Lean Out producer Harrison Lowman and I discuss the recent debate in Toronto
The entire premise is nonsense. There's no reason to argue whether one ism is better or worse than another ism. None of the isms exist. All isms are stagecraft designed by rulers to divide and weaken the peasants. While peasants are busy arguing the details of A-ism vs B-ism, the rulers are free to violate both A and B. We need to pay attention to what the rulers actually DO to us, not the scenes and props that are designed to hide and distort the evil deeds. Watch the rabbit, not the hat.
It's fascinating to listen to Tara and Harrison Lowman kinda sorta talk themselves into what can only be called an undefined political space, a space referred to most often as post-liberal, but is otherwise ill defined. At the same time the sentiments I'm picking up are impatience and stylistism, as if liberalism, properly understood, suffers from mold, hideous Pantone shades and really wide lapels.
In a far more sinister turn, Sohrab Ahmari conflates every human foible and excessive corporate thrust as somehow complicit in the liberal project. And he shows explicitly just how willing he is to make mischief when he says, "Second, remember that liberalism is not natural. The brutal state of nature is a philosopher’s myth..." Of course liberalism isn't normal; you know what's normal in human affairs? Israel and Hamas; North Korea, Venezuelan corruption, Russia's invasion of Ukraine. So much for a philosopher's "myth." He has it exactly wrong.
The genius of the liberal project is taking human nature and giving it incentives to do the opposite, to build instead of destroy. Liberalism eliminated the right of Kings as well as the aristocracy and then challenged us to govern ourselves. Individually. If life is becoming more unsettled, if there is greater unhappiness around us, don't blame the liberal project, blame the crappy incentives delivered by the academy and the illiberal left. What they dislike is what they envy: the simple pleasures of bourgeois life.
For whatever reason, a number of Canadians like Sohrab Ahmari. I detect in him the zeal of the convert, and a deep hunger for celebrity. In any event, combining a conservative social ideology with a big government political agenda is merely shuffling the deck. He has yet to say anything important.
Lastly, please re-examine the premise of so many opinions about liberalism, namely that it's an ideology. It isn't, it's a philosophy. As the late great Northrop Frye said, ideologies are just applied myths; like stories, they have a beginning, a middle and an end. Philosophies are contingent, sprawling, and inexhaustible. And so we keep talking, and that's a good thing.
Jeez, you guys. Could you be any more unbalanced? (Tho I can understand how utterly off-putting Geo Will can be....).
Speaking just to your and your side's economic comments, they are just utterly unfounded. Not enough bandwidth here to refute 'em.
I'm deeply saddened by what Canada has become. I have two engineering degrees (MIT and Northwestern) and threw them away to trade options here in Chicago at the Board of Trade. I learned a lot about economics. (Ironically, a lot from a speech by Gorbachev when he visited the exchange. He said "The Soviet Union would have collapsed decades earlier if it didn't have the West's prices to use internally and externally.") But, along the way, in the early day we were backed by a private employee-owned investment bank out of Toronto, so got up there a lot over almost twenty years. (Firm was subsequently bought by BMO, and we parted ways, albeit pretty well off.). But, for those many years we got to know so many Toronto folks. Just awesome nice. Beyond Wisconsin or Minnesota nice, but urbane. I've lost every Canadian friend I had; I didn't change; they did. And they were nasty on the way out. But, that's the dark side of human nature (says this 65 yr old).
Peter Munk was a hero to a lot of Canadians. Trizec pptys and Barrick gold showed that Cdns could be big players too. It's no coincidence that his support for debate coincides with narrowly escaping the Nazis as a child. I see that a lot here in Chicago. Folks who came from E Europe (we have the largest Polish population outside of Poland) emphatically reject the Woke tripe that people in my wealthy suburb just blithely repeat. They're baffled that people can't see through them. But, as Kahneman et al have taught, people want to belong. Standing out from the herd is dangerous and painful. So, folks find ways to believe......
I enjoy the Munk Debate but the results should be treated with skepticism. Obviously most people are not swayed to change their position so a significant number of people will surely deliberately vote against the side they agree with at the beginning and then switch their vote at the end to make it appear they were convinced to change their view because of the debate.
Asha focused on climate change as the existential threat, but the events of the last month put war as the most dangerous threat we face. All out nuclear war to be precise. And why is war such a threat? Why do our free countries love to fight and support war? Because of the huge profits that can be gained from war. Such is the way of neoliberalism. The market rules and the rules are... make money!! War is a racket, and won't go away, or diminish at all, till the profit motive is taken away.
The mistake is thinking that liberalism, progressivism, socialism, Marxism, etc... are some purity of cause and agenda. Elites that adopt these left isms are just administrative looter types pursuing their own wealth and power in that lane vs, you know, doing it like Elon Musk and Joe the Plumber.