Let’s put it down schematically:

    Sound scepticism about the European Union —> xenophobia.

    Climate change is a serious problem —> no acknowledgement that capital must be undermined.

    In the one case, the populist draws a bad xenophobic conclusion from a good premise of a sensible scepticism about the inadequacies of what can be delivered by supranational banking and financial elites. In the other, the liberal fails to draw the right conclusion from his own perfectly correct disdain for the populist’s denial of climate change.

    What is very revealing, however, is that regarding the first of these, the liberal never focuses on the bad inference, but only focuses on the populists’ bad conclusion (xenophobia). And regarding the second of these, the liberal never focuses on his own failure to draw the right inference but instead only focuses on the populists’ denial of the true premise (i.e., the denial of the problem of climate change). No doubt, the populist is wrong to be xenophobic and to deny climate change. But we need to diagnose even so why the liberal only focuses on that wrong and nowhere notices that in the first case, the populist has something right in the premise (the sound skepticism of the European Union) nor, in the second case, does he notice that he himself has something wrong in failing to draw the right conclusion. Why does he fail to notice both of these things? The answer is perfect clear. He does not notice either because each of them would involve a fundamental and radical questioning of contemporary capitalism.

posted by johan: 386 days ago