Friday, October 16, 2020

The Five Deadly Sins of the Left (Short Course)

Nick Ottens of the European site, Atlantic Sentinel, covers my American Compass essay and in the process does a nice job of summarizing the five sins, as below. He has a number of other interesting things to say, though I can't say I'm with him on his apparent veneration for Emmanuel Macron...
"1. Identity politics: The obsession with grouping voters into a hierarchy of oppression based on innate characteristics, which casts low-income, low-information white voters — once the backbone of the social democratic coalition — in the role of oppressors and berates them when they are not up-to-date with the latest social-justice lingo. (Example: Amy Coney Barrett’s use of the phrase “sexual preference” rather than “sexual orientation” is taken as proof that the conservative Supreme Court justice candidate is secretly anti-gay.)
2. Retro-socialism: Mistaking the public’s discontent with the outcomes of the prevailing economic order for a desire to abandon capitalism entirely. This sets the bar high for public embrace of what would otherwise be popular policy ideas, from public health insurance to free college to a job guarantee.
3. Catastrophism: Extending systemic critiques of capitalism and climate policy to claims that the end is nigh and only a sharp turn to the left can save the world. Voters don’t respond well to threats.
4. Growthphobia: Tied to climate change, but also the left’s obsession with inequality. Voters don’t object to growth. They object to the benefits of growth accumulating at the top. Voters want abundance, not societally-mandated scarcity. High growth makes people more generous and tolerant and would ease the transition to a green economy.
5. Technopessimism: The left used to argue for appliances, a car and a television set for every family. Now it is more likely to see technology as the destroyer of jobs and the enabler of misinformation.
The unifying thread is moral certitude or purism: my way or the highway. The left is not alone in thinking in black-and-white terms. So does the far right. This doesn’t persuade voters in the middle and makes it harder for parties and politicians to compromise."

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