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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Teixeira: Why Dems Should Re-Embrace Merit, Free Speech, and Universalism

2 comments on “Teixeira: Why Dems Should Re-Embrace Merit, Free Speech, and Universalism

  1. Wade Riddick on

    [This doesn’t appear to have gone through the first time]
    The problem here is pluralism, which has become a type of blood and soil fascism; once you start believing people have rights only because of their gender, race or these other innate characteristics that politically, cannot be negotiated because they can’t be traded away, your politics becomes by its very nature uncompromising and intolerant. This identity politics takes the market-oriented ideology of lobbying culture and replaces shared consumer preferences with identity.
    This fits the (anti)social media zeitgeist where everyone rushed online expecting that everything they did would be “liked” and instead found a diverse and fractious population that had been protecting itself with privacy rights for a very good reason. Not everybody likes to eat the same thing, listen to the same music, have sex the same way or root for the same ball team – but the new tribalism assumes that you do. We’ve funneled broad categories in communities like religion and gender into a sort of consumerism-based preference, thus confusing fixed categories with those of market choice. Many of us have become so brainwashed, we no longer see how these concepts are incompatible.
    This pluralist way of organizing politics assumes that we flock together with others of our like kind for our rights and perspectives rather than because we live in a specific bounded territory under a constitution that secures our natural rights. The whole concept of choice vs. innate gets elided away – for a good reason, as it turns out.
    When it comes to this self-organization, pluralistic societies must inherently become oligarchies. Not every interest has the money to organize itself; some – like dying or sick people – have to be organized. For instance, how many “women’s rights” groups go after Wells Fargo executives for stealing from their clients and leaving them homeless, at least half of whom must be women? How many denounce corporate processed food for tripling the breast cancer risk?
    As per Mancur Olson, organizing has costs. Different groups have different budgets to pay this cost and get different benefits. Concentrated industries with similar economic interests are more able to pay these prices, have lower coordinating costs and achieve greater benefits (e.g., economic rents) than any of the rest of us.
    This system of privatized, for-profit politics in the form of a professional pundit/consultant/fundraiser class or lobbying/campaign donations winds up leaving some of us without the democratic representation we’re promised. Women with diabetes pretty much have the same interests as men with diabetes – but all the organizing of “diabetes” gets done by the insulin producers who have no interest in curing or preventing the disease.
    This is why the idea really has cachet; pluralism sees corporations as “voluntary” associations of like minds instead of concentration islands of self-justified economic rents
    This identity politics is perfect cover for the anti-Constitutional heretical era of bribery-as-free-speech and corporate personhood, which Madison himself warned us against in _Federalist #10_. Giving groups the same liberties that the individual citizens in those groups enjoy destroys the actual liberty of actual individuals by enabling faction.
    If you want to attack Gay for her time at Harvard, ask why Harvard Law School puts so many illiterate morons on the courts who claim to be “strict constructionists” and “conservatives” while they, in fact, want to overthrow the Constitution and bring back the Confederacy. The enshrining of corporate power by this court goes back fifty years, culminating the _Dobbs_ (2022) decision that quite literally abolishes our privacy rights – despite the black letter protections for said rights in the Fourth Amendment.
    Kind of hard to have PRIVATE property rights if you have no – more fundamental – right of privacy in the first place. This is the real outrage of the Big Data antisocial media era: the idea that none of us deserve privacy but rather the “group” has a right to inspect (and profit off or punish) everything we do. Which is peculiar for a party trying to attack a Chinese Communist Party controlled Tik-Tok from robbing our children of their privacy when their greatest triumph at the court level in fifty years abolishs privacy altogether.
    _Dobbs_ enshrines our new form of corporate welfare socialism in economics the way the new “Left’s” identity politics destroys our ability to be represented through voting. Before we can achieve “power” our identity has to be processed through some sort of nebulous group to which we’re forced to belong and which – like Marxism – has no practical political procedural plumbing to describe how this really works. It’s just assumed. The result is oppressive. But somebody at the top is making money on it.
    Beyond suiting the internet era, this rally-round-the-totem-pole tribal backlash is also common when external connections bring home pandemics and financial panics. In a primitive form of paranoid religion/localism, a social immune system responds during times of stress seeking purity. The moral has always been closely tied to the biological sense of cleanliness.
    You’r not the only one seeing this lately. For good elaborations of the dynamics, see

    To a certain extent, the Southern Strategy’s attempt to return the Confederacy to power in America also plays a role. Substitute corporate for planter class and you see the same old justifications for the same patterns of repression. The planters obsessed over their “liberty” when, in fact, they concocted an excuse to deny an entire class of people their private property rights (and more) by dint of their enslavement. Sounds pretty communist to me (which is why Nikki Haley, et al. want to hide it).
    Democrats should really press this economic angle of Dobbs by pointing out how being pregnant is expensive, dangerous work and if the government wants to force women to do it, the ladies are owed a paycheck and health benefits – otherwise their right to profit off their labor is being stolen by Commie enslavement and that’s… human trafficking. (Sociopaths project, don’t they? What else would you call forcing a ten year old girl to make a rapist’s baby for free but sex trafficking – and yet Sen. Hawley and Cruz attacked Justice Jackson during her comfirmation hearing for supposedly being soft on trafficking.)

  2. Wade Riddick on

    One final note to put the _Dobbs_ case in context: Jerry Falwell was an arch-segregationist. He loathed the idea of blacks attending his “Liberty” University. (I suppose he named his dittohead academy “Liberty” for the same reason the Cattleman’s Association likes cows: “Mmmmm, mmmm. Good!”) The segregationist Pharisee Falwell fought and lost legal cases up and down the court system fighting for “voluntary segregation” (which Rand Paul is still tone deaf enough to promote) until, bruised and battered, Falwell finally threw in the towel.
    After fishing around for another issue to organize his voters, Falwell settled on abortion and set about the task of politically “Catholocizing” Protestants through his Moral Majority – without, of course, the doctrine of serving the sick and the poor: Jesus-ish without the Jesus (who would have followed Jewish law at the time, stating a fetus is part of the mother until birth – but who’s an originalist here caring about actual historical accuracy?). This is why regressive racial attitudes overlap so strongly with anti-abortion sentiment across Deep South states like Mississippi and Louisiana.
    Through _Dobbs_, Falwell finally succeeded in bringing back his beloved confederacy. By depriving people of “privacy,” Falwell subjects all our relationships to group scrutiny for approval. _Dobbs_ provides a doorway to regulating interstate travel, bringing back the Confederacy’s internal passport control system. Texas S.B. 8 brings back the same bounty-hunting ethos that restricted voting rights under Jim Crow and terrified blacks and Indians – free or not – in the Antebellum South. Privatized force – through for-profit economic means – is used to deprive people of their God-given natural rights – all in the name of said God, who – by the way – called on owners to free their slaves when Jesus called for the forgiveness of debts and the freeing of slaves in a “Jubilee Year” – for which He was crucified and which never receives proper translation or context in the hands of segregationist proselytizers like Falwell.
    It’s also no mistake that these cases parallel the Supreme Court’s push to abolish public education in order to hand pubic budgets over to hedge funds and other “investors” (e.g., the _Alstrom_ decision abandons the notion of athletic education and recasts university sports solely through the corporate profit motive). Ending _Chevron_ would be the capstone of returning planter class “ownership” rights over our democracy and its public goods and services.
    In this sense, both Falwell and Gay are deeply committed to segregation – and both ensconced in corporate-funded “academic” institutions. Many voters don’t want Trumps White nationalism or its counterpart in Gay’s Black/Lesbian/Latin/Hamas/whateverism.
    These are not conservatives. And they are not liberals. Call them what they are: Segregationists. As Orwell himself would point out, freedom starts with using the proper names for things – which is why language is so contested and none of us are ever allowed to vote on unpopular changes like new pronoun conventions.


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