The Internet's universe of political blogs lacks a true left-wing, the blogger Freddie deBoer charges, endangering nothing less than the American dream:
American workers ... have been faced for years with stagnant wages, rising costs, and the hollowing out of the middle class. They are now confronted with that and a cratered job market ... Meanwhile, the neoliberal policy apparatus that brought us here refuses even to consider the possibility that it is culpable, so certain of its inherent righteousness and its place in the inevitable march of progress. And the blogosphere protects and parrots that certainty, weeding out left-wing detractors with ruthless efficiency, while around it orbits the gradual extinction of the American dream.
Where, deBoer asks, are the socialists and anti-capitalists in the "professional blogosphere of magazines, think tanks, and the DC media establishment?" The "nominal left of the blogosphere is almost exclusively neoliberal," he concludes, dominated by the likes of Matthew Yglesias, Jonathan Chait, Kevin Drum, and Ezra Klein. People think FireDogLake's Jane Hamsher is far to the left, deBoer explains, but her inflammatory language obscures the fact that she's a mainstream liberal. Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas, meanwhile, has paid the price for his left-wing views by getting link-exiled from the "establishmentarian blogosphere."
deBoer blames a blogging establishment that pulls bloggers aspiring to professional success rightward. His piece has provoked an avalanche of reaction:
- I've Experienced This, claims Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism. Smith is surprised that her views on financial services reform are considered left-leaning. "I'm middle of the road as of the Reagan era," she explains, but "the rest of the US has made a remarkably large shift to the right."
- Am I a 'Neoliberal'? asks Matt Yglesias at Think Progress. Yglesias labels his economic agenda "liberalism," and adds, "I simply deny that there are positions that are more genuinely egalitarian than my own. I really and sincerely believe that liberalism is the best way to advance the interests of the underprivileged and to make the world a better place. I offer 'further left' people the (unreturned) courtesy of not questioning the sincerity of their belief that they have some better solutions, but I think they're mistaken."
- I'm Interested in Art of the Possible, claims The New Republic's Jonathan Chait: "I don't spend a whole lot of time discussing left-wing thought because my interest in ideas is primarily, though not completely, in proportion to their influence on American politics. There's room for bringing in ideas that have little or no impact at the moment, but I don't do much of that."
- Serious Blogs Encourage Healthy Moderation, argues Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution: "Whether the blogosphere as a whole encourages moderation, I am not sure. But the better corners of it certainly do and that should be counted as one of its virtues."
- Left-Wing Not Well-Represented for a Reason, contends E.D. Kain at The League of Ordinary Gentlemen. The socialists and union activists deBoer speaks of are not the victims of a "concerted effort to ignore and marginalize the left," he says. Instead, they represent a tiny percentage of the population.
- You Shouldn't Turn to Wonks, Freddie, states Mike Konczal at Rortybomb. The policy wonks and journalists deBoer critiques are good at creating policy ideas and dissecting political processes, he says, but they're not going to start "a socialist overturn of the capitalist order."