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Response to BlueMTexpat (Reply #40)

Fri Jan 29, 2016, 09:13 AM

50. Just to discuss one point

"But I am enough of a realist to know that the USA was not able to enact single payer in the immediate post-WWII years - when liberal ideas and Keynesian economics were the fashion (e.g., the UK's NHS and France's healthcare system, which built on earlier ideals of the French Revolution). It also took until 1966 in a comparatively progressive political environment even to enact Medicare - after bitter opposition. Today's environment is simply not anywhere near as progressive and, sadly, that is the truth."

After WWII the liberal ideas you discuss were not unopposed, although the people behind that opposition were ignored by the press and the government. People like the Prescott Bush's and the like were very much involved in the corridors of power (he was one of the folks who was reportedly involved in an abortive military coup intended to overthrow FDR) but the reality of the wealthy among us fighting to undo all the things that benefited us was ignored or discounted by a population consumed with defending ourselves against the Godless Commies. It was a masterful con job and gave rise to lots of bad things, one of which was the idea that the people can't do anything about anything because, after all, doing anything about anything would involve change, and change just can't be done unless you're a Godless Commie.

The Right, in Europe, was offset by virulent opposition from the Left, up to and including rioting in the streets. In the US that was not the case. The difference was that the Right, in the US, is incredibly wealthy and able to shape the public discourse by simply buying off the opposition. The Left concerned itself with arguing over who was the most pure, much like the Leninist v Trotskyite Tag Team match among the Godless Commies. The Right, aka the rich establishment, was very proficient at turning one group against the other, sort of like triangulation, so that even the most well meaning on the Left were marginalised, blacklisted, ostracised.

In Europe, the Right constantly had to deal with the historical reality of the iconic guillotine, a symbol of where too great an imbalance could lead. We don't have things like that here, but we do have politicians who are ready and willing to be bought off, and a mass media that is largely made up of quislings subservient to the powers that be.

My point is that the opposition to progressives is not some sort of inherent, organic part of the US society. It is a product being purchased by the very wealthy, and sold by those to whom thirty pieces of silver is a perfectly fine payoff.

The list of things accomplished despite that is long and obvious, even as people decry the possibility of change. It is a fact that many who fought for change, like MLK, jr, and Bobby Kennedy fell by the wayside but the issues they supported were addressed far more fully than those on the "inside" thought could happen.

Reforming the government so the people get a fair shake is possible, but not if the slogan that wins the day is "no, we can't."

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