Charles Blow has been admirable and staunch in his delineation of Trump and his destructive administration. I read each of his essays with a loud “Yes!”
But while we are focusing on Trump and what he has wrought, it would behoove us to also focus on the titanic moves by the right to literally realign society for the long haul: stacking the courts with virulent conservatives, suppressing voter access, reducing the inflow of immigrants who might lean Democratic, gerrymandering districts, punishing states that lean Democratic in presidential elections and returning to a failed drug policy that disproportionately jails black and brown people.
In short, conservatives are using every possible means to permanently lock in power, wealth and influence for the existing, predominantly white and predominantly male power structure.
His final paragraph:
This is much bigger than Trump alone. This is the big game for all the marbles. Trump is simply a useful and temporary tool in this endeavor. This is why many of the most powerful conservatives in this country are betraying their supposed values, ignoring the moral conundrum and continuing to support Trump: He is a means to an end, a necessarily piece of the big picture. This is about a tectonic realignment.
Which gets us to the Koch Bros. By pulling together a select group of so-called conservatives — usually, with deliberate obfuscation, under the “libertarian” banner — they have accumulated vast amounts of money with which, thanks to Citizens United, they have bought their very own academic network chocked full of compliant acolytes; elective officials; and even whole states.
But conservatism is not their goal. Protecting their own “predominantly white and predominantly male power structure” is — protecting their grandiose pretensions as superior citizens to be free to do whatever they want without any government interference.
I just read through the highlights I made in Nancy MacLean’s devastating history of the “libertarian” movement, Democracy In Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America.
I was thinking about putting one of two quotes from MacLean’s book in here, but there are too many powerful quotes and each one reminds me why it’s taking me so long to finish the book: I get nauseated and I get scared. I can read only a few pages at a time before I have to take a break and watch something soothing on TV. (Foyle’s War, over and over and over, for instance, or the Olympics.)
Well, okay, here’s one quote that directly relates to Mr. Blow’s column. I’ve bolded a couple of phrases that emphasize my own personal distillation of the corrupt lie called “libertarianism,”and the Koch Bros Final Solution to Democracy, a/k/a the Neu Wannsee Conference:
…Imperfect though it may be, the concept of a fifth column does seem to be the best one available for capturing what is distinctive in a few key dimensions about this quest to ensure the supremacy of capital. For a movement that knows it can never win majority support is not a classic social movement.
This cause is different. Pushed by relatively small numbers of radical-right billionaires and millionaires who have become profoundly hostile to America’s modern system of government, an apparatus decades in the making, funded by those same billionaires and millionaires, has been working to undermine the normal governance of our democracy. Indeed, one such manifesto calls for a “hostile takeover” of Washington, D.C.
“Libertarianism” is a mishmash of pick-up lines from everywhere, shards of discarded ideas and ideals that “libertarians” like the Kochs use as a cloak to cover up their real goal, “the supremacy of capital,” an oligarchy that wants to demolish our government because it gets in their way.
Democracy In Chains drags out of obscurity a man named James Buchanan, a mediocre, bitter man who somehow managed to win the Nobel in economics, but more significantly was the founding father of the Koch Bros’ “libertarianism.”
The impetus for “libertarianism” was rage at Brown v The Board of Education, because:
What was happening, in their view [the Southern white power structure], in the civil rights era–and, indeed, the New Deal era before it–was that the majority without the consent of the elite white minority, was taking something they considered intrinsic to the promise of America–the protection of property rights…Indeed, those whom the propertied considered their social inferiors were refusing to submit to their rule on their terms any longer and instead offering their own ideas about fairer ways of doing things.
Um, that majority, those “social inferiors” are…us. You and me. The voting public. The “fairer way of doing things”? Oh, gee, civil and human rights.
We are the majority in this country, unless the fifth column gets any further toward seizing absolute power than they already have today, with their tool, Trump, in the White House.
If you want to know how they intend to grab utter power, I give you this again — a letter to the editor of the New York Times Book Review section — in which James Buchanan spills to the letter-writer the essence of his philosophical bullshit. My bolding:
9/1/2017. Letter to the editor of the New York Times Book Review, re James McGill Buchanan, the centerpiece of Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chains:
At a seminar on law and economics at Stanford in the late ’60s, I summarized for James McGill Buchanan (whose biography was reviewed on Aug. 20) some judicial opinions that emphasized the protection of unsophisticated consumers against merchants who took advantage of them. His response encapsulated his characteristic blend of economics and politics: “You mean you’ll allow these people to vote?” — Marshall S. Shapo, Evanston, Ill.
I have met “those people” and they is us.