Freddie DeBoer, in an egregiously long post, sez some things I’ve been thinking about for a long time- but had no one to say them to.
There are two axes of neoliberalism. The first, substantive neoliberalism, means fidelity to the economic policy platform of globalization in the elimination of tariff walls and other impediments to the “free market,” incredible antipathy towards organized labor (and, effectively if not intentionally, towards workers in general), resistance to the regulatory apparatus that has protected workers for decades, and the general belief that the way to ameliorate the moral outrages of capitalism is to pursue more capitalism.
The second axis of neoliberalism, constitutional neoliberalism, is the reflexive antileftism within the ideology. This is the tendency of the neoliberal to assume the superior seriousness of the man to his right and the utter moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the man to his left. This is the sneering, superior neoliberalism, the neoliberalism obsessed with status and authority, the neoliberalism that is utterly in thrall to the idea of Intellectually Seriousness and the notion that possessing it means falling all over yourself to dismiss the actual, historical, socialist left.
This snippet here succinctly clarifies my frustration with my anti-left “liberal” friends and colleagues. I have long made the mistake of believing that people professing a “liberal” political stance had something to do with leftism, progressiveness, or concern for working people. Time and again, I would be enraged as self-styled liberals mouthed the same platitudes as corporate apologists and agreed on all but the most flagrant political positions with those on the right.
And the Intellectual Seriousness bit! Truer words have ne’er been spoken. How many times have concerned associates indulgently chided me for lacking the maturity to be a consummate neoliberal? Claiming a leftist, socialist or anarchist viewpoint is less valid than any strain of conservatism, even the most virulent.
Criticsim of Mr. DeBoer’s article:
In his OP, DeBoer names about 18 (neo)liberal and/or leftist bloggers (I think I counted them all, but maybe I missed someone.) 17 of the 18 are men, and 18 of 18 are white (or light-skinned). Mr. DeBoer, aren’t you forgetting something?