Thursday, August 12, 2010

Labour drifts aimlessly in an intellectual vacuum

The intellectual vacuum that is the Labour party.
David Cunliffe is supposedly their leading intellectual light. He mourns the death of Tony Judt in a post today.

Few writers have impacted me as much as Tony Judt in his
recent book “Ill Fares the Land“.

He notes the rise of the Third Way under Blair (and by another name under Clinton, and could we add locally Clark/Cullen?) as a triangulated response against the rise of right wing political hegemony.
He argues that with the end of those administrations the ideas of the Right once again hold sway. He asks what is worth saving of the social democratic project, and what is now to be done.
He concludes that nothing short of a strong and clear reclaiming of the values of quality, community and social democracy will equip the Left for the fight it must now win.

Not having heard of Judt I followed the wiki link to read about his ideas. The crux of which seem to be:
These problems, Judt writes, could find their resolution only in increased
national intervention. States would be called upon to redistribute
wealth and preserve the decaying social fabric of the societies they
governed. This conception of the role of the state is carried over – albeit
in slightly different form - into Judt's 2005 book, Postwar: A History of Europe
Since 1945

UPDATE: In the comments anon noted:
Labour may have always had a real "intellectual" vacuum but really they've
always had a very strong, vicious, ideology

Tory Diary notes 10 dictums by the Revd William Boechter and popularised by Ronald Reagan that are relevant and bear repeating here:

“You cannot bring prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
You cannot further brotherhood of men by inciting class hatred.
You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.”

If redistribution is the best that the intellectual leading light of Labour can come up with then they are truly, and rightly, screwed.


Inventory2 said...

Yep, that's really going to resonate with Labour's blue-collar constituency, is it not?

If that's the language the Cunliffe is going to speak in, then the sooner he becomes leader the better.

Anonymous said...

Labour drifts aimlessly in an intellectual vacuum.

You'd be fucking lucky. Labour may have always had a real "intellectual" vacuum but really they've always had a very strong, vicious, ideology:

A spectre is haunting the West—the spectre of Labourism. All the Powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope and Czar, Bush and Gingrich, French Radicals and German police-spies.
Where is the opposition party that has not been decried as Labourist by its opponents in power? Where is the opposition party that has not hurled back the branding reproach of Labourism, against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against its reactionary adversaries?

The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.
Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, have stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended either in a revolutionary re-constitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.

gravedodger said...

Maybe if the political leaders of the nations who were forced to confront Herr Hitler had taken the time to read Mein Kampf when it was published they could have avoided a lot of trouble later.
Know your enemy and if that is silent T's intellectual anchor in economics then we have been given a gift that is priceless.

Danyl said...

The intellectual vacuum that is the Labour party . . . Not having heard of Judt . . .


Falafulu Fisi said...

At the beginning of his post, David Cunliffe had to say the following:

It is not a robust peer reviewed academic treatise, but in places it is pure inspiration.

David is correct there. His hero's views are bullshit and should be ignored. Anyone who adopts such view must be an idiot.

One thing the left don't understand is that life in general is unfair. If everyone is grown up equal, then over time, our lifetime paths will diverge into different outcome years after. So, their wealth redistribution is a vicious ideology (according to Sinner) and it is not going to help those they're targeting with their policies (i.e., their misguided voters who somehow think that they're entitle to this or that).

Cunliffe stated at the end of his post:

(And for the trolls out there, I did not agree with every word)

I noted that David gives such a warning in most of his economic blog posts over the last 3 months or so. I am one of those that he calls a troll. Reason? I (and another poster there at RedAlert - Mark Hubbard) had exposed him (a few times) especially in one of his blog post about the falsity of Keynesian Economic Framework (which David himself is a worshiper of Keynes economics that devastated major economies of today).

David was engaging at the beginning of the thread, but simply disappeared and never debated with me (& Mark) after we appeared. This is dangerous for politicians, who refuse to listen or read about world (external) facts when they're being pointed out to them, since they will be guided in their policy decision making process by their inner misguided ideologies which obviously contradict observational facts.

David's is a fan of IMF economist Prof. Olivier Blanchard, but I seriously doubt that David had read any of Blanchard's refereed publications, except perhaps a few Blanchard's online articles available from IMF site that David frequently goes there to read. David should read Blanchard's articles and not read about what he had quoted in the media or from online articles he writes because they aren't the same thing.

Anyway, Prof. Blanchard is one of those new post-modern Keynesian economists, whom have been blamed on recent crises. Another economist, Prof. Paul Ormerod had criticized post-modern Keynesian advocates as Blanchard, Stiglitz, Krugman, etc,... because they're part of the problem since they give advice based on bullshit economic framework which lead to disasters.

It is obvious that David Cunliffe has not read much about robust economic publications so he is able to separate the wheat from the chaff. See facts in front of you and geared your policies accordingly.

David needs to read more economic researches so as to better inform himself on issues, because obviously he isn't.

Anonymous said...

While Labour may be intellectual midgets I look at the 10 dictums and don't see Blinglish doing any better. You can have manner of ism's and ideology but it really does appear that we are hopeless at being in charge of ourselves. The people who want to be in charge should never be.

That you left or right leaning political animals see hope in any of this political bullshit and defend it is amazing.

sagenz said...

Danyl - Which came first, the thinker or the book?

Anonymous said...

we are hopeless at being in charge of ourselves. The people who want to be in charge should never be.

OF course. Because the only way you can be in change now is to pander to the 30%+ of NZ society that is benefit-dependent, bludgers, wffers, codgers etc.

The problem is the universal suffrag, made worse by MMP and the Maorimander.

That you left or right leaning political animals see hope in any of this political bullshit and defend it is amazing.

I don't defend it. Until the unproductive are removed from being "in charge" of everyone else, until there is no representation without taxation, we will always be in this mess