As I was reading recent editorials by mainstream journalists, I was struck by their inability to transcend Old School political logic. Their thinking appears to be stuck in the 1990’s peak of the neoliberal political order, which is currently writhing in its final death throes.
Prior to the 1950’s, the Chicago School neoliberal economic ideology of unregulated corporate capitalism was considered extremist and harmful. This ideology calls for eliminating social programs, except for the socialist military, cutting taxes for the superrich, and deregulating trade, banking, anti-monopoly, media, environmental and labor laws. Neoliberalism insidiously abuses the words “freedom” and “liberty” by conflating freedom for natural persons with freedom for corporations.
In reality, the ideology translates into giving a handful of top corporate owners an unprecedented concentration of wealth, and consequently power. When multimillionaires get massive tax cuts, do not have to help pay for programs that benefit the poor, and the corporations they own are “free” to monopolize and exploit people and nature, freedom, rights and power for natural persons are diminished proportionally.
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Interestingly, the Chicago School campaign to become the dominant economic ideology in America and globally was funded by Wall Street. Yes, the same Wall Street that worked with politicians from both parties to deregulate banking corporations in the name of “freedom.” Ironically, deregulation was a central catalyst of our economic collapse, but we still have neoliberals clamoring for more market “freedom.” Ignorance knows no bounds.
The neoliberal order gathered steam during the 1970’s, grew exponentially during the 1980’s, peaked during the 1990’s, and a regime in the 2000’s killed it. By taking unfettered corporate capitalism and privatization to the extreme, working to privatize national security, war, social security and more, this regime pushed the envelope too far into our faces. Sadly, our current leaders cannot get anything done because neoliberalism is over, and their 1990’s political calculus is irrelevant.
Mainstream neoliberals are failing to understand that this Order is dead. They are failing to understand the message from the Scott Brown win in Massachusetts, which was that voters are becoming disheartened with continued status quo neoliberal health care, war, and banking policies. Most importantly, our leaders are failing to recognize the growing bipartisan consensus against Wall Street subservience in the form of bailouts to banking monopolies.
If neoliberalism is over, what will replace it? Since neoliberalism is extreme greed-based economics, perhaps its death will fertilize the inverse, love-based economics and politics. My transcendentalist hero Emerson once said, “the power of love, as the basis of a State, has never been tried.” At this point, we may not have a choice.
We have a couple decades to radically shift to a more loving global sociopolitical order, or suffer total collapse. Around half the natural resources that function as the basis of a real sustainable economy have been polluted, depleted or destroyed. Almost all major commercial fisheries have collapsed, and half of all rainforests with their cornucopia of medicines have been destroyed. Our invaluable soils and waters continue to be violently assaulted with pollution, unsustainable agriculture and “development.” An estimated 27,000 precious species are going extinct annually. Even toxic crude oil is half gone, and extreme prices will gut civilization if we fail to rapidly transition to solar.
We will evolve to a New Kingdom where Love is the Whole of the Law. When Love is Law, wars will melt like butter and World Peace will dawn. When humans comprehend spiritual love and transcend the illusion of separation, hate, greed and fear toward the “other” will dissolve like sugar in water.
I agree with the ideas of philosopher Albert Schweitzer in “Reverence for Life.” Schweitzer writes that all organisms have a “will to live,” and humans are no different. When enough humans comprehend the extreme peril they and their children are in, they will widely open their eyes and ears to symbols of salvation, and vigorously demand immediate withdrawal from wars, especially the War on the Natural Economy.