So…. I was half listening to a Polish news channel going on about the latest government tango with the EU. The current Polish government is doing dumb, stupid and crooked stuff with the courts and the EU isn’t happy. They replied to the latest decision from a European institution, according to which the creation of a review board for courts doesn’t guarantee judicial independence, by saying the board isn’t part of the courts and so the EU objection is irrelevant.
That bit of double-talk was roiling around in my head for a while and I suddenly realized that the current Polish government act toward the EU very much the way Polish (and other Eastern bloc countries) acted toward the Soviet Union: Do the bare minimum possible to prevent direct intervention while constantly testing the boundaries of what they could get away with.
I have no idea why it took me so long to spot the parallel (which is similar to the way Orban’s Hungary treats the EU). Of course the Soviet Union was a dangerous military power with a proven track record of intervening militarily when countries under their heel went too far and the EU is an awkward and toothless bureaucracy that can barely articulate real policies beyond more ‘integration’ that no one wants. So in that way the parallel is ridiculous (maybe why I missed it so long).
They just had the fourth elections in Spain in four years…. and the results will still be deadlock (and gains for a potentially nasty populist party). As this editorial points out, there’s almost no country in Europe where democracy works at present. I disagree with some of what the editorial says but it’s right in the outlines.
The big problem is that established parties have become estranged from voters and pursue their own policies (many of which are massively unpopular) and are surprised that they lose support to dodgy populists (yet refuse to give up unpopular policies).
The issues facing most European countries right now are simply not ones that one more general election (or 20) can solve because the leadership is hemmed in by commitments made to supra-national organizations like the EU (an extra level of alienation) and the political elite’s ideological devotion to the neoliberal agenda and the increasingly unpopular results that brings about for more and more voters.
It’s a deadlocked system that ultimately will have to lead to either politicians beginning to pay attention to choices made by voters or simply removing elections from the political mix (or depriving them of all meaning, possibly by the EU regulating what parties can exist).
Democracy still sort of works in Poland but it’s only in the initial stage of the neoliberal cycle (from unpopular to popular back to unpopular). Since it only began around 1990 about ten years after western Europe took the plunge.
Again, I’ll repeat that feminism achieved all it could as a movement in the west by the late 1980s. At that point, the next logical move would have been to expand and address non-western misogynistic practices (of which there is no shortage in any geographical direction you go). But for a bunch of reasons they…. didn’t and ultimately doomed the movement.
First it retreated into obsessing about emotional trivia (aka ‘third wave feminism’). Then it began addressing the very same misogynistic practices it should have been fighting against (like burkas and public sex segregation). And then along came the unquestioning embrace of the transgenda agender and that was all she wrote (as they say). Womanhood ceased being about biological reality and the social constraints arising therefrom, but a simple declarative state. Saying “I am a woman” became a speech act that changed reality. Biological men began bossing them around and they took it (which should enrage old school feminists but who cares about them?)
My new theory on this is that it’s going to turn into a cycle. At this moment the remnants of feminism are actively (maybe unconsciously) devoted to sabotaging the social gains made by women until we’re back to 1954 so that they can start the second wave again because that was less grueling than the first wave and more fruitful than the third.
I never thought that feminism would turn into a movement version of an alcoholic falling off the wagon so they can painfully climb back on at some future date (or Earl who just got saved before relapsing back into sin). But here we are.
According the traditional model, only the opposition party can introduce realignment. In the US the New Deal paradigm was introduced by the Democrats and followed by both parties so that even Republican presidents governed like moderate social democrats focusing on government services.
The Republicans introduced Reaganomics (aka the Reagan Revolution) after Democrat Jimmy Carter tried and failed to introduce some elements of it. It has been the dominant paradigm since and is perhaps better called neoliberalism a. According to the model the Democrats need to introduce the next paradigm which will be more egalitarian and communitarian, serving capital less and citizens more.
But… that’s not what’s happening. The Bernie Sanders (realigning wing) of the party is being frozen out in favor of Elisabeth “Hillary-lite” Warren a fanatical neoliberal who, like Hillary Clinton uses cheap identity tricks as camouflage. Similarly in the UK Labour has become the open party of neoliberalism through its adoption of Open Borders idealism and disengaging the idea of citizen participation to opening elections to all residents.
The parties that should be leading realignment are leading the resistance to realignment. I don’t think that realignment away from neoliberalism which everybody but a small elite is thoroughly sick of can be stopped. But the transition can be relatively smooth (as in the Roosevelt and Reagan cases) or it can be a train wreck with vast human costs. The Democrats and Labour have disabled the brakes and don’t even see the landslide blocking the tracks. I think it’s gonna get a lot worse before it gets any better…
People like protesting but when it comes to the climate, they don’t actually want the kind of changes that would be necessary to accomplish their supposed goals. That is why they’re careful to stay in the realm of general “Do something!” demands addressed to no one in particular. This helps them cultivate a self-image as progressive people who challenge authority without having to go without any of the modern goodies they’re addicted to.
Climate Girl’s yacht trip across the Atlantic is a good example. She took two weeks out of her busy schedule to sail to New York in a much ballyhooed zero carbon boat. Meanwhile, behind the scenes the stagehands (ie boat crew) are flying around like crazy effectively doubling the carbon footprint that she would have made had she just bought an airline ticket like a normal person.
I’m kind of a climate agnostic – I freely admit I’m completely unqualified to come to any kind of conclusion based on the conflicting data available. I do think, that any problem will not be solved by lifestyle changes (which cannot be implemented without North Korean style totalitarian compulsion) but by technological innovation and the real action should be in increased funding for new technological solutions.
The elite fly private jets to an idyllic spot in the Mediterranean to lecture everybody about how they need to live like Chinese peasants in the year 1971. Sorry. No sale.
One of the random things I’ve been following for a number of years is that dome of weirdness known as the man-o-sphere (I’m trying to not attract any of them here so no links or names). Like a lot of political fringe groups they have a good point or two but it’s stuck inside a poisoned ball of insanity.
A big thing for them are absolute, metaphysical differences between men and women so it’s been interesting seeing a dust up between two stars that has turned into an ongoing soap opera (since June or so). Just a day or so ago one side released a very spergy robotic truth video about the dastardly deeds of the other side and that was followed by a live chat on youtube from the leader of the other side and a few sidekicks.
And what is fascinating is just how much like Jr High School mean girls the whole drahma is. It’s all “Well, he said that I said that Jimmy said that I told Bill and that was just end” and “Don’t even get me started on that lying bitch and his nonsense” and “You know I don’t gossip, so you didn’t hear it from me, but I think he’s mentally ill and may be taking drugs cause I had a class in that once”.
What’s most hilarious is the absolute lack of self knowledge. Guys who say that women are incapable of loyalty or honesty and only interested in social prestige are openly displaying a lack of loyalty, honesty and are in a total cat fight about who’s the queen bee of the menz rites hive.
Both have said they’re not goint to talk about it in public anymore… and already gearing up for more disclosures in a show that’s more fun than most fare on netflix….