Who’s Really a “Neoliberal”?

I am tired of the insult that so many on the far left toss out to those liberals who actually want to see progress in society, in which we are referred to as “neoliberal.” This is the actual definition according to Merriam Webster:

neoliberal: noun – a liberal who de-emphasizes traditional liberal doctrines in order to seek progress by more pragmatic methods.

This one is from the Oxford English Dictionary:

neoliberal: adjective – relating to or denoting a modified form of liberalism tending to favor free-market capitalism.

And this one is from Dictionary.com:

neoliberalism: noun – an outgrowth of the U.S. liberal movement, beginning in the late 1960s, that modified somewhat its traditional endorsement of all trade unions and opposition to big business and military buildup.

Now, for those of you who are wondering why I call the use of the term “insulting,” think about what is assumed from those definitions. First of all, they assume a static definition of “liberal,” which is absurd. More importantly, they assume that the person tossing around the term, “neoliberal,” has a thorough understanding of the only possible definition for liberal. Again, since there is no static definition, this concept is ridiculous.

Let me explain something to the unicorn progressives and professional lefties who bandy this term about as if it’s fact. It’s not fact and it can’t be fact. For instance, I have been called that quite often, but I don’t “de-emphasize” traditional liberal doctrines in any way, shape, or form. I want there to be peace on earth, I want us to stop bombing shit and I want every worker to make a living wage and to unionize if they so desire. I abhor right-to-work laws and I think everyone, regardless of who they are, deserve the same rights. I also believe that all civil rights are actually human rights and that everyone in the world should be entitled to them.

I also think access to healthcare is a human right and that no one should be limited when it comes to access to the healthcare they think they need because they don’t make enough money. I think the federal government needs to more actively move us away from fossil fuels and I believe that capitalism has to be heavily regulated in order to make it fair, but it is possible to hamstring businesses in a way that can be detrimental to the people. The people always come first and corporations are not people.

I believe in all of that, but yes, I am more pragmatic than the far left. Why, you ask? Well, let’s just say that we will never, EVER achieve any of those things we claim we want when we demand perfection from everyone. And nothing good and progressive will happen as long as we keep allowing Republicans to hold office in this country. That means Democrats have to win almost all elections. Failure to elect Democrats to every office we possibly can at this point in our history is the least progressive thing I can imagine.

Here’s an example of what I mean.

Hillary Clinton and I are practical and we know for a certainty approaching about 99 percent that single-payer is a political loser right now. However, that doesn’t make us “neoliberal.” if it were possible to simply set up a “single-payer” system, she and I might be persuadable. If you can name one other time in this country’s history when we made a major transition in which 90 percent of the country gave up something important all at once for the benefit of the country as a whole, then please show us. It took about 40 years of Democratic Party domination of the system for Social Security to become the “third rail” of American politics and it took Democratic Party designed Obamacare to finally fix the biggest problem with Medicare, which was its lack of a prescription drug benefit. And that came nearly 50 years after the fact.

We are realistic, not “neoliberal.” “Single-payer” is also not what most people think it is, anyway. Let’s start with the fact that the issue is “universal health care,” NOT “single-payer.” Over the weekend, Trump praised Australia’s health insurance system as being better than ours, which is hard to argue. I had to use the system while I was down there and it was brilliant. However, professional lefties were falling all over themselves laughing at Trump’s praise for “single-payer.” There’s just one problem; Australia’s system is not “single-payer.” Like most other universal health systems in the world, it is a public-private hybrid system, in which most healthcare is delivered by private companies and insurance is provided by both public and private insurers. The system is supported by taxes and the purchase of private insurance. There is actually an insurance mandate down there. The same is true of virtually all of the universal healthcare systems in the world. Only Canada and Britain are fully single-payer government-run systems, and they are both trying to encourage a greater use of private insurance because the fiscal strain is sometimes overwhelming.

And if you think “single-payer” is the only system that can possibly work to keep costs down, you might want to consider what the Republicans are trying to do right now with funding of other areas of government. They’re threatening to cut Medicare funding and they plan to “trim” $80 billion a year from Medicaid. Do you really think a “single-payer” health insurance would be safe with the current GOP in power?

As for every other issue, well…

It is crystal clear that nothing progressive will ever happen in this country with Republicans in a position to stop it. Therefore, how liberal is it, really, to spend all of your goddamn time trashing imperfect Democrats? There are a ton of far lefties out there who spend all of their time trashing a smattering of Democrats and essentially hurting their chances in 2018.  Hmm… maybe the pro left and unicorn lovers are the actual “neoliberal,” perhaps? I mean, Bernie Sanders will never be elected president and most of what he proposed can’t happen with Republicans in charge. My way gets shit done and their way just makes a lot of noise. So who’s really the “neoliberal”?


Who’s Really a “Neoliberal”? — 3 Comments

  1. Rand Paul, Ayn Rand, the Austrian School, Milton Friedman, Alan Greenspan are neoliberals. They believe in unregulated capitalism, minimal government, and supply side economics. That is NOT the Dems who are, like FDR, Keynesian desiring well related private economics and gov’t intervention for social welfare. The idiocy of the purity left in calling Dems neoliberal is sophomoric asshole slurs – but none of them actually get what it is. Neoliberalism to me is horrific – it was shoved onto Chile and propped up Pinochet, shoved down the throats of Argentina creating hell on earth, and was embraced by Reagan, Paul Ryan, Rand Paul and others who don’t give a damn about human beings. Dems opposed every bit of that. So pragmatic progressivism is what WE are – trying to make change without creating absolute chaos. Want the “Revolution”? We had it – Obama brought back Keynesian economics, social welfare for all, and massively regulated capitalism – until lefty purists decided NOT to vote in 2010 and themselves opened the door to neoliberals in the House and now also the Senate. Neolibs are GOP. To say otherwise is as intelligent as the asshole who once in a fit of fury called me a changeling. I’m still laughing.

  2. Only under extreme circumstances do such dramatic changes happen quickly. In the 1945 UK parliamentary election Labour won a landslide victory. This win came on the heels of the devastation, catastrophe and shock* of WWII. During their years in power the Labour government implemented many “cradle to grave” policies – among the most important the NHS. When Conservatives regained power in early 1950s they accepted these changes. I think, however, that the British people might have foregone the NHS in exchange for not getting the hell bombed out of them during the war.

    *And yes, my use of the word “shock” is intended to poke fun at Naomi Klein.

  3. If the left-wing doesn’t get with the program, we may not win the battle to preserve our country from Trump and his devils.