By Michael Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg, July 26, 2018
It’s a common refrain these days to hear people lament a decline of the so-called “center” in American politics. We’re supposed to look on in horror as “moderate” Republicans and Democrats become an engaged species of liberty-fighting patriots steamrolled by frothing, insane hordes of populist barbarians on their left and right flanks. They’re the voice of reason, lovers of apple pie and staunch defenders of our constitution and all that’s good and right in the US of A. We’re encouraged to run back into the blood soaked arms of establishment politicians like John McCain and Hillary Clinton — the only ones standing between us and the Donald Trumps and Bernie Sanders of the world. The center cannot hold, so we’re told.
It’s a nice story, the only problem is it’s complete and total nonsensical garbage. This mythical “center” is nothing more than a failed status quo attempting to rebrand itself in the wake of being outed as the corrupt charlatans they are. Russia, Trump and Bernie Sanders didn’t destroy healthcare, bailout criminal bankers and invade Iraq based on fake news. No, moderate Republicans and Democrats did that. The so-called celebrated center did that.
Nevertheless, it’s crucial not to accept their phony terms. What these professional con artists are now marketing as centrism is in reality just entrenched donor-based politics. If you want to call endless imperial wars and the transformation of the U.S. into a rigged neo-feudal hunger games economy centrism, be my guest. I’d call it the result of decades of political apathy during which rapacious donors purchased the political process while nobody was looking. Well we’re looking now, and we’re not too happy about what we see.
The honorable response for such remarkable failures is for the status quo to apologize profusely and walk off into the sunset of irrelevance with their tails between their legs. Not these creeps. Instead, they decided to rebrand themselves as the heroic center, protectors of the Republic they looted from the plague of populism and Russia. These are truly awful people, which makes sense when you consider the grotesque culture created in their image.
Populism isn’t a response to mythical centrism, it’s a response to robber baron looting. An American pastime aided, abetted and institutionalized by “moderate” Republicans and Democrats for decades. There’s nothing moderate about taking money from billionaires and doing whatever they want. That’s not centrism, that’s the status quo.
We’re currently in the early stages of a radical political transformation in this country. The status quo has failed completely and everyone knows it except for them. They aren’t “the center” they’re just donor lackeys who sold out the country. We don’t have a recognizable center in politics right now because everyone’s in flux. The only thing that’s clear is populism is ascendant on both the right and the left. As such, can a genuine center develop (within the context of populism), and will we be wise enough to recognize and embrace it?
If I’m right, the status quo will lose even more relevance going forward, a process that will accelerate after the economy tanks again. If things are miserable for young Americans now, how do you think they’re going to respond when things get worse and nobody’s done anything to deal with our predatory and rigged economy? I think you know. We’re still in the very early days of a very profound populist era in American history.
Given that, I think it’s a good time to revisit a Venn diagram I shared a few times several years ago when you could start to see the beginnings of our current era with the emergence of the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street.
When it comes to populism there’s a logical center, but I’m not optimistic we can get enthusiastic rabble rousers and activists from all sides to focus on points of agreement and work towards what a real center might want. Politics has become too gladiatorial, vicious and personal for that, at least for the foreseeable future. Plus, people who lead political movements tend to be power-hungry, ego maniac types. It seems there’s too much centralized power up for grabs in D.C. for a rational populist center to become ascendant. I really, really hope I’m wrong about this and will do my best to ensure I’m wrong.
As Anthony Bourdain noted in an interview prior to his death:
Look, the minute everybody in the room agrees with you, you’re in a bad place, so I’m a big believer in change just for its own sake, just to show that you can change, to move forward incrementally, but ain’t nobody gonna make everything better. Whoever has the intestinal fortitude or the megalomaniac instincts, uh, sufficient to lead any kind of a revolution will inevitably disappoint horribly.
The best revolutionaries of course are martyrs who died before they could turn into disgusting, self-serving, corrupt pieces of shit. As they all do.
Although it’s absolutely necessary, getting rid of the status quo doesn’t automatically mean things will get better. That part is up to us.
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