Tag Archives: neoliberalism

Who is to blame: society or the individual

In Classification of Ideologies, I explore the differences between the far-left, the far-right, the centrist-left, the HBD-right, and in-between.

Consider a problem such as poverty or unemployment:

To the far-left (welfare liberals, Marxists, socialists, SJW-left, etc.), social problems are a failing of society (structural racism, discrimination, capitalism, etc.). The burden is a collective one, to fix these problems. The far-left view the world through the lens of power, with those who have power wielding it to oppress and exploit those who don’t.

To the centrist-left (neoliberals and classical liberals), libertarians, and neoconservatives, socioeconomic problems are a failing of the individual, not society. For the HBD-right (such as myself and others) this may be due to low IQs (an internal, individual trait) hindering the ability of individuals to succeed in an increasingly technological and competitive economy. To some conservatives, people may fall between the cracks because of poor work ethic (also an individual trait). The ‘Just-world hypothesis’ is often invoked to justify wealth inequality, in which structural forces that contribute to poverty are ignored. Thomas Friedman, a neoliberal, blames not capitalism–but individuals for not being able to keep up with an increasingly interconnected, automated, and competitive ‘flat world’. Charles Murray laments the delamination of society, but blames not capitalism, but IQ.

Much of his argument is centered on a notion of self-selective sorting that began in the 1960s and 1970s, when he argues that cognitive ability became the essential predictor of professional and financial success, and people overwhelmingly began marrying others in the same cognitive stratum and living in areas surrounded largely by others in that same stratum, leading to not only an exacerbation of existing economic divides, but an unprecedented sociocultural divide that had not existed before in America.

Although classical liberals and neoliberals may subscribe to a social-Darwinistic worldview, they support a social safety net to help those who may be unable to adapt, more so than neoconservatives, and welfare liberals, who reject social Darwinism, support the largest social safety net of all–obviously.

The far-right, but also some neoconservatives, also blame society (such as secularism, breakdown of families, materialism, cultural degeneracy) for individual failings.


An article by Sam Bowman on neoliberalism went viral: I’m a neoliberal. Maybe you are too

Neoconservatives also support free trade, markets, and are consequentialist, unlike the far-right. They also tend to have a more optimistic outlook than either the far-left or the far-right.

Neocons are typically consequentialist, supporting policy such as 2008 the bank bailouts, which created the risk of moral hazard over the long-run (and went against the ethos of ‘free market capitalism’) and was very unpopular with a lot of people, but may have been necessary to stem the bleeding from the financial system and boost confidence so that the healthier parts of the economy would not be weighed-down by the ailing banking and housing sector.

Also, Sam Bowman is from the UK. The European-equivalent of ‘liberal’ tends to be more further to the ‘left’ than the US-equivalent. Bill Clinton, despite running as a democrat, favored deregulation, welfare reform, and was tough on crime.

In response to an earlier post, someone counters that liberals are optimistic:

Small correction: as a far-leftist, we actually believe we’re (ie: Marxists, anarchists, other radicals) the inheritors of the Enlightenment and its tradition of emancipation, understanding, and happiness through the systematic application of reason. We do not have a pessimistic view of human potential merely because we object to Whig history. The opposite! We object to Whig history because we look at the world and believe that we can progress much further than the present day.

Not all Marxists and far-leftists agree on everything. Some Marxists believe technology may render jobs obsolete, and that this is a good thing, whereas many on the far-left want ‘full employment’ (examples being the Works Progress Administration by FDR in the 1930′s and the Obama stimulus in 2009).

Karl Marx, in a section of his Grundrisse that came to be known as the “Fragment on Machines”,[22][23] argued that the transition to a post-capitalist society combined with advances in automation would allow for significant reductions in labor needed to produce necessary goods, eventually reaching a point where all people would have significant amounts of leisure time to pursue science, the arts, and creative activities; a state some commentators later labeled as “post-scarcity”.[24] Marx argued that capitalism—the dynamic of economic growth based on capital accumulation—depends on exploiting the surplus labor of workers, but a post-capitalist society would allow for…

Neoliberals, unlike welfare liberals, are more receptive to post-labor economics. Also, the inheritors of ‘The Enlightenment’ are today’s neoliberals and classical liberals, and maybe some libertarians. Like Same Bowman above, they are generally optimistic about human nature, and support free trade, free dissemination of ideas, technology, markets, and some social safety net. Now contrast that to the far-left of today, such as BLM, SJWs, Sanders, and, in 2011, OWS. BLM, for example, has a very negative view of human nature, believing that blacks are being systematically oppressed by so-called ‘institutional racism’, a view also shared by SJWs. Sanders, rather create wealth and celebrate individual success, wants to fan the flames of class warfare. SJWs oppose free speech and support censorship of ‘offensive’ ideas and individuals, going so far as even protesting liberal professors (or anyone whom they deem as ‘privileged’). The far-left also subscribes to the notion of the ‘noble savage’ and that modern civilization and technology are inherently racist and oppressive, preferring that the world revert to a simpler and more egalitarian state.

Maybe I’ll make a spreadsheet to show the similarities and differences between these and other ideologies