An anthropologist announces the death of liberalism

Summary: Here anthropologist Maximilian Forte announces the death of liberalism. Hillary’s defeat, despite its massive financing and support by America’s major institutions, was a sign. The ineffective street festivals of Occupy Wall Street and the Women’s March are signs. The lack of meaningful response to the revelations about NSA surveillance is a sign, as was the ineffective widespread perjuries and murders by police. It has died of exhaustion, ground down by the implacable opposition and fantastic resources of the 1% — and our indifference. But every political philosophy is a phoenix. It will rise again, eventually.

R.I.P. liberalism
By Tutu at The Day.

The Dying Days of Liberalism” — Part one of three.

By Maximilian C. Forte from Zero Anthropology, 18 January 2017.
Reposted with his generous permission.

How Orthodoxy, Professionalism, and Unresponsive Politics
Finally Doomed a 19th-century Project.

What a sight to behold. These are the dying days, counting down soon to the final hours, of the defeated political project of liberalism, inherited from the 19th-century. The centre — if there ever was one — could not hold after all. What a thing it is to watch one of the dominant, cornerstone ideologies of the international system, which has strutted its stuff with such swagger and certainty since the end of the Cold War, finally fall face forward into the dustbin of history. It has fallen with the same force as if shoved from behind by a stampeding mob, although its defenders will claim that mere “mistakes” were made, as if they accidentally slipped on history’s largest ever banana peel. And what a scene: who would have expected such a lack of dignity, such pathetic hysteria, such baseless smears, such empty threats, coming from those who otherwise elaborately preened themselves as gallant statesmen, who spoke as if they had cornered the market on “reason”. While the fall could have been worse, there has not been an absence of violence, threats, boycotts, and even calls of treason designed to delegitimize the voters’ choice.

Liberal democracy has been reduced to a shell, more a name than a fact that deserves the name. For many years, liberalism has been liberal authoritarianism or post-liberalism or neoliberalism, with a high elitist disdain for democracy and a fear of the masses everywhere.

  • Promises of inclusion, fairness, and welfare, were replaced by sensitive-sounding rhetorical tricks and tokenism. Moral narcissism, virtue signalling, identity politics, and building patchwork quilts of diversity were the order of the day.
  • Protests were encouraged abroad, against target nations, in the name of democracy promotion — but at home, protests were shut down by an always more militarized police. Nations around the world were lectured about transparency and accountability, but at home it was all about mass surveillance, domestic espionage, and a crackdown on whistleblowers.
  • Liberal leaders claimed to be upholders of peace and order, while multiplying the number of wars. Obama himself is personally responsible for the killing of thousands, many of them civilians — in 2016 alone, the US dropped 72 bombs every day on average, in wars in seven countries.
  • Obama oversaw the rapid acceleration of wealth transfer, and heightened domestic poverty, and then he is praised by pseudo-left liberal scholars and writers for having “governed well” and doing so with a professional, graceful demeanour.

The North American and European left, which made its peace and came to a bargain with liberal imperialism, sinks with those who in the end rewarded them with so little. Once again leftist social imperialismresults in failure as it lays the foundations for its replacement.

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The Left sees President Trump and goes mad

Summary: Sometime in 2015 the Left caught fire. This fire still burns hot, with a flame pleasing to the Right. It shows that the Left is lost in their delusions, and will offer only loud but ineffective resistance to Trump.

The Death Of Humanity

Good liberals look at the American people and see themselves (i.e., the good and the wise). They see the loyal minorities. They see the deplorables. It’s a political vision incompatible with winning.

“But I think there’s an explanation {for Trump’s win} that runs more true to the facts and human psychology. These voters want to divorce themselves of responsibility for doing anything for the folks falling down the ladder. “They’re f**king assholes.”

— Once posted at Lawyers, Guns, and Money. I don’t see it now. Perhaps it was deleted.

Benjamin Franklin in the film 1776 gave a good reply to this.

“These men, no matter how much we may disagree with them, are not ribbon clerks to be ordered about – they are proud, accomplished men …And whether you like them or not, they and the people they represent will be part of this new nation that YOU hope to create. Now, either learn how to live with them, or pack up and go home!”

Many good Leftists explain the election results as a result of American’s racism. They have their own values, which they wish to impose on America.

“Speaking only for myself, I’m committed to open borders as a moral position rather than an economic one. So it doesn’t have a lot of relevance in discussions about the relevant economics.”
— Comment posted at Lawyers, Guns, and Money. I don’t see it now. Perhaps it was deleted.

How many immigrants would the US have with open borders? Could we culturally or economically absorb them without massive damage? No problem! Being a leftist means never having to say you’re sorry.

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Clinton’s ads show her weak strategy: purely tribal, no content

Summary: Why did Hillary flop in the Electoral College? Liberals search frantically for explanations. A previous post discussed the failure of Clinton’s fear campaign and the public’s dislike of her social justice warriors. Here we look at another cause: her advertising.

Ready for Hillary

Liberals continue to ask themselves who is responsible for Clinton’s defeat. Most reply “not her, not us”. Many of us have flagged her Anything But Issues Campaign. But some disagree.

“Clinton offered, inter alia, such longtime Goldman Sachs priorities as a family leave plan, an increased minimum wage and better overtime rules, the Employee Free Choice Act, child care funding, Social Security increases, a public option for health care, and support for repealing the Hyde Amendment. {Her speeches} were mostly arguments in favor of these policies. Should the Clinton campaign have tried to be more creative about finding ways of getting word of this attractive platform out …? Yes.”

— Scott Lemieux (prof of pol sci, College of Saint Rose) at Lawyers, Guns and Money.

Professor Lemieux is correct — people who listen to politicians’ speeches and read their white papers know the platforms. For the other 99% of America — there are advertisements, a key to success in modern campaigns. Clinton’s were both boring and devoid of specifics about what she might do as President. It’s all tribal affinity and malarkey. Trump’s tweet’s read like the Federalist Papers by comparison (in terms of promised action, without the Paper‘s reason and soul). She burnt on these ads a big part of the $690 million donors gave her.

“Tomorrow” – The final Clinton ad…

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Clinton lost because fear failed, and voters disliked her Social Justice Warriors

Summary: Political gurus gush forth with explanations for Trump’s victory in the Electoral College (although more Americans voted for Clinton). They discuss arcane strategy, the effect of the media, personalities, and scores of other things (mostly trivial). But there are two elephants in the room. First, Clinton relied on the politics of fear, which surprisingly failed. Second, Social Justice Warriors (her shock troops) terrified voters — who realized the power SJW’s would wield as commissars in an HRC administration. Together these two factors account for her support dropping by the tiny margin that led to defeat in the Electoral College.

Hillary Clinton
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

No Fear

(1)  Clinton’s politics of fear failed

“He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.”
By Aristotle, from Joannes Stobaeus’ Florilegium.

The Democrats ran the anything but issues campaign on the fear Trump platform. Fear climate change, fear sexism, fear racism, fear nativism, fear Russia, fear fascism, fear NAZIs, etc.  These created a weak foundation for Clinton’s campaign, especially as she spent so little effort describing an alternative great future for America.

The Putin connection was only weakly supported and extremely speculative. The non-Left majority of Americans was skeptical about the odds of severe danger from climate change. The -ism’s became ineffective after decades of the Left using them as generic attacks on all their foes. Saying Trump was Hitler just triggered Godwin’s Law, probably ending many people’s interest in her message.

For all his clownish behavior and many flaws, Trump offered an action-based plan and a vision for a better America that appealed to many voters. It was a classic case of something beating nothing.

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An anthropologist screens six documentaries about Hillary Clinton

Summary: You have read criticism of both Trump and Clinton here, showing aspects of both that the media have undercovered in their excitement with soundbites and other trivia. For the last round I turn the page over to Maximilian Forte, who has assembled a video festival about Hillary Clinton. Don’t have any illusions about what is coming. Whoever you vote for and whoever wins, America loses on November 8. Let’s start on November 9 to give America better choices in 2020. It will not be easy.

Hillary Clinton: foundation and money pile

6 Documentaries for the 2016 US Presidential Election

By Maximilian C. Forte from Zero Anthropology, 6 November 2016.
Reposted with his generous permission. The best is at the end.

This is an idiosyncratic selection of what I consider to be some of the most important reports and documentaries released during the 2016 US presidential election campaign, with direct reference to some of the maximum stakes and vested interests behind the maintenance of the current “global (dis)order”. Collectively they address the groundwork of the globalist regime: the construction of the status quo of encrusted elitism of corporate and financial interests, their lobbies, and how the ruling oligarchies have rigged the political and economic system to their benefit.

While the ruling elites and their dispensable, desperate followers among the middle class, shriek at the “coming disorder” portended by nationalist movements in Europe and the USA, I instead tend to side with Benedict Anderson who in 1992 wrote in an article in the New Left Review, titled “The New World Disorder”.

“Behind the language of ‘fragmentation’ lies a Panglossian conservatism that likes to imagine that every status quo is nicely normal”.

The current neoliberal state of affairs is far from “orderly,” if stability is what people want to defend instead of justice. In that spirit, the final video in the list below (the seventh) is neither a report nor a documentary, but an extended campaign advertisement that speaks to the issues shown in the videos above it -– it is the “closing argument”.

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Hidden but important truths from the presidential debate

Summary: The last debate was mostly chaff, like the campaign mostly entertaining demonstrations of the obvious. But there were moments revealing deep truths about our government and us. They were, of course, ignored. Here is the story of one such moment, a statement by Hillary Clinton that is rich with useful insights — if we dig into it.

“Fire destroys all sophistry, that is deceit; and maintains truth alone, that is gold.”
— Leonardo da Vinci, from his Notebooks. A bad solution for political structures built on lies.


More essential insights from Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept: “In the Democratic Echo Chamber, Inconvenient Truths Are Recast as Putin Plots”…

“Donald Trump, for reasons I’ve repeatedly pointed out, is an extremist, despicable, and dangerous candidate, and his almost-certain humiliating defeat is less than a month away. So I realize there is little appetite in certain circles for critiques of any of the tawdry and sometimes fraudulent journalistic claims and tactics being deployed to further that goal. In the face of an abusive, misogynistic, bigoted, scary, lawless authoritarian, what’s a little journalistic fraud or constant fearmongering about subversive Kremlin agents between friends if it helps to stop him?

“But come January, Democrats will continue to be the dominant political faction in the U.S. — more so than ever — and the tactics they are now embracing will endure past the election, making them worthy of scrutiny. Those tactics now most prominently include dismissing away any facts or documents that reflect negatively on their leaders as fake, and strongly insinuating that anyone who questions or opposes those leaders is a stooge or agent of the Kremlin, tasked with a subversive and dangerously un-American mission on behalf of hostile actors in Moscow.

“To see how extreme and damaging this behavior has become, let’s just quickly examine two utterly false claims that Democrats over the past four days — led by party-loyal journalists — have disseminated and induced thousands of people, if not more, to believe. …”

Both are straightforward lies by Team Hillary about the Wikileak emails of John Podesta, propagated by good liberals and her loyal journalists — allowing them to ignore the emails’ damaging content. His conclusion is spot-on.

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The moral panic over Trump’s lewd remarks reveals much about us.

Summary: Here is another chapter exploring the oddity of our Anything But Issues presidential campaign. The re-release of Trump’s lewd remarks from 2005 ignited a moral panic (a too common event in modern America). This episode is rich with sad lessons for us. Here are a few of them.

Things that don’t matter in Campaign 2016 as they should.Campaign issues


  1. Avoiding the issues.
  2. The Zucker incident.
  3. About moral panics.
  4. About hypocrisy.
  5. Conclusions.
  6. Posts in this series.
  7. For More Information.

(1) Circus 2016: an Anything But Issues Election.

Important issues powered Trump’s campaign, until they were buried by his theatrics and bombast. Hillary Clinton’s brilliant response will go in the history books: smear Trump, all the time, in every way, true or false (see a list in section 5).

It’s a brilliant strategy. Worries about globalization, massive immigration, foreign wars, Wall Street, aspirations for national greatness — all of these favor Trump. Her platform is less popular: Goldman, aggressive social engineering, and a belligerent foreign policy. She is wise to shift the debate away from issues to Trump’s legion of personal failings. We are fools to allow her to do so.

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