While degree and severity differ from far-left to the entire-right, so much of today's politics is about symbolism that it's hard to recall, sometimes, our heritage as pragmatic, scientific civilization bent on fact-driven self improvement and reform.
Some of these symbol battles are long-overdue, like tearing down Confederate monuments-to-utter-treason that were imposed on us by the 1920s KKK. I'm less convinced by the some of the more extreme 'trigger warnings' that give Tucker-Hanninanity nightly grist, but clearly some linguistic adaptations are timely and worth negotiating.
It's far worse, of course, on today's entire-right, where almost every issue is symbolic. Seriously, name an exception, from "wearing a mask turns you into a slave" to excusing 35,000 registered Trumpian lies because "at least they owned the libs," all the way to an obsession over the naming of naval warships. Oh, and their nightly rants accusing liberals of symbol-obession.
Again, please chime in with even one Foxite 'issue' that's not fundamentally more symbolic - or based on disproved mantras like Supply Side - than about practical solutions,
Oh, sure, a clear majority of Americans - and Canadians and many others in the Enlightenment Experiment nations - are still capable of negotiation, seeking practical solutions and adapting their tactics to changing conditions and new arguments. In fact, most 'leftist' politicians - like AOC, Bernie, Liz, Stacey etc. - seem deeply committed to maintaining a practical coalition. Having learned from disasters in 80, 88, 94, 2000, 2010 and 2016, they dicker hard with Biden/Pelosi, then back them up to the hilt.
So, why is it so hard for that pragmatic majority to get things done?
Alas, romantic symbolism junkies on the far-left and entire-right have been incited into roars of rage that give them inherent advantages in elections, especially when cheats like gerrymandering ensure many districts are dominated by the enflamed.
Note: by coincidence, in the latest update from Noema Magazine, Nathan Gardels also comments insightfully about how symbolism and incantations are dominating polemic in a world that's desperate for reasoned/negotiations by pragmatic leaders.
== Two Big Minds who miss the point ==
You might drop in on an interesting podcast interview of Steven Pinker along with the "worst American," George F. Will. Both brilliant fellows make interesting points.
G. F. Will smoothly and articulately foists desperate incantations to support the notion that he did not spend his entire adult life serving as a court apologia-issuer for crushing the Enlightenment under restored feudalism. His verbal agility is always awesome to behold, as is his despicable rationalization.
Pinker ably communicates how special our Enlightenment is - one of just a few such experiments ever tried, now under siege by a worldwide oligarchic cabal.
Money velocity, employment, inflation, consumer spending AND savings, plus investment in production and R&D have all responded in the intended directions.
Demand side isn't all honey! Deficits do rise, though generally so do tax revenues. California is pouring cash again into the state's Rainy Day Fund and will send rebates to taxpayers again, soon.
Is it possible for Keyensian stimulus to overshoot? Sure! The left-fringe incantations called "MMT" constitute an insane cult, though so far also a marginal one without power. Yes, if MMT's Frankenstein version of Keynesianism ever took hold, I'd expect overshoot. But unlike the GOP, liberals are not dominated by their nutty fringe. (See the first part of this missive, about the only clade of pragmatists that remain in US political life.)
Still, let's reiterate. Keynesianism simply works, especially when managed by rational folks like Jerry Brown, Bill Clinton, and Gavin Newsom, ALL of whom used surpluses and good times to pay down debt.
In contrast, the Supply Side cult* never had a single positive outcome of any kind.
And yes, I also offer wager stakes over which party is more 'fiscally responsible.'