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Terrible Human Political Judgment

2016 September 9
by Ian Welsh

Trudeau PandasOne of those amusing scientific studies runs as follows: Someone in a supermarket knocks over a large display of canned goods. They either:

  • Show no remorse, but put all the cans back in place.
  • Act very embarrassed and do nothing.

People like and trust the people who act embarrassed and do nothing. They don’t like people who put the cans back but show no remorse.

I was reminded of this study by this news piece:

In his first event at the G20 leaders’ summit, Justin Trudeau urged his peers Saturday to drive away the anti-globalization and protectionist attitudes that have been fuelling “divisive, fearful rhetoric” in different parts of the world.

This is why Trudeau will join the TTP and TTIP if he can. Trudeau is a neoliberal. He believes that “trade” deals which are primarily about reducing wages, increasing intellectual property, and removing corporations from government oversight are good things. He likes Canada losing sovereignty; he thinks it’s a good thing.

Justin Trudeau has abs. He is, well, beautiful. He has a great smile. He’s a neoliberal authoritarian who helped pass Bill-C51, a terrible bill which, among other things, makes large classes of speech criminal and allows national security to illegalize environmental protests–should the government desire it.

It’s not that Trudeau isn’t better than Canada’s previous PM Harper, it’s that that is a very low bar. Yes, he believes in multiculturalism, and in taking in refugees, and I’m glad he does, but that doesn’t offset the other ways in which he is terrible.

Trudeau’s just a prettier, slightly kinder face on standard neoliberal policies.

But, he’s pretty. And he says warm things about refugees. And he marches with gays. And he has amazing abs, and shows them off.

He parses as a really nice guy. The NDP leader, Mulcair, is fat, bearded, and can come across as intimidating. He’s more of a centrist than I like, but when Bill C51 was suggested, he immediately opposed it–even when the polls were in its favor. When there was a row about Niqabs in Quebec durign the election, Mulcair immediately supported the right to wear them. He spoke out against the effects of oil dependence on Canada’s economy when the price of oil was still high.

I won’t say Trudeau isn’t a man of principle, but I will say that his principles are neoliberal principles combined with cosmopolitanism.

But Mulcair, the fat man with the beard, has principles which include liberty and which he holds to even when they are unpopular.

More Canadians, of course, voted for Trudeau. The break point in the election, despite all the whining from lefties, was not Trudeau’s declared willingness to run deficits vs. Mulcair’s saying he wouldn’t. No, it was Niqabs. Quebec is a secular province, similar to France, in that secularism is its ideology, its religion.

Standing up for the right to wear Niqabs caused the NDP’s vote in Quebec to collapse. When it collapsed, national polls dropped the NDP below the Liberals and since soft-stupid left wingers were in “anyone but the Conservatives” mode they ran to the Liberal party.

And yeah, Trudeau is better than Harper, but he isn’t actually good on really important economic and liberty issues. Except when it comes to cosmopolitan issues like refugees and not being a dick about things like the census, his policies are not noticeably different from Harper’s. He does 80 percent of what Harper would have done, 80 percent of the harm, but without the added 20 percent of the gratuitous cruelty and stupidity.

Canadian left-wingers got suckered again. They could have had a flawed man who was genuinely anti-authoritarian, and whose economic policies, while flawed, would have included, oh, tax raises.

Instead they got Mr. Neoliberal Pretty Abs.

I’m not entirely upset by this. I think Mulcair triangulated too much on economic policy, or possibly genuinely believed in stuff like “no deficits.” Him running “center” and losing might not be the worst thing if people realize that as why he lost.

But it wasn’t his weaknesses that pushed Canadians over the edge, it was his integrity. And the love of Trudeau, even during the election, was based mostly on his status as son of a beloved past-leader and his prettiness and charisma.

Trudeau’s record was of supporting most of the worst things perpetrated by the Conservative party–the things people wanted to replace. Mulcair had a record of opposing those things.

This is similar to American leftists running to “the woman” as if Thatcher wasn’t a woman, or to “the black” as if Obama hadn’t been on his knees all election worshiping at the shrine of Reagan. Or, locally, of Liberals voting for a lesbian in Ontario, because, hey, lesbian, and waking up to find out that, on economic policy, she’s more right-wing than the last Conservative premier was. The left-wing white male candidates, like the guy who ran a food bank, well, fuck, they were straight. They couldn’t be as left-wing as a lesbian.

This inability to think, to judge actions over acting and rhetoric, and group identity markets is killing us. I mean that quite seriously. Policies are engaged in whose objective effect is to increase poverty and fuel the rise of the authoritarian right.

Our inability to overcome programming meant for living in bands of 60 people or so is killing us in a hundred ways, of which this is just one. Trudeau may be the guy you’d want to have at your house-warming party, like George W Bush was the guy you’d want a drink with, but both are bad leaders in ways that matter and that will harm many of the people who voted for them.

Democracy is swiftly moving from “the worst type of government other than all the others which have been tried” (Churchill) to “the government under which we made most of the decisions which destroyed half the world.”

Do not think those who pay the price for our failures will say, “Gee, the primary government form of the most important nations had nothing to do with it.” If you love Democracy, figuring out how to work it so it results in better decisions is mandatory, and that means figuring out how to elect better leaders.

Pretty or not.


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24 Responses
  1. Jeff Wegerson permalink
    September 9, 2016

    Personally I have leaned towards cascadeable delegable representation where if I pick you to represent me anyone you pick to represent you also represents me etc. I think of this now because of your mention of tribal limits to character judgement. How would one integrate that reality? Probably by limits on how many one could represent of each level of representation.

    I also lean towards allowing anyone interested in government into government, with pay naturally.

    I have always said that majority rule is the lowest bar for democracy. Anything less is oligarchy at best. So no, pretty much all modern democracies are barely so-called.

  2. September 9, 2016

    Neo-liberalism can work if the government, as opposed to the corporations, are in charge. That is not going to happen when the two largest players are the US and China. One where the corporations own the government, the other where the government has become corporatized.

    Yes, I know that I am looking at the answers, when the evidence was not as clear.

  3. September 9, 2016

    I think both this and the Rowling post reflect a certain amount of excessive reductionism, the former to looks and the latter to wealth. I’d rather say that the bigger picture is that “anti-neoliberals”, for lack of a better word, have so far failed to explain in a manner understandable by the public how their preferred policies, however intelligent or meritorious, aren’t a step into the dark and fail to appreciate why people aren’t ready for them.

    Now you’d say that Mulcair wasn’t much of a step into the dark, I’m betting, but what matters here is the feeling that the federal NDP symbolically represents (whether it really does is another matter) a major political turn. The public — meaning the part that isn’t already sold on anti-neoliberalism — didn’t really believe that Mulcair’s compromises reached far enough into the party to be a smooth transition from Harper.

    It is fashionable to condescend to the voter to say that the motivation was merely that Trudeau was pretty and had good abs, to the neglect of the feeling of familiarity of policy trajectory that the Liberal Party represents.

    I know one of our old disagreements is that you don’t believe that intelligent people could genuinely believe in neoliberalism even up to this point, but all the evidence so far suggests that you’re wrong: there are aspects of the idea of neoliberalism that are highly seductive as an idea. This is rooted doubtless in the popular suspicion of central planning with a sympathy for what central planning was trying to solve. Neoliberalism offers the sense that you can have your cake and eat it too.

  4. V. Arnold permalink
    September 9, 2016

    Justin Trudeau is a disgusting, neo-liberal, narcissist; amazingly like Obama and a number of our present world dictators.
    Off with their heads!
    OTOH; what can one expect from a sycophantic public?

  5. September 9, 2016

    And it increasingly looks like neoliberalism is here to stay for a while yet. The Italian 5-star Movement is presently showing that it cannot competently govern the ungovernable (Rome), whereas the mainstream parties could competently govern it ungovernably, if you get what I mean. This increases the chance of more neoliberal political cycles in Italy. Anti-neoliberal parties tend to discredit themselves quickly, because they are forced to govern in an environment where the constituents are dependent on neoliberal systems. Even if life has gotten worse for their constituents, they…still dependent on neoliberal systems and will be for a potentially long time to come, and I am beginning to think (but don’t hold me to this) that Francis Fukuyama may yet have a chance to laugh at all of us, as we look out over a dystopian but stable landscape…

  6. nihil obstet permalink
    September 9, 2016

    Part of the programming meant for living in bands of 60 people or so is a strong drive towards membership in the band. We want to be an integral part of our band. That makes us empathetic, tolerant, willing to compromise with others, as long as we are all together in that band. It makes us dangerously manipulatable towards outsiders. So evangelical Christians see Trump as protecting and advancing their tribe, and decline to hold his obvious Christian failings against him. Democrats love Obama for things they excoriated Bush for. People who have solicited signatures, donations, and commitments on campaign finance reform following Citizens United now suddenly think criticism of Clinton for taking huge chunks of change from special interests is silly.

    The 70s and 80s saw big campaigns against all forms of association except businesses. We are all such individualists. We are spiritual but not churchy (I noticed even then that somehow very conservative churches were exempt from this; somehow just the social justice churches were full of hypocrites that we should rise above). We are such good workers that unions demean us. We are so strong and self-reliant that we want government just to pave roads and lock up criminals. We are independent thinkers who vote for the man, not the party (until the 90s, when the parties had become nothing more than brand managers, at which point party became everything). This campaign that reduced people to lone individuals seeking flattery and validation from political candidates and elected leaders was enormously successful.

    We’ve got to figure out how to channel our need as social creatures for group membership into more sensible political action. I used to work on reforming the Democratic Party from within, but I think now the oligarchic grip on the party is too strong, so the challenge is how to form a new party and other supporting organizations.

  7. Pelham permalink
    September 9, 2016

    This neoliberal tendency to combine supposedly compassionate concern for refugees and rights for the marginalized with the most hideous forms of globalization is frustrating.

    What if, instead, we had a clear-cut choice between the following two potential national leaders:

    1) Someone who strongly believes in multiculturalism, advocates powerfully for minority rights, welcomes refugees and all kinds of immigrants with open arms but equally embraces free trade and globalism in all their neoliberal glory. This candidate would also advocate maintaining existing military commitments abroad, regardless of expense, as well as social programs and healthcare but prioritize “balancing the budget” with the understanding that this could mean substantial spending cuts in these programs (though not “defense” and its global policing role).

    2) Someone who wants to close borders to refugees and immigrants, deport those who are in the country illegally and cancel existing trade agreements while negotiating new ones that put his/her country first and absolutely guarantee all fundamental aspects of the nation’s sovereignty. He/she would also pull out of foreign conflicts and advocate expanding social programs and healthcare coverage as a basic human right, regardless of what it means for the national budget.

    I realize the combination of policies in No. 2 sounds somewhat incoherent. But it actually isn’t if there were a candidate who consistently advanced policies designed to strengthen the nation. (Keep in mind that the diversity introduced by immigration and refugees is a weakening factor, contributing to the spread of societal dysfunction as the work by sociologist Robert Putnam has shown.)

    So, given those two choices, for whom would you vote?

  8. DMC permalink
    September 9, 2016

    The breakdown of the legitimacy of institutionalized democracy will lead to an ever increasing number of people not waiting for government to act on local issues and accomplishing their ends through apparently spontaneous direct action, facilitated by increasingly sophisticated social networks. That could be the thesis statement for a whole essay on the “networked future”. Its enough people decide that X is a problem, get together(largely online) and hammer out a plan of action that 80-90% of participants can agree on and then show up with picks and shovels(as it were) and “git ‘er done”. This is, of course vastly oversimplified but conveys the essence pretty well. Think about how, for example, voluntary emergency responder teams work now, sometimes with an incorporated entity and sometimes entirely ad hoc. Its pretty much “There’s a flood? Call everybody and get the gear and supplies!” The long range plan would involve voluntary organizations coming to supersede what are now corporate or government monopolies to the degree that they simply become irrelevant. If enough people cease paying attention to the government and corporate sectors, they will eventually(like those bullies your mother was always telling you about) go away.

  9. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    September 9, 2016

    Anti-neoliberal will be the last stand of implicit white identity.

  10. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    September 9, 2016

    Anti-neoliberal parties tend to discredit themselves quickly, because they are forced to govern in an environment where the constituents are dependent on neoliberal systems. Even if life has gotten worse for their constituents, they…still dependent on neoliberal systems and will be for a potentially long time to come

    Refugees and mass immigration is reverse-colonization.

    Colonization is sending political dependents to occupy foreign territory. Reverse-colonization is importing political dependents to occupy territory held by your political adversaries. Whom do the high-fertility refugees and their children vote for?

  11. Hugh permalink
    September 9, 2016

    Neoliberalism/globalization = kleptocracy
    Neoliberals = criminals, looters, thieves

    Trudeau, Obama, the Clintons, are not nice people or principled people. Talking about principled neoliberals is a lot like talking about principled Nazis. There is a fundamental category error involved. Both may be dedicated to their ideology, but that ideology is one founded on bad faith. Neoliberal elites and plutocrats can not maintain that they are the best and brightest and so entitled to their positions, privileges, and wealth and then claim not to know the devastation they are inflicting on the rest of us and so not take responsibility for it. Hence the bad faith.

    You cannot reform a thoroughly corrupt and rotten system from within that system. This is why the Sanders, Corbyns, and Mulcairs are a distraction and a waste of time. It is not about presenting better policy options. Such options simply get chewed up and spit out by a corrupt system, or worse, ignored. What is needed is a different vision, the vision of a different system, because that is where the real problem is and where the real solution is going to be. A vision of the society being proposed gives people a ready framework to judge and understand individual policies and how they fit together. But if your starting point is kleptocracy even otherwise good and laudable policy ideas will sink like stones because there are no coherent points of reference for them.

  12. Bill Hicks permalink
    September 9, 2016

    This post goes way too easy on Trudeau. Like Bill&Hill, the man is a monster who will impoverish the vast majority of his fellow citizens. Minorities who are forced into poverty by neoliberalism are no more “free” than if they lived in an authoritarian dictatorship.

  13. Cripes permalink
    September 9, 2016

    Ian persists in the belief we are living in a functional democracy, which in any meaningful sense of the word, we are not. Perennial election spectacles now verging on reality tv satire straight out of the film Idiocracy don’t count.

    The fact that maybe half the populace, not barred by growing voter disenfranchisement, or disgust, attempt to vote the least-worst candidate in no way makes voters principal actors in our pretend-republic; not any more than the braying mob in Rome’s Colosseum participated in governing by showing a thumbs up or thumbs down for the losing gladiator.

    Nihil Obstet is closer to the matter here:
    “I used to work on reforming the Democratic Party from within, but I think now the oligarchic grip on the party is too strong, so the challenge is how to form a new party and other supporting organizations.”

    If the criticism is that people have failed to build movements or parties capable of challenging the neoliberal-oligarch system, I can’t dispute it; to say they fail to vote for the right candidate in a rigged game is baffling. Might as well boycott the thing entirely.

  14. Carla permalink
    September 9, 2016

    I heartily agree with Cripes when s/he says “Ian persists in the belief we are living in a functional democracy, which in any meaningful sense of the word, we are not.”

    There is so much work to be done. And yes, of course, the world is ending, the sky is falling, nuclear war could happen tomorrow–it almost happened today, and climate change will in any case end us BUT… while we’re here, what better to do than to embark upon the work?

    http://www.shareable.net/blog/barcelona-en-com%C3%BAs-guide-to-urban-revolution-stresses-shared-priorities-over-party-politics

    We are all Sisyphus. And all politics is local. ALL politics is local.

  15. V. Arnold permalink
    September 9, 2016

    Hugh
    September 9, 2016

    You and I are on the same page, but few will agree, because they have been propagandized that voting is a moral imperative. Critical thinking is critically MIA.
    Many times the best action is doing nothing…
    The rampant insanity of U.S. citizens make me tired all over.

  16. SumiDreamer permalink
    September 10, 2016

    https://straightlinelogic.com/2016/09/07/corrupt-and-deranged-by-robert-gore/

    Fun writing as usual. You just missed the part about The Perfect Wife with perfect yoga abs

    The fundamental under the radar problem with NEOLIBERALISM is the corruption! It’s a system infused with it and permeates the minds of everyone. It makes the Big Boyz really think that they have power but all the have is brutality. Justin does it oh so friendly and that makes it that much lethal.

    The leaders selected by colonized minds will always produce less healthy policies. Canada got the worst off it: English cultural mores based on strict social stratification and American materialism resting on brutality and human enslavement and the imperialism of swarming others for resources. The US is nearly used up and they come crying with More! More! Agenda to denuded Canada.

    The media is not going to help much with the decolonization process. We people must produce the results for the next seven generations. We gotta face REALITY.

  17. Ché Pasa permalink
    September 10, 2016

    Politicians in general are not nice people. Genuinely nice people generally do not survive long in our Thuniderdome version of politics. That’s just the way it is.

    The Clintons, Obama, Trudeau, et al, are not somehow uniquely vile politicians. They are pretty much typical of their class. They are not leftists, no matter the propaganda campaigns mounted against them, no matter their occasional feints to the “left.” They are what their acts indicate: neoliberal ideologues, slightly less vicious than their neoliberal political opponents — but only slightly.

    Our political realm is dominated by neolib/neocon ideologues, and trashing individual politicians or political parties for subscribing to the ideology doesn’t change a thing. Our rulers know that, and that’s a big reason why they don’t care what the Lesser People think. It doesn’t matter to them because the Rabble have demonstrated over and over again that they are unable to mount sustained opposition to the ideology that dominates political reality throughout the western and much of the rest of the world. Absent sustained and successful opposition, why should the rulers care?

    Trudeau will probably be remarkably successful over the long term, much as Obama has been, not so much for his pretty abs (though I’m sure that’s a factor) as for his political and sales ability. Marketing shit is the key element. Politicians who can do it well are hailed by their overlords.

  18. September 10, 2016

    Well, essentially you have a choice between democracy and elitism. I am with you on many of your observations about the shortcomings of democracy, and clearly enlightened elitism would be much better. Trouble is, as someone once mentioned, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The whole point of democracy is that it allows you to get rid of the bad politicians and failed policies. That is where both the Soviet Union and the European Union fell short (please excuse the past tense as we are still celebrating the triumph of democracy here in the UK!).

    Also liked your comments about free trade. Did I mention previously my recent post “Do I believe in Free Trade?” at https://jepoynton.com/2016/09/01/do-i-believe-in-free-trade?

  19. Bill Baker permalink
    September 10, 2016

    //” And he says warm things about refugees. And he marches with gays.”//

    Nice…but very naeive about the mindset of most muslims.
    And he marches with gays as a phot-op, not realziing that gays and the GLBTQ* and radical gender feminism IS not anymore and has’nt been for decades…persecuted or oppressed, and in fact have seized the power and become the monsters their forebearers were trying to fight.

    //” The NDP leader, Mulcair, is fat, bearded and can come across as intimidating. He’s more of a centrist than I like, but when Bill c51 was suggested, he immediately opposed it when the polls were in favor of it. When there was a row about Niqabs in Quebec durign the election he immediately supported the right to wear them”//

    I like centrists, I’m one. Libertarian centrist. Becuase I think both the center left and center righthave some valid views, values,etc which I can agree on and think centrism gets shit down..it is eminently rational, balanced, and diplomatic. 😉
    But I strongly disagree with both the far right and far left, because both are highly authoritarian, orwellian, hypocritical, unreasoning
    ..and scare the shit outa me, lol!
    I disagree withy Mulcair on the NIQAB issue. I agree that muslims or anyone else should be allowed to wear what the want for whatever reason. But the NIQAB is not just a burka or hijab or something. No one is..for sound reasons, alowed to cover their faces in public places and public buildings, again..for sound reasons. But saying muslims should have a right to special entitlement in this and be allowed to cover their faces in such contexts when no one else is allowed to because of ‘religious freedom”{which, btw, nothing in the Quran or Hadith says tat women HAVE to cover their faces and identity to such extreme degree}..was andis a cop out and an excuse to allow a patriarchal culture to repress/oppress it’s womwn..even here in the west , and the dangersof allowing people to, for any reason other than covering ones face with say a scarf or balaclava in cold weather, to cover their face/hide their identity are too great. In fact in placves where this has been allowed for muslims, there have been casesof criminals easily obtaining NIQABS and using themin the commssionof robberies and crimes..and thus, it is IMPOSSIBLE to tell anything about the suspect…their gender, size, any identifyinbg clues.

    So Mulcair, like most regressive leftists misses this point completely and is wrong in this issue

    Thus

    //”But Mulcair, the fat man with the beard, has principles which include liberty and which he holds to even when they are unpopular.”//

    In untrue. Mulcair was and is part of the orwellian regressive left, which sacrifices liberty for not causing “offense”, opposing fredom of thought/concience and speech/expression where it MIGHT offend SOME of certain groups.

    But I agree with him and the social democrats on the issue of financial class justice.

    //”Quebec is a secular province, similar to France in that secularism is its ideology: its religion.”//

    Strawmen. Secularism is and cannotbe a “religion” nor ‘ideology”, it is a PRINCIPLE. The principle of religious and non-religious freedom..with no special favors for any, respecting all by treating none with special entitlements. It’s one of those evolved principles that came out of the enlightenment.

    //”And yeah, Trudeau is better than Harper, “//

    The hell he is. He’s much more orwellian, authoritarian, and unreasoning and unbalanced than Harper was and is. Much more of a hypocrite. And unlike Harper, Trudea is not meritoroius, he was handed power simjply because of his family name…being part of an on old money political elites family/hereditary privelage..and power

    As for Harper, I did’nt agree with the man in everything, but he is was not nearly as much of a authoritarian demoagogue as Trudea and the regressive left is. In fact, despite being a social conservative in values he refused throughout his entire PMhood to give into the strongarming demands of fundamentalist christians and other such social conservatives{for example, he said from the onet thathe would not use his power to take away abortion rights or visit the issue, though hje perosnally was pro-life; I am pro-life myself..pro choice within ther first several weeks after conception, pro-life after that period, and in some ways I wish hehad re-opened the debate and fought for fetal/preborn infants rights, but he stuck to his word..he was a man of his word..with perosnal integrity and not nearly as extreme and authoritarian in his social conservative fundamentalist values as he has been accused of}- the man mostly was a fiscal conservative in his position, holding true to the principles of classical conservatism instead of pushing so much neocon social conservative impositions. His cavorting with NWO elites and their agendas and corporate agendas was troubling to me, but otherwise..he was not that bad, compared to Trudae..he was sane, balanced, rational, and not nearly as orwellian and totalitarian in his nature.

    //”Instead they got Mr. Neoliberal pretty abs.”///

    LoL! Yep.

    //” was based mostly on his status as son of a beloved past-leader and his prettiness and charisma.”//

    Exactly. We in the west have become to SHALLOW in our ‘voting” choices. Not that that matters, because our leaders are no longer ‘elected” by the people according to merit, they are “selected” by the power elites to be their puppets. Voting is nowadays a smokescreen, a deception. We are carefully propogandized by the powers that be and the mainstream media..and hollywood to vote in larger numbers for the puppets they’ve allready selected ahead of time. And if we happen to not buy it in as great numbers as they want{which we usually do, because people are easily manipulated, deceived, shallow and misinformed sheeple, most..not all}…does’nt matter, they will lie to us and say that we voted in greater numbers for whichever candidate they have pre-eselcted, and if that won’t work or can’t, they will still install their puppets against the majorities will and use other means to dooop us into thinking the majority voted for said puppets, if they can’t win electrions..they steal them and use any means neccasery to achieve their ends. In the 2000 U.S. elections for example you had Al Gore and Dubya Bush “running” forpresident. As they so often do..they manipulated the people so that come election the poll results and number of ‘votes” are allmost half/half{all the more easy to stral an election}- and that’s what they did in the 2000 U.S. election, and they manufactured that whole “hanging chads” incident so that the candidate that actually got the popular vote…still had the elections stolen from him and his supporters and given to the ones that got less than half of the popular vote..Bush.
    They still do such things to make sure that they can install their pre-selected puppets, not just in U.S. elections but also Canadian too[and europran, and probably most everywhere else in the world these days}.

    //”his is similar to American leftists running to “the woman” as if Thatcher wasn’t a woman, or to “the black” as if Obama hadn’t been on his knees all election worshiping at the shrine of Reagan”//

    Exactly. As I said above, the people hgave been made dumber and shallower and to think voting for candidates based on superficial, shallow, surface traits such as race, gender. orientaion,etc, are more important than voting base don individual merit.
    And the entire system is now and most of the masses so easily dooped by this because THEY use the mainstream media, hollywood, and so on to brainwash the masses with this crap, and the majority{but not all} of the masses are so dumb, shallow and therefore so easily dooped by this deception, because most are …despite their insistence that they are intellgent, are in the herd..quite easy to manipulate and control and doop, onhly a few rare and precious INDIVIDUALS are intelligent enough to truly see through this.

    //” and that means figuring out how to elect better leaders.
    Pretty or not.”//

    Individaul MERIT and intelligence, and indivduals that respect the will of the majority of the people they claim to represent, and those that most strenuously sincerely believe in and uphold the principles/values of the enlightenment, and those more concerned with serving their people than with power and being served, more concenred with the indivduals rights and liberties than with being ‘authority/authoritarian”. And also the throwing off of this deceptive, misleading , false left versus right binary and liberal vs conservative binary and socialist versus capitalist binary which has so many sheeple in it’s thrall and trap.

    Unfortuantely most sheepple cannot and refuse to see this.

  20. Tom W Harris permalink
    September 12, 2016

    Nothing special about neoliberalism. Any ideology becomes corrupted in practice. Corruption is who we are, it’s what we do.

    “Hell is other people.” — Jean-Paul Sartre

    Sorry ’bout that.

  21. Synoia permalink
    September 12, 2016

    Democracy? What Democracy?

    Switzerland probably has the system that is closest to a democracy.

    Everywhere else just has an elected King answerable only to the money, or a unelected King answerable only to himself.

  22. XFR permalink
    September 12, 2016

    Seconding Cripes. Blaming the voters for this is like looking around after a banking crash and railing that 10% of the population has suddenly become shiftless and lazy.

    The only reason the “Orange Crush” nearly swept into power* was that TPTB thought that the NDP could never get within striking distance of a majority–wrongly as it turned out, as they’d been so blatant and heavy-handed in installing State Department BFF Iggy as the designated Saviour From Harper that the perennially cautious Canadian public was willing to attempt a Hail Mary.

    After that close call steps were taken to make the NDP safely worthless, and so voters got saddled with a choice between Tweedledum, Tweedledee, and Tweedledork. Frankly the only conceivable “good” outcome last election would have been a Harper minority, every other possibility would have resulted in the same s*** sandwich, just accompanied with varying degrees of hand-wringing.

    *(And failed only when Layton was felled by a sudden and very politically convenient cancer…one of a spate of such cancers that happened in the space of a single year…funny that)

  23. XFR permalink
    September 12, 2016

    Seconding Cripes.

    Blaming the voters for this is like looking around after a banking crash and complaining that 10% of the population has suddenly become shiftless and lazy.

    The only reason the “Orange Crush” nearly swept into power* is that TPTB thought the NDP didn’t stand a chance of getting a plurality of seats–wrongly as it turned out, as they’d been so obvious and heavy-handed in installing State Department BFF Iggy as the designated Saviour From Harper that the normally cautious Canadian public was willing to attempt a Hail Mary.

    After that close call the NDP was made safely useless, and so the public got to choose between Tweedledum, Tweedledee, and Tweedledork. Really the only possible “good” outcome last election would have been a Harper minority, every other possibility would have resulted in the same s*** sandwich, just with different degrees of hand-wringing.

    *(And only failed when Layton was felled by a sudden and suspiciously politically convenient cancer–one of several that happened in the space of a year…funny, that.)

  24. different clue permalink
    September 13, 2016

    @Stirling Newberry,

    I am confused by your comment. I thought neo-liberalism was all about putting the Corporations in charge of government and making government work for the Corporations. (And for the OverClass persons and families hiding in plain sight behind the veil of Corporate Symbolic existence). That means that neo-liberalism is working and being applied to perfection in America and in China.

    Was I wrong all along? Do you have actual evidence that neo-liberalism was “supposed” to mean that government was “supposed” to be “in charge” of governance? Do you have actual evidence that “it is not neo-liberalism which is failing America and China, but rather that it is America and China which are failing neo-liberalism”?

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