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Comments by YACCS
Monday, September 04, 2006

The bane of the modern world

The leavings of technocracy


This statement by Brad DeLong disturbed me on so many levels and I've had difficulty sorting them all out.

I am, as I said above, a reality-based center-left technocrat. I am pragmatically interested in government policies that work: that are good for America and for the world. My natural home is in the bipartisan center, arguing with center-right reality-based technocrats about whether it is center-left or center-right policies that have the best odds of moving us toward goals that we all share--world peace, world prosperity, equality of opportunity, safety nets, long and happy lifespans, rapid scientific and technological progress, and personal safety. The aim of governance, I think, is to achieve a rough consensus among the reality-based technocrats and then to frame the issues in a way that attracts the ideologues on one (or, ideally, both) wings in order to create an effective governing coalition.

This, in a nutshell, is the worldview of the Sensible Liberal. It's the belief that there are Sensible Policies concocted by Wise Men (and women), preferably ones with advanced degrees, which are Right and True and Good. Wise Men may disagree a bit about the means, and we should throw a few conferences to hash these differences out. Politics and ideologues who do not share the ideology of the Wise Men, who of course are not really tainted by ideology, get in the way of enacting policies which are Sensible.
The reason I'm using the picture of UN troops in the Congo is that the series of wars which have been going on there result, in part, from the work of technocrats, people who think social answers lie in formulas and agreements. Wise men are not always wise.

But Brad DeLong must have taken leave of his senses, even Kevin Drum makes it clear that his thinking is teched.

I'd like to believe that too, but there's just no evidence of it. Over the past 30 years the Republican Party has gone from Gerald Ford to Ronald Reagan to Newt Gingrich to Dick Cheney — i.e., from conservative to reactionary to crazy to batshit insane — and Rove's "two T's" are further evidence that they have no intention of rowing this back. They're obviously getting more desperate in the face of possible electoral defeat this November, but other than that they're just doubling down on the same old strategy of cultural bloodletting in the service of economic plutocracy.
This is Mr. Sensible saying the obvious.

The Republican Party was once led by people with a wider experience of the world. People like Bob Dole and Jerry Ford had served this country, lived abroad, done things away from desks and words. Even Henry Hyde landed on a beach under fire when his country needed him.

The GOP began to change when men like Phil Gramm, Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey rose to power. They had been modestly successful academics who had avoided Vietnam, who embraced an extreme theory of politics. Democrats and liberals were traitors in all but name, Clinton's presidency was illegitimate, isolationism was fine. Everything was political.

They had not served anyone but their cause, which they confused with their country. Outsiders like Rove, Abramoff and Norquist pushed their extreme ideologies with the ferver of fanatics.

As time went on, more and more people of extreme ideas and limited experience went to Congress. They had nothing but ideology to go on and that was their sole experience in the world. George Bush was their embodiment. A man of the upper classes who had rejected the worldliness and erudition of his peers to embrace the mythos of the self-made oilman. Not that he was, but he walked away from his education and heritage because he wanted to be something he was not, a success on his own.

The current Republican party has three wings, economic extremists, imperalists and social fundamentalists. All three are closer to the Bolsheviks than American politicial thought. Bush persists in a failed war because he cannot be wrong. Norquist wants a smaller government, no matter how it doesn't work. Robertson and Dobson want a Christian America at any price. All these extremists want to impose their vision of America at any price.

And moderates have bent to their will for their own gain. Easy money, majority status, they have reaped the benefits of the work of the extremists, They did not stand up to them, did not confront them, but took their money and supported them instead of their conscience.

DeLong, like a lot of people, still refuses to get a simple fact.

We are battling extremists, ideologues, people for whom compromise and treason are next to each other in the dictionary. There is no talking to them, no making deals or finding the center with these people. They have to be stopped. They have to be investigated and even jailed. They are people for whom deals mean victory for them and betrayal for you.

You cannot negotiate with a rabid dog.

posted by Steve @ 1:43:00 AM

1:43:00 AM

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