Research and Fluidity

If you look, for instance, at calls for papers for major conferences in my field, what you’ll find is an almost desperate pleading for research that supports open borders, globalization, fluid identities, etc and condemns nationalism and any sort of rootedness or stable identities.

There is clearly a huge premium on exalting these neoliberal shibboleths because that’s what gets funded and touted as progressive.

But when you look at actual research that gets published and has an impact, it simply can’t find any reason to support the “rah-rah for fluidity and globalization” approach. And I’m not talking about conservative scholars. I don’t read or cite them. My research is publicly available, so look it up if you are in doubt. I work within a neo-Marxist framework. I can’t even think of a scholar among the multitudes I read and quote who doesn’t begin with Marx.

It doesn’t matter how you personally feel about Marxism. The point I’m making is that the only scholars who do argue that globalization is fantastic are all connected to the Chicago School of Economics and the Milton Friedman tradition. You just can’t create a convincing theory of how globalism and fluidity are amazing outside of a strictly libertarian position.

I’m now looking at the research into climate change. I didn’t even blog until the afternoon today because I was deeply immersed in this research. And as God is my witness, I have not found a single source that positions neoliberalism as great for the environment. Source after source I find tells us that the weakening of the nation-state is a disaster for climate.

Open Borders

What people forget when they discuss open borders is that the issue is not, first and foremost, about migration. Migration is one of many symptoms. The real issue is the already almost complete porousness of national borders to global capital. The migration flows of cheap, easily exploitable labor exist because they are useful to that capital. Not only because they drive down costs of labor but also because they underscore and reinforce the irrelevance of nations.

Positioning the need for these migration flows as some sort of a humanitarian issue is yet another marketing ploy of “cool capitalism.” Capitalism doesn’t quash dissent. It incorporates dissent into a profit-generating scheme. People feel all rebellious and countercultural when they do the dirty work of capital. It’s very hard to resist the lure of coolness.

Nationalism and Climate Change

In the book titled Natural Catastrophe: Climate Change and Neoliberal Governance, Brian Elliott offers a great explanation of why strong nation-states are crucial for mitigating and eventually reversing climate change. The neoliberal paradigm, he says, weakens nation-states, making effective climate action impossible.

This is only the very beginning of the book. There is a lot more great stuff in it.

True Diversity

Our poli-sci course is taught by the ultra-super-duper-progressive friend I mentioned who can only watch Colbert on TV because anything else is too offensive and me who only watches Tucker because everything else is too offensive.

The students look very confused but this is true diversity, the only kind that matters. It’s the diversity of opinion, the great diversity of human thought. It would have been great to have the third professor in the course who’s a total Putinoid. That would be a real bomb of a course.

The Colbert-fan colleague taught a course on the Kavanaugh hearings. The course’s value would soar if it also had somebody like me with the exact opposite perspective on the issue. But it would have zero value if it only had me and my point of view. Which is why I don’t teach politicized courses on my own.