sandyt commented on the blog post Why One Known Historian Is Disgusted by Oliver Stone & Peter Kuznick’s ‘Untold History’
All of us are intellectuals (philosophers, historians, etc.) All of us have these faculties. But not all of us have the social function of intellectuals. The essence of that function is to perpetuate and justify the status quo. The status quo is based on domination and inequality, which intellectuals reproduce as part of their social function.
So Wilentz is doing his job here. He is not only disagreeing with the conclusions of Stone and Kuznik. He is flinging dung at them, deriding them as unqualified amateurs with an agenda. He is telling the rest of us, by implication, that we are too dumb to have any opinions other than the ones we are told to have. To think for ourselves – horrors! – that is Thoughtcrime, the root of all other crimes.
So it is no surprise that the ideas of “Untold History” have not reached the public. And if our cadre of thinkers-for-hire have anything to do with it, they never will. Wilentz states that Stone and Kuznick see this as a problem. Wilentz does not.
Thanks to marym for the Oxfam link! And to hotflashcarol for pointing out the necessary strategic objective. And to robspierre for his analysis.
I agree with the spirit of Glenn W. Smith’s point. But I would like to expand it a bit. He describes the one percenters as termites. Actually, there is a much more venerable and accurate term. They are rentiers, people whose income arises from owning things rather than producing them. In modern terms, money for nothing. Adam Smith argued in 1776 that their wealth should be taxed away, since it does not create wealth (see this from the estimable Michael Hudson contrasting Adam Smith’s ideas with those of Simpson-Bowles). In Smith’s day, the rentiers were mainly landowning feudal aristocrats and bankers monopolizing credit. In succeeding decades, the British government followed his advice. It destroyed monopolies, taxed land, and built the world’s most advanced economy. For more, see Ch. 7 of the excellent recent book, “Why Nations Fail” by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson.
If we want to stop our slide into misery, we will have to do something similar. The recent compromise on the Bush tax cuts, as Stiglitz pointed out, accomplishes nothing.
The solution, of course, is at hand. As Acemoglu and Robinson point out, Britain’s progress depended upon accomplishing the Glorious Revolution of 1688, which overthrew the reigning Stuart dynasty, brought in William and Mary on condition that they let Parliament run the country, and extended the franchise in a series of steps unbroken until today. It took street action, it took people going to jail, it took dedicated pressure and agitation over decades, but the result was the burst of progress we now call the Industrial Revolution. With the rentiers in place, it would not have happened.
Today we need a new industrial revolution; we have to do nothing less than replace our entire energy infrastructure to prevent runaway climate disruption and the threat of social collapse. This is also very desirable short-term economics, as Stiglitz pointed out a couple of weeks ago in the Guardian; it creates demand and puts people to work.
But it’s not going to be possible with our current crop of rentiers in power. While we need to build a future worthy of human beings, they spend their time conniving to extract even more money from the rest of us, whom they regard as a kind of two-legged cattle (see the appalling attitudes expressed in Chrystia Freeland’s “Plutocrats” for examples). They have gained control of the organs of government and media, not just here but in Europe, Russia, China, everywhere. Only Latin America shows some signs of breaking away and pursuing a model of real development.
So I’m with hotflashcarol – over the side with them! Keynes called for the ‘euthanasia’ of the rentier (as a class, not as individuals!), which is still good policy today. They got our money from us; it doesn’t belong to them. Let’s redeploy their ill-gained (and well-hidden) trillions for the common good!
sandyt commented on the diary post World Temperature Records in 2012 and the Green Veal Pen by metamars.
Sometime last year, Synoia asked metamars straight out if he or she is being paid to post this kind of material, and suggested that SPPI might be the source. Metamars refused to give a straight question a straight answer. I would suggest to Synoia, UCT1, and all others that it’s a waste of time to [...]
sandyt commented on the blog post The desperate, outnumbered neo-Confederacy continues its fantasy of rising again
I was interested to learn that the trigger for forming the Moral Majority was not Roe v. Wade, as I had thought, but segregation. Segregated schools and colleges like Bob Jones refused Federal money, but they needed their tax-exempt status. I read about this in “Blowing Smoke” by Michael Wolraich.
The story is covered more extensively in “Thy Kingdom Come” by Randall Balmer.
The Religious Right’s self-portrayal as mobilizing in response to the Roe decision was so pervasive among evangelicals that few questioned it. But my attendance at an unusual gathering in Washington, D.C., finally alerted me to the abortion myth. In November 1990, for reasons that I still don’t entirely understand, I was invited to attend a conference in Washington sponsored by the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a Religious Right organization (though I didn’t realize it at the time). I soon found myself in a conference room with a couple of dozen people, including Ralph Reed, then head of the Christian Coalition; Carl F. H. Henry, an evangelical theologian; Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family; Donald Wildmon, head of the American Family Association; Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention; and Edward G. Dobson, pastor of an evangelical church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and formerly one of Jerry Falwell’s acolytes at Moral Majority. Paul M. Weyrich, a longtime conservative activist, head of what is now called the Free Congress Foundation, and one of the architects of the Religious Right in the late 1970s, was also there.
In the course of one of the sessions, Weyrich tried to make a point to his Religious Right brethren (no women attended the conference, as I recall). Let’s remember, he said animatedly, that the Religious Right did not come together in response to the Roe decision. No, Weyrich insisted, what got us going as a political movement was the attempt on the part of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to rescind the tax-exempt status of Bob Jones University because of its racially discriminatory policies.
“I was trying to get those people interested in those issues and I utterly failed,” he recalled in an interview in the early 1990s. “What changed their mind was Jimmy Carter’s intervention against the Christian schools, trying to deny them tax-exempt status on the basis of so-called de facto segregation.”
During the meeting in Washington, D.C., Weyrich went on to characterize the leaders of the Religious Right as reluctant to take up the abortion cause even close to a decade after the Roe ruling. “I had discussions with all the leading lights of the movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s, post–Roe v. Wade,” he said, “and they were all arguing that that decision was one more reason why Christians had to isolate themselves from the rest of the world.”
“What caused the movement to surface,” Weyrich reiterated,”was the federal government’s moves against Christian schools.” The IRS threat against segregated schools, he said, “enraged the Christian community.” That, not abortion, according to Weyrich, was what galvanized politically conservative evangelicals into the Religious Right and goaded them into action. “It was not the other things,” he said.
This is not to dispute the points being made about sex. The sex and race obsessions of the reactionaries overlap almost completely. In the last two years, we’ve seen a huge flood of anti-woman laws in states with Republican legislatures. More than ten years ago, Jean Schroedel published “Is the Fetus a Person?”, an excellent study showing how the states with the most aggressive ‘protections’ of the fetus were the same ones that refused to support children once they were born…
Okay, so let’s start out the new year with a little perspective. The estimable Michael Hudson has a great article up on Counterpunch called “ The Financial War Against the Economy at Large ”. Unfortunately, he left it too late to be included in a lot of people’s ‘Best of 2012’ lists. But it belongs there. This article [...]
Well thought out, well argued. What else would one expect? Now that Obama is in for another four years, will his supporters cast aside their fears and hold him accountable to the rule of law, not to mention his own promises? Or will they do as they did for the last four years, covering up [...]
sandyt wrote a new diary post: Republican Big Thinkers still need to get their heads out
I’ve just spend an hour or so looking at stuff from National Review and Weekly Standard sites (I still have Human Events, Powerline, RedState, Instapundit and others to go). I started where I did because I was looking for some idea what the ‘big thinkers’ of Republicanism were coming up with, following their decisive defeat [...]
These thoughts have crystallized out of various discussions and comment threads I have participated in over the past weeks. They’re a little rough – sorry! Point #1 – the Democrats are playing defense in this election. Forget hope and change; the Donkeys are the party of the status quo. It is the Republicans who are [...]
For the American right and the European bankers, austerity is not a problem. On the contrary, it is the policy objective.
A feature, not a bug! Paul Krugman is constantly denouncing their stupidity, but I don’t think they’re being stupid.
Working CEOs want more demand, but finance capital is afraid of it, I think. Mass poverty increases their power over society and forestalls the risk that inflation might someday, somehow erode their asset values to some negligible degree.
I do think Kramer is being stupid to try to get working CEOs to help him flack, but that’s not a surprise, is it?
EX-cellent, as Monty Burns says…
If we want to show people we support them, food is the absolute best thing, along with clothing and shelter. All of which we are doing here at FDL. This could start a trend of FDL Occupy recipes. Attention FDLers, Jim is ahead of the game here.
sandyt commented on the diary post The Dems and Reps are not divided. And we’re learning not to be. by sandyt.
Hi Donkey – I agree in part but I think you’re missing something I should have made more clear. I was not writing about political competition, which is what the R tactics are. I am trying to focus on policy differences, which I think are outweighed by policy agreements (and dwindling to boot). It used [...]
sandyt wrote a new diary post: The Dems and Reps are not divided. And we’re learning not to be.
I was going to write about what I’m thankful for this season; I was focusing on the Occupy movement and how it has generated some appeal to people who call themselves conservatives. Both sides share concerns around the issues of wealth inequality and, to some extent, militarized and brutal policing. It occurred to me that this kind [...]
sandyt commented on the diary post This Weds: The Internet Fights Back — Please Join Day Of Protest Against “Internet Blacklist” Bill by demandprogress.
And even if you did, we couldn’t hear you!
The public can do this. We did it with the FCC changes under Bush and Obama. Come on, FDLers!
Most of these are from Seattle’s 3000-5000 person march last Saturday. If a picture is worth a thousand words, this is my biggest post so far… Some signs showed a lot of work… What do you value? Others, maybe a little less… Simple Math: Some were warnings… Declaration of Intent: Others were reminders. In Uniform: And my favorite (I’m from [...]
sandyt commented on the diary post A Message to OWS from the Tea Party Founder. “Don’t leave and don’t settle” by cmaukonen.
Thanks, cmaukonen. The idea of TPers uniting with OWSers around any sort of program at all has to be a nightmare for Big Capital and their servants in Big Politics. For that matter, they were afraid of TPers alone; look how much money they spent to hijack the movement (or to keep it within bounds, [...]
Thanks, O.G. I emailed Cleveland PD, like a number of others. That’s really impressive, and a sign of the times, I hope! Your point about liberal groups is well taken, but I am perhaps less skeptical than you. Groups like that have a lot of good people in them, and they are feeling the same [...]
This is being written in too much haste and perhaps too much emotion. But I am getting vexed. I am concerned about a lack of support for the #Occupy movement from their natural allies (and purported supporters). I live near Seattle, and I have been trying to support the occupy folks there at Westlake Park. [...]
It’s really good to see all this stuff in one place. Thanks for pulling this together.
I think both parties have outlived their reason for being. With three wave elections in a row, and a fourth coming up, the voters are obviously disgusted and ready for alternatives. FDL is part of that.
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