What royals are: The sacred people, where everyone else is expendable.
Today I found out about a Canadian who prioritizes scientific literacy! Dr. Matt Strauss is a hero, an embattled hero in a country of pious Counterenlightenment.
In attempting two (2) thoughtful, measured public-health interventions, in 2022, upon the hoary scientistic depredations of the state-pharma industry-medical professionals’ population control coalition, Matt Strauss, MD, has apparently been subjected to the full brunt of Canadian political assault.
Here are the 100% responsible, scientific, considered public interventions Dr. Strauss waited until 2022 to make:
The limits of masking: https://nationalpost.com/opinion/matt-strauss-im-a-doctor-heres-why-im-done-with-masking
The limits of vaccine mandates: https://macdonaldlaurier.ca/time-end-vaccine-mandates-dr-matthew-strauss-inside-policy/
The cross-Ontario medical professional, joint Liberal-Conservative political, and media assault on Dr. Strauss’ employment, humanism, and sense of democratic Enlightenment responsibility is horrifying, galling.
Corey Robin on coalitional liberal-conservative “American-style” Fear:
“It is an affair of collusion involving the grunt work of collaborators, the cooperation of victims, and aid from those bystanders who do nothing to protest fear’s repressive hold…these coalitions of fear work through the very contrivances that are supposed to check fear: the fragmented state and a pluralistic civil society, which provides the wielders of fear coercive instruments often not available to government officials.” The mechanisms of McCarthyism are still in place, particularly in the contemporary Anglo-American workplace, “for it is there, in the coercive relationship between employer and employee, that we see today the most visible and pervasive evidence of fear” (Robin 2004: 163).
“Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty, or your recklessness…You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?” –Joseph N. Welch, 1954, to Joseph McCarthy, unprepossessing Red Hunt frontman
For three years, physicians, in coalition with caretaking nurses and long-term care aides, were permitted full expression–and unquestioning implementation–of their politics in exchange for exposing themselves to COVID-19 contagion in the course of their medical work. The politics of physicians have always been in the main autocratic, self-serving, inhumane, and contra the public good. Not scientific. They were dragged kicking and screaming to Medicare. That autocratic, inhumane tendency has exploded under pandemic policy formulated by military strategists and promoted by conservatized liberal party comms professionals. It is well past time for exceptional, scientific democratic-Enlightenment exponents like Dr. Strauss to begin to assert limits on the unhealthy antihumanism of pandemic lockdown governance. The Chinese government maintains a zero-tolerance policy toward COVID because they have too many people at their disposal and do not value human development; that government has broader influence than we often recognize, but fetishizing one health variable, COVID-19 infection, at the cost of many others–including healthy development–is a symptom of destructive inegalitarianism, not a population governance model.
The actual Dem Party strategy, which is exported globally as liberal party strategy everywhere, is to carry hope regarding four populations:
- Dem Party strategists have hoped that Moms in suburbs are sufficiently scared of patriarchal thugs to secretly rock the vote liberal behind their husbands’ backs.
- Recalling African-Americans moving into industrialized Northern cities after WWII, Dem Party strategists have hoped that Latinx immigrants will set aside their feudal Catholic Antienlightenment cultural and ideological heritage and ongoing socialization, and instead embrace laissez-faire liberalism. In fact, when I undertook Latin American Political Science graduate coursework in the late 1990s, this was also what Political Scientists believed about Latin America. They predicted that the evangelical protestant religious enterprises (such as were propped up by the US military in the US after WWII) would transform Brazil into a glorious liberal democracy.
- Dem Party strategists continue to hope that capitalists will patronize them for their brave efforts in never advancing labor rights, see AOC analysis below.
- Dem Party strategists continue to hope that the military will appreciate how the Dem Party writes them blank checks.
It’s not going well.
Although, the actual Dem Party measure of political success is marrying your girl-children off to boy hedge fund managers or getting ya boyz into da hedge fundz. I would like to see a chart of trends on that crucial data.
Pollster firms are arms-length extensions of political parties, and their primary function is to predispose voting behaviour, so their election “predictions” are often wrong. Before the US 2022 midterm elections, pollsters inaccurately predicted that Republicans would overwhelm the House of Representatives. That did not happen, though the electoral map looks red because the more sparsely-settled parts of the country were engineered postwar to vote Republican (Kruse, K. 2014, One Nation Under God; Diamond, S. 1995, Roads to Dominion; Frank, T. 2004. What’s the Matter with Kansas?), whereas the cities–where people live–vote Democrat.
However, in one state, New York, Republicans did sweep the House away from Democrats. An important contextual factor is that New York state, along with England, hosts the international private law for big capital private property around the globe (Pistor 2019). This means its liberal political party has no interest in reducing carceralism and policing targeting the working class, and no interest in working-class organization.
In the wake of the 2022 US midterm elections, AOC analyzes how the US’s core global finance state is a detriment to the US’s liberal party, the Dems: NY Dems oppose the working class call for Abolition, and their good-old-boy political network blocks working-class organization.
“If Democrats do not hang on to the House, I think that responsibility falls squarely in New York State… I think the choice among certain Democrats to validate Republican narratives and amplify Republican narratives on crime and policing, running ads on it — validating these narratives actually ended up hurting them.
Cuomo may be gone, but his entire infrastructure, much of his infrastructure and much of the political machinery that he put in place is still there. And this is a machinery that is disorganized, it is sycophantic. It relies on lobbyists and big money. And it really undercuts the ability for there to be affirming grassroots and state-level organizing across the state. And so when that languishes and there’s very little organizing happening, yeah, I mean, basically, you’re leaving a void for Republicans to walk into. And so I actually think a lot of these Republican games aren’t necessarily as strong as they may seem, I think it’s really from an absence. And it’s a testament to the corruption that has been allowed to continue in the New York State Democratic Party.
I can say: I’ve been in Congress for four years, I have never had a conversation with the New York State Democratic Party chair ever. In fact, he’s done nothing but attack progressive Democrats all across the state. What he has done is created an environment where the only, quote unquote, or the main, quote unquote, legitimate Democratic candidates worthy of support are those who fight both progressives and Republicans, which is clearly not a winning strategy, especially not in the state of New York. And so when he has invested so much energy into demoralizing the grassroots and making sure that a lot of this grassroots energy gets busted up all across the state, of course we’re going to see these margins swing towards Republicans…A lot of it is also driven by big money. And both the real estate and charter lobbies invest very heavily and have an enormous amount of influence in terms of what candidates get Democratic support in the state and which ones don’t.”
“When we think about the ebb and flow of power, which is the experience when you’re out of power, I wonder how much is about visibility,” Robin Kelley suggests. A Right surge can often be reactionary–a Right mobilization in reaction to Left strength.
“I think about the 1930s. We think ‘The 30s was such a great period. We had the Left and movements and the communist party.’ And that is true. But what did we actually get?” Here Kelley characterizes the New Deal as counterrevolutionary.
This dismissive, reductive spin reproduces Left demoralization, I would argue, and further, it unfortunately sets us up to miss a major point of political win-loss dialectics: National military and economic elites coalesced precisely to overthrow the New Deal as a reviled step toward egaliberte, and first deploying state-civil society terror (cf Corey Robin 2004), to replace the New Deal with domestic militarization and consumerism.
It is my view that this standard, liberal explanatory oversight is a major barrier to Left political understanding. We cannot learn from history, Leftists retain demoralization, and we cannot understand what has happened to the US if we ignore how WWII brought together the military-economic elite coalition against democracy. Slaver Dixiecrats and fascist American military leaders threw all the strategy they could into jamming the New Deal while it was being instituted, and that was only a prelude to the real postwar (Cold War!) assault–by coalitional elites and their comprador agents–on the New Deal and the egalitarian human capacity behind it and lying in front of it.
Kelley continues usefully however: Rather than nurse its demoralization, Left reason needs to dialectically assess political victory and defeat.
This is a quite helpful correction. But further, the Left needs a valid dialectical analysis, not a story borrowed from Democrat Party comms strategy. Recognizing that in the US, the Enlightenment is always confronted and embattled by the Antienlightenment and its Counterenlightenment capitalist allies, we also seek to validly analyze the rot the Right manages to inflict in its thrusts at the heart of egaliberte successes, because just as with the Federalist and slaver political strategies at the country’s revolutionary founding, that rot will turn the tide again to the Antienlightenment’s favor.
Along with other New Deal-era measures shoring up capital and destroying crops instead of protecting them as worker resources, Kelley says that “The labour regime that was produced in the New Deal enabled the restoration of capital.” Here Kelley is affirming Gilmore’s argument, and likely alluding to the classic historical-sociology analysis that the root of the inequality restoration was excluding African-American workers from labor rights–by excluding farm workers and social reproduction workers from labor rights–and as well perhaps allowing the half-measures semi-corporatism of the AFL-Democrat Party relationship under anti-communist leadership. This insight is necessary. However, it is not a sufficient analysis of the New Deal limits.
As I say, in overemphasizing the liberal “Dixiecrats and corrupt labor leadership” explanation for the demise of equality and egalitarianism in the US, that classic analysis–which enjoys still very-interested Democrat Party sponsorship–is insufficiently empirical and should be outmoded in scholarship. It invalidly occludes the broader–and frankly fascist— WWII elite coalition across the military and robber baron-legacy East Coast capital (The latter shows up a bit better in Clyde Woods’ excellent analysis of the Southern elite restoration, which Wilson knows). That potent and outraged elite coalition was fixated on supplanting the New Deal with militarization and commercialization, prepared with the Red Hunt (Red Scare) terror. As well, the Dem Party explanation for Antienlightenment restoration (Republican domination) hides the eventful backstage elite effort underway in London and Washington DC to remove capital controls, achieved already by the end of the 1950s (Schenk 1998). There’s a reason why the White Austrian diaspora was being sponsored postwar to politically refound the US and UK in the inegalitarian-private property principles of the coalitional Antienlightenment and Counterenlightenment.
Kelley nonetheless concludes with a helpful reminder that it is Right business, not the Left’s business, for the Left to wallow in demoralization:
“I’m saying that we have to see struggle dialectically, as opposed to thinking of struggle in terms of highs and lows. Because when we use an historical perspective, times that have looked like highs were really moments of defeat, and times that have looked like lows were movements emerging.” I would refine that summary by clarifying that times that have looked like highs included the instruments of defeat, such as the consolidation of reactionary organization. I think Kelley should agree with this in the case of the New Deal as well as, as he allows, in the present case.
Listen here to today’s premier American scholars discussing how to understand and feel political history: https://thedigradio.com/podcast/ruth-wilson-gilmore-robin-kelley-and-olufemi-taiwo/
I am very concerned that the Democrat Party has remained unchanged a repressive force, co-opting and redirecting the American intellectual Left in ways that reproduce economic inequality and de-democratization, including through its affective politics. To improve strategy and resilience, the Left has to be able to see elite mobilization and organization more clearly. Hiding elite mobilization and organization reproduces a liberal (Democrat) party that enables Antienlightenment restoration.
Trying to understand Democrat Party intellectual domination and popular demobilization, I have been asking liberal Political Scientists how they explain the Democrat Party’s inability to counter two well-established Republican strategies: electoral-district gerrymandering and stacking the American judiciary with Antienlightenment jurists. Liberal Political Scientists attribute two causes for these political failures: values and Leftists.
The first explanation is patently incredible: Political Scientists argue that “Democrats'” (ambiguously including or disincluding party strategists and politicians) values are too democratic, so they cannot counter-strategize against those underhanded Republican strategies. Here “values” is invoked to replace a valid explanation. It is implied that Democrat Party political strategists can neither deploy instrumental rationality to counter-gerrymander and re-organize the judiciary nor can they implement substantive rationality to democratize electoral process and the judiciary. In liberal Political Science theory, the liberal party is just too innocent and clean handed to maintain or build democratic institutions.
In this explanation, liberal Political Scientists imagine liberal parties as clinging to a very odd view of democracy, as the “value” of inert passivity. For them, institutions are not more or less democratic or antidemocratic, and they can’t imagine how a political party might actively maintain or build democratic institutions. The exoterically-incredible vision of strategically-innocent Dem Party operatives likely hangs on an underlying Cold War liberal belief in the “Totalitarianism” concept. Arendt memorably, and probably cynically purified and crystallized in philosophical verse, the ideology already carried by liberals whose sympathies leaned toward fascism: The inhuman threat to humanity, Totalitarianism is the anti-liberalism carried in the excitable blood of racist Germanic peoples and socialists everywhere. By contrast, liberal democracy naturally alights when the excessive agency of Totalitarians is suppressed. Because the robber barons are pure, all hail the restoration of the Gilded Age. Liberal Political Scientists propose an idealist definition of democracy that precludes party collective-action capacity–the sine qua non of political parties.
Mainstream Dems are too busy to counter Republican strategy because those Dems already have a strategic job, according to liberal Political Scientists: responsibly suppressing the excessive collective action capacity of the Left. The second Liberal Political Science explanation for liberal party strategic “failure” is that the Left Justice Democrats fail to submit to party discipline. Perhaps these hooligans consume Mainstream Democrats, which prevents the Dems from noticing and countering Republican gerrymandering and judicial-stacking strategy, year after year, decade after decade. This explanation would likewise be risible–first, Democratic Socialists are not anarchists. Second, there is nothing in democratic socialism that precludes countering Antienlightenment political strategies. Third, wow. Mainstream Dems struggle so hard to do their main job, suppressing working-class political power. They’ve got nothing else left in the tank.–were it not primarily built to both insult intelligence and Leftists generally. Here we are given a rich vision of Bernie Sanders, AOC, and Ilhan towering menacingly over fragile Nancy Pelosi and Joe Manchin and bellowing, whips in hand, torches flickering, that no one will get in the way of Republican gerrymandering and judicial stuffing! The facile transfer of liberal strategic neglect and failure (or *cough* perhaps the Mainstream Dems’ lack of disagreement with Republicans) to the US’s extremely-repressed and marginalized Democratic Socialists is an ideological tic that does not qualify as explanation.
Liberal Political Scientists pose a vision of the liberal party as a trembling lab monkey baby. Why o why wouldn’t that vision appeal to the masses?
The liberals don’t compete with the conservatives politically because liberals are only in the political game for rents, while conservatives are competing to produce spectacular exhibitions of loyalty to warlords. This extra dimension of conservative expression seems to help them avoid wasting all their time and strategy suppressing the far Right. Dems languish, sad that Republicans don’t stick to the anti-Totalitarian comms strategy of 1950.
Here I should be clear that these invalid explanations are pre-packaged. Individuals who carry them as a matter of professionalism are not necessarily operating in bad faith. Yet if scholars cannot be accountable for intellectual rigor, then their scholarship is too adulterated, dependent on political and economic authority.
The upshot is, Counterenlightenment scholars attached to liberal parties do not have to consistently form credible, valid explanations for political phenomena. They work at least partially in the unscholarly realm of propaganda. On the upside, this self-indulgence is also a weakness for liberals.
But that is only to the advantage of egalitarians if we do not similarly bullshit ourselves.
If the Left is to produce a valid understanding of capitalist capacities, and if the Left is to avoid sinking in demoralization, it’s important for the Left to be strategically disciplined about instrumentally containing its service to liberal parties. It’s counterproductive, for example, to uncritically circulate at a Socialist conference the liberal party line on the roots of Antienlightenment restoration in the US. As we see in the extraordinary case of Ardern’s New Zealand Labour Party’s struggle–contra coalitional capitalist opposition– to implement the first labor-rights legislation in Anglo-American contemporary history, even labour parties are heavily barred from substantively representing workers’ human rights or protecting workers’ interests today. Regional and international capital is bound in coalition and organized against it, reason be damned. Worse, Liberal parties like the Democrat Party are only in position to sponsor their own propaganda and ideology (It’s what the polling firms and revolving comms pros are for!) in place of consistently-valid political scholarship, because liberal parties are not in the Enlightenment business. Liberal parties are rentiers to private -property absolutism.
When we’re under Antienlightenment seige, it can feel like Counterenlightenment liberalism might be a harbor (See the brilliant film, Cabin in the Woods). It can even seem like the comms-pro champions of private-property get us, that really, they’re centering the African-American experience, particularly how folks suffer microaggressions. Surely it’s savvy to work within the pyramid of power?
As film director Jordan Peele tries to show, our Counterenlightenment-Antienlightenment society is not a low-stakes 1980s junior high of jocks, preps, and underdisciplined public school teachers; it’s a real-life horror movie. As Robin Kelley insists, we have to gather our wits about us, and think dialectically, not just feel the emotions set upon us. From Spinoza, Robespierre, L’ouverture, and Marx on down, it is the democratic Enlightenment that is actually centering the African-American condition and contribution–by validly contextualizing it. When it pays to do so, the Counterenlightenment slices off parts of democratic Enlightenment knowledge, but strictly on its own terms, for its own private property ends. You can be a courtier or double agent. Or you can develop your political and diplomatic capacities on behalf of egaliberte.
Richard Wolff, 10/24/22, Series Advanced Political Economy (SAPE)
Four factors reoriented the discipline of Economics in the 20th century.
- Natural Sciences were anointed princess knowledge (under elite military and economic authority) after WWII. Economics’ disciplinary patriarchs labored to mathematize economic theory to serve elite interests, and secure status and funding. [Note: In over-expansively attributing authority to the Natural Sciences, Wolff does not perceive how science was reduced to imperial positivist-mechanism under imperial command, and organicist natural sciences more broadly were stigmatized and excluded, just as much social scientific knowledge was. Nonetheless, unlike Erik Peterson, Wolff recognizes that economics’ scientific knowledge was narrowed post-WWII. Peterson follows erroneous common sense in arguing that (except perhaps 20th century British Biology), the physical sciences were always imperial positivist-mechanist, and that, jealous of the status, in the 19th century the social sciences were born reduced to aping the physical sciences. That is partly true. The 19th century Anglo Social Darwinists proliferated empirically-bereft authoritarian knowledge, via individualizing explanation. This fluffed the era’s robber barons and was instituted in policy that hammered at the working class. But it was hardly any Sociology at all. However, Kimmel’s Classical Sociological Theory compilation shows that following the Enlightenment, Sociology very much included organicist, contextualized-comparativist knowledge, up to the Cold War. Sociology’s Simmelian, modified version of Cold War positivist-mechanism was microsociology, instituted wholesale in the new elite university Sociology departments of the mid-20th century.]
- In the Cold War, Economics was not only redesigned as an offshoot of positivist-mechanist Engineering, loyalty to capitalism was required of the students of Economics.
- The CIO, and American socialist parties, and the American communist party designed and organized for social democratic institutions in the 1930s, implemented (with capitalist modification) by the FDR administration in the New Deal.
After WWII, the business community and government were devoted to undoing the New Deal. Economics students were disciplined to contribute to the elite New Deal rollback campaign.
- Like mathematized economic theory, elite American universities are shrouded in mystification to widely promote elite knowledge as authoritative.
Wolff also argues that the contribution of Marxism is microeconomic: analyzing Master-Servant relations in capitalism (v. transhistorical human or Terrestrian relations). Economic democracy, worker co-ops aufhebung (are the overcoming of) Master-Servant microeconomic relations.
Wolff notes that the US is no longer the center of global capitalism. Asia is. There is thus a billowing demand for evolved/evolving Marxist analysis today in the US. American universities are unfortunately mired still in the Cold War.
Only employers set prices, Wolff reminds us. 1% of the population sets prices. 99% of the population takes prices. This is potentially socially explosive. The capitalist elite in the US is desperate, manufacturing denial. Leaders like Janet Yellen know that they are constrained to act as if raising interest rates is the only option in the face of inflation. Yet they also esoterically know that to combat inflation, past governments have successfully implemented other tools–rationing and wage-price freeze. So implementing interest rate increases, the country’s economic managers performatively wring their hands, reminding their capitalist clients that it is the working class that is hit with the costs of the inflated interest-rate treatment. Economics is bound up with ideology.
Wolff honors Freud with the attribution for the theorization that individual human cognition is composed of the accumulation of diverse positional experiences, rather than based in a god-like (“objective”) position over multidimensional Earthly experience, putatively conferring the capacity to identify singular, unidirectional causation. While critique of positivist-mechanism’s colonization of science is warranted, this is not a valid attribution nor really even logically powerful, but rather an idiosyncratic authority strategy–such as to pose oneself part of a greater psycho-philosophical knowledge community, in order to demand students in dissertation defenses identify the limits of their research paradigm. Though that’s a fair dissertation demand, citing Freud is not a viable strategy if you’re not Jewish because Freud did not invent the theory, as Wolff claims he did, and he didn’t consistently apply it. As well, again, to argue that (due to lack of authoritative perspective) individual cognition disallows knowledge of causes is not logically tight. The point of contributing to the scientific community is to help build a collective, multi-positional knowledge better able to determine causation than mystified authority.
I read Pretty Good House (Kolbert, Mottram, Maines & Briley, 2022) cover to cover, in order to understand houses better. In the process, I learned about the limits capitalism imposes on mass housing. Here’s what I found:
Architects and housing designers developed the Pretty Good House (PGH) model in order to meet the call for less environmentally-destructive housing in cold-climate (horticultural Zone 6) regions. The target market for the PGH is the American upper middle class with both some demand for environmentally-responsible and health-oriented housing, and comfortable wealth and incomes, but without the plutocrat budgets that can fulfill architects’ dreams. This market affords architects and housing designers the ability to pursue parsimony and technical problem solving, within the constraints of the current building supply mass market, local Earth conditions, and human requirements for light, air, health, conviviality, distraction reduction, and most of all, protection from common Earth conditions outside the human comfort range: water and cold. This housing solution to the climate crisis is anchored in the following principles:
The PGH is built parsimoniously–perhaps with only one dormer interrupting a two-story, peaked-roof box shape–between 1500 and 3000 sq ft, and with a near-total seal from the surrounding environment. The PGH is set upon, but not in the Earth, with an insulated slab at the foundation, but no basement. The PGH model rejects basements as leaky and too accommodating of storage.
The house exterior is allowed to dry with a rainscreen, a layer of wood strips attached to the house vertically under the siding.
The PGH house is climate-controlled with insulating cellulose packed between two layers of framing, double-stud wall construction, and a near-unbroken, total wrapping of plastic membranes designed to variously block air and water flow between the cellulose-filled framing and the rainscreen. To maintain a temperature comfortable for humans, these houses also use externally-appended dual cold/hot air-conditioning machines, air-source heat pumps. Heat pumps pump either heat or cold into the house by toggling the differential evaporating temperatures of chemicals.
Houses sealed off from the Earth require machines appended to the exterior and linked to machines in the interior. These ventilation machines function to replenish the Earth’s fresh air to the interior, and to exhaust the air fouled inside the house. These ventilators are either ERVs or HRVs, which protect interior temperature optimization by transferring the heat of exhausted air to the fresh air they draw into the house. With the expulsion of fouled air comes air pressure imbalance, so a minimum complement of mechanically-covered holes must bore the house to restore air pressure equilibrium. When you think of the PGH, think not so much New Mexico Earthship, but more of an early Mars colony housing prototype.
Jane Jacobs note: By and large, Continental Europeans–and not North Americans–design, manufacture, and sell housing components calibrated to maintain comfortable temperature and humidity. I suspect that this is because the largest regional economy and market in Continental Europe is colder Germany, whereas the largest regional economy and market in North America is warmer California or Texas. Like wet, cool London, cold New York is really a global financier’s state, rather than a mass market.
Because its core principle is sealing housing off from the air and moisture in the surrounding environment, PGH design and construction is not applicable to renovating existing housing, which is designed to refresh the internal air supply by not sealing the house off from the surrounding environment–a design principle in contradiction to the PGH. The Pretty Good House book provides a couple of examples of what looks like very extensive and expensive renovation, allowing that it would have been preferable to tear the houses down and start new.
Even and especially when it is brand new, but also across homeowners, the PGH demands constant management. The final chapters of the Pretty Good House book detail the testing to ensure that the house is optimized–sealed off from the environment–as well as both the ongoing monitoring and the ongoing maintenance required for the machines that maintain temperature and humidity optimization and habitability, including fresh air intake, fouled air exhaustion, and pressurization. Inside the sealed PGH, the monitoring machine tracks the habitability variables of CO2, CO, and air pressure, inter alia, and of course the house-integrity and comfort variables the PGH optimizes: humidity and temperature. The machines maintaining comfort, structural integrity, and habitability within the PGH must be maintained: ventilation must be run, filters must be changed, photovoltaic panels must be cleaned, animals must be driven from inside warm heat pumps, and so on. The PGH requires the homeowner to maintain a thick, detailed owner’s manual from the build onward, in order to manage the single-family house. Owners must keep expensive PGH contractors on their Rolodex, in order to diagnose and solve the mechanical problems that accrue with sealing out the world.
Limits of the PGH Climate-crisis Response
Here is where we need to point out the limits of the capitalist climate-crisis problem-solving capacity. Not only does the capitalist solution to climate crisis target a minority of housing–the new builds of quite (though not supremely) affluent consumers near the capitalist financial core. As well, it continues to require ever-smaller, aging, individual families to diligently manage a house–possibly at the expense of the paid employment that keeps them affluent, to speak nothing of their civic, political, social, active leisure, or other human-development time (their total social reproduction workload). It even may increase the amount of time required to manage a house, over and above the widespread, older, California version of housing that passively optimizes air refreshing rather than minimizing ongoing energy consumption.
Even if some of the PGH technology and design dribbled down to less affluent consumers or new mass developments, it is unlikely that households less protected from the disruptions of exploitative and extractive capitalist relations will be able to reliably undertake such high levels of house maintenance–including the regular replacement of its key mechanical components. The central technology of the PGH is the air-supplied heat pumps, which the authors admit are delicate machines that wear out and require regular replacement over the life of a house.
First, it’s regrettable that Jane Jacobs wasn’t more correct, so that North Americans living in temperate-to-cold climates had ready access to European housing technology and know-how, rather than the same-old, inappropriate California and Texas technology and know-how. Or: It’s too bad that North America is ruled by Manifest Destiny. Once again, it would be less harmful on social and ecological dimensions if the US were not so large, lashing together disparate regions to optimize imperial domination.
Second, to build or renovate a house to reduce mass housing’s impact on the climate, I would reduce from PGH principles (which are reduced from LEED principles) and merge with other, humane principles the following technologies and design:
Insulated basements with capillary break between concrete basement and wood house;
Rainscreens under siding; general principle: give water an exit; allow house to air dry;
Kitchen and bathroom air and moisture venting to the outdoors;
Cellulose-packed, plastic membrane-wrapped, double-stud wall construction;
Efficient European windows and doors;
Large picture windows paired with smaller ventilating windows;
Use regional wood generously throughout the house and garage;
Non-toxic paints or plaster;
Layered task lighting in crepuscular-colored LED;
The living space, dining space, and kitchen should be contiguous, with shared sightlines; office space and entertainment space should be separate;
Bedrooms should never be smaller than 12’x12′ with an additional, shallow (3′ deep), sliding-door closet spanning one wall;
Install compost toilets in two baths–one 3/4, one 4-piece;
The garage can have, adjacent to the car port, an enclosed equipment room, for tools, gardening supplies, bikes, skis, and boats, with a big door;
Situate the high-efficiency, European fireplace at the cusp of the outdoors, or site a chimnea design outdoors;
PNW houses should have a covered outdoor space or outdoor hot tub;
Never get rid of old, functional boilers. Maintain them. In dry winter climates, heat from radiators is optimal;
Collect water on-site. Use for house water-supply backup or gardening;
Organize a neighborhood solar bank for multi-dwelling electrical supply. Private solar banks are second-best;
Communal kitchens both reduce exposure to toxic exhaust and, with proper incentives, allow more rational sharing of household management work. The same principles go for hot tubs, saunas, exercise space, libraries, outdoor fireplaces, grills, vehicles, craft shops and art studios, and yard maintenance equipment. To support sharing capacity, international, national and regional governments should be held responsible for maintaining the democratic supports for distributed, lifelong, autonomous human development, health, and ordered living–unequal and inegalitarian governance is no substitute;
Sufficient roof pitch for local precipitation type and load; outsulation or vapor-open roof assembly with vented suspended soffit;
Optimal yard landscaping involves eco-stained wood decks and Hawaiian-colored (various shades of purple and green) bushes, some with edible fruit, interspersed with food and herb beds.
According to political economist Martin “Marty” Hart-Landsberg and other advocates, a Green Transition would require a concerted level of state re-organization reminiscent of the WWII militarization of the US. A quantitative indicator of that flash state-society reconstruction: In 1940 the percentage of US GDP devoted to the military was 1.6. Only three years later, military expenditure consumed a third of US GDP. While inequality has since skyrocketed, workers now bear the tax burden, and national accounting has been retooled (making comparison more complex), today public “defense spending” (not including the over $200BN spent on incarceration and the many institutionalized layers of policing essential to joint military-capitalist rule and the preservation of slavery and labor incapacitation) consumes at least 11% of GDP (Treasury.gov), and the US is hurtling toward openly spending 1 TN on the military annually, on par with all, insufficient public spending on the infrastructure (“social spending”) to maintain a working class in the large capitalist country. The US continues to be rebuilt into a half-Garrison State.
What were the qualitative products of that WWII Shock Doctrine reorganization? What institutions were established? What dispositions did those institutions establish? Intersecting with capitalist and especially slaver class interests, how did the militarization of the US lay the path for the compulsive reproduction of environmental crisis, care crisis, and the death of democracy we have inherited today?
In a period of declining capitalist confidence, American elites consolidated across military and business sectors, shifting into the military to pursue their class war planning. After WWI, as it attempted to consolidate its power and capacity to direct the country for military priorities, the US military served as an institutional base for coalitional elite planning for military industrialization premised on unfree labor. The coalition of American military and economic elites insisted that under their rule, labor rights would be revoked (Paul A. C. Koistinen. 1979. The Hammer and the Sword. New York: Arno Press). The Roosevelt administration tried to moderate this fascist elite mobilization. However, as organized labor (the CIO) designed and attempted to advance an alternative: corporatism, including labor in policymaking, all economic, military, and political elites rejected corporatism in the US. The vision for the American working class, and permanent societal-wide militarization, would be based on the slaver’s plantation.
Postwar American militarized governance included the “Red Scare” in which millions of capable socialists were hunted out of supervisory employment, imprisoned, and deported, as well as the “Green Revolution” (a replication of the 17th-20th century United Kingdom Enclosure) in which the South was reorganized around capital-intensive chemical-oil manufacture and farming and dispossessed African Americans were expelled to work Northern factories. It was left to the nascent, skeletal, and capitalist-dominated institutions of the New Deal, and to Soviet Union pressure, to create the social space in the US for democrats to re-organize after WWII, extending under Democrat Party management some basic political and even social citizenship rights from White male soldiers to women and people of color, in return for compulsory servitude.
The liquidation of the Soviet Union in 1990 was celebrated as the last impediment to absolute private property rights, military-policing rule (with expansion into the Department of Homeland Security), and slavery restoration via public-private partnership carceralism and diminished citizenship rights. To facilitate this governance, the democratic content of the American Revolution was jettisoned in the 20th-21st centuries, and the Republican Party and Catholic legal education institutions manufactured and mobilized a nationwide judiciary to reinterpret the US Constitution in the framework of an Antienlightenment restoration, branded “originalism”.
Agents Instituting Military-Capitalist Rule in the US
The Democrat Party in the federal executive and the military conflicted from WWI through the Truman Administration over who would govern the country’s industrial militarization. Political elites in the Democrat Party accommodated their class’ enthusiasm for industrial militarization, not only as a profit opportunity and imperial enforcer, but as a method to completely subjugate labor and the despised working class once and for all. But in a symbolic nod to the Enlightenment ideas cohering the country’s original anticolonial bloc, as well as embarrassment over the prospect of embracing fascism immediately on the heels of WWII, and more particularly with an eye to preserving the capacity to serve global capitalists as the US took over British Empire functions, the Democrat Party struggled to maintain executive rule outside the military.
Driven by slaver convictions and buoyed by capitalist support, the military was committed to reorganizing the entire country under military rule, including subordinating the two US political parties and political institutions. As Weber might have foreseen, the military’s weakness relative to the political party was the persistent rivalry among military departments, as well as the slaver-interpolated military’s profound disrespect for and discounting of domestic and global working-class interested agency–though the US military did not lack for public relations capacity, maintaining one of the largest public relations machines as well as employing Evangelical population managers after WWII.
The military was also in the mid 20th century briefly but devastatingly “betrayed” in its alliance with capital, as postwar industrial militarization was tied to a consumerist economic expansion that muddied concerted, wide-ranging campaigns to reform civilian relations and dispositions under a universalized model of sacralized, patriarchal martial dependence, myopia, sacrifice, fear, and violence. The US military was humiliated and furious to find its ambition to absolute rule checked by organizing racialized, feminized and colonized peoples, crosscutting with international socialist organizing. What is now perceived as the creepy and insane culture of the 1950s (often used, along with White Southern culture, in the culture’s horror genre) was the immediate result of this postwar effort to universally impose “White” patriarchal military discipline upon civilian smallholders. But even by the late 1950s, American capitalists were sprinting headlong for a supreme, global property-rights citizenship rooted in London and New York State (Schenk). The US sufficiently conquered, a fantastically-endowed US military seemed to sort itself out, balancing its departments’ ambitions, focusing on dominating, deploying, and decapacitating burgeoning billions of non-elites, securing natural resources for expropriation, in the US and around the world. The US had become a rentier’s state, and there was wealth and power to go around for military, political, and economic elites alike.
Though it made alliances with elite capitalists, the 20th century US military was always hostile to and always excluded American organized labor from planning and policymaking. The US military is an emphatically elitist, antidemocratic bastion. Its only mode of relating to organized labor and the working class is with sticks.
The National Defense Advisory Commission (NDAC) was established in May 1940. It was replaced by the Office of Production Management (OPM) in December 1940, which was replaced, in turn, by the War Production Board (WPB) in January 1942. The OPM and WPB were merely reiterations of the NDAC. Reactivated by Roosevelt for WWII the NDAC was a complex agency, organized around seven areas of specialization or divisions, each with its own appointed head: Industrial Production, Industrial Materials, Labor, Price Stabilization, Farm Products, Transportation, and Consumer Protection. Because the NDAC’s primary charge was to help business produce the goods and services needed by the military, two divisions soon came to dominate its work: the Industrial Production Division (led by William S. Knudsen, the president of General Motors Corporation) and the Industrial Materials Division (led by Edward R. Stettinius Jr., board chairman of the United States Steel Corporation). Every section in these divisions was run by a capitalist (“dollar a year” executives, who did not rely on their government leadership work for income), with a capitalist advisory committee. Labor was sidelined by capitalists.
“If you are going to try and go to war, or to prepare for war, in a capitalist country, you have to let business make money out of the process or business won’t work.”–Henry Stimson, Secretary of War in the Roosevelt Administration. The capitalist section heads resisted war mobilization requirements until in 1942 the NDAC was reorganized as the WPB, bringing together military leaders and 800 businessmen, commanding powers to “shut down civilian industries or order their conversion to military production, prioritize and allocate the distribution of scarce goods and materials, promote new investment in plant and equipment in critical industrial sectors, and secure agreement from the military’s procurement agencies to take the economy’s ability to produce into account when making procurement demands” (Hart-Landsberg 2022). Defense industry became concentrated, with subcontractors. With for-profit contracts, General Electric and Westinghouse fortunes were made.
After late 1930s labor losses to anticommunist political campaigns under the Dies Commission, Phillip Murray (CIO) and Walter Reuther (UAW) spearheaded alternative war mobilization plans that incorporated labor, but these were strongly opposed by capitalists and military leaders in the WPB. Communities and smaller-scale labor also attempted to carve out war-production roles other than as hands.
WPB-directed production not only turned workers into hands, it prominently shifted capitalists from their usual private property rights mode, protecting proprietary secrets and suppressing laborers’ intellectual development, to permitting widespread information exchange and collaboration under the supervision of managers, thereby rapidly advancing knowledge and technological development.
The military’s ferocious hostility to the American working class extended not only to boycotting labor representation in the WPB. The military controlled procurement agencies, and used these to establish its own network of labor surveillance and discipline bureaucracies, and to eviscerate labor laws, imposing instead extreme work hours, low wages, and miserable working conditions. The military deployed its vast public-relations organs, such as the Army-Navy Journal, to circulate stories falsely accusing civilian workers of wartime insubordination.
In response, a strike wave mounted. Charging “communism”, the military and its media allies called for outlawing unions, outlawing strikes, and extending working hours. The Army sent in soldiers to crack down the wildcat strike at North American Aviation. While the bombing of Pearl Harbor licensed, inter alia, the Roosevelt government to focus on suppressing inflation, labor unions fought to maintain the right to unionize, to strike, and to earn decent wages for the long hours. After tussling, unions lost the right to strike and the underpowered War Labor Board (NWLB) did not have the capacity to consider cases against wage discrimination. WWII served as the vehicle for military, capitalist and political elites to gut American labor organizations and rights across the board. Given carte blanche by American elites, employers humiliated American workers by playing with wage inequality and inequity, creating and maintaining unsafe working conditions, violating labor contracts, and imposing arbitrary dress codes and behaviour rules. As Catton lamented, the war could have been an opportunity for expanding American democracy. Military and business leaders ensured the opposite.
While they colluded with fascist military leaders to break American labor, and they realized enormous profits and technological and productivity advances from collaborating with military leaders to expropriate production intelligence and to direct production, corporate leaders plowed excess war profits into domestic ideological class warfare, touting tendentious conceptualizations to ensure that they would reap from the war a new, absolute liberty that would also allow them to disentangle from and dominate the state. “From the very beginning of the wartime mobilization,” capitalists “also aggressively worked to win popular identification of democracy with corporate freedom of action, and totalitarianism with government planning and direction of economic activity,” reports Hart-Landsberg. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) took an early forward role in spreading capitalist ideology, “funding a steady stream of films, books, tours, and speeches celebrating American businesses” as the sole source of wartime mobilization success, and tarring labor and the state as organs of unfreedom, “totalitarianism.”
But the American military was far more comfortable with such discursive betrayals than with democracy.
“The companies and reporters rarely mentioned that almost all of these new plants were actually financed, built, and owned by the government, or that it was thanks to government planning efforts that these companies received needed materials on a timely basis,” Hart-Landsberg observes. “Of course, the contribution of workers or the intensity of shop-floor struggles was never part of the stories. Perhaps not surprisingly, government and union efforts to challenge the corporate story were never as well funded, sustained, or shaped by as clear a class perspective.”
Hart-Landsberg concludes that the barrier and challenge to a Green Transition, just as with WWII mobilization, is chiefly political. It is the political barrier of capitalist class interests and power, bolstered by American military elitism, that actively disorganizes us and prevents the world from re-organizing to address climate crisis. These are the overgrown, substantively-irrational, self-satisfied, inegalitarian, antidemocratic, antihumanist, anti-life powers that stunt our human development and expression, that thwart our reorganization, that reproduce not only climate crisis, as Nancy Fraser observes in Cannibal Capitalism, but social, political and economic crises as well. Elitist elites were very difficult to coordinate, but could, at the limits, coalesce for a few years to run a war that produced their own aggrandizement. They maintain even more power to prevent any other priorities from displacing their aggrandizement.
Bruce Catton, The War Lords of Washington, The Inside Story of Big Business Versus the People in World War II (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1948
Rosemary Feurer, Radical Unionism in the Midwest, 1900-1950 (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2006).
Hart-Landsberg, M. 2020. “The Green New Deal and the State: Lessons from World War II,” Against the Current, No 207 (July-August 2020).
Martin Hart-Landsberg, “Realizing A Green New Deal: Lessons From World War II,” Class, Race and Corporate Power, Vol 9, Issue 2 (2021)
Martin Hart-Landsberg, “The Planning and Politics of Transformation: World War II Lessons for a Green New Deal,” New Politics, Vol. XVIII, No. 4 (Winter 2022)
Hart-Landsberg, M. 2022. “System Change, Class War, and the WW2 Economic Conversion Experience.” SP The Bullet, October 10.
Paul A. C. Koistinen. 1979. The Hammer and the Sword. New York: Arno Press.
Paul A. C. Koistinen, Arsenal of World War II, The Political Economy of American Warfare 1940-1945 (Lawrence, Kansas: University of Kansas Press, 2004).
Nelson Lichtenstein, Labor’s War at Home, The CIO in World War II (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1982)
J.W. Mason, “The Economy During Wartime,” Dissent Magazine, Fall 2017.
Donald Nelson, Arsenal of Democracy: The Story of American War Production (New York, Harcourt, 1946.
Mark R. Wilson, Destructive Creation: American Business and the Winning of World War II (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016).
Fraser, Nancy. 2022. Cannibal Capitalism. Verso.
American positivist-mechanism was built by, of, and for the US military. It was not the only form of 20th century knowledge deliberately funded and built to replace semi-independent democratic Enlightenment science.
The knowledge American positivist-mechanism produced, along with Wittgenstein’s logical positivism, was altogether highly unsatisfactory not only to stigmatized Enlightenment scientists including American Sociologist WEB Du Bois and British Biologist CH Waddington, but impactfully, to other world powers as well. After American positivist knowledge quickly came to dominate the early Cold War, the state-sponsored French philosophy academy took on the task of correcting that American knowledge. At the limnal 1968 defeat of the organized democratic Enlightenment, instead of resuscitating the science of the materialist democratic Enlightenment, the French philosophy academy went to its idealist well.
In contrast to the contextualized, comparative materialism of Enlightenment science, philosophical idealism was a form of knowledge honed in and to reproduce inegalitarian contexts. It was in that way similar to its rival, military- and capitalist-dominated positivist-mechanism (and Wittgenstein’s logical positivism). The 20th century philosophical critique and reform of social science offered a prestige alternative to Cold War positivist-mechanism that retained Cold War positive-mechanism’s anti-humanism, the Antienlightenment bias against life development in favor of non-elite sacrifice (a core military virtue), and a rejection of ecology, human-environment interaction. While many believed the welfare state a permanent institution, these 20th century inegalitarian knowledges were built to dismantle the welfare state and social citizenship, permitting their replacement with US military rule and mass consumption.
As conservatives of the 20th century including Michael Oakeshott noted approvingly, philosophy founded in Nietzsche was knowledge built to reproduce the Truth of elite authority. Such philosophy relies on the Antienlightenment assumption, shared by American military and financial elites, that the greatest threat to humanity is the mob: unconstrained non-elites. The Antienlightenment justice telos is the systematic isolation, immobilization, surveillance, and occupation of non-elites, in service of absolute elite freedom.
After the world wars, Depression, and welfare state formation, European and American elitists were on fire. In opposing the American military’s mechanist-positivist knowledge, European “critical” philosophers including Michel Foucault reified the imperial militarization of social science as social science tout court. Along with economists, they assumed that new, skeletal welfare states and public infrastructure were a done deal, totalizing and totalitarian institutions. They assumed that the working class rather than capital was the power commanding consumerist growth–and with that the monolithic crass culture that anti-socialist Austro-Hungarian Empire intellectuals warned about. Upon such romantic bases, they penned and shared proofs that democracy and public institutions supporting working-class citizenship were more implacably evil than oligarchical tyranny. Deconstructive play, a philosophical partial move, was asserted as a virtuous academic complement to the necessary antidote: the policing, imprisonment, and disorganization of the global working class.
In Palmer’s review of Dean & Zamora’s (2021) history of Foucauldian philosophy, we assess Philosophy’s 20th century corrective intervention in social science…an idealist, Great Man intervention glorifying the “marginal” elite capacity to electively patronize non-elites also marginalized by average tendencies. In the Cold War military, capitalist, and intellectual elite passion to constrain “mass society” (such as newly-broadened access to education, health care, and voting), philosophical idealism contributed too to the restoration of rigid inequality and inegalitarianism.
Science is an Enlightenment knowledge, properly structured as an alternative to authority Truth claims. However, with the institution of the Royal Society in industrializing, imperial England and particularly in the postwar imperial US, much motivated effort has poured into norms modifying science’s purpose and related structure to serve authority Truth claims. The hybrid results can be messy.
Though in the influential French and German Sociology traditions, the discipline was geared to state interests (cohering a capitalist affective order in post-revolutionary France; removing hypothesized state impediments to capitalist expansion in Central Europe), Sociology developed as an Enlightenment science, particularly in the internally-riven US, with its democratic tradition always in conflict with its inegalitarian slaver-finance tradition. The expanding global Enlightenment scientific community was structured to progressively incorporate excluded human and Earth knowledge at odds with ruling elite interests and Truth claims. This meant that Sociology did not develop in elite American universities or in the British Empire until social science was reformed (along with almost all the sciences) to accommodate imperial command in the Cold War. (Engineering was always a mechanist-positivist patriarchal community in service to empire, economic elites, and their states. Engineers have played an important role in diffusing their model as science.)
After WWII, the US assumed the global British imperial mandate. This placed the US military in a new, powerful position, and its leadership profoundly influenced the reconstruction of our idea of science, including social science (Bogle 2004; Hogan 1998; Light 2002; Peterson 2017; Solovey 2001, 2012, 2013, 2019). While it had previously eschewed semi-autonomous “organicist” science, the US military was keen to direct science to weapons development and population control.
In the post-war Cold War era, a new reduction of science was forged to accommodate military and capitalist direction. As far as possible, science was stripped of its capacity to develop knowledge independently of the direction of military and capitalist elites. Science would be mechanist–concerned with observing and manipulating micro, individual particles, from atoms to urban workers. And science would be positivist–scientific paradigms and research agendas would be governed by the ruling elite, capitalists and US military leadership, and elite academics would serve as managerial intermediaries. So Sociology was finally instituted at elite American universities and in the Commonwealth during the Cold War.
Among other methods for instituting this broad subordination of science to ruling-class dependency, the Austrian-Empire emigre Karl Popper influentially developed a theory of science reduced to “falsifiability.” This new concept of science forbade scientists from independently regulating, as a community of scientists, the paradigms governing their research; independent scientific paradigms were stigmatized as “unfalsifiable.” To be a good scientist was, in the authoritarian admonishments of the Cold War era, to be a good soldier, to “keep your eyes down” and your nose to the lab grindstone.
While its culture celebrates work ethic and sacrifice, busy-ness and output, positivist-mechanism hobbles science in some important ways. This contemporary Guardian analysis illuminates one of the ways in which, stripped of scientific paradigm self-regulation, the social dependency of positivist-mechanism makes scientific knowledge advancement inefficient over time.
Hossenfelder, S. 2022. “No One in Physics Dares Say So, But the Race to Invent New Particles is Pointless.” The Guardian 26 September. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/sep/26/physics-particles-physicists
Neoliberal moralism in Sociology is the incorporation of moralistic projects of population management– projects that paint paid and unpaid non-elite workers as broken, the problems in the system. Neoliberal moralism suggests that these endemic problems are fixed via their shaming and disorganization. As specialists in commercially-sponsored, branded, manichean, context-lite moralism, youth are invited to this version of Sociology. They approach it as an opportunity for the accelerated career advancement and amplified influence historically available to elite young men in periods of inegalitarian social reform.
Prior to the Cold War, Sociology was well-ensconced in the American academy–but the non-elite American academy. Intellectual luminaries including nonelites WEB Du Bois and Thorstein Veblen, Lester Ward and other feminists including Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Elsie Clews Parsons, and Virginia Woolf were its leaders. It was an Enlightenment discipline, concerned with contextualized comparativist organicist science, building a valid knowledge to challenge authoritarian elite Truth (Today probably the most accessible exponent of this scientific tradition is Emily Nagoski’s Come as You Are). To attract Germanic immigrants to settle the interior wastelands of the US, real estate entrepreneurs had built small colleges across the land. These were staffed by underqualified clergy, but including emigre clergy of an Enlightenment disposition. The thousands of colleges–and Sociology–were (and continue to be) held in contempt by inegalitarian East Coast Anglo patriarchs, but some of the most dedicated and well-prepared students were incorporated into the Anglo-American elite through continuing education in elite universities.
Post WWII, Anglo-American elites were on a mission. The US had received the reins of the British Empire. As part of this empire, Israel was founded to provide a homeland for the besieged Jewish population and to advance Atlantic ruling class interests in the oil-rich Middle East. US financial elites had worked with military elites throughout WWII and come to an accord: They agreed that the FDR-sponsored nascent welfare state must be replaced with population militarization, prepared with patriarchal evangelism. The working class in American capitalism would no longer need wealth distribution, except that chained to consumerism. To support this inequality-restoration agenda, the US and UK sponsored the Antienlightenment ideologues of the Austro-Hungarian empire, who moved to the Anglo-American countries and built upon the racialized slavery- and financial foundations new, imperial, inegalitarian philosophical, moral, economic, and governance frameworks. The elite consensus was that too much equality had been achieved in the FDR years.
Where once elite institutions spurned Enlightenment Sociology, after WWII they established new Sociology departments, with a macro inequality-accommodating mandate. Military-sponsored positivist-mechanism produced a central column of US Sociology along with a second elite Sociology column–micro cultural observation and moralism, inspired by Jewish-Austrian philosopher George Simmel’s critique of micro-aggressions toward Jews in the urban Austro-Hungarian empire. Enlightenment Sociologists including WEB Du Bois were all but wiped from the face of Sociology for decades. The contextualized comparativist origins of Sociology were boxed out to the hinterland colleges, discredited and silenced until the populist academy flare-up of the 1970s.
Despite the last-gasp corrections of the 1970s, today’s Sociology reflects the joint Antienlightenment-Counterenlightenment Cold War legacy. While rejecting imperial American positivist-mechanism, in the Sociology-aversive British Commonwealth, Sociology was lately introduced as a moral population-regulation vehicle–though not the dedicated anti-Marxist instrument of the American Cold War academy. Thus a majority function of academic Sociology in the Commonwealth–as well as in the larger, but positivist-mechanism-inclusive US Sociology academy–is to produce neoliberal moral critiques supporting inegalitarian capitalism, and demonizing and suppressing labor, public institutions, and the welfare state. This modern variant of Sociology incorporates young people and other newcomers in the not-quite-gender-desegregated neoliberal moral-management community, sponsored by states and paying-families to support ruling-class Truths, including with crippling shame politics directed at workers and democrats. Because moralists do not value scholarly community for its semi-autonomous knowledge but rather for its historically-won capacity to bequeath authoritative credentials–merit, license to voice, (typically liberal) moralism is considered a legitimate and even virtuous calling for newcomers incorporating into the over-managed, exploitative and expropriated, neoliberalized academy.
Unfortunately, today the only substantial, politically-mobilized opposition to this Counterenlightenment moralism in Sociology is the radical inegalitarianism of the long Antienlightenment. Radical inegalitarians’ only concern with meritocratic moralism is as a rivalristic claim on the commodities of voice and political rents.
On the other hand, there is this para-academic popular genre, self-help podcasting, that seems to variably combine moralism and Enlightenment science, as well as Psychology’s typical positivist-mechanism. It’s the new seat of autochthonous populism.