Friday, 12 March 2010
Is the liberal left dead? Well, it would certainly seem to be reading this article by Johann Hari in an essay that could be summarised as: I've been spitting the dummy out for almost a decade when it comes to the West's treatment of the Palestinians. Now it's time really spit the dummy out. I'm sure that the leaders will agree with me this time.
Which is all nonsense of course. By all means, write about the suffering of the Palestinians. It's a good cause. But please, let's not pretend that any leaders in the West actually care in the least bit or will do anything at all whatsoever to change things. I also love the high moral tone when saying that the Palestinians use 'unacceptable' measures targeting civilians. So they've been brutalised, shot at and herded into camps. But we comfy Western liberals must never resist the temptation to patronise them for being unsporting in fighting back. Also loved the sheer kitsch of 'It may make you see the ghost of your murderer even in your victims: Adolf Hitler in a Gazan child'. Uhm, no, that's obvious bullshit. Young men with guns in the Israeli army do to Gazans pretty much what young men with guns in the British army did to Northern Irish Catholics and young American men with guns did to Iraqis: treat them savagely. Maybe I'm detecting a pattern here, but it's not a pattern that liberal hawks are comfortable with.
I regard myself as liberal if that means being sceptical of the free market fanatics, statism and ideological fanaticism (either religious or secular). Yet I find that these are the very things modern liberalism is most tolerant of.
Liberalism seems to have turned into a branch of the self-help industry. I just wonder when they'll start saying 'it would be good if we found a cure for cancer'.
Interesting all this news about dangerous dogs. One whacky view I have for a Brit is that I'm entirely in support of handgun ownership. Yet most Brit politicians take the view that people aren't responsible enough to have guns.
Meanwhile savage dogs walk around with impunity. The message being that a carnivorous quadruped in a fur coat is credited with more powers of discretion as to who deserves a bit of GBH than an average Brit is?
Given our leaders, this may not seem totally ridiculous (at least there are no dogs calling for Georgian NATO membership) but in terms of rights and the state I've long found it interesting.
The 'news' has been churning out Tory propaganda. Modern Britain is such a fabulous country because even the children of African immigrants can feel at home in a party aimed at brutalising the poor, slashing cultural projects, helping the rich pay less tax and spilling blood for American hegemony. Horay for Britain!
Of course, te Graun has long been closer to Cameron than Brown and their coverage of the Tories today really shows how desperately they need a Tory win. This is yet more evidence of the failure of liberalism.
The greatest tragedy to befall Haiti was that it wasn't run by a tyrant who killed and tortured thousands of people to impose neo-liberal reforms on the nation. After all, 'alternative Chile' where the Chileans weren't saved from their own irresponsibility by General Pinochet would be just like Hawaii, or worse. 80% of the population would have starved to death and the remainder would be living in straw huts.
You might ask how anyone could know that, but Conservatives just do know exactly what 'alternative Chile' would be like. Just look at the CIF commenter of the year pulling the rug from under Naomi Klein's feet.
Given that the very point of neo-liberalism is the 'thin edge of the wedge' 'the government starts by being nice then massacres people' arguments, I wouldn't have thought Pinochet would be such an enduring poster-boy for neo-liberals. Yet one cannot underestimate the appeal of a podgy uniformed generalissimo to the tax-bore mind.
Came across another Protestant Latino with a vaguely liberationist theology. Could it be the case that Protestantism will become a force for third-worldism against neo-liberalism? We'll see.
I think he was initially employed as a token Tory, but neo-liberal crassness has moved so quickly in the past few years that Simon Jenkins is now to the left of Te Graun's centre. And his recent article is essential reading.