I believe that Jane Mayer, author of the book “Dark Money: The Hidden History Of The Billionaires Behind The Rise Of The Radical Right” is light-years ahead of the national Democrats when it comes to her thinking and insights. She has exposed many of those who are behind a lot of the growth of anti-government hyper-individualism and hyper-libertarianism ideology since 1980. She points out that there is a group of radical right-wing billionaire oligarchs who, behind the scenes, have funded much of the national conservative news media, conservative talk-shows, conservative think-tanks and policy institutes (which far outnumber the liberal/progressive ones), and the growing number of extremely conservative Republican members of Congress who serve as their lackeys and stooges.
These oligarchs want to abolish all federal government social programs, especially Social Security which is the one that they hate the most, NOT because they care about our huge national debt and being fiscally responsible, but because they want the federal income tax and all corporation taxation to be abolished, thus selfishly enriching themselves even more by paying no taxes at all.
These billionaire oligarchs are grooming, playing, conning, scamming, and manipulating 330 million Americans whose interests they do not represent.
Stewart B. Epstein
“The best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity,” wrote W.B. Yeats in his classic poem The Second Coming, referring to Europe after World War I. Many observers feel his words are even more applicable to polarized, dysfunctional American society today .
The widespread loss of public trust – in the fairness and objectivity of today’s journalists and public commentators, in the character and/or competence of our political leaders and, most sadly, in the resilience of our socio-economic institutions — are all but universal; and the Oxford English Dictionary‘s recent designation of “post-truth” as their Word of the Year is a devastating indication of the unreliability of those currently influencing public attitudes, values and opinions.
The traditional “American Dream” (of upward socio-economic mobility for young people ‘playing the game’ appropriately) has given way to an American Nightmare of stagnation, inequality and vicious inter-group fear, anger and hostility. American society in 2022 is further from fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of its public — and its traditional goal of continuing progress toward a better life for all – than at any time in its recent history.
Can the pendulum swing back ? Those With long term faith in American Exceptionalism (and I am one of them) believe it can. WHEN, AS and IF our rational, moderate, middle-of-the-roaders become less resigned and less acquiescent to our present malaise
and become more effectively involved in finding and in implementing pragmatic solutions. What was once called The Vital Center – common sensical types to whom compromise, consensus-building, trade-offs and split-the-difference thinking are how the real world actually works – do indeed reflect our “silent majority; but they must become less silent.
Traditional wisdom is on our side: “The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather than in her ability to repair her faults,” wrote Alexis de Tocqueville, our most astute foreign observer; and Adam smith, the father of modern capitalism, could have been thinking of our current needs when he coined the phrase “enlightened self-interest”.
Free market-minded Adam Smith also wrote (in The Theory of Moral Sentiments) that “To restrain our selfish and to indulge in our benevolent affections, constitutes the perfection of human nature; and it can alone produce among mankind that harmony of sentiments and passions in which consist their whole grace and propriety”.
When the American majority can again think not only of “I” but of “we”, not only of what is most financially profitable for me this morning but of the long term “greatest good for the greatest number”, America can again resume striving toward our traditional goal of
‘’continuing progress” in the best and fullest sense of the concept.
With warm regards and profound gratitude
for our help. All the best, DR