Supressing Hope Is Futile – Integrity, Moral Values, and Insurrectional Democracy

Externalizing hope will defeat the casino capitalism of the authoritarian right. Here are three requirements for getting there:

1. Progressives who deny their core values, lose, and can’t inspire the underpaid, overworked, debt ridden, and generally oppressed to take action. Dave Johnson discusses the lack of political integrity to inspire citizens:

The results clearly show that voters in 2010 did not abandon the Democrats for the other side, but they did forsake the party in another important way: Many stayed home.

… polling shows that many “independents” are to the left of Democrats and many others are to the right of Republicans. They are not “in the middle” or “between” but rather are more likely to stay home and not vote for candidates who move “to the middle.” Those independents to the right of Republicans are not going to vote for Democrats no matter how far “to the right” the Democratic candidate goes.

“The dumbest thing Democrats could do right now is listen to those like Third Way who urge Democrats to repeat their mistake by caving to Republicans and corporations instead of fighting boldly for popular progressive reforms and reminding Americans why they were inspired in 2008,” Green says.
Again [2012], the Republican campaigned to the right, the Democrat campaigned “in the middle.” The result: Republicans showed up to vote, Democrats stayed home.

Conclusion: You Have To Deliver For And Campaign To Your Base Or They Don’t Show Up
Republicans campaign to their base and win. Democrats who sound like Republican lite bore their base and lose.

==> Hope is engendered by those who remain true to their moral values.

 

2. Winning against free market fundamentalism/casino capitalism/neoliberalism requires learning new concepts. These new concepts include hypocognition, bi-conceptionalism, systemic causation, reflexivity, strict father vs. nurturing parents, communicating moral values and facts win over facts alone, and equality requires freedoms.

Professor George Lakoff discusses these concepts and how to effectively express ones moral values to inspire individuals to take action. He ends his interview with:

I want to leave them [the reader] with the idea that all language has to do with how people think, that this is about how brains work, and that we have two moral systems going on here; that politics is about that, that language affects it in that way, and that it also has to do with a communication system. You can’t do without a system of communication getting those ideas out there all the time, not just at election time. Part of that is the idea that progressives have a lot to say about freedom, and not only a lot to say, but essential things to say about our democracy and about what freedom is, and they can appeal to people in ways that they’re not doing now.

“Messaging matters, George Lakoff tells Salon, but the key to politics is combining message with a moral grounding”

==> Inspiring hope against authoritarian rule requires effectively communicating progressive moral values, which builds the foundation for policies that equally support all citizens.

 

3. In addition to moral integrity, learning new concepts, developing a winning set of messages, and creating a nationwide, perpetual, communication system to repeat these messages, there is also a need to understand both how our fundamentalist capitalist system is replacing our republic/democracy with a plutocracy, and how this economic system converts critical thinking citizens into obedient shoppers who have forsaken hope and see little reason to participate in the current ailing political system.

Here are some excerpts from a recent article on authoritarian driven austerity and how it’s neoliberal polices have taken control of our political system, which in turn makes it challenging for principled leaders to inspire passive, but hopeful, citizens to take action:

Austerity measures not only individualize the social; they also produce massive disparities in wealth, income and power that impose immense constraints on people’s well-being, freedom and choices, while serving to undermine any faith in government, politics and democracy itself. The distrust of public values and egalitarian approaches to governance coupled with a wariness, if not a disdain for group solidarities and compassion for the other, nourish and promote a dislike of community engagement, social trust and democratic public spheres. Austerity produces a world without safety nets or the social and political formations that embrace democratic forms of solidarity. Clinging “fiercely to neoliberal [supporting unrestrained free market capitalism] ideals of untrammeled individualism and self-reliance,” many young people not only embrace therapeutic models of selfhood but develop a deep distrust, if not resentment, of any notion of the social and shun obligations to others.

By eroding the middle class and punishing working and poor people of color, it becomes difficult for radical movements to emerge, and consequently politics gets emptied of any hope for a democratic future. In the midst of a culture of survival and the normalization of violence, thoughtlessness prevails as time becomes a deprivation focused largely on the need to simply stay alive. Under such circumstances, time becomes a burden, making it difficult for individuals to think critically, grapple with complex problems and resist neoliberal [supporting unrestrained free market capitalism] notions of citizenship, which define citizens largely as consumers. As critical thought withers and citizenship turns into a pathology, democracy is reduced to matters of self-interest and falls prey not only to a depoliticizing cynicism, but also a call for anti-democratic alternatives such as the demand for “illiberal democracy,” which is taking place in Hungary and “is characterized by extreme nationalism, free-market capitalism designed to promote the interests of the state, government control of the media and concentrated power in the executive branch of the government.”

The turn to authoritarian capitalism is on the rise and can be found in “Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, and Chinese President Xi Jinping.” The principles of authoritarian capitalism are also on full display in the austerity policies pushed without apology by Republican Party extremists and their Democratic Party cohorts in the United States. Channelling Ayn Rand, right-wing politicians such as Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio argue for the most extreme austerity policies under the guise that moral weakness and greediness are the debased characteristics of those citizens struggling for financial support and social provisions in the age of austerity. In this discourse, it is not surprising that austerity measures find their ideological legitimation in the notion that self-interest is the foundational element of agency and that selfishness is the highest civic virtue. Rand’s insistence that “there is no such thing as society” when coupled with an aggressive assault on all things public and social does more than disparage democracy; it becomes a blueprint for the rise of fascism. Even liberals such as Paul Krugman are sounding the alarm in the midst of rising inequality and the emergence of totalitarian ideologies that make the circumstances ripe for the appeal and rise of totalitarian ideologies that gave birth to the horrors of fascism and Nazism in Europe in the 1930s.

==> Stopping the destruction of the world by free market fundamentalism/casino capitalism/neoliberalism requires political integrity, effective, long-term, communication of progressive moral values, and turning hope outward by educating a small segment of the two-thirds of non-participants and getting them to join “in transformative collective action” to create a new radical, “insurrectional democracy.”

Here is an example of meeting these requirements:

 

 

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About Andy Hailey

Vietnam Vet, UT El Paso Grad, Retired Aerospace Engineer, former union rep, 60's Republican now progressive, web admin, blogger.

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