Ocasio-Cortez’s Vision

We’ve seen some of Ocasio-Cortez’s vision in the Green New Deal, and it’s terrible. But she’s clever enough in defending her position to counter-attack criticism of that vision. How? By attacking the absence of vision itself. By claiming that moderation is “meh” and greatness requires ambitious vision. She’s clever enough also to proffer a false contrast of vision (good) with cynicism (bad); she wants you to choose vision, her vision:

“Moderate is not a stance. It’s just an attitude towards life of, like, ‘meh,’” the New York Democrat said Saturday during an interview with Briahna Gray, senior politics editor for the Intercept. “We’ve become so cynical, that we view ‘meh,’ or ‘eh’ — we view cynicism as an intellectually superior attitude, and we view ambition as youthful naivete when … the greatest things we have ever accomplished as a society have been ambitious acts of visions, and the ‘meh’ is just worshipped now, for what?”

LBJ’s “Great Society” was based on a specific ambitious vision of ends to be accomplished in the form of goods to be distributed. It has failed greatly. Vision guarantees nothing. Broad visions seeking to remake society and systems are more often than not the work of cranks who frequently are power-hungry madmen, willing to impose their vision on everyone else if they can.

American abundance has no basis in a grand specific vision to be imposed by a central body or “democracy” of workers. Our success has been based on an ambitious vision of decentralized freedom, individual property rights, civic virtue and limited government that protects rights. The overall picture has emerged naturally as a result of these factors being present.

Ocasio-Cortez is not being criticized because “ambition” is “youthful naivete”, but because her vision is lousy. That goes back to Karl Marx’s vision being lousy. The greatness of America is rooted in an ambitious and great vision that made a noble effort correctly to assess human nature and life. The failures of America have occurred precisely when we’ve incorrectly assessed the dangers of government and when we’ve departed from that vision and failed to control or counteract the growth of government power.

If Americans have grown distrustful (cynical) about the operations of corporations, lobbyists, the deep state, the military-industrial complex, and governments, it’s not because of any “intellectually superior attitude”, something some shallow columnist might say. Distrust has real roots in real failings. We’ve failed our Constitution and our Constitution has failed us. We interpreted it loosely and its flaws allowed us to do that, both to our detriment. The Articles of Confederation would have served us well, or a Constitution that made only minor modifications to the Articles. This was not to be, and we must now deal with it as best we can.

Ocasio-Cortez has no remedy for American failures by offering us a much-enlarged government that further abandons decentralized freedom, individual property rights, civic virtue and limited government. America stands no chance of surviving its failures and no chance to regenerate its correct vision by extending marxism further into American life. The alternative is to extend the libertarian vision.

One more thing. Ocasio-Cortez, being a marxist, wants to unite workers and to turn them against freedom, rights and limited government. She is using race as an appeal to do this. Communists have always made such appeals:

“The self-declared Democratic socialist also criticized the treatment of minorities throughout American history, from Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, which she claimed was racist, to Ronald Reagan’s policies, which she said ‘pitted’ white working class people against minorities in order ‘to screw over all working-class Americans,’ particularly African-Americans and Hispanics.” [Emphasis added.]

This is an appeal to unite workers. It is also an appeal designed to shift moderate Democrats to the left. And it’s a self-serving appeal to make herself seem virtuous and thus on the side of right generally. Racism in America is all but dead, but many people find it to their advantage to act as if it were alive and kicking. Using this country’s history of racism as a political tool keeps racism alive in a new way. Racism has been eliminated in laws, but it is kept alive on artificial respiration in the realm of ideas. This is what Ocasio-Cortez is doing. She and others refuse to put the issue of racism to rest, when it has already died.


10:45 am on March 10, 2019