Blogging has been sporadic, inasmuch as my days have been spent writing at work, so by the time I get home, I can’t stand the thought of getting near a keyboard. Today was one of those days too, but I have one pathetic post in me, so why not.
I read Paul Krugman’s blog religiously. A day or two ago he grappled once again with the question of why certain right wingers can neither learn from their past errors or admit that their economic nostrums don’t work, and are, in fact, positively harmful to the majority of their fellow citizens:
“What’s it all about, then? The best stories seem to involve ulterior political motives. Keynesian economics, if true, would mean that governments don’t have to be deeply concerned about business confidence, and don’t have to respond to recessions by slashing social programs. Therefore it must not be true, and must be opposed. As I put it in the linked post,
So one way to see the drive for austerity is as an application of a sort of reverse Hippocratic oath: “First, do nothing to mitigate harm”. For the people must suffer if neoliberal reforms are to prosper.
If you think I’m being too flip, too conspiracy-minded, or both, OK — but what’s your explanation? For conservative hostility to Keynes is not an intellectual fad of the moment. It has absolutely consistent for generations, and is clearly very deep-seated.”
I’d like to offer an alternate explanation, one somewhat allied to Paul’s explanation, but with a bit different emphasis. In an earlier post I called it Billionaire Derangement Syndrome, but the billionaire’s lackeys can get it to, or at least enable it. It isn’t a question of hoping that neoliberal reforms prosper. That’s really beside the point, or at most, those reforms are merely a means to an end. It’s all summed up in that great line uttered by the villain in Superman III. This time, I’ll quote the whole thing:
You know a wise man once said, I think it was Attila the Hun, “It is not enough that I succeed, everyone else must fail.”
That’s what it’s all about Paul. This is not about a deluded belief in discredited economic nostrums or a refusal to mitigate harm. They know precisely what they’re doing and they intend harm. It’s a feature, not a bug. No need to add that last clause to that sentence. You’d have been more on the mark if you’d just written “For the people must suffer”.