petej + liberalism   117

Why we stopped trusting elites | News | The Guardian
If a world where everyone has their own truth-tellers sounds dangerously like relativism, that’s because it is. But the roots of this new and often unsettling “regime of truth” don’t only lie with the rise of populism or the age of big data. Elites have largely failed to understand that this crisis is about trust rather than facts – which may be why they did not detect the rapid erosion of their own credibility.

Unless liberal institutions and their defenders are willing to reckon with their own inability to sustain trust, the events of the past decade will remain opaque to them. And unless those institutions can rediscover aspects of the original liberal impulse – to keep different domains of power separate, and put the disinterested pursuit of knowledge before the pursuit of profit – then the present trends will only intensify, and no quantity of facts will be sufficient to resist. Power and authority will accrue to a combination of decreasingly liberal states and digital platforms – interrupted only by the occasional outcry as whistles are blown and outrages exposed.
elites  representativeDemocracy  trust  politics  media  business  honesty  norms  authority  liberalism  technology  Internet  populism  lies  alienation  disillusionment  UKIP  MPs  expenses  wikileaks  phonehacking  MurdochRupert  Libor  finance  BBC  Tesco  Volkswagen  exposure  whistleblowing  FOI  BlairTony  transparency  Brexit  Leave  MetropolitanPolice  RobinsonTommy  conspiracyTheory  relativism  dctagged  dc:creator=DaviesWill 
november 2018 by petej
From Trump to Boris Johnson: how the wealthy tell us what ‘real folk’ want | Gary Younge | Opinion | The Guardian
With that conceded and, hopefully, addressed, the left is in a far more solid place to expose and challenge the disingenuousness, hypocrisy and inadequacy of the culture-warriors on three main counts. First, their prescriptions don’t work. Britain does not feel like a stronger, more confident place since it voted to leave the European Union, but more divided, lost and lonely than anyone can remember. It didn’t put the great back into Great Britain but the little into Little England. In short, it has proved an inadequate balm for the post-imperial melancholy so many were apparently experiencing. Denying Muslims and migrants their civil rights or women their reproductive rights doesn’t give other groups more rights. When terrorists kill fewer people than toddlers with guns and are more likely to be white and American than brown and foreign, the threat to your “way of life” is the way you are living it.

Second, there are far more powerful and plausible national stories we can tell, that are inclusive and optimistic and they occasionally break through. Obama’s first election, when a multiracial, multigenerational, economically diverse coalition came together to embrace a message of hope and change from a black American, was a case in point. It is always worth remembering that roughly one in eight of Trump’s voters backed Obama in 2012.

Similarly, in Britain, the opening ceremony of the London Olympics in 2012 or the, albeit belated, revulsion at the treatment of the Windrush generation this year showed that there was a more inclusive story to be told about what really is great about this country.

Finally, all too often the rightwing cheerleaders for these “ordinary folk” are more embedded in the elites than those they attack can ever be. When George W Bush, who is teetotal, is the man you’d most like to have a drink with, an Old Etonian Bullingdon boy like Boris Johnson is able to get away with posing as a man of the people, and Trump can get the modern equivalent of $140m from his dad and still claim he is a self-made man, something is seriously wrong.

Or as George Clooney put it about Trump: “I grew up in Kentucky. I sold insurance door to door. I sold ladies’ shoes. I worked at an all-night liquor store. I would buy suits that were too big and too long and cut the bottom of the pants off to make ties so I’d have a tie to go on job interviews. The idea that I’m somehow the ‘Hollywood elite’ and this guy who takes a shit in a gold toilet is somehow the man of the people is laughable.”
USA  TrumpDonald  politics  populism  TheLeft  TheRight  elites  wealth  oligarchy  culture  nativism  immigration  multiculturalism  liberalism  paternalism  dctagged  dc:creator=YoungeGary 
november 2018 by petej
Hard, soft or no Brexit, Britain must begin to heal its wounds | Martin Kettle | Opinion | The Guardian
Those who believe that the importance of our place in the EU makes a second referendum vital cannot avoid asking themselves whether the wider outcome and consequences are worth the risk. On balance, in my view, they are. But I cannot help worrying at the same time that a Britain in which the liberal left feels outraged about Brexit may be literally a less dangerous place for us all to live in while we try to rebuild our relationship with each other and with Europe, than a Britain in which it is the nationalist right who feel betrayed.
UK  EU  Brexit  MayTheresa  politics  polarisation  ClarkeKenneth  liberalism  nationalism  danger  referendum  dctagged  dc:creator=KettleMartin  division 
november 2018 by petej
The Bannon-Frum Munk Debate: What Really Happened - The Atlantic
The story ends, then, in a great irony. Integral to the liberal project, again in the broad sense of the word liberal, is confidence in the power of reason. Words and arguments can overbear ignorance and prejudice. Over the long term, words and arguments can even overcome oppression and violence. That’s why liberals in the broad sense are so uniquely horrified by official lying: How can reason prevail unless words connect to reality? How can we argue against people who will spread fictions, if serviceable to them, without a qualm?

Illiberals and anti-liberals, on the other hand, appreciate the dark energy of human irrationality—not merely as a fact of our nature to be negotiated, but as a potent political resource. People do not think; they feel. They do not believe what is true; they regard as true that which they wish to believe. A lie that affirms us will gain more credence than a truth that challenges us. That’s the foundational insight on which Trump built his business career. It’s the insight on which Trump’s supporters built first their campaign for president and now their presidency itself.
USA  politics  BannonStephen  populism  misinformation  manipulation  emotion  rationality  reason  liberalism  FrumDavid  debate 
november 2018 by petej
The rising tide of national populism: we need to talk about immigration | openDemocracy
Two broad academic interpretations have emerged to explain these developments. The first stresses economic change and its effects on ‘the losers of modernisation’/the ‘left behinds’. The second, and more common, approach holds that the key driver has been cultural. The rise of parties like the National Front began well before the onset of recession, and some of the strongest can be found in rich countries like Austria. For the culturalist approach, support is fired by opposition to immigration and by linked themes like law and order.

However, this polarised debate glosses over an important further factor – namely, attitudes towards mainstream parties and liberal democracy generally. Liberal economic and political elites are frequently blamed for the onset of recession and austerity in many countries. There is also a widespread belief that mainstream politicians have failed to conduct an open discussion about immigration, that they have even lied about numbers and impacts.
UK  politics  immigration  nationalism  identity  culture  Brexit  democracy  liberalism  dctagged  dc:creator=EatwellRoger  nationalPopulism 
november 2018 by petej
Barbara Kingsolver’s ‘Unsheltered’ Is Liberal Pabulum - The Atlantic
She shares this sensibility with Kingsolver, who is often described as a “political novelist” but who has only the shallowest understanding of political reality. Her novels specialize in self-congratulatory gestures of empathy: the clumsy representation of characters whom she finds obviously distasteful but wants to redeem, modeling the respect and understanding that she believes can open our hearts and minds and subdue our partisan acrimony. The result is not a bad novel—it is perfectly competent at the level of the sentence—but a novel that fails so dramatically to capture the corrosive realities of liberal capitalism that it just might deflate, once and for all, the middlebrow fantasy that stories can help us get through these dark times.
USA  politics  environment  inequality  TrumpDonald  liberalism  literature  change  neoliberalism  individualism  personalResponsibility  fiction  KingsolverBarbara 
october 2018 by petej
Centrists attack the left, but they are the true ideologues | Owen Jones | Opinion | The Guardian
“Centrism” is a misleading term which should be abandoned, though a viable alternative term is lacking: bearers of the “centrist” flame regard “neoliberal” or “Blairite” as abusive rather than descriptive terms. Centrism implies non-ideological moderation, and given “left” and “right” are meaningless abstractions for most people, it is a seductive label. But centrists aren’t pragmatists, they’re ideologues, extolling a blend of market liberalism, social liberalism and – more often than not – a hawkish military posture. Claims of moderation in a British context do not readily sit with helping to unleash the murderous, never-ending bloody chaos in Iraq and Libya, it should be said. But it is the economic order centrists defend that produced the insecurity and stagnation which, in turn, laid the foundations for both the ascendancy of the left and its antithesis, the xenophobic right.
UK  politics  centrism  markets  liberalism  economics  stagnation  xenophobia  austerity  moderation  TheLeft  dctagged  dc:creator=JonesOwen 
august 2017 by petej
The end of the Long 90s | Flip Chart Fairy Tales
The campaign for Brexit was, for the most part, led and financed by the libertarian free-market right; people who want more deregulation, less tax and a smaller state. It is beginning to dawn on some of them that Brexit may deliver the exact opposite. For Andrew Lilico, one of the relatively few economists to support Brexit, all that matters now is stopping Corbyn.

Everything else is secondary now to stopping him. Austerity, Brexit, public services reform, trade deals with the US, foibles about doing deals with Irish politicians or Lib Dems – even new anti-terror laws. Everything else is secondary and expendable for the moment.

It was their own fault. The Brexiters fanned the flames of populism and re-introduced people to the notion that voting might change things. They thought that the new post-Brexit Britain would be theirs. Now they realise it probably won’t.

When historians and political scientists look back, in a decade or so, one image will define the Summer of ’17. It won’t be a distraught Theresa May or a waving Jeremy Corbyn. It will be the burning Grenfell Tower. It is still way too early to be clear about what went wrong and who’s fault it might have been but, regardless of the causes of the fire, as the Guido Fawkes blog complains, the political fallout is already damaging the Conservatives. It doesn’t really matter how much of a role austerity, a scrimping Tory council, outsourcing and deregulation had in making the catastrophic blaze more likely, the story fits the spirit of the times. Grenfell was a tower block housing the poor in the middle of one of the country’s richest constituencies, the one in which, less than a week earlier, Labour had overturned decades of solid Tory majorities. It may, in time, become a symbol of the point at which British politics turned.
UK  politics  economics  economy  liberalism  privatisation  deregulation  diversity  Blairism  livingStandards  immigration  Brexit  ToryParty  UKIP  LabourParty 
june 2017 by petej
Are All Trump-Haters on the Same Side? - VICE
The opposition to Trump spans vast ideological and political chasms. There are those, like me, on the farther reaches of the left, who see Trump primarily in terms of the rise of an unholy alliance of the conservative right, a merry band of corporate deregulators and profiteers, with a disgorging seam of crypto-fascists and hard racists reinventing themselves for the internet age as the "alt-right". They prey on the resentment, exclusion and atomisation of the old working class, while promising to salve their wounds and restore a decaying golden age. In this, they are not so distinct from the wave of new right and nativist parties springing up across Europe. They are signs of a transformation in the political world order, which was served notice with the crisis of 2008 and is now beginning to crack up.

But there is also a more liberal objection to Trump, which remains agnostic on the questions of economy and politics which produced him, and focuses more on his procedural outrages and crassness, his disregard for democratic procedure and inclination to dictator-like "decisionism". The most cherished hope of such anti-Trumpists is that they can somehow roll this crass booby out of office, roll back to a time before Trump, before the crisis, before his voters exercised their vote, stick a plaster on the world and go back to how things used to be. Trump is a disaster, but he is not a disaster merely because of his disregard for democratic procedure – as if his bans and walls would be better if only they had been brought through proper channels.

Between these two positions are the vast majority of people who are attracted to the Stop Trump protests, who carry home-made placards, often with a slightly ironic, slightly desperate joke slogans. Unlike many, I feel a kind of tenderness for these slogans – far better than the SWP's astroturf signage, anyway – as they feel to me like a hesitant and halting use of long-dormant muscles, an uncertain public searching for a voice. Many on those protests will feel something of both positions: that something large and dangerous is happening, that something old and important is slipping away, that old certainties are beginning to crack. To sneer at that realisation – to castigate belated awareness of our political situation – is to cut off any potential development of these protests at their beginning.
TrumpDonald  politics  protest  liberalism  dctagged  dc:creator=ButlerJames 
february 2017 by petej
New Left Project | Why the Working Class was Never ‘White’
The sooner we recognise that the ‘white working class’ is not a thing, but rather an unhelpful media construction which the left must eschew, the better. Not only does it deflect attention from the virulent racism in other parts of English society, but it reinforces the idea of working-class people as unchanging, anachronistic and ‘left behind’. The ‘racialisation’ of class in Britain has been a consequence of the weakening of ‘class’ as a political idea since the 1970s – it is a new construction, not an historic one, and it is profoundly unhelpful. It makes it all too easy for millions of people hit hardest by neo-liberal economics to be dismissed as somehow reaping what they deserve.
UK  class  workingClass  race  immigration  localism  place  conservatism  racism  PowellEnoch  liberalism  racialisation 
december 2016 by petej
Technolibertarians, Mozilla and boycotts
"The best thing about the Mozilla boycotts, and all the drama around Google and the NSA is that it might remind people that the technology business isn’t some radical messianic project to make the world a better place, it’s just a business. No more or less ethical than any other."
Mozilla  EichBrendan  boycott  business  markets  capitalism  ethics  libertarianism  liberalism 
april 2014 by petej
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