The mainstream liberal punditry is desperately trying to make sense of the non-sensical "debt-cieling crisis". In denial about the true degree to which western capitalist-liberal-democracy has been eviscerated, commentators such as Robinson, Krugman or even funny man John Stewart plead for a "return to sanity", as though a splash of cold water were all that was needed to return society to sobriety. Robinson uses the analogy of the Three Stooges, but in truth this current bit of absurd theatre is far more Brechtian. Unwilling to face the true nature of the crisis, Liberals cling to the shards of their once proud vessel, shipwrecked and floundering, lost at sea.
In his NY Post opinion piece, Eugene Robinson insists "progressives" need a "big idea" to compete with the anti-tax and spend slogans of conservatives and suggests a message of "jobs". This is the perfect example of how all imagination has been sapped from the soul of liberalism, so wedded is it now to capitalist logic and the fiction of a "neutral"state. Jobs? There are plenty of jobs. They are just on the periphery. Here we trade trinkets, securitize them and trade the debt.
At least the Tea Party Patriots act with the kind of deperate courage the current crisis demands. Their actions are ridiculous, of course. because they believe the tyrant is a Black Man or a Big Government or a Liberal Culture. They are about to find out the tyrant is The Market but the realization will be far beyond their limited comprehension. With the unions busted, the working class will be left to fight among itself for scraps as the "progressive" punditry urges more cooperation, more shared sacrifice, more shopping on credit.
Here is a big idea for "progressives". The social democratic illusion has evaporated. The post-war American economy is never coming back because capitalism doesn't actually work. The state is not there to help "the people". The Grand Bargain was a con. There will be no "New Deal" , no Great War, nothing to reverse this trend. So the big idea is one that rests at the heart of liberalism but which it has too long ignored: Democracy. Impossible of course, but necessary. The Big Idea is this: It is time for "progressives" to choose; the profit system or a political system. Private property or equality. Capitalism or democracy. And that old ,but still relevant choice, Socialism or Barbarism.