Listen, Liberal – Thomas Frank

Listen Liberal

RT have released an entertaining and interesting interview with Thomas Frank where the wide ranging conversation focussed upon: What ever happened to the party of the people?

It’s an intriguing question that’s echoed on both sides of the Atlantic by the supporters of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn.

Thomas Carr Frank (born March 21, 1965) is an American political analyst, historian, journalist and columnist for Harper’s Magazine.

He wrote “The Tilting Yard” column in the Wall Street Journal from 2008 to 2010, and he co-founded and edited The Baffler.

He has written several books, most notably What’s the Matter with Kansas? (2004).

Frank is a historian of culture and ideas and analyzes trends in American electoral politics and propaganda, advertising, popular culture, mainstream journalism and economics.

His writing topics include the rhetoric and impact of the culture wars in American political life and the relationship between politics and culture in the United States.

Thomas Frank

Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?
Thomas Frank – 2016

From the bestselling author of “What’s the Matter With Kansas,” a scathing look at the standard-bearers of liberal politics — a book that asks: what’s the matter with Democrats?

It is a widespread belief among liberals that if only Democrats can continue to dominate national elections, if only those awful Republicans are beaten into submission, the country will be on the right course.

But this is to fundamentally misunderstand the modern Democratic Party. Drawing on years of research and first-hand reporting, Frank points out that the Democrats have done little to advance traditional liberal goals: expanding opportunity, fighting for social justice, and ensuring that workers get a fair deal. Indeed, they have scarcely dented the free-market consensus at all. This is not for lack of opportunity: Democrats have occupied the White House for sixteen of the last twenty-four years, and yet the decline of the middle class has only accelerated. Wall Street gets its bailouts, wages keep falling, and the free-trade deals keep coming.

With his trademark sardonic wit and lacerating logic, Frank’s “Listen, Liberal” lays bare the essence of the Democratic Party’s philosophy and how it has changed over the years. A form of corporate and cultural elitism has largely eclipsed the party’s old working-class commitment, he finds. For certain favored groups, this has meant prosperity. But for the nation as a whole, it is a one-way ticket into the abyss of inequality. In this critical election year, Frank recalls the Democrats to their historic goals-the only way to reverse the ever-deepening rift between the rich and the poor in America.

What’s the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America Thomas Frank – 2005

“The New York Times” bestseller, praised as “hilariously funny . . . the only way to understand why so many Americans have decided to vote against their own economic and political interests” (Molly Ivins)

Hailed as “dazzlingly insightful and wonderfully sardonic” (“Chicago Tribune”), “very funny and very painful” (“San Francisco Chronicle”), and “in a different league from most political books” (“The New York Observer”), “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” unravels the great political mystery of our day: Why do so many Americans vote against their economic and social interests? With his acclaimed wit and acuity, Thomas Frank answers the riddle by examining his home state, Kansas-a place once famous for its radicalism that now ranks among the nation’s most eager participants in the culture wars. Charting what he calls the “thirty-year backlash”-the popular revolt against a supposedly liberal establishment-Frank reveals how conservatism, once a marker of class privilege, became the creed of millions of ordinary Americans.

A brilliant analysis-and funny to boot-“What’s the Matter with Kansas?” is a vivid portrait of an upside-down world where blue-collar patriots recite the Pledge while they strangle their life chances; where small farmers cast their votes for a Wall Street order that will eventually push them off their land; and where a group of frat boys, lawyers, and CEOs has managed to convince the country that it speaks on behalf of the People.

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2 Responses to Listen, Liberal – Thomas Frank

  1. PeterMG says:

    I haven’t listened to the whole video yet or read the book but one common error in the thinking is thinking we have had free trade and that this has somehow been at the root of our economic woes. Nothing could be further from the truth and free trade is not something any of us has experienced. What we have is a very manipulated global environment where the only free thing is how much the élites can skim off the top without all of us rising in revolt.

    All these people tend to forget or chose to ignore that there is only one rule in capitalism and that is protection of the individual, be it person, family ,city or country, business or in some instances a corporation against the collective interests of governments and the corporates. Unfortunately, and the Democrat party of the US, New Labour in the UK and the EU being classic examples, have only regulated to protect the bottom-line of the corporate sector; that is unless you are one of the wealth generators where you have been bleed dry by taxation as with the steel industry or hydrocarbon power generation. All the regulation around banking is not in the interests of the population but for the governments self interest and to make it ever more impossible for competition to spring up and rip the guts out what are the most inefficient organisations on the planet.

    None of our economic woes are hard to work out or that hard to correct, unless you are confused sole and believe in the religion of climate change or any of the other wacky trendy things many liberal thinker are prone to thinking. You could add in here all the diversity rubbish and immigration, but then I would have to mention how the west deliberately thwarts development in the third world and this is a subject in of itself. The “real liberals” are prone to think if we spend billions on “clean energy” or battery powered cars our economic woes will be over. This is not the case because they all ignore the “does it protect the individual test” when thinking up all their solutions.

    The world is full of people who can see clearly the issues, but they all have a pet project they wish to push to correct these woes and refuse to see how simple concepts are all that is needed to set things on the correct road.

  2. malagabay says:

    All these people tend to forget or chose to ignore that there is only one rule in capitalism and that is protection of the individual, be it person, family ,city or country, business or in some instances a corporation against the collective interests of governments and the corporates.

    That seems to be a message that is gaining some traction in the UK [at the moment].

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