Frederic Bastiat was a French classical liberal who sat in the National Assembly after the Revolution of 1848. But while today classical liberalism is largely associated with the political Right in American politics, in 19th century France Bastiat sat on the Left side of the Assembly with the socialists in opposition to the monarchists.
Bastiat, who came from a long line of merchants, was particularly frustrated with French mercantilism, the idea that domestic industry ought to be protected from cheaper foreign competition. It’s a bad idea that won’t die, but I suppose we have mercantilists to thank for inspiring this witty, little satire.
Here’s a link to Sean’s friend’s medical fundraising page.
Here’s a link to next episode’s reading from Lenin on imperialism.
Does the opening music sound like mediocre elevator music? Yes? Well, good, because it is an homage to the most mediocre of modern Presidents, the late George H.W. Bush, a man whose current legacy appears to be that he is roundly agreed by all to be a somewhat better human being than the present occupant of the Oval Office.
After a discussion of Père Bush’s legacy, Sean and Paul try to decide what the heck to make of the gilets jaunes or “yellow vest” protestors in France. Are they from the Right? From the Left? Nobody, least of all us, really knows, but they are exceedingly French.
In part two of our midterm recap, Paul geeks out about ranked-choice voting and its potential to break the Democrats and Republicans’ stranglehold on American politics. Sean, for his part, makes the (incredibly dubious) case that Vladimir Lenin would have been a fan of this electoral innovation.
Musical Credits: AC/DC, “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Want to Rock ‘N’ Roll).”
In part one of this long-overdue episode (sorry everyone!), Paul and Sean discuss the Democrats’ anemic results in the November midterms. Paul argues that centrism still represents Democrats’ clearest route to power, citing the surprise blue upset in South Carolina’s traditionally-red 1st Congressional district. And Sean makes the case for far-left organizing outside the Democratic Party, based on the election results from Florida.
You’ve just finished consuming immense quantities of dry white Turkey breast and the vastly superior dark meat, several cubic meters of mashed potatoes or sweet potato casserole, a veritable truckload of stuffing, and a pie and a half of pumpkin pie. Now you’re laying on the couch in a near food coma, counting your blessings while Uncle Rudolph drunkenly berates Aunt Terry for votin’ fer that traitor Hillerosi Schuton.
Which means it’s the perfect time to slip in your earbuds and drown it all out as Paul and Sean discuss the Communist Manifesto! You’ve had your bourgeois excess, now prepare to redistribute those calories!
Paul and Sean couldn’t shut up, so we’re splitting this episode into two parts, one dropping this week and the second part next week. That means you have an extra week to finish chapters one and two of the Communist Manifesto. But this week the guys talk about Jacob Wohl and the way that Trumpkins actually manifest the behaviors they accuse liberals / the Left / socialists / the lizard people / progressives / the Illuminati of doing. Finally, Paul rants about the narrative and ideological failures of “Bodyguard,” an otherwise excellent Netflix show.
Music Credit under Creative Commons: The Gays, “The Community,” from albumThe Agenda.
Paul and Sean couldn’t find a time to record this week, so instead Sean served up a short report from the recent Socialist Alternative (SA) national convention in Chicago. Come for a brief intro to SA’s history, politics, and perspectives; stay for some thoughts on what even non-socialists have to learn from the SA convention.
Finally, remember that this coming week, we’ll be tackling chapters 1 and 2 of Marx and Engels’s The Communist Manifesto (1848) as part of the Impolitic reading series. As always, we’d love to hear from listeners with questions and comments on the reading. If you’d like us to discuss your comment on air, please submit it via email, Twitter, or Facebook by Friday, Nov. 2.
Musical Credits: Members of Socialist Alternative singing “The Internationale.”