Last night I spoke with a cousin of mine I hadn’t talked to in a while. When it comes down to specifics, he’s about where I am on most issues — higher marginal rates for the wealthy, universal health care etc. — but he doesn’t read much about politics and gets most of his news from CNN or NPR. He started telling me how he thinks what the United States needs is a third, centrist party, one that isn’t hostile to wealth but which stands up for workers, how it’s bad that we just have a left party and a right party.
I told him that the Democratic party was pretty close to the party he wanted except that it doesn’t stand up much for workers, so that he was in a weird way correct that there was no center party (by, say, the standards of the rest of the western world or in terms of what he was describing as centrist) because even the Democratic party (at the national level) is too corporatist to be considered anything other than right-center (again, by the “center” standards I mentioned earlier). We argued a bit and then he told me he agreed with me on further reflection.
Then we argued a bit about the rule of the very wealthy, with him believing that most are wonderfully altruistic because they give money to charity sometimes. I couldn’t get him to budge on this, mainly, I think, because I overused the word “Galtian”. I can’t stop myself from using blogspeak sometimes.
When I step out into political conversations with people outside of this blog, even with my own family, I feel more and more that they have been wholly and completely propagandized by Tom Friedman/Cokie Roberts/David Brooks both-sides-do-it, both-parties-are-extreme idiocy.
For all the supposed openness, market-place-of-ideas stuff we supposedly have here, we’re not that different than North Korea in some ways.
Update. The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik puts it well:
Policy doesn’t fucking matter any more. Labels do.
Obama’s a business-hating soshulist because he is one, that’s his label.