Conservatives love to drone on about free markets and capitalism. Yet the very purest form of capitalism now practiced in liberal western democracies they not only reject, but are completely aghast about – the so called “cancel culture.”
“Cancel culture” really is, the most conservative of things which puts capitalism in the driver’s seat. It’s the free market expressing its will based on consumer choices and preferences without the prodding or interference of government. “Cancel culture,” is private industry making decisions to stay ahead of the curve in a world unlike politics, where accountability and good public relations makes or breaks you.
Unlike many politicians who run in safe seats and need only to appeal to activists to win low-turnout primaries that are tantamount to election, corporations must evolve to survive or they die. “Cancel Culture” is part of the evolution and survival in this day and age – corporations responding to the free market and consumerism. Isn’t that what conservatism and capitalism is all about? Or at least was all about until Donald J. Trump became President?
We hear from “conservatives” like South Carolina Nikki Haley, Governor Ron DeSantis and others that “de-platforming” politicians whose words and spreading of lies encourage violence is what they do in Communist China. Actually it is the OPPOSITE of what happens in totalitarian countries. Under the DeSantis remedy which has he has implemented here in Florida , much like the Soviet Union or Communist China, tech companies would have to abide by the will of the government. They would be forced to allow any politician of the ruling class to spew whatever nonsense they wish. THIS IS EXACTLY HOW ANTI-DEMOCRATIC DICTATORSHIPS OPERATE.
This is the new core of the Republican Party. Deeply committed to non-conservative principles, personality cults, conspiracy theories and in economics, the type of direct government involvement objective people might call “Lemon Socialism.” Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) one of the leading inspirations for the January 6 coup attempt has articulated a new populist vision for the GOP which can be summarized as direct government subsidies for those who support the GOP, regulations on anyone who opposes them and outright demonetization of the media and “elites” that are no longer supporting the GOP. Hawley’s ideology is a mixture of left-wing socialism and right-wing racially coded populism. This is who the Republicans are today. Yet they claim they are against “Cancel Culture,” when they are actually cancelling people and corporations at will using their anointed mouthpieces like Fox News, OANN and Newsmax to do so.
Under Donald Trump, the GOP completed its transition from a conservative party to one obsessed with regressive social views which combined with populist anti-market driven economics lead to a morally bankrupt and inconsistently hypocritical movement. These “conservatives” more closely resembled the old styled segregationists of the Democratic Party here in Florida and other parts of the south – those who embraced the largess of government except when it infringed on racism and lynching.
Conservatisim was once sunny and optimistic. Now it’s bitter and angry and not conservative at all. They whine about popular vote majorities for their opponents and make no real attempt to build a majority behind their policy views. They are a movement of angry, aggrieved, drop outs from polite society, a group committed to personality-cults and “winning” at all costs rather than democracy or traditional American values.
Governor DeSantis here in Florida has worked to cancel “Cancel Culture,” by implementing the most anti-free market agenda of any recent Florida Governor as well as unprecedented (in modern times) state interference in education. Here is a review of the DeSantis moves.
- Businesses are not allowed to govern themselves accordingly to protect customers nor are they permitted to put in place basic public health standards in order to attract customers. They are not free to practice business in Florida unless they play by the state’s rules. This is effectively Communism or Fascism depending on your preferred term.
- Tech companies are not allowed to regulate the platforms they own in accordance with user standards every customer signs if it conflicts with the agenda of politicians. This is effectively state control of mass media.
- Businesses are strongly discouraged by the state from being “woke” or promoting things like Pride Month or African- American History since it conflicts with the new ideology of the DeSantis GOP. As noted above, the free market is the reason companies promote “wokeness,” because it HELPS business. DeSantis’ reaction to “wokeness” and “cancel culture” will potentially drive businesses out of Florida. Then again for all the huffing and puffing about tax incentives its not like the Republicans have attracted that many top-line businesses that hire a professional managerial class to the state anyhow.
- Educators must teach a sanitized mythical version of American History, one which not only is based on out-of-context views of events but one which also discounts Florida’s own role in shaping the real history of this country.
All of this points to a party, led formerly by Trump but now by Governor DeSantis that is anti-market, anti-capitalist and pro-statist. So the next time a “conservative” complains about “Cancel Culture,” remind them they’re being more Soviet than conservative.
One of the challenges in my opinion for Florida Democrats is they have to create a new ideology that is distinct both from DeSantis but also other elements of the Democratic Party often located outside of Florida in “Blue States.” So in some sense rejecting both DeSantis and someone like AOC or Bernie Sanders. Obviously there are challenges in this in that there are a small number of AOC supporters in the FL Democratic Party and second by taking positions different from the say the NY and CA Democratic parties they risk a substantial slowdown in out of state fundraising.
Here are some areas however, where I think Florida Democrats can define themselves against both De Santis and AOC. I would call this platform techno optimism and admittedly these ideas do have a strong minority of support in blue state Democratic parties but are not official party dogma.
1. Nuclear Power. An increasingly growing number of environmentally conscious Democrats are advocating the need for keeping and increasing the amount of nuclear power on the grid to combat climate change. This is not per say an either or question as to renewable power simply an acknowledgement that a 100% renewable grid is unlikely due to both technological and political constraints. Democrats at the Federal level are fairly supportive of nuclear power and in fact the first new nuclear power plant to start construction since Jimmy Carter’s administration occurred under Barack Obama’s Administration, however it is well known that at the state level many blue state Democratic parties in places like New York, California, Vermont, and Illinois remain very hostile to nuclear power as well as a majority of national Democratic Party activists.
Luckily for Florida Democrats the expansion of two additional units at Turkey Point is probably by far the closest proposed nuclear project to starting construction in the entire country and electric ratepayers in the FP&L service area in Florida have already paid for the initial planning and environmental assessment of the plant under legislation passed during the Charlie Crist era. Miami Dade as a “load pocket” with minimal available undeveloped land for solar and batter storage is in fact a strong use case for why a 100% renewables solution is likely unfeasible anytime soon.
2. Transit + HIGHER DENSITY
There is a lot of talk in so called YIMBY or Market Urbanism circles about not just the need for better transit but also higher density around transit stops, the latter of which has often caused Democrats in traditional transit oriented cities to chock, however, in South Florida there is already a lot of acceptance of high density real estate in different areas but yet there are still a lot of places along the Metrorail system that could have a LOT of higher densification(admitted this has already started to occur in places like Dadeland and Douglas Road). Anyways I don’t see what there is to lose for FL Democrats to start taking a much more explicitly YIMBY or Market Urbanist stance compared to NY or CA Democrats.
3. Instead of getting into a debate on the merits of socialism TRASH TALK the very worst aspects of the Venezuelan and Cuban economies most specifically price controls which actually cause much of the sheer destruction and deterioration of those countries. Tie Ron De Santis’ statism back to Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez.