June 25, 2008
Tom Piatak?s comments about the neoconservatives? dubious gifts to the Bush administration made me think about the non-accountability of the group Tom is criticizing. If truth be known, it makes no difference for the fortunes of the neocons what they do to any American government. These people who are lionized at the New York Times and Newsweek are not about to fall from media favor. Their future does not depend on their political success or on how much they and their friends mess up any administration. The reason for my belief is that I couldn?t imagine how the liberal establishment and foreign policy community could function, in the absence of a certain kind of ?debate.? After all, isn?t that what democracy has come down to, whether we?re discussing the PC public administration that runs Western Europe or the dismally uninteresting mainstream media in this country? There must be some semblance of disagreement in order for our democracy to work.
At the same time, such managed democracy must avoid being seriously divisive, a situation that would disturb the powerbrokers. But such divisiveness is not the same as doing something more condonable, for example, releasing personal sleaze about one?s largely indistinguishable opponent in an expensive political race. Such name-calling never threatens ?democracy? understood as a gradual movement, which sometimes gains staggered momentum, toward the social, PC Left.
Even less harmful and perhaps even beneficial to managed democracy are mock debates set up among the established powerbrokers. Some in the group are allowed and even encouraged to question a procedural point or a particular tax hike, while assuring everyone that things have never been better for the human race, at least for that part of it that has been ?liberated ? for American democracy. The opposition is also free to come out for open borders and gay marriage and to point out that these policies embody ?conservative values.? Thus we see the high value the neocons possess for the rest of the political-media establishment. They furnish a toothless opposition, except when it comes to going after those ?further on the right.? Then the neocons and their hirelings jump up and down indignantly in a way that brings smiles to the faces of their supposedly more leftist talking partners. And old Stalinists at The Nation can lavish praise on one NR editor and FOX news-celebrity for having no truck with the ?extremists? (us). Maintaining this docile, kept opposition is a big thing for the permanent political establishment. And it therefore is not likely to push the make-believe opposition out of view and, even less plausibly, to replace it with adversaries like us. In short, the neocons are not going down!
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