Monday, June 27, 2016

Young People Are Always Right Especially Sanders Supporters

My son, who is a liberal of course, said to me as we were discussing the election "Dad, young people are always right."

And in the great picture of things he is absolutely correct.

He pointed out the Vietnam war, "Occupy Wall Street" as two major examples of passionately led youth activism to reinforce his comment.

As with Sanders supporters and their genuine passion for the poor, the disadvantaged, the struggling ethnic communities, right is definitely on their side and their beliefs are to be respected and considered.

Where the young fail in their passion to these causes is in two areas. Firstly, and oddly, as passionate as they are they don't turn out to vote. 

For all of Sanders fans street and Twitter and blog activity the simple fact is that he lost the popular vote to Clinton even in ultra-liberal California. In the Brexit vote 75% of young people who voted supported "remain" but only 25% in the 18-25 age grouping voted. This lack of commitment in action detracts from the validity of their causes.

But most importantly the young identify major structural and societal faults, but either don't identify clear and viable solutions (taking into account the nature of the voting public and political realities in Congress) or don't present any solutions at all.

Occupy Wall Street was correct in its identification of the culture of corruption that the financial elite indulge in, the multi-billions major banks have had to pay in fines for their vile practices makes that very clear. 

The street theater went too far (defecating on police cars for example) but the movement failed because no clear statement of policy on how to deal with the problem emerged. Socialist (or communist) "solutions" would only serve to detract from any serious consideration as even the Democratic party would not consider them.

Similarly with the Vietnam example. Righteous indignation at the Harvard elite dragging the USA into a local civil war was of course correct but didn't address how to deal with the very real threat of communist aggression and oppression in the cold war era. It took a conservative President Reagan, after the hapless Carter administration, to apply the mechanism of economic sanctions, a massive build up of American arms which bankrupted the USSR to finish the threat off.

America has had eight years of the Obama administration which was supposed to bring "hope and change" and yet the ethnic, racial, middle and lower class incomes are so bad that it has unleashed the Trump and Sanders revolt against the establishment. To turn to a pillar of the establishment, Hillary Clinton, to deal with these major problems seems utterly absurd.

Unfortunately for the Sanders supporters the remedy lies, as with dealing with the USSR, with classic conservatism. Redistribution of income via punitive taxation is a sop to passion and whatever initial benefits accrue soon dissipate. The state as deliverer of social and economic equality is a time proven recipe for failure a LBJ's "great society" showed at its best and the USSR showed at its worst.

Economic regeneration through giving American entrepreneurs free reign to their (Keynesian) "animal spirits' in a genuinely competent regulatory environment allied to protection against foreign dumping and giving middle sized companies employers a fair trading environment via low taxation will "lift all boats."

Liberalism has "won" in identifying the multitude of problems confronting America, to apply liberal solutions to these problems is pouring more fuel on an out of control blaze. Sanders young folk are right in their passions, Donald Trump recognizes that, and extends the hand of welcome against the joint enemy.

It is of course for them to consider this in light of their options if Sanders is not their nominee. Their choices are not vote or support a third party, both of which enable Clinton, or vote for Trump.

They have identified the problems facing America, in the absence of Sanders the choice of a Trump led economic recovery and dismissal of the establishment whilst building up a Sanders Democratic party to give real choice in 2020 may be an option for them to consider.