The Canadian Broadcast Corporation, a state funded entity akin to PBS, recently did a radio episode that gave Marxism a positive spin.
Three scholars were invited to talk about Marxism’s enduring relevance and why its principles are still valid in present times.
Martin Hagglund, a philosophy and literature professor at Yale University contends that capitalism keeps people from making decisions that actually create value and meaning.
“What distinguishes us from other animals is not just that we have free time to play around like other animals do, but we also have the capacity to ask ourselves what is worth doing with our free time and what we ought to do with it. It’s unintelligible that your decisions are free and that you’re leading a free life unless you can ask yourself that question,” Hagglund asserted.
In this piece, there was also discussion of ownership of time. In writer Malcom Harris’s view, this is the privilege that only the rich can enjoy. Harris argues that millennials have inherited a world where living one’s life on their own terms is only a fantasy available to the most privileged of society. The writer argues that millennials are “poorer, in greater debt, and more medicated than their parents or grandparents.”
In one of his books, Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials, Harris contends that when “millennials express any kind of expectation that life ought to offer greater meaning, they are derided as being spoiled and entitled.”
Harris adds, “For young people to say we want to live in a world that is tending toward meaning, that reduces the drudgery that people have to experience, that reduces the exploitation that people have to experience so that more of us can do rewarding things with our lives — I’m not sure what a better claim could be. That’s supposed to be what this is all about.”
The writer claims that younger people are looking for a connection to history, that goes beyond their daily lives. According to Harris, “that connection is elusive, obscured by a deep sense of alienation from themselves and those around them.”
Terrell Carver, a professor of political theory at Bristol University, asserts that the conditions of alienation and lack of meaning that have come about as a result of late capitalism are similar to the conditions that Marx faced in the 1840s.
“I think there’s much more historical overlap than people realize. I think this also has to do with new and revolutionary technologies because the 1840s, like today, was really quite revolutionary in terms of technology. The Industrial Revolution was getting underway. Also: the themes of pollution and exploitation and migration.”
BLP reported that record numbers of Americans approve of socialism. The continued relevance of politicians like Bernie Sanders and the meteoric rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may explain why these ideas are so in vogue these days.
Will Josh Hawley be the Next Champion for an America First Foreign Policy?
America First May Have its Next Leader to End Wars Abroad
Does America First have a new non-interventionist champion?
Missouri Senator Josh Hawley has been viewed by many as one of the figures who could potentially lead a Trumpist movement after Trump, should Joe Biden end up being installed as president on January 2021.
Hawley has made a name for himself as a champion of Middle America and questioning the neoliberal orthodoxy on immigration and trade. Lately, Hawley has made a pivot towards questioning the interventionist conventional wisdom on foreign policy.
In early October of this year, the Missouri Senator called for the American government to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. Hawley tweeted, “Almost 20 years now in Afghanistan. Long past time to draw this war to an end.”
Hawley’s foreign policy has been a work progress over the past two years. During a 2019 speech Hawley gave at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), he questioned the nation-building policy prescriptions of previous administrations, demonstrating some degree of skepticism towards non-stop interventionism abroad on the part of the Senator.
That said, it remains to be seen if Hawley’s legislative record will fully match his rhetoric.
Hawley is a staunch China hawk, who fears the rise of China and is a strong voice against China’s expansionist efforts. Hawley’s track record shows that his foreign policy views are rough around the edges. Daniel Larison of The American Conservative is not as optimistic about Hawley judging by his votes on the Yemeni Civil War. Larison cited several of Hawley’s votes that may be cause for concern:
“Sen. Hawley voted against the Senate’s resolution of disapproval that opposed the president’s effort to circumvent Congress with a bogus “emergency” to expedite arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. More important, he voted with the president and most Senate Republicans against the antiwar Yemen resolution that would have cut off all U.S. support to the Saudi coalition.”
Nevertheless, Hawley’s comments on Afghanistan are a good sign that Hawley is catching on to the fact that Americans are tired of foreign wars. Politicians can change their views and behaviors. Hawley is likely recognizing that the America First movement is exhausted by the endless wars and wants candidates and elected officials who offer withdrawal plans.
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) November 24, 2020
Journalist Glenn Greenwald, a fierce interventionist skeptic, maintained cautious optimism about Hawley. In a tweet, he commented, “All kinds of reasons to be skeptical of the authenticity here, but — purely as a matter of rhetoric — just imagine any national Republican speaking this way about a Dem administration even 10 years ago. The framework of politics is radically shifting.”
All kinds of reasons to be skeptical of the authenticity here, but — purely as a matter of rhetoric — just imagine any national Republican speaking this way about a Dem administration even 10 years ago. The framework of politics is radically shifting:https://t.co/0g3jpVPsDm
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 24, 2020
The jury is still out on Hawley. Regardless of flaws in his voting record, America First advocates should continue to push him and other America First leaning Republicans in the right direction. We should never forget that politicians are still receptive to political pressure and the grassroots holds the keys to political change.
Young senators like Hawley are the future of American politics and it makes sense for foreign policy restrainers to lobby them and push them in a direction that favors non-interventionism.
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