Re: Ask LBJ, To Rebut Paul
I think this blogpost of Stoller's is OK historically, but not very good analytically.
Here are some objections I have to the analysis.
First, there are plenty of contemporary "liberal" welfare states which are not simultaneously national security states (to use Garry Wills's taxonomy) and which do not pursue the drug war in the way that the US does. The national security state has to do with America's sole superpower status, not with its "liberalism."
A reason that there is and will be no challenge to Obama from the left in electoral terms is that Obama is a sitting president. Nevertheless, let's grant that "the left" is less powerful in the US now than is the oppositional right. I think that's true. But Stoller makes this sound as though this represents a problem with the thought capacity of the left, or with contradictions that are peculiar to "left-liberalism." But then he goes on make the point that Cohen had made, namely that there is no longer much "left-liberalism" in the Democratic Party. So I think the observation one needs to make is one about the changed power dynamics in US politics, not really about ideas. Garry Wills, perhaps one of America's paradigmatic "liberals," did write this book about the apotheosis of the National Security State, after all. There are plenty of liberal intellectuals who oppose the war on drugs, as evidenced on bhtv. The thing which distinguishes Ron Paul among the policies mentioned by Stoller is his opposition to the Fed and his gold-buggery. And this perhaps explains why Glenn Loury is particularly concerned to voice his opposition to those positions, although Loury should have been more expansive about his reasons for that opposition.
I have to go now.
Last edited by ledocs; 01-04-2012 at 02:26 PM..