The neo-liberal Problem


Neo-liberals or sometimes, neo-conservatives, or libertarians, are those people who believe the less government we have the better.

Trump had many problems during the Coronavirus pandemic. One of them was bias. Donald Trump’s had profound bias against what the believed was a “Deep State.” The Deep State is a common bogeyman on Fox and other right-wing media and is really part of the neo-liberal bias against the government.

Lobbyist Grover Norquist, a famous neo-liberal is credited with saying, “My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” The mortal enemy of such a point of view is those who see that government can accomplish good things, besides the military. There is perhaps no better example than fighting a pandemic. The richest person in the world then needs the government to keep the poor people away.

The real problem is that in the case of pandemic the state is vitally important. No one else can coordinate the massive effort that is needed by all the parties involved. Who else could do that? What would happen if it were not done?  At least at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis Trump’s bias against the state interfered with his judgment. That is what biases do!

Here is how the New York Times team of reporters described the situation in the Trump administration:

“Unfolding as it did in the wake of his impeachment by the House and in the midst of his Senate trial, Mr. Trump’s response was colored by his suspicion of and disdain for what he viewed as the “Deep State” — the very people in his government whose expertise and long experience might have guided him more quickly toward steps that would slow the virus, and likely save lives.

Decision-making was also complicated by a long-running dispute inside the administration over how to deal with China. The virus at first took a back seat to a desire not to upset Beijing during trade talks, but later the impulse to score points against Beijing left the world’s two leading powers further divided as they confronted one of the first truly global threats of the 21st century.

The shortcomings of Mr. Trump’s performance have played out with remarkable transparency as part of his daily effort to dominate television screens and the national conversation.”

Another famous statement about government that neo-liberals cherish is from Saint Ronald Reagan. He said, the most dangerous words in the English language are, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” But this is a cheap shot. We all take shots at the government, but the fact is we need government. None of us want to live in the state of nature where there is war of all against all. We want government. Government is good. This really is the neo-liberal problem. Government is important. And nowhere is this more evident, we now know, is during a pandemic.


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