppose government subsidies and tax benefits for business.
  3. DEREGULATION. Reduce government regulation of everything that could diminsh profits, including protecting the environmentand safety on the job.
  4. PRIVATIZATION. Sell state-owned enterprises, goods and services to private investors. This includes banks, key industries, railroads, toll highways, electricity, schools, hospitals and even fresh water. Although usually done in the name of greater efficiency, which is often needed, privatization has mainly had the effect of concentrating wealth even more in a few hands and making the public pay even more for its needs.
  5. ELIMINATING THE CONCEPT OF “THE PUBLIC GOOD” or “COMMUNITY” and replacing it with “individual responsibility.” Pressuring the poorest people in a society to find solutions to their lack of health care, education and social security all by themselves — then blaming them, if they fail, as “lazy.”

Unlike West, neoliberalism as manifest in the Post-Reagan world, will not abade. It is another attempt to use crisis to revive capitalism on the most cynical terms, creating new kleptocratic opportunities for the same forces of privation and exploitation that made the Progressive Era necessary.

The age of Obama was the last gasp of neoliberalism. Despite some progressive words and symbolic gestures, Obama chose to ignore Wall Street crimes, reject bailouts for homeowners, oversee growing inequality and facilitate war crimes like US drones killing innocent civilians abroad.thanksobama-billboard-privilegewhitebitch

Rightwing attacks on Obama – and Trump-inspired racist hatred of him – have made it nearly impossible to hear the progressive critiques of Obama. The president has been reluctant to target black suffering – be it in overcrowded prisons, decrepit schools or declining workplaces. Yet, despite that, we get celebrations of the neoliberal status quo couched in racial symbolism and personal legacy. Meanwhile, poor and working class citizens of all colors have continued to suffer in relative silence…

In this bleak moment, we must inspire each other driven by a democratic soulcraft of integrity, courage, empathy and a mature sense of history – even as it seems our democracy is slipping away…

As one whose great family and people survived and thrived through slavery, Jim Crow and lynching, Trump’s neofascist rhetoric and predictable authoritarian reign is just another ugly moment that calls forth the best of who we are and what we can do.

For us in these times, to even have hope is too abstract, too detached, too spectatorial. Instead we must be a hope, a participant and a force for good as we face this catastrophe.

Now is the time to own the crisis, proceed past protest as petitioning institutions (see surviving autocrats) in a public sphere, and do more than electoral change and reform, even if that is also a necessary precondition.

Millennials and Gen-Z’s need to see that this is truly existential when their lifetimes may be filled with the most inhumane and insane types of global, national, and local conditions.

This centers on the exploitation of national crises to push through controversial policies while citizens are too emotionally and physically distracted by disasters or upheavals to mount an effective resistance…

In this vein, Philosopher Maximiliano Korstanje, who was based on the Shock Doctrine, coined the term Thana-Capitalism to refer to a climate of social Darwinism aimed at fostering the Survival of the Strongest. In this climate of struggle, only a few win and the rest loses. It explains our obsessions for consumers’ news or images related to terrorism attacks, trauma-scapes, disasters and so forth. Korstanje writes that the society of risk has set the pace to a new society Thana Capitalism, where the main commodity is death.hqdefault

But Trump is anything but a regular politician and this has been anything but a regular election. Trump will be only the fourth candidate in history and the second in more than a century to win the presidency after losing the popular vote.

He is also probably the first candidate in history to win the presidency despite having been shown repeatedly by the national media to be a chronic liar, sexual predator, serial tax-avoider, and race-baiter who has attracted the likes of the Ku Klux Klan.

Most important, Trump is the first candidate in memory who ran not for president but for autocrat—and won.

Punditry is now defined by rationalization’s slippery slope for the Sisyphean rock and the failure of some conventional reasoning about triangulating a choice of the weakest opposition.

Jonathan Chait is usually on point, but we have now chased the car and having forgone the easy woozle treat, have caught the speeding car and have become roadkill.

We now have Celebrity Journeyman, where the poltergeists of George Murphy and Ronald Reagan mock us as Vince McMahon’s gladiator film wrestling buddy will usher in, as every GOP POTUS has, at least one useless war and a generation of national destruction.

This could be a matter of getting the least dangerous GOP candidate on its face, but Democrats now need to reflect on everything that needs to change about the party to avoid what could be a sea change worse than Bonzo’s co-star, namely Billy Bean’s new gig, reporting at Breitbart post-Truth factoids, but perhaps that’s only the rope line at Hades’ gates.

We are at that moment of neoliberalism’s apotheosis, possible with both major candidates, now truly personified by Orange Gasbag even before the primaries ended.

 Jonathan Chait in the February 8, 2016 issue of New York Magazine.

There are three reasons, in descending order of obviousness, for a liberal to earnestly and patriotically support a Trump Republican nomination.

The first, of course, is that he would almost certainly lose.

Second, a Trump nomination might upend his party...Trump’s candidacy represents, among other things, a revolt by the Republican proletariat against its master class. That is why National Reviewdevoted a cover editorial and 22 columns to denouncing Trump as a heretic to the conservative movement. A Trump nomination might not actually cleave the GOP in two, but it could wreak havoc. If, like me, you think the Republican Party in its current incarnation needs to be burned to the ground and rebuilt anew, Trump is the only one holding a match.


The Trump campaign may feel like an off-the-grid surrealistic nightmare, The Man in the High Castle meets Idiocracy. But something like it has happened before.Specifically, it happened in California, a place where things often happen before they happen to the rest of us, in 2003, when Arnold Schwarzenegger won the governorship. At the time, the prospect of Schwarzenegger governing America’s largest state struck many of us as just as ghastly as the idea of a Trump presidency seems now. Like Trump, Schwarzenegger came directly to politics from the celebrity world without bothering to inform himself about public policy. He campaigned as a vacuous Man of Action in opposition to the Politicians, breezing by all the specifics as the petty obsessions of his inferiors.

In addition to being grossly unqualified, Schwarzenegger was just gross. He barely concealed his habit of reducing all women to sex objects — and, to a degree exceeding anything Trump has done, put this theory into practice. Shortly before his election, the Los Angeles Times published the accounts of six women who reported being groped and humiliated by Schwarzenegger. Even Schwarzenegger’s attempts to portray himself as respecting standards of decency revealed his inability to comprehend them. “When you see a blonde with great tits and a great ass, you say to yourself, ‘Hey, she must be stupid or must have nothing else to offer,’ which maybe is the case many times,” he told Esquire in 2003. “But then again there is the one that is as smart as her breasts look, great as her face looks, beautiful as her whole body looks gorgeous, you know, so people are shocked.”

At the beginning of his term, Schwarzenegger more or less fulfilled the worst liberal fears. He gashed a hole in the state budget with a tax cut he couldn’t pay for. He assailed his opponents in the legislature as “girlie men,” proposed a slew of right-wing ballot initiatives, and stated in a meeting that Puerto Rican–American and Cuban-­American officials opposed to him were acting “hot,” i.e., angry, thanks to their “black blood” and “Latino blood.”

But then something funny happened. When his legislative agenda stalled and his ballot measures failed, Schwarzenegger reversed course. The new Schwarzenegger compromised with Democrats on the budget, raising taxes and funding new public infrastructure. He abandoned his opposition to gay marriage, passed redistricting reform, and enacted cutting-edge legislation to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. He proposed sweeping health-care reform based on Mitt Romney’s successful Massachusetts plan. It failed, but when President Obama passed a national health-care law (also based on Romney’s plan), Schwarzenegger defied furious Republicans and eagerly hopped aboard, which enabled his state to roll out its Obamacare exchange smoothly. By the end of his tenure, it was impossible to deny that Schwarzenegger had become a highly effective governor

The problem is of course, rather than the TV ads for video games, Schwarzenegger never had Californian nuclear weapons and Trump now has actual nukes within his small handed grasp.

A man who confuses molon labe with grabbing labia should probably have tried to become mayor of New York, it is a position in which he might even had done some venal good, if not for the advent of post-truth.

The implication of transcending truth is unfortunate, since it may simply mean that like Steve Bannon, some version of Nihilism is now the operative set of rules where truth as objective investigation is rendered secondary… because Orange Gasbag.

Post-truth, as meta-truth has no more value, but only gains credibility or its negation perhaps by iteration (see stochastic terrorism). Like post-modernism it is sequential rather than original or even unique.

Post-truth perhaps occurs when truth has been exhausted or negated, which does not mean as a proposition or claim that it has no existence.

A more visceral or vernacular example is Phil Jackson’s referring to LeBron James’s entourage as a “posse” and the latter taking disrespectful exception to its utterance with a subsequent waste of media time this week as an example of the meaningless value of post-truth political discourse.


Apparently, the truth (butt) hurts. So much so that it’s pretty much been condemned to oblivion.


Use of the phrase “post-truth” — political debate largely driven by opinion because truth is irrelevant — is said to have surged by 2,000 per cent last year, and gained further currency during the EU referendum and the US presidential election. It is particularly associated with Donald Trump supporters.

Oxford Dictionaries defines the term as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”.

Note also OED new words in September 2016 that also includes “c*ck ring” just in time for small-handed cuckservatives(sic).

Post-truth politics (also called post-factual politics) is a political culture in which debate is framed largely by appeals to emotion disconnected from the details of policy, and by the repeated assertion of talking points to which factual rebuttals are

Post-truth differs from traditional contesting and falsifying of truth by rendering it of “secondary” importance.

The contemporary origin of the term is attributed to blogger David Roberts who used the term in 2010 in a column for Grist.[1][2][3] It became widespread during the 2016 presidential election in the United States and the 2016 referendum on membership in the European Union in the United Kingdom.[4][5]

Political commentators have identified post-truth politics as ascendant in American, Australian, British and Indian politics, as well as in other areas of debate, driven by a combination of the 24-hour news cyclefalse balance in news reporting, and the increasing ubiquity of social media.[6][7][8][9][10]

This cycle, the insane jerk-offs won, because truth was not of primary importance; something else came first.

This entry was posted in 2016 Election, Austerity, Capitalism, Celebrity, Corruption, Economic Policy, Economics, History, Media, Neoliberals, Politics, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Neoliberalism’s death rattle cult … it still moves, come and grab … its truth

  1. pete says:


    I’ll have to come back and try to read the article later. Just can’t get that picture out of my head.

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