Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Luke Savage highlights the distinction between photo-op liberalism and any genuine commitment to social progress:
This may be the reason liberal thought endlessly obsesses over the language used in political debate and often seems to place a higher value on its tone and quality than on its content or outcome. It’s also why, I suspect, today’s grinning Trudeaus and Obamas seem so much more preoccupied with how things are perceived to be going than with how they actually are, and value the sanctity of procedures over the implications they may ultimately have for ordinary people’s lives.

The animating mission here is less to combat injustice than to efficiently manage discontent: to take the temperature of the popular mood, strain it of radical aspiration, then serve it back wrapped in the most aesthetically pleasing package liberalism’s practitioners can assemble, and pray like hell nobody notices when the gold paint loses its luster at the first sign of a market hiccup, budget deficit, foreign intervention, or genuine challenge from the left.
In theory, modern liberalism is a set of ideas about human freedom, markets, and representative government. In practice, or so it now seems to me, it has largely become a political affect, and a quintessentially conservative one at that: a set of reflexes common to those with a Panglossian faith in capitalist markets and the institutions that attempt to sustain them amid our flailing global order. In theory, it is an ideology of progress. In practice, it has become the secular theology of the status quo; the mechanism through which the gilded buccaneers of Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and multinational capital rationalize hierarchy and exploitation while fostering resignation and polite deference among those they seek to rule.
- Ben Potter writes that Australia's largest carbon polluters are seeking the same kind of free ride being given to Canada's. And Mia Rabson reports that the Libs have decided to hand another $1.6 billion in free money to the oil sector rather than making any meaningful investment in a transition to clean energy.

- Kieran Leavitt and Trevor Howell report on the emerging story about Jason Kenney's manipulation of the UCP leadership campaign. Michael Laxer writes that a propensity for bullying and vengeance may be part of the downfall of Doug Ford and his party. And Paul Krugman weighs in on the Republicans' rejection of democracy.

- Finally, Wency Leung reports on a pilot project testing the effectiveness of social prescriptions for Ontario patients. And Karl Nerenberg discusses the NDP's plan to deal with opioid addictions by decriminalizing addiction while ensuring that the corporations responsible pay their fair share.

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