Monday, 16 July 2018

The DSA Left

Has our Time Finally Come?
This surging "Democratic Socialists of America" left, outlined in this American Interest Article "The Right's Straw Left" and exemplified by recently victorious Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, sounds like just the kind of thing I should like, and have been looking forward to seeing for a long time now. But while I see it as a potentially good overall development, I find myself with mixed feelings and more than a little trepidation.

There's much here to like. If ending military adventures in the middle east and slashing military industrial pork are on the menu, a lot of the budgetary stuff basically takes care of itself. Ditto for single payer health care. Yes, taxes go up but you also get rid of mortgage sized health insurance premiums, and on balance you end up spending less per capita on health care and insuring everybody in the process.

I'm still not completely up to speed on modern monetary theory. I know that some in my mod team and among our fan base are quite bullish on the concept, but it has its detractors too. Monetary policy is admittedly not my area of strength. But, as the article suggests, the right long ago squandered any credibility with which it can use deficit hysteria to tar the "tax and spend" left. Trillion dollar military adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan have seen to that. The 1990s are gone and the Republican Revolution types, where they still exist, aren't getting them back. (Too bad the same can't be said for my own provincial jurisdiction in Alberta, Canada, but that's another story)

But there's much not to like, or at least be concerned about with the "DSA left" also. Right wing stereotypes aside, there are genuine concerns with the social justice crowd that this blog and its associated Facebook page remains an exception on the left with its willingness to talk about. We have considerable qualms with deplatforming controversial speakers on college campuses, with the use of the post secondary education system to effectively indoctrinate students, with the climate of constant demonization of white males, with the potential ruining of a man's career because he allegedly flirted with a female coworker twenty years ago. And of course, we remain skeptical of unvetted open door immigration. All of this can be expected to stay the course or even intensify should the DSA left become ascendant.

The American Interest article is right about one thing, though: the conservative right's relative lack of vision beyond tax cuts and opposition to abortion and anti immigration posturing. While they did score some political points off the backs of the more ridiculous SJWs in the Triggly Puff mode, they had - as usual - little to offer as an alternative except more trickle down economics and quasi libertarian talking points. The right were never truly interested in the culture wars, except in as far as they can be milked for votes to ultimately elect high income tax cutters and deregulators. This is precisely what we've been doing for four decades now, and what we have to show for it is the likes of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos acquiring a net worth in excess of $140 billion while his warehouses are, for all intents and purposes, sweat shops. The younger generation's lack of enthusiasm for this is quite understandable, IMO.

Much remains to be seen, of course, and prediction never amounts to much more than a craps shoot in forecasting political and social trends even a few years into the future. The question is: Is it worth it to hold your nose and elect people who use terms like decolonization and rape culture unironically if it means getting a new new deal or a single payer health care system?

In my opinion, the answer is - with some reservation and no shortage of willingness to continue challenging the excesses of political correctness - yes.

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