September 20, 2013

"[K]ids who came to their maturity during the 'Age of Fail,' whose formative experience of American exceptionalism is that America is exceptionally crappy, are pissed..."

"... and are willing to work hard for politicians who are willing to do something about it." If we assume that — as The Nation's Rick Perlstein does in "Is Peter Beinart Right About a ‘New New Left’?" — then...
... another scenario looks like this: young citizens motivated by left-leaning passions run into a brick wall again and again and again trying to turn their convictions into power. The defining story of our next political era becomes not a New New Left but a corrosive disillusionment that drives the country into ever deeper sloughs of apathy.

What if, in other words, the harbinger election didn’t take place in New York...
Beinart had been talking about Bill de Blasio...
... but in Colorado—where a hyper-ideological, insurrectionist, corporate-money-soaked minority... recalled two progressive legislatures for daring to favor background checks for gun purchases even though Coloradans want background checks by a margin of 68 to 27 percent.

Beinart wants to think big. So let’s think big. Given a precedent like that, the result of our current trends might not be more socialism, but once more a stark showdown between socialism and barbarism. Apathy and social misery might make fertile ground for some charismatic demagogue, preaching scapegoating and a narrative of violent redemption…
You say you want a revolution... but what if the revolutionaries are on the other side?

43 comments:

Matthew Sablan said...

"Coloradans want background checks by a margin of 68 to 27 percent."

-- The election proves otherwise.

William said...

Has any kid pissed at his parents ever directed or transferred that ire against socialism or the welfare state? When kids politicize their neuroses, they almost invariably become leftists.

Henry said...

Following the long parliament in England, the populace was so put off by the petty tyrannies of the protestants that they welcomed the restoration of the crown.

James II came to the throne with almost absolute support from a Royalist parliament.

Then he decided that what the country needed was a stark showdown between royalism and barbarism.

It didn't turn out so well. Barbarians aren't fond of tyranny.

Matthew Sablan said...

"but in Colorado—where a hyper-ideological, insurrectionist, corporate-money-soaked minority"

-- The left outspent the right in Colorado something like 6-1. The only corporate-money soaked minority was on the left.

If he can't bother to get facts right, his analysis is probably equally valueless.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Well, I’m a historian."

-- ... I'm dismayed, given his complete misreading of Occupy and the rest of the events of the recent past. He should keep his focus on the distant past, because he's a crappy modern historian -- especially if he can't fact check an election that happened, what, two, three weeks ago?

Matthew Sablan said...

"You can’t repeat it often enough: when Barack Obama wins the state of Pennsylvania by five points but the delegation Pennsylvania returns to the House of Representatives contains thirteen Republicans and only five Democrats—well, poll numbers aren’t counting for very much, are they?"

-- It's like the historian doesn't understand representative government and population density.

Henry said...

President Obama hasn't turned to violence, any more than the "barbarians" on the right. But it beggars belief that a man can write a passage like this:

Apathy and social misery might make fertile ground for some charismatic demagogue, preaching scapegoating and a narrative of [authoritarian] redemption...

And be blind to the fact that what he fears has already happened. What he fears is, in fact, what he supports.

(I don't even know what to make of Perlstein's vaguely paranoid, fully blindered, innumerate rantings about American non-democracy other than to look away from the intellectual train wreck.)

TML said...

Did he really write "legislatures" for "legislators"?

Matthew Sablan said...

"Apathy and social misery might make fertile ground for some charismatic demagogue, preaching scapegoating and a narrative of violent redemption"

-- So, we should be concerned about a politician who tells people to get his enemies, to bring guns to knife fights, and to get in their opponents' faces?

... I... I'm confused about the messaging here.

Peter said...

The 1930s was much more an "Age of Fail" than this one.

Not only was capitalism not delivering, but more than a few Americans had either been to or heard/read about the Soviet Union and had become convinced that (in the words of Lincoln Steffens) they had "seen the future, and it works!" while a smaller minority (Charles Lindburgh?) were convinced that fascism was the future (because democracy just wasn't disciplined enough).

In the 1930s it was mostly our intellectual elites who were seduced by the siren songs of rational, planned economies and government-enforced "efficiency." Which is why radical politics was ever able to achieve much success in electoral politics.

Perhaps the difference now is that we've seen how all that turned out- and we now know that it didn't work?

hawkeyedjb said...

"You say you want a revolution... but what if the revolutionaries are on the other side?"

Reminds me of reply from Wm. F. Buckley to a woman who canceled her subscription, because she didn't want a copy of National Review in her house when the revolution came: "When the real revolution comes, you'd better have a copy of NR on your coffee table."

Larry J said...

Or perhaps a few of those young people will look around and see that the liberal policies are failing time after time and decide that they're not insane.*

*One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different outcome.

somefeller said...

You say you want a revolution... but what if the revolutionaries are on the other side?

Perhaps Perlstein has been reading the comments pages of various conservative or conservative-friendly blogs. But I wouldn't worry too much about that, except perhaps from the people who want the Feds to keep their stinking government hands off of Medicare.

Michael K said...

When someone thinks freedom is barbarism, we are in deep trouble. Especially if he has an audience.

SteveR said...

When I read writing like that its always an indication of a bad/stupid argument. Just make your damn point.

Michael K said...

"a stark showdown between socialism and barbarism."

Higher in the column, he notes that the Nazis used this slogan in the Weimar days but they intended "socialism" to mean National Socialist. The truth slips out sometimes.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Matthew Sablan is quite right about the spending in the CO recall elections. The vast majority of the money was on the side that lost. Hell, IIRC Mayor Bloomberg's contribution alone was about the size of the NRA's, which was the lion's share of the recall proponents' total outlay.

I love elections where the one with all the cash lost. Keep 'em coming, folks. You don't need further campaign finance reform; what you need is a stubborn public that votes away from the money often enough that eventually even the corporations, the unions, and the billionaires figure out that throwing money into TV ads and robo-calling is roughly as useful as throwing it into a public sewer.

Brian said...

With the 20th century in the rear view, surely no one could be so dense as to imagine that "socialism" and "barbarism" are on _opposite_ sides?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

When someone thinks freedom is barbarism, we are in deep trouble. Especially if he has an audience.

The readership of The Nation is a bit small for an "audience" in a country this size. You could fit every Nation subscriber in the world into two decent-sized stadiums.

(Disclosure: I subscribed to the Nation myself for some years, back in the 90s. At the same time I subscribed to The New Republic, National Review, and First Things. I think our mail deliverer must have been perplexed, if s/he looked at what was going into my box.)

MadisonMan said...

Coloradans want background checks by a margin of 68 to 27 percent."

They polled only Boulder Co, I'm guessing.

(And isn't it Coloradoans?)

LarsPorsena said...

"..kids who came to their maturity during the “Age of Fail,” whose formative experience of American exceptionalism is that America is exceptionally crappy, are pissed, and are willing to work hard for politicians who are willing to do something about it..."

The problem with this observation is that the 'kids' have no formative experience. What they do have is an ethos shaped by leftist educrats.

Andy Freeman said...

Why do gun control advocates typically lie about their proposals?

Colorado's law was much more than background checks. Being in favor of background checks does not imply being in favor of the other things.

bwebster said...

"Corporate-money-soaked": the anti-recall effort received and spent more money than the pro-recall effort by a 6:1 margin ($3 million to $540K).

Hagar said...

"_ _ _ want background checks."
The polls will show this because naturally we all want "background checks" when the question is put to us that way. The problem is just what will this "background check" consist of?
In order to be really useful to prevent gun purchases by people who should not own guns (for the reasons usually presented for such denial; do not mention that the people promoting "background checks" think no one should own guns - at least not scary looking ones), the FBI (actually BATF, I think) database would have to contain such extensive data on all citizens - very much including the left themselves - that hardly anyone would be willing to let them have such power.

As it is, the "background checks" perfunctorily checks whether a person of the name given is a convicted felon or have a judge's restraining order for mental impairment, and probably give about as many false positives as actual preventions, since both
criminals and the mentally unstable know about the checks, and it does not take any unusual amount of smarts to circumvent them.

Larry J said...

Brian said...
With the 20th century in the rear view, surely no one could be so dense as to imagine that "socialism" and "barbarism" are on _opposite_ sides?


Unfortunately, Brian, there are such people. Many can be found at colleges and universities throughout the land. They're convinced that socialism has never really been tried and that it would work if "the right people" (meaning themselves) were in charge. Some see the mass murders that follow communist takeovers as a feature, not a bug.

Terry said...

Why are people on the left so lousy at thinking their ideas through?
but in Colorado—where a hyper-ideological, insurrectionist, corporate-money-soaked minority... recalled two progressive legislatures for daring to favor background checks for gun purchases even though Coloradans want background checks by a margin of 68 to 27 percent.
The percentages of Americans who are against affirmative action and against amnesty for illegal aliens are similar to Perlstein's 68 to 27 margin. The reason that we still have affirmative action and we may have amnesty is because, although large majorities may be against affirmative action and against amnesty, these things are not high on their list of political priorities. This is the same reason that the measure Perlstein says had wide political support in CO failed. The 27% is more highly motivated than the 68%. This is not right, this is not wrong, this is democracy. It's easier to say your political opponents are evil than it is to do the F'ing work to make the people care about your pet cause as much as you do.

cubanbob said...

Abiding by the house rules I skimmed the article even though without reading it I knew what it would be. As per usual it's a typical screed that a house organ of the CPUSA would print. Nothing new there. If this guy is a historian then I'm a rocket scientist. He thinks because a 'clean' socialist appears to be the front runner for mayor of NYC the tide is turning. Yes it might in NYC. They have a habit of electing lefties every thirty or so years after the republicans spend a decade or more cleaning up or at least stabilizing the mess the previous lefty mayor created. Then the cycle repeats itself to be followed by a republican one or two terms later. The same happens at the national level. While republicans are always capable of snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory the safe bet is if things continue as they are-and there is no sign of any real improvement-the republicans will maintain the house and possibly break even in the senate next year and win the white house in 2016.
No amount of spin the democrats invent will make the previous eight years disappear. All the republican will have to do is ask 'are you better off now than eight years ago?" And "do you want another four more years of the last eight years"?

The New New Left which is the same as the New Left which is the same as The Old Left isn't going to convince employed young people to pay ever higher taxes to support the unemployed cohorts. Its one thing to support your parents and grandparents and another to support your healthy abled bodied self-entitled siblings and cousins and friends. Young people are all in favor of redistributing other people's money, just not theirs. Once it's their money being redistributed then things get different.

As Mao said: power flows from the barrel of a gun and the left ought to know by now that most of the guns aren't in lefty hands. In their fevered revolutionary dreams they may think that they will win but in reality most revolutions fail and more often than not the failed revolutionaries wind up in front of the firing squad.




Michael said...

But what if America is "exceptionally crappy" precisely because the Left has been highly successful over the last 20 years, in the culture and in the economy. And what if the socialist and the barbarians are the same people, and the forces of a civil and successful society are in fact the "conservatives." The Left always proceeds by assuming their conclusion and reasoning back; why not start with what works and what doesn't and see where that leads you?

Oclarki said...

At some point with everything from the previous paradigm conspiring against them ( low wages, high student loans, high cost of family formation etc.) There has to be some latent anger and disappointment that can be used to turn this generation towards more skepticism of the government.

Inga said...

I don't like the talk of revolt or civil war by either side. What the heck happened to United We Stand?

Hagar said...

I just saw an article from The Washington Examiner posted on Drudge that says the California legislature has passed bills outlawing "all semi-automatic weapons with detachable magazines" - good luck with that - and all ammunition containing lead. The article states that the a;ternative to lead is "metal," and the federal government has already outlawed all "metal" ammunition.

How in the world does one deal with ignorance on this scale?

LarsPorsena said...

Blogger Inga said...

I don't like the talk of revolt or civil war by either side. What the heck happened to United We Stand?

9/20/13, 1:09 PM

Ended during the Bush Administration when the lefties started rooting for the insurgents.

Andy Freeman said...

> The article states that the alternative to lead is "metal," and the federal government has already outlawed all "metal" ammunition.

> How in the world does one deal with ignorance on this scale?

Reporters may well not know that lead is a metal.

However, it's unreasonable to act as if legislators didn't know that outlawing lead in bullets effectively bans almost all guns. (Even bullets with copper jackets have lead cores because you need the mass.)

Some legislators may not know in some technical sense what they've done but they wouldn't have acted differently if they had known.

Besides, if I don't get to play the "I didn't know the law" excuse, there's no way they should get to play the "we didn't know what the law did" excuse.

Hyphenated American said...

When leftists talk about "background checks", I always wonder why same background checks cannot be done during voter registration. And if a requirement for a photo ID is racist, then aren't background checks for gun purchase even more racist? Won't minorities be the biggest losers of extensive background checks? It's a rather straightforward argument, and for some reason I don't see people talking about it.

Hyphenated American said...

"What the heck happened to United We Stand?"

Remember all the talks from Obama and the Dems about evil 1 percent? Well, if you can demonize 1%, who says you cannot do the same to 30% or 47%?

Cedarford said...

Peter Beinart is at his core someone who his lived most his life in a microclimate of elite schools and elite Jewish neighbors of means in Boston and Manhattan. His writings reflect that cocoon.

AS he and others like him spin "Narratives" to sway the masses..sometimes the message lands...the success of the breakaway Neocon Cabal he briefly joined as good for Israel, and how he and others on the West Side in JournoList served the Black Messiah.
But there is always a disconnect between wealthy highly educated Jews in Manhattan's better areas and the lowly masses they seek to manipulate and inform on the correct opinions to have. Many times these "inflencers" really fail to get it.
Beinart was convinced that OWS would sweep the nation. He went to Israel to lecture them in his "critically rave reviewed book" (by other Elites like him)that the Israeli masses lost their socialist roots in Zionism and they should treat Palestinians like his kind and their kind advocated power for blacks in America, S Africa, and Rhodesia. That didn't go over to well.
Same thing with gun grabbing. It will fail.
(I suspect though that people do want to do something about the common nexus in most shooting sprees - mental disease, immersion in culture that sees mass killings on TV and video games as entertaining and capitaving, access to guns, and a media that will make them famous if they kill enough.
And be reasonable on weapons..no MANPADs, no 200-round magazines for Freedom Lovers!, no relaxing the ban for most purchases of C-4 or full auto weapons.)

Franklin said...

"What the heck happened to United We Stand"

I dunno, ask your Democrat compatriot Allan Brauer.

http://freebeacon.com/democratic-official-allan-brauer-wishes-death-on-ted-cruz-aides-children/

Democratic Official Allan Brauer Wishes Death on Ted Cruz Aide’s Children

JRoberts said...

"Ended during the Bush Administration when the lefties started rooting for the insurgents."

Actually, I believe it ended when the Clinton/Gore Gang decided to pry all the "W"s off each White House keyboard.

RecChief said...

so if I understand this correctly, anything not socialism is barbarism? how is that 'tone of civility' working out?

No tanks said...

What a laugh.

Robert Cook said...

"- The left outspent the right in Colorado something like 6-1. The only corporate-money soaked minority was on the left."

It it's "corporate-money soaked" you can be sure it's not "the left," whatever others may say about them or even they may say of themselves. Corporations do not rush to fund true leftist causes.

Matthew Sablan said...

"It it's "corporate-money soaked" you can be sure it's not "the left," whatever others may say about them or even they may say of themselves. "

-- Fine, fine, fine. We'll use words differently than they are defined solely for your own egotistical reasons. What would be classically defined as the American left, and understood in all discourse by American political thinkers, researchers, historians, college professors and journalists as "the left," out spent what would be classically defined as the American left, and understood in all discourse by American political thinkers, researchers, historians, college professors and journalists as "the right," by this margin.

Though, that's a bit unorthodox and clumsy; if only there were a simple, easy phrase we could use to refer to those ideas.

Gary Rosen said...

Glad to see C-fudd is keeping up the connection between Jew-baiting and pederast-whitewashing.