Neoliberalism is the political philosophy that dominates both major political parties. It replaces democratic values with market values as the governing principle of our society, making free-market capitalism, deregulation and reduction in government spending a false economic god to which all are expected to bow. We can stand up for the “little people” (aka the vast majority of the citizens of the United States) just so much before the hegemonic forces of corporate greed – from Big Pharma and Insurance to Big Oil to the Military Industrial Complex to the NRA to Big Ag to Big Chem to Big Tech to Big Whatever Else – come down with the sledgehammer of their donor and dark money power to squash whatever dreams are left of a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Should we refuse to so bow, we’re pushed to the periphery of the public conversation by neoliberalism’s minions within establishment politics and mainstream media. Whether through character assassination or party politics, they come at heretics with a vengeance.
And in so doing, they’re destroying America.
The purveyors of neoliberalism apparently thought, and think, that we can have it both ways: make short term corporate profit the bottom line of how your economy functions, but keep the quaint ideals of a democratic society operative. How kind of them. The truth, however, is that such contradictory truths are in the long run impossible bedfellows. You can’t spend billions of dollars squashing the rights of the people to a healthy, fair society – one in which its citizens, particularly its workers, are continually exploited for purposes of economic gain on the part of those who own the system – and then just say the exploited are free to put together millions of dollars in small donations to give the bastards a run for their money, if they so wish.
How fucking dare they.
And make no mistake about it. This forty year rampage of unfettered, unregulated capitalism has taken America to the brink of disaster the likes of which few expected to ever see in this country. It has created a massive transfer of wealth into the hands of so few, and massive economic trauma and anxiety in the lives of so many, as to produce a petri dish of danger and collective dysfunction. From those on the right whose exasperation with the state of affairs has led to conspiracy theories and the polishing of their guns, to those on the left whose exasperation has led to nihilism and the embrace of communism as some utopian fix, it’s fair to say that our political center no longer holds. Even now, however, the neoliberal elite within both parties still claim the right to fix the very disaster they created. Politicians who have spent years entrenched within the machinery of neoliberal politics have the audacity to pose as the saviors of the downtrodden and the answer to America’s problems. It would be funny if it weren’t so infuriating.
What we need is a political miracle now, a shift in perception from “We can tweak this and all will be well” to “We have got to break free of the lies that they have told us.” At this point, things have gone too far. And in the words of John F. Kennedy, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.” Either our government will make a radical turn in the direction of seriously helping people who are suffering at the hands of its corporate donors, or widespread violence is on the way.
No one can doubt that the hour is late. Our government has been so corrupted by the undue influence of corporate money, becoming little more than a system of legalized bribery, that Lincolns’s description of a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people” is perishing — and on our watch, right in front of us. What has happened as a consequence could and would have been predicted, by anyone with the slightest knowledge of or respect for history. We will either create a peaceful revolution now, and quickly – replacing the corporate tools now so empowered in America, with non-corporate backed politicians at every level of government – or the future will be more than bleak. It will be deadly, if not to our citizens then definitely to our democracy.
That’s a tragedy we must not allow to unfold.