Monday, September 17, 2007

Disaster socialism

Fabian Tassano parodies a review of Naomi Klein's latest oeuf, to unsettling effect:

Academics and activists have spent the latter half of the 20th century developing a strategy for overcoming public resistance to overt left-wing agendas. This strategy, which has been called 'disaster socialism', involves waiting for a health scare, child abuse scandal, terrorist attack, climate-related catastrophe, banking crisis, or similar disaster. The upheaval throws citizens into a state of shock and fear, providing a window of opportunity for far-reaching changes in legislation, increases in the power of 'social workers' or other arms of the state apparatus, the lifting of restrictions on police and other interventionist agencies, and the proliferation of bureaucratic red tape.
Unsettling, because whereas Klein's theory is either inconsequential or absurd*, depending on how charitably you are inclined, Tassano is identifying a genuine trend. It's a strange old world where a parody is true but the original reads like a parody.

Disaster socialism has no better exemplar than global warming, an alleged, confected disaster that has been seized on by thousands of people from the left as an excuse for insisting that the societal changes they wanted anyway must now be made.

And this is completely unarguable. George Monbiot's forthcoming collected essays are titled Bring on the Apocalypse (you couldn't make it up). Al Gore is quoted by Fabian as follows:
Minor shifts or moderate improvements — these are forms of appeasement, designed to satisfy people’s desire to believe that a wrenching transformation of society will not be necessary.
A socialist transformation, you understand.

* Either it's saying that when people with a free market philosophy get involved in the aftermath of events like Hurricane Katrina, their philosophy can be discerned, which is inconsequential; or she is alleging some kind of vast right wing conspiracy, which is, well... par for the course for leftists who drank in their own vast conspiracy with their mothers' milk, but absurd. Whereas socialism was born in conspiratorial meetings in cellars, complete with those funny round bombs with the fuses sticking out, trying to get free market advocates to conspire is like herding cats.

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