Saturday, April 16, 2011

Do Democrats and Republicans Have Utterly Different Goals?

Paul Krugman is off his rocker:
But the main point is, what are we supposed to have a civil discussion about? The truth is that the two parties have both utterly different goals and utterly different views about how the world works.
He ought to know that this claim about the two parties is obviously implausible. He's the one who's been claiming that we should chop from the top and move toward a single-payer health care system.

This love-affair with the Dems is just wishful thinking, not hard headed political analysis. Sure, it would be nice if the two parties had utterly different goals... but it just ain't so. And wishing really hard that it were so is not political analysis but ideological blindness. Just because there are only two major parties, it doesn't follow that they must be different or polar opposites. That assumption rests on nothing. It leads left-liberals to say a lot of true things about what the problems are, only to draw all of the wrong conclusions about what to do.


JM said...

I thought you all liked Krugman. Now you're turning into this guy who has made pretty contradicting conclusions from his columns:

t said...

Krugman is, you might say, "the last liberal". To some extent, he is concerned with inequality, workers rights, democracy, social justice, and so forth. But he's a liberal. He basically accepts the framework of electoralism, lesser-evilism, and the Democratic Party as the only possible way forward politically speaking. He doesn't acknowledge that even his modest social democratic political ideals cannot be won by way of the Democrats.

I, on the other hand, have never been shy about rejecting all of that. I have tried to consistently put forward a socialist perspective in the posts that I write. If I quote Krugman, it's because not everything he says is false. His politics have certain limitations, and his analysis often bears these out, but sometimes he puts forward analyses that I think are useful to those on the Left. If I quote his op/ed pieces, it's not to endorse the entirety of what he writes.

So I don't think my appraisal of his writing is as simple as "like or dislike", "yay or nay". I'm a socialist and Krugman is a liberal. I suppose you could more or less spin out of that simple fact what I think of his work. It would be ultra-left in my view to dismiss everything he says simply because of his liberal perspective. Left-liberal politics are, in my estimation, internally conflicting and ultimately marred with contradictions. Making those evident and using them as leverage to argue for more ambitious political goals is, it seems to me, an important task of the Left.

JM said...

I agree that he's more conservative, but he's the best man we have right now.