Making it short this morning as I’m headed out the door.
Matt Stoller is experiencing the “pain of independence” this week. He had a “Soylent green is people! We’re eating PEOPLE!” epiphany about Obama and the Democrats the other day at Naked Capitalism after the Wisconsin catastrophe. Matt has finally come to realize that what is good for Obama and the Democratic party is diverging from what is good for the working class (and by working class I mean everyone not living off their investments or bonuses). Go read the whole thing. I think he’s thought this out pretty well with the exception of the label “neoliberal”. Sometimes, the labels get in the way of understanding so I try not to use them. I try to figure out if a politician has a worldview and goal that makes sense and has intrinsic value. At one point in the 2008 primary season, I even had a matrix of qualities I wanted to see in a president and ranked each candidate on a weekly basis based on what data I was able to collect. Yeah, it’s kind of Vulcan but then again, it helped me not fall into a four year swoon over Obama.
Predictably, booman writes a “Matt has cooties” post:
Yes, everyone of the left is doing it wrong because they haven’t, like Matt Stoller, taken leave of their senses and attacked the most brilliant and decent and politically talented president we’ve had in decades.
He concludes with some nonsense about interfering with the flow of commerce, which sounds a little Unibomberish. Maybe Stoller would be happier as a Somali pirate.
Oh, but we know how the president deals with those folks.
Townhouse must be a ghost town these days. What a freak show.
Yep, the economy is in shambles, the Democratic party is unrecognizable and Obama has a bill of attainder “kill list” that he can add American citizens to and *Matt* is the crazy one.
This is how it works, Matt. Groups that use high control tactics can’t have dissent in their midst. It disrupts the unity of thought. You become hard to be around because your presence pushes the thoughts of those around you from a low energy state to a higher one. Therefore, you must now be excluded unless you snap back into line. In fact, the phenomenon of reforming your thought to that of a high control group is called “snapping“.
I and a lot of other Democrats have been there, Matt. Some of us have pretty good day jobs at prestigious universities. I’m thinking of Heidi Li Feldman. Others, like Anglachel, have a background in political science. Then there are people like Lambert who had insight in 2008 and had to fight off assimilation from readers of his own blog. You’re not alone. There are probably a lot more of us than even we know but people who agree with us may be afraid to come out for fear of the inevitable ostracism from the group. But our number is growing everyday. And you’re not crazy.
And Barack Obama is not “the most brilliant and decent and politically talented president we’ve had in decades”. Once you’ve broken out of the mindset, don’t quotes like Booman’s kind of resemble that line from the Manchurian Candidate:
“Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.”
Maybe Obama is, maybe he isn’t. Wouldn’t you prefer to figure that out for yourself? It’s not the end of the world. Knowing the truth is the optimistic point of view. It’s a relief. The narrative starts to make sense again. You don’t have to keep filling the chinks of inconsistencies with elaborate excuses and improbable stories. Now that you know, you can do something about it.
Lucky for you that you’re coming around when you will have more company in your exile. For those of us who figured it out in 2008, it has been, ahem, interesting. But you’ll do Ok, Matt. With your Harvard degree, no one’s going to call you a racist or a menopausal, uneducated old lady.
Here’s another guy who snapped out of different kind of thought. Jerry DeWitt is the former pentacostal pastor who became an atheist. Ooo, I saw a few of you cringe just now. Relax, Jerry’s not going to make you into a homocidal, immoral, untrustworthy nihilist. And you don’t have to go all of the way to “there is no god”. Jerry’s current gig is to help ease people out of religion at their own speed as executive director of Recovering from Religion. This video is from the recent Arkansas Freethought meeting. I think the section where he talks about the marketing of religion is very interesting. I had no idea that some religious denominations, like the 24/7, one-stop, espresso bar megachurch variety operates more like a franchise where the colors of the church and the music and the program has been carefully selected by a team of marketing experts with the goal of keeping you in the flock. It’s funny how marketing is showing up all over the place these days. Politics is saturated in it but who would have expected to find it at church? Fascinating.
It’s kind of long but Jerry’s got a gift and he eases you right into it.