Classic liberalism is a formulation of ideas about human freedom, markets, and representative democracy. But in modern day America it has largely become a conservative cover for a corrupt status quo represented by neoliberal economic and neoconservative foreign policies. Liberalism has become less an ideology of progress, and more a cover for the abuses of Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and the military/industrial/complex, ultimately allowing for a rationalization of the massive inequality that plagues our nation.
It’s taken me a while to understand this reality but the election of Barak Obama with his campaign slogan of Hope and Change then betrayal helped open my eyes to the role that liberalism plays. As bad as George W. Bush was, it was liberal Obama who codified the new plutocratic status quo of too big to fail banks, permanent bailouts for corrupt financiers, and a never ending Long-War at the edge of the empire. Obama, even proposed cutting hundreds of billions of dollars in Medicare and Medicaid funding in 2011, as part of budget-cutting deal with Republicans. I don’t think it’s much of an exaggeration to claim that Obama enacted George W. Bush’s third and forth terms.
Many liberal defenders of Barak Obama will angrily reject this comparison and point to the Affordable Care Act as proof of their champions progressive inclinations.
In The Triumph of Conservatism, Gabriel Kolko examines the Progressive era of the early 20th century and found that, contrary to perceived wisdom, US corporations welcomed additional governmental rules, regulations and controls precisely to drive out competitors and to increase market share, allowing them to create stable monopolies and oligopolies. Fast forward to the present and we can observe the same dynamic at work with Obama-Care, where the US government forced Americans to buy a corporate health insurance product that provided scant health-care. Indeed, neoliberals, like Obama, seek a strong state in order to herd Americans into their market-based utopia.
Since the crash of Wall Street and the election of Barak Obama, liberals have positioned themselves as the persistent agents of conservatism, often directing greater hostility towards constituencies on the Left than those on the Right to which they are ostensibly opposed. Their mantra was to move to the right to compromise with reactionary Republicans on neoliberal policies like the privatization of education, while fretting about financial responsibility and runaway entitlements. To fund their political ambitions, liberals lawmakers fraternized with bankers and CEOs because of the money needed for their next campaign. Faced with the choice between the radical policies of Bernie Sanders vs the neoliberal/neoconservative policies of Hillary Clinton in 2016, the liberal establishment made its choice quite clear, as the leaked DNC e-mails demonstrated.
I’ve come to realize that the role of liberals and liberalism more generally, is to support the ruling class while marginalizing and dismissing any working-class dissent as racist, fascist, nationalistic and other words expressly intended to push dissent into the political wilderness. This role helps explain why identity-politics has replaced a broad class-based politics with the Democratic Party.
It’s been obscured in the non-stop hysteria over Trump but the actions of the previous administration made the election of the Donald possible. What has been lost among the incessant focus on Trump and the public’s derangement over the infant in the White House is a true accounting of previous administrations actions and how the tenets of endless wars and unchecked globalism have remained unchanged.
Going further, I truly believe that the reason the political and corporate media establishment hates Trump is that Trump has succeeded in is ripping off the mask of our politics and showing the world the true face of our governance where both parties compete to service our all-American plutocracy.
As much as the establishment tries to pin the ills of the world on Trump and spins exotic narratives of Russian interference, the truth is that Trump would not be president today if Obama had brought hope and change.