Neoliberalism is the opposite of conservatism. It’s a truly revolutionary movement in a very literal sense. It thrives on upheaval, change, and movement. The word “liberal” at the root of the term is no accident. The constraints of religion, tradition, custom and unchosen facts of reality are its biggest enemy.
That Reagan championed neoliberal ideas only means that neoliberalism (heavily advanced by the New Left before him and consolidated by Bill Clinton after him) had, by year 1980, become what “anti-racism” is today. It conquered the entirety of the public discourse, and everybody had to pay obeisance to it in some form. It’s strange that the deeply neoliberal Clinton and an even more neoliberal Obama made no dent in the idea that neoliberalism is a right-wing thing when it had very obviously conquered both sides.
If we look at them clearly and unemotionally, many Reagan’s policies are what today we’d call left-wing. That’s because starting from the 1970s, there is no right or left. There are simply slightly different flavors of neoliberalism.
Now, let’s not forget that neoliberalism wasn’t imposed on us against our will by evil Reagans and Clintons. No, it’s the other way round. Reagan had to go heavy into the neoliberal rhetoric because people loved it. They still do. Neoliberalism is a huge trip. Just as its name promises, it is very liberating.
One thought on “The Liberal Neoliberalism”
Reagan is another person who people like to blame/credit for everything that happened. Many of his policies were continuations things that started under Carter due to the breakdown of the post-war order.
The traditional culture of the 50s had serious problems or there wouldn’t have needed to be a counterculture or civil rights movement.
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