Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Explaining AOC

Left-wing Ignorance On Display: AOC’s Juvenile Visions of Capitalism and Socialism

“T]o me, capitalism at its core … is the absolute pursuit of profit at all human, environmental, and social cost. … To me that is not a redeemable system.” Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Feb. 4, 2022

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (AOC), US Representative (14th district of New York) holds that capitalism, the economic system in our United States that people from all over the world risk life and limb to enter any way they can, is “irredeemable.”

Her contempt for capitalism is matched only by her love of socialism: “The emphasis in socialism is on democracy.  … It’s just as much a transformation about bringing democracy to the workplace so that … we don’t check all of our rights at the [workplace] door because … as workers and people in society, we’re the ones creating wealth.” 

For AOC, capitalism is “essentially” about greed and dictatorship over the workers.  By contrast, socialism is not concerned with anything so mundane is attempting to make working conditions cleaner, safer or better paying.  Socialists are concerned about something much grander, namely, a “transformation,” almost like the miraculous transformation from caterpillar to butterfly, from the mundane real world in which we live into a completely new and better world in which wealth and creativity spring up like mushrooms from the fertile socialist soil.

One might be tempted to respond immediately that AOC has it backwards, that, in fact, capitalism is about freedom and socialism is about dictatorship.  However, it is worth examining closely the precise words in which current socialists like AOC express their grandiose visions.  For, AOC actually does not say that capitalism is a greedy irredeemable system. What she says is that capitalism is a greedy irredeemable system to her.  Unfortunately, what capitalism is to her is of no interest whatsoever.  What is important is what capitalism actually is.

Similarly, when, in 2020 AOC asked black gay “democratic socialist” Jabari Brisport (New York’s 25th State Senate district), about his beliefs, he replied,

“[F]or me, it’s really about getting people out from underneath the thumb of capitalism, and freeing them from the very small group of people that … mismanage our economy and our society for their own wealth and benefit. It’s about freeing people to truly experience all the joys in life by making sure they [have the necessities of life].”

Once again, it is of no interest whatsoever what socialism is “to” Brisport.  What is of interest is only what socialism is in reality.  Unfortunately, Brisport’s characterization is not even close to a correct description of socialism.  What Brisport provides is a series of feel-good sentiments, getting people from underneath the thumb of oppression, freeing people to experience all the joys of life like a home and health care.  There is nothing specifically socialistic about that.

For some mysterious reason, socialists do not seem eager to tell us what capitalism or socialism really are, namely that capitalism is about individual freedom to chart one’s economic course in life while socialism is really all about big government control of people.  Rather, socialists feel much more confident telling us what capitalism and socialism are “to” them.  This kind of relativistic language was introduced into the Left by the post-Modernist movement that discovered that selling unattractive political programs is much easier once one abandons the limiting (and disciplining) notion of truth. For post-Modernists, instead of truth one gets different “narratives”.  AOC’s and Brisport’s narrative, their script, is that capitalism is bad and socialism is good.  Everything is very simple.  Even a child can remember such a simple script.

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