Thursday, September 30, 2010
For me the distinction is that "left neoliberals" are people who don't understand themselves as neoliberals. They think that their commitments to anti-racism, to anti-sexism, to anti-homophobia constitute a critique of neoliberalism. But if you look at the history of the idea of neoliberalism you can see fairly quickly that neoliberalism arises as a kind of commitment precisely to those things.
Yes - neoliberalism, the political philosophy of Hayek and Friedman, of Thatcher, Reagan and Pinochet, whose intellectual sources include the Nazi legal theorist Carl Schmitt and the fascist sympathiser Ludwig von Mises. The ruling class praxis whose first practical expression was the fascist coup in Chile. The ideology of the New Right whose hallmark was a virulent attack on the gains of the Sixties, including a legal war against gay rights, a cultural battle to force women back into domesticity, and a racialised drug war that resulted in soaring rates of black imprisonment. That neoliberalism arose as a kind of commitment to feminism, gay rights, anti-racism, etc. Moreover:
it’s hard to find any political movement that’s really against neoliberalism today, the closest I can come is the Tea Party. The Tea Party represents in my view, not actually a serious, because it’s so inchoate and it’s so in a certain sense diluted, but nonetheless a real reaction against neoliberalism that is not simply a reaction against neoliberalism from the old racist Right.Meanwhile, the actual Tea Partiers seek a "return to the principles of Austrian Economics, and redirect the economy back to one of incentives to save and invest" and demand that the government "cut spending, balance the budget, and institute a plan for paying down debt."
Michaels' brew of logical inversion, fancy, tenuous connections and adolescent provocation should earn him a television spot.