May 25, 2016

Matt Bruenig, skeptical left-liberalism, #tribalism and related thoughts

Matt Bruenig
First, I'm about as glad that I'm not plugged into insider left-liberalism, socialism, as far as the American commentariat goes, etc. as I'm glad I'm not plugged into movement/scientific skepticism or Gnu Atheism.

The kerfuffle over Matt Bruenig being dismissed from Demos is a good example.

Despite the fact that, on Twitter, he appears to often be churlish at best, vituperative at worst, is the first "tell" against him. I can call out Neera Tandem for supporting the RSS and BJP in India, or Joan Walsh for being a centrist (and a sign that the Overton Window is alive and well at The Nation, if she's writing there), without being ageist, or just a general turd, you know?

And, apparently, he either doesn't know, or doesn't care, himself.

That said, per Lawyers, Guns and Money, he appears to be a bit of a hypocrite. Having a government job with the National Labor Relations Board, then saying too many lawyers are paid too much, is ... "rich." (I mean, yes, if he and his wife, 20somethings, are pulling down $100K a year in DC, and the AFL-CIO paid for his law school, he has no financial pain, even if the Demos firing gave him a haircut.)

He also (and I agree with several points by commenter Manual) appears to be a bit of a hypocrite about money again. No, he did not explicitly say Demos was his only, or even his majority, source of income, but one could easily infer that, which indicates that he was implying it. Read his GoFundMe that he set up after Demos fired him, if you don't believe me.

Nor is he that skeptically incisive of a thinker, also per LGM, though removed from his own blog, apparently, if he finds John Rawls to be highly influential. Walter Kaufmann blew Rawls out of the water long ago. I've blogged in more detail about some of Kaufmann's ideas.

This is why I raise eyebrows at left-liberals who aren't skeptical about their economic philosophy. Take self-proclaimed Marxists.

Any Hegelian-derived philosophy is a bit suspect in my eyes, in general. Any deterministic or any system-building philosophy is also suspect. The world doesn't operate in such absolutes. It's why I identify myself as a skeptical left-liberal.

That said, are non-leftist "conventional American liberals," even if they didn't get him fired from Demos, gloating over it? Did they push Demos, even if they didn't "get him fired," because, to parse Jesuitical, only Demos actually could fire him? Of course.

And, is this part of an organized attack?

Per what's happening to Carl Beijer, yes. And Beijer, at least from what I've seen on Twitter, and on occasional reading of his website, is NOT Bruenig in his general tone.

And, whether part of a mob, or simply part of stupidity, when the "labor editor" for the Great Orange Satan Tweets:
We're in the land where the one-eyed is king.

And, where collateral damage, per Beijer, is sometimes deliberate.

Took me all of 30 secs on Wikipedia, as I tweeted back, to show up her ignorance, long after many others did.

Beyond this, on left-liberals of whatever exact moniker circling the wagons against plain old liberals?

What we have here is tribalism, pure and simple. Regular readers of this blog should know that I loathe tribalism in general. I've certainly been vocal about tribalism in general in this election, decrying women voting for Clinton just because she's a woman, and the #ImWithHer hashtag, asking (rhetorically, knowing some won't answer and others are clueless outside the two-party system) why they weren't with Cynthia McKinney in 2008 or Jill Stein in 2012.

And, I don't "do" tribalism. See "movement skepticism" and Gnu Atheism above.

Anyway, I certainly don't know every bit of backstory, but, especially if he had had some sort of warning from Demos before, it arguably did the right thing.

Beyond that, any allegedly liberal, let alone left-liberal, labor lawyer making ageist comments has no business holding his current daytime job, since ageism is even more insidious, and harder to prove, than sexism and racism.

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