The Green New Deal will be up for a vote in the presidential and congressional elections, whether establishment Democrats like it or not.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a character familiar to anyone who has spent substantial time on campuses in the past two decades
She’s a walking, talking social justice warrior soundbite machine, someone whose knowledge is a mile wide and an inch deep. Social media, where she excels, is perfect for shallow but woke wisdom.
At one level, she is the gift Donald Trump and Republicans could not have hoped for in their wildest dreams. Her wacky Green New Deal is so preposterous in many of its details and in its totality, it is a caricature. It’s a prime example of what I call Progressive or Parody?, where it’s “very hard to distinguish progressive political and social positions from parody.”
That four of the leading Democrat presidential candidates (Harris, Warren, Booker, Gillibrand) rushed to co-sponsor or endorse the Green New Deal will be a theme Republicans will drive home from today through Election Day 2020. That these four kneecapped themselves as General Election candidates is Ocasio-Cortez’s greatest accomplishment (for Republicans) so far.
At another level, though, Ocasio-Cortez should be taken seriously precisely because she is a character familiar to anyone who has spent time on campuses in the past two decades. She represents an ignorant ahistorical adoration for socialism that has captured a significant portion of the Democratic Party. Socialists like Ocasio-Cortez are the energy in the Democratic Party, which explains why presidential candidates immediately jumped on her bandwagon.
Capitalism versus Socialism is one battle line for 2020. Whether or not the ultimate Democrat nominee endorses the Green New Deal, the Green New Deal will be made to be the Democrat platform whether Democrats like it or not. Let’s have a vote on Capitalism versus Socialism.
At another level, it’s not just Capitalism versus Socialism. In listening to a 2015 audio of Mark Levin, I heard a term I had not heard before: Degrowth.
What is Degrowth? An academic association devoted to Degrowth describes it as follows:
Sustainable degrowth is a downscaling of production and consumption that increases human well-being and enhances ecological conditions and equity on the planet. It calls for a future where societies live within their ecological means, with open, localized economies and resources more equally distributed through new forms of democratic institutions. Such societies will no longer have to “grow or die.” Material accumulation will no longer hold a prime position in the population’s cultural imaginary. The primacy of efficiency will be substituted by a focus on sufficiency, and innovation will no longer focus on technology for technology’s sake but will concentrate on new social and technical arrangements that will enable us to live convivially and frugally. Degrowth does not only challenge the centrality of GDP as an overarching policy objective but proposes a framework for transformation to a lower and sustainable level of production and consumption, a shrinking of the economic system to leave more space for human cooperation and ecosystems.
Watch this video promoting degrowth, and it sounds a lot like the Green New Deal.
As Levin explains, the Degrowth movement is fundamentally at war with Capitalism, which is devoted to economic growth (transcription via Jeff Poor, Breitbart):
“In the last 15 year, many of the tenets of utopian statism have coalesced around something called the ‘degrowth movement,’” he said. “It is called the degrowth movement in Europe. It originates in Europe but is now taking a firm hold in the United States. The ‘degrowthers,’ that is what I call them, the ‘degrowthers,’ and like other words I’ve used in the past, it’ll be picked up. But that’s OK. The degrowthers include in their ranks none other than Barack Obama.”
The conservative talker pointed to aspects of the movement, which are in some forms parts of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) “Green New Deal.”
“I am telling you, this environmental movement is a communist movement, and I’ve been saying it for years,” he continued. “Now what I have done is dug much deeper into this degrowth movement, which we have imported to the United States. All of this: class warfare, immigration, race-based attacks — all of it actually circles around this degrowth movement, which is an attack on a developed nation, our nation. You might have well had a cover on it calling it the ‘Communist Manifesto.’”
“So the Reds have taken over the environmental movement,” Levin later concluded. “That’s what so-called climate change and global warming are all about.”
Levin also discusses Degrowth in his book Plunder and Deceit.
So the battle lines in 2020 are not simply Capitalism versus Socialism, but Growth versus Degrowth.
Let’s have a vote on two fundamentally different ideologies. It’s a vote we can still win, for now.