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 1990s peak of the neoliberal political order, which is now ending.
Prior to the 1950s, the Chicago School neoliberal economic ideology of unregulated corporatism was considered extremist and harmful. This ideology calls for eliminating social programs, except for the socialized military, cutting taxes for the superrich, and deregulating trade, banking, anti-monopoly, media, environmental, and labor laws. Neoliberalism insidiously abuses the word “freedom” by conflating freedom for natural persons with freedom for corporate “persons”.
In reality, the ideology translates into giving a handful of corporate owners an unprecedented concentration of wealth, and consequently power. When multi-millionaires 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, freedoms and power for natural persons are diminished proportionally.
Interestingly, the Chicago School campaign to become the dominant ideology in America 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 crisis, but believers still clamor for more market “freedom.” Ignorance knows no bounds.
This economic order gathered steam during the 1970s, grew exponentially during the 1980s, peaked during the 1990s, and a 2000s regime killed it. By taking unfettered corporatism to the extreme, working to privatize everything they could, cutting social programs, cutting taxes for the superrich, and bailing out banking monopolies, this regime pushed the envelope too far. Sadly, our current leaders cannot get anything done because neoliberalism is over, and their 1990s political calculus is irrelevant.
Mainstream neoliberals are failing to understand the message from the Scott Brown win in Massachusetts, which was that voters are disheartened with continued status quo corporatist healthcare, war, and banking policies. There is also a failure to recognize the growing bipartisan consensus against corporate money buying our elections, which is due to corporate personhood.
If the Old Order 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 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 fisheries have collapsed, and half of all rainforests 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, World Peace will dawn. When humanity realizes spiritual love and transcends the illusion of separation, hate, greed and fear toward the “other” will dissolve.
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.