The New York Times: Committed to Quality Journalism And A Really Shitty Opinion Page

Above: Noted Haver of Opinions Mark Penn

Are you a relatively prosperous peasant, one with a few extra dollars a month to spend (this is not a request for charity)? Perhaps you’d like to stay informed in this post-modernist hellhole we call the United States of America? Obviously you’d have to consider a subscription to the nation’s paper of record, The New York Times. And according to their advertisement, they are a paper committed to “uncovering truth with unmatched tenacity” based on their “journalistic values” that “are deeply held and unimpeachable.”

That all sounds pretty good- look, they even have perspectives that “help you get the whole picture”! And if you haven’t heard, they’ve given their platform over to the perspectives of Mark Penn and Andrew Stein, who’ve chosen to share some advice for the Democratic Party:  cut it out with the “identity politics” and “socialism” and “move towards the center”:

The path back to power for the Democratic Party today, as it was in the 1990s, is unquestionably to move to the center and reject the siren calls of the left, whose policies and ideas have weakened the party.

Do tell, fellow Democrat who is clearly not a decade past relevancy!

[…]the last few years of the Obama administration and the 2016 primary season once again created a rush to the left. Identity politics, class warfare and big government all made comebacks. Candidates inspired by Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren and a host of well-funded groups have embraced sharply leftist ideas. But the results at the voting booth have been anything but positive: Democrats lost over 1,000 legislative seats across the country and control of both houses of Congress during the Obama years. And in special elections for Congress this year, they failed to take back any seats held by Republicans.

The median American family’s real income peaked around 1999/2000. I’d say that’s pretty clear evidence of successful class warfare. And while the Democratic Party’s failure to build a farm team of local and state level candidates is real, the rigged playing field they play upon is also real.

They go on and on; they really don’t like identity politics and like a heavy-handed police state. They accuse Democrats of focusing on transgender bathroom access and not embracing free speech on college campuses. It’s the right that’s so concerned with who pisses in what toilet, of course, and it’s the right who whines when students walk out of commencement ceremonies hosting their party’s high-paid war criminals. The only reason any of that stuff is a national issue is because the right talks it up, and they do it so they don’t have to talk about how how shitty they are at governing.

But whatever, the piece is so bad they it would take more words to properly demolish than the original article contains. Their advice to “move to the center” turns out to mean “embrace of series of political positions and slogans that we personally approve of.” Some of them are meaningless (“renewed growth”, “fiscal responsibility”, “fair trade”), some of them are right-wing (cracking down on “so-called nonviolent drug offenders”, “backing the police” i.e. not getting upset when people are needlessly shot by state-sanctioned thugs), and some of them are current ideas in the mainstream of the Democratic Party (immigration reform that grants work permits and/or citizenship, increased protections for workers through labor law).

The New York Times, committed to fighting Trump and reporting the truth, and also producing some of the laziest and most nonsensical opinion pieces imaginable. Subscribe today to learn more about the world and help speak truth to power, and also get shitty political commentary from across the spectrum, unless you’re to the left of Krugman. You want that, you’ll need to go to one of the little guys.

The Fork In The Road: Capitalism Is Not An Option

Obvious.

Via The Original Great Orange Satan, just a brief note to flag this wonderfully exact paragraph on the future of American politics:

Too many people are assuming that young voters came for Sanders and got socialism on their shoes by accident. They’re ignoring the fact that the current form of capitalism is damn near played out. With automation leaning over every job—every job—like a grim reaper, and income inequality grossly distorting the system, the road ahead seems to fork between socialism and feudalism. It’s hard to blame the potential serfs if one of those paths seems more attractive.

-Mark Sumner

All of that is exactly right. When The Dissident Peasant is feeling brave, he will often discuss this fact with his fellow peasants, and the push back he sometimes receives goes something like, “You’re too young to really know how awful socialism is; what about the Soviet Union/Cuba/East Germany!?”

What these people fail to understand is the false choice presented; either suffer our current system’s inequities, or prepare to wait in line for hours to receive toilet paper and a bag of dried rice! Obviously countries with socialist institutions like Canada, The Netherlands and Sweden are perfectly nice places to live, but more than that people seem to think “Capitalism” remains a viable choice.

Capitalism is fine as an academic construct, a theoretical exercise in efficiently distributing goods and services to a population in the absence of persistent scarcity. As practiced in the United States and other places, however, “Capitalism” no longer really exists. Instead we’ve developed a hybrid model where capital has organized itself to corrupt the democratic process, control wages and shifted most of their tax burden onto ordinary people. They bankroll propaganda and pseudo-academic studies, enrich themselves by suppressing the population, and create monopolies/oligopolies to set prices, control content and limit consumer choice. In short, the capitalist class has set itself up as lord and all others as serfs- and even this might be too generous, as nobles previously had a theoretical set of obligations to peasants.

Some with more Marxist leanings than I might counter that all of that IS the true face of capitalism, and maybe it is. But in some imaginations, at least, capitalism is often associated with free enterprise, meritocracy, efficiency and freedom. These are lies that need exposing.

The choice isn’t between capitalism as it is and a boogeyman future where we all live in gray state housing. The choice is between an intensifying 21st century neofeudalism and socialism- and you can hardly blame the young for abandoning “capitalism” for “socialism”, since capitalism isn’t really capitalism anymore, and socialism isn’t what moderates and conservatives say it is.

Dark as this all is and apprehensive as I am about those with power choosing correctly, it’s worth it to note that it might be just a matter of time before we come to the obviously correct conclusion that modern capitalism is a dead-end. I just hope we have time enough until then.

 

Fantastic Hire By The New York Times Continues to Become More Fantastic

This man is definitely well-qualified and not at all the personification of the lie of meritocracy.

Via Lawyers, Guns and Money,  Bret Stephens, having so recently come to my attention, was probably going to coast for a bit, but man the hits just keep coming:

My first thought about this was basically just a series of expletives shouted aloud to an empty house. But after I finished, my second thought was, “Thank you, rich political hack. Thank you for being straight with us.”

You won’t find any bellicose posturing here about Muslim countries. No demonizing of illegal immigrants or black people or LGBTQ people. No lies about voter fraud, or fear-mongering terrorist attacks, or culture war bullshit. None of the ONE SIMPLE TRICK! conservatives keep reinventing in order to keep peasants voting for anti-peasant candidates.

No, he lays out the game. Because Donald Trump is an actual fascist buffoon out to destroy this country’s best features. He is openly obstructing justice and making a mockery of the emoluments clause – the rule of law is what separates us from dictatorships and monarchies. He wants to institute a religious test for travel into and out of this country- the state’s neutrality concerning matters of religion is what separates us from theocracies. On and on we could go- the point is, millionaire columnist and mouthpiece for our noble betters Bret Stephens thinks all that every bit as grotesque as increasing taxes on the wealthy to pay for a better life for the poor.

THAT’s the Republican agenda. The GOP doesn’t represent millions of voters, it represents a relatively few wealthy people who want to preserve that wealth and the accompanying privilege for themselves and their children. That sort of agenda is never going to win in a democracy, so they use the tricks I described above to carry the day, but it’s all auxiliary.  For them, destroying America and taxing a higher percentage of their money for social programs are the same.

Glorious Meritocracy: We Need Better Punditry, Bret Stephens Edition

Here at the Dissident Peasant we are sometimes asked why we pursue this little enterprise. Isn’t the Internet just chock full of political opinion already? Don’t we know that there are very rich, educated people white men who are already paid millions of dollars a year for their opinions?

True! And the answer is simple: they are really fucking bad at their job.

Continue reading “Glorious Meritocracy: We Need Better Punditry, Bret Stephens Edition”