Totalitarianism is a system of political power. It has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the economy. A totalitarian regime can have absolutely any kind of an economic arrangement. Ask Franco’s Spain or Pinochet’s Chile.
We keep forgetting what a terrible threat totalitarianism is. Even if it’s not right here, even when it seems benign, even if it smiles and manufactures ton of cheap plastic crap or sends tons of cheap oil, it’s still really horrible.
Totalitarianism was the worst thing during the entire twentieth century. And it didn’t die, it didn’t disappear. It’s still right there, in very large and very populous countries, as well as in smaller, less noticeable ones. There’s absolutely no reason it won’t fuck up the twenty-first century like it did the twentieth.
We forgot this, and now Chinese totalitarianism is destroying our economy and killing our people.
I can’t tell you, folks, how many times I have said to somebody, “China is a totalitarian regime,” only to hear, “Nah, they have capitalism.” Which is a completely insane statement. It’s like saying, “that guy is a serial killer,” and hearing in response, “no, he’s bald.”
Once again, I’m impressed by Sen. Josh Hawley. He’s suggesting that there should be no income caps on those who receive coronavirus payments from the government. This means that people making under $23,500 and couples who made over $150,000 in 2018 won’t be excluded from help.
Having made over $150,000 in 2018 and lost their jobs because of the WuFlu doesn’t magically remove the people’s need to pay the mortgage, the kids’ daycare (or do you think the payments will be suspended in the quarantine? Funny you), etc. And I hope it’s unnecessary to explain why those who make under $23,500 need help.
I know that regular readers heard me say all this before but we have new readers on here and they keep writing emails, telling me that I can’t be “against immigration” because I benefited from it. And in tired of explaining that I’m like that mythical grandma who smoked 4 packs a day and lived to be 90. That grandma and I exist but we are not the norm.
The problem with people in the intelligentsia is its utter incapacity to conduct a class-based analysis.
So many people say to me, “But I’m a citizen of the world! I don’t need a nation! Immigration worked out so well for me, how can there possibly be a problem with it?”
It worked out brilliantly for me, too. I’m doing fantastic. But we, the ultra-educated, cosmopolitan, multilingual citizens of the world are a tiny minority. For the overwhelming majority of the people who are dragged around the world by globalization things aren’t that peachy. Their communities are destroyed, families are separated, and national economies are rendered completely dysfunctional. While your kids go to fancy schools, travel and speak a buttload of languages, theirs join gangs, flunk out, and lose the capacity to have a single language they are really fluent in.
It’s supposedly easy for you to live without an attachment to a nation or a community (we all say so but it’s not even true) but what about those who perceive the extraction of this attachment as a deep wound?
Have you seen the caravans of Central American migrants marching with their national flags? The people in them are completely sincere. There is truly nobody more patriotic and more deeply enamored of their country and culture than Salvadorans. The people in these caravans don’t give a toss about your cosmopolitanism and the 15 languages you speak fluently. They want to eat their pupusas and watch their home team with a bunch of neighbors at home. They aren’t like you but they are not inferior to you. They won’t have the money to pay for therapy for themselves and their kids to process the trauma of this displacement but they aren’t inferior. They still count in their own right and not as proof that “everybody is on the move” and hence my and your voluntary and leisurely displacement was a 100% awesome thing.
The US destroyed Central America throughout the 1970s and 1980s when it brutally implanted neoliberalism in these countries. The US is still destroying Central America today and using the treacly verbiage of human rights and cosmopolitanism to mask the same old neoliberal policies. And I care about that more than about constantly repeating how great it all worked out for me.