I was starting to feel somewhat neglected. Usually, when I write something of any substance on Crooked Timber, Brad De Long pops up and has a sneer. Recent efforts have been so stretched in relation to what I actually wrote that I have to conclude it’s personal and that Brad is just itching to have a go. Well that’s his problem. Usually, I’d post a short and polite correction in his comments box, explaining where I thought he’d got himself mixed up, but recently Brad has taken to “moderating” my comments, as if I were some kind of troll. Well ho hum. Anyway, he clearly approves of my latest, or purports to , since he (unsurprisingly) approves of my judgement that Leninism doesn’t offer a way forward for the Western left. Well no shit. But he also appears delighted to catch me out in a “contradiction”, because, well, didn’t I write something laudatory about Cuba on the occasion of Castro’s retirement over two years ago? (It seems Brad is keeping track, which does feel a bit creepy.) Well yes I did, though he clearly didn’t understand the point I was making, which was principally that US hate-obsession about Cuba has everything to do with capitalism and not much to do with enthusiasm for human rights. Plus (in the case of Brad and people like him) it signals that you really really disapprove of those to your left. Am I pro-Cuban in the sense that I support the ideology and strategy of the Cuban CP? Well no, of course not. I’m not a Barca fan either, for that matter, but I will be cheering them on in the Champions League final.
UPDATE: I see that DeLong has extended his original post slightly. I respond below the fold:
He gives a characterization of my most recent post , thus: that I call for
“the left” to abandon social democracy—… and rely on a combination of “populist nationalism[:] culturally conservative, worried by immigration (and willing to indulge popular anxieties), anxious about the effects of markets on working-class community…” and zero-growth greenism.”
Nope. I speculated (hopefully it’s true) that the left would break with the likes of New Labour and Larry Summers (i.e. elite neoliberals masquerading as “progressives”). They aren’t equivalent to social democracy except in DeLong’s brain. My speculations did involve a rapprochement between the social group that (in the UK) forms the basis of “old Labour” and is currently worried by immigration and the corrosive effects of global markets in their communities and another group I characterized as the “eco-left”, for want of a better term. In case anyone is in any doubt, I’m not hostile to immigration, though I do endorse the view that the relentless pursuit of more stuff (not technically equivalent to growth in the economists’ sense) will not improve human happiness and will wreck the environment, and that we ought to be thinking about schemes involving less working-time, more leisure and lower unemployment.