In uncertain times, folks can reach for more bold solutions when the same-old no longer works.
These are some of those times. The Neoliberal economic philosophy hasn’t worked for large swathes of society, and those for whom it works are already the wealthiest and most powerful among us.
Through no fault of our own, the economic pillars have been knocked out from the ‘if you work hard and save your money, you can get ahead’. Unless you are part of a 1% elite out there, you’re not going to get ahead. Staying afloat is hard enough.
The powerful and elite know this and will do their best to retain the system that keeps them powerful and rich. There is a war by the 1% against everyone else. Both left and right however, present potential solutions to get us out from under that control paradigm.
But they are not the same.
The left demands wealth taxes, programs to supplement the poorest among us, assistance to those living with disabilities, tax fairness among working peoples and housing for the masses seemingly out-priced for even the very basics of shelter needs.
The right points to groups that require blame and that if only they were outlawed or restricted, the great prosperity would return. The right campaigns for harsher controls over immigration, crackdowns on unions, and engage in social culture wars to divide people among religious and ethnic lines as a source to gain power.
The problem is, the powerful elite tolerate one of these idealisms more than the other. Neoliberal elite do not necessarily care about religious conflicts or divisions, nor do they participate in culture war debates, their interest is in maintaining social status, wealth and power. The rules for you and I do not apply to those at the very top.
The elite however, will bitterly oppose wealth taxes; they’ll oppose low cost housing for folks barely hanging on, and they most certainly oppose any measures to share decision making power. You know this to be true.
While the far right pretend to have a populist message that is to get us out of the rut, in the end, they share philosophical common ground with the neoliberals who sit at the helm of power and wealth.
They are natural allies.
The answers, as they always have been, are on the left.