America’s Extreme Right: a Marxist Conspiracy?

The new discussion I encountered today was whether the minimum wage should be abolished and, sure enough, out the Usual Suspects trotted with their analyses to prove how much better everything would be if only such a change were to be implemented.

What gets me about all this is the way these propositions are treated as if they’re blue-skies thinking, a venture into Terra Incognita, as if the world has always had minimum wage legislation and no one has ever considered what may happen were we to get rid of it. It’s always what would the world be like if, (better, apparently), instead of looking at history books to discover what was the world like when, (clearly worse).

Just as these (predominantly American, though the nonsense is catching on with the far economic right elsewhere) pundits appear unable to look back, so too they seem unable to look from side to side. All the terrible things that could happen if the USA were to tighten its gun laws are theorised as if discussing the possibility of life on Mars when, in reality, America stands alone when compared with other nations at a similar level of development for being so lax and has a dramatically higher murder rate. Likewise healthcare reforms. “Heyre be Dragyns”, apparently, up to and including one person who informed me the idea was socialist, socialism leads to tens of millions dying of starvation, ergo if Obama has his way then tens of millions will die of starvation. All I could say as a Brit was I never noticed, but perhaps I had other things on my mind at the time.

Discuss it for long enough, and up pops a new argument. ‘America is different’. Apparently, this difference works such that Americans have to keep shooting each other and sick people must live in a state of considerable financial anxiety from now until hell freezes over because America is special.

So much for ‘The American Way’. If that were ‘The British Way’, I’d find another nationality. (Indeed, with Cameron at the helm, I may end up doing just that).

We can assume, I suppose, that these people put forward their arguments in the hope of winning them. What makes these arguments so unspeakably dumb is their proponents would be better off losing them. Were they to convince people that banks should not be regulated, the welfare state should be dismantled, the minimum wage should be abolished and all the rest of it because that’s the only way capitalism can function, then the vast majority would suffer under that system and would be better off looking to overthrow it altogether. They will have ‘proved’ Marx right. As for gun laws and healthcare, all it proves – if they’re right – is America is indeed a special case. And it sucks.

Given – one assumes – that it would be better for them if they lost the argument, why can’t they just learn to shut the fuck up? Is it all some elaborate Marxist conspiracy?

Update: This post, originally written on September 28, 2014, pre-dated the Sanders campaign for the Presidential nominee of the Democratic party in which, (at first, anyway), he was selling himself as a ‘socialist’.

Point proven. Plaudits, please.

2 thoughts on “America’s Extreme Right: a Marxist Conspiracy?

  1. From what I’m hearing here in this bastion of “freedom and democracy” UKIP places Cameron on the right-left continuum just slightly left of Josef Stalin, much like our Tea Party has with Obama. It’s only a short time before the “great disappearances” begin, I guess. Like our Tea Party, if UKIP gets it’s way, there will be no left. There will only be the far right and gulags. You Tory’s following the exact same path many of our Republicans have taken. They see their political fortunes improving if they leave the Conservative party and join UKIP. Many of our Republicans veered hard right for the same reason. The result has been an unmitigated disaster. It appears that UKIP wants to abandon Europe entirely and set out on their own. They will have you dropping your trousers, sticking you head in the sand to wait for the first bootsa to come along and boot you in the bum . . . and blame the Labor Party for not covering UKIPs arse. Of course Labor will turn and look directly at you dear Pitter as having abandoned them in time of their greatest need. It will all be your fault. The only thing missing is there will be no 5th of November for you. Nobody will be wearing Pete Marchetto masks in years to come.

    You used to have an excellent system for dealing with these kinds of people. You arrested them, threw them in the Tower and tried them before the Kings Bench as many times as was needed to get a solid conviction. Then you dragged them out, hung them for a brief dangle, opened them up and finally tied their arms and legs to four horses and galloped off in opposite directions. You have created the conditions that prove the validity of George Santayana’s observation that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”

    We are well on our way, already. I was hoping you, the Brits, would pay close attention and learn from our mistakes, so I would have a place of refuge. I looked to you because we, with the aid of wild gesticulation, we do, more or less, after a fashion almost speak a similar language. Now it appears I will either have to learn a new language or take a wire brush and rust remover to my German which has been sitting idle for nearly 60 years.

    I had long hoped for both of us, that when Reagan and Thatcher left this Earth, they would pack up their stupidity and take it with them. Their failing to do so has been a big disappointment.

    The Scottish Referendum was voted down, which in a way is to bad, because Wales, and Yorkshire, I believe it was, wanted to break away from England as well. About the only ones who doesn’t want a divorce is Northern Ireland. Now those same counties, or whatever form the are politically, want to devolve, set up their own parliaments with all due power run their own affairs. We have that already. We call it “states.” It sound quite good on paper, but practically, it has been a sectional nightmare. Now we have about a dozen states who want to leave the “United States” and become landlocked independent countries. Of course they also want all the benefits that comes with statehood but none of the responsibilities.

    The biggest difference we have is constitutional. We have a written Constitution that is often quoted by those who understand it the least, while you have an unwritten constitution which is made up as you go along. This gives you one advantage over us. You can get to your national train wreck without to much hindrance. We, on the other hand, must stop at the courthouse every step of the way. We will get to our national train wreck but it will take much longer, and cost much more, to get there.

    Sadly, I agree with you on this. I wonder what we will find at the bottom of the rabbit hole. I certainly hope it won’t be Wonderland in all it’s glory, but I fear that is the most we can reasonably expect if we keep going the way we are for much longer.

    • UKIP is something of a ‘Mickey Mouse’ party which has gained votes by pandering to a sector of the population who do Mickey Mouse. I think what we’ve relied upon on the whole is the major parties behaving responsibly enough that they don’t pander to the predilections of a sizeable portion of the voting public by advocating stoopid. Sadly, UKIP is now setting the trend – and swaying the agenda – in that direction. That said, the increasing sense that the major parties aren’t really talking to anyone any more except themselves has left the door far more widely open than it has been for some time.

      Reagan and Thatcher tore up the tracks. There’s no going back save over decades, and successive parties in the UK have simply treated her as a fait accompli. Once, when Thatcher was asked what she considered to be her greatest achievement, she replied “Tony Blair.”

      I’ve always maintained with Thatcher that she was wrong, but sincere. She was a kind of ‘inverse Marxist’ believing in man’s perfectibility, and that if the reins were handed over unambiguously and without let or hindrance to the entrepreneurial classes, a new Eden would emerge as these right-thinking people came to the fore and implemented all that was noble and good. The Marxist idea, really, only foisted upon management rather than the workers. Those of us who objected to her at the time could see where that was headed, and time has – I think – proved us right. The money-men are what they are. People.

      Successive post-Thatcher governments haven’t been able to do much about it. To take one example, privatisation. It’s easy to sell off the family silver cheaply. It’s then almost impossible to get it back. However, what I see with Cameron is something altogether more ugly. I don’t see a man sincere but motivated to do the wrong things by what I would consider to be false thinking. I see only cynicism. Insofar as things are buggered up he knows them to be buggered up, but in the buggery vested interests have emerged to whom he panders. I would say that is a new thing in British politics and, once we’re landed with it, it’ll be hell trying to get rid of it. We’ve turned with Cameron down America Street, and I fear it’s one-way traffic from here. Once vested interests get their hands on the politicians, they’re not going to give them up easily.

      I don’t think anyone really wants to break away from England. I think many want to break away from Westminster. I notice recently that people aren’t playing the ‘Do you want government from Brussels?’ card so much these days. They know that, unlike previously, their bluff will be called and the cry would go up from many a quarter ‘Oh God, can we? Yes, please.’

      One good thing here may be a game-changer for the better. The Scots made no bones of the fact they wanted to take their nation in the direction of the Nordic countries should they vote for independence. In spite of the chaos it would have brought, up to and including an end to EU membership and not having a currency, nearly half Scotland wanted to go for it anyway. The Nordic model is the antithesis of all I’m saying here, so what may prove interesting is Westminster having to promise to grant Scotland many of the powers it requires to take Scotland in the direction of the Nordic model anyway. Inevitably Westminster’s trying to backtrack, but they can’t backtrack too far. So in ten years’ time, what? A split-personality Great Britain with England and Wales firmly post-Thatcher and taking America’s lead while Scotland goes the way of Scandinavia? Something tells me that is a tension that cannot hold, and any ructions arising out of that can only be for the good. From the point of view of England and Wales, this may prove to be a seriously positive result and, if it all plays out as I hope it will, then Scotland will no longer have any need, nor any desire to break away. It’ll mean the end of post-Thatcherism.

      At least… one hopes…

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