This was the old state of affairs in the USA:

“There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party… and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt – until recently – and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties.

-Gore Vidal, Matters of Fact and of Fiction.

This is the current sad but true state of affairs:

“In the past, the United States has sometimes, kind of sardonically, been described as a one-party state: the business party with two factions called Democrats and Republicans. That’s no longer true. It’s still a one-party state, the business party. But it only has one faction. The faction is moderate Republicans, who are now called Democrats. There are virtually no moderate Republicans in what’s called the Republican Party and virtually no liberal Democrats in what’s called the Democratic [sic] Party. It’s basically a party of what would be moderate Republicans and similarly, Richard Nixon would be way at the left of the political spectrum today. Eisenhower would be in outer space.”

-Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor and professor (emeritus) of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in his keynote address at the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum in Bonn, Germany, 17 June 2013.

-DW Global Media Forum


Category: Politics

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

39 Responses to “QOTD: “One Party State””

  1. [...] “The Big Picture” and see WALL STREET GENIUS commentator and big-thinker Barry Ritholtz quote Noam Chomsky.If you [...]

    • G.W. says:

      Hmmm….. I’m just tryin’ to keep this all straight in my mind: Democrats are moderate Republicans; DDE is in Outer Space; and Marx is…..uhhhh…..—- where’s Marx??? Is he slightly right of center? — ; and where’s Lenin? In the White House?; and how about Stalin? He’s —- where is that good ole boy, Noam? You got him in your refrigerator???
      What the hell does it matter???
      All government corrupts. Absolute government corrupts absolutely.
      A lot fewer “promises” from our politician/business/lobbyist/bureaucrat rulers, and a good deal more freedom/risk/individualism on the part of each and every American and we’d ALL be a hell of a lot better off.

      • ancientone says:

        Wow, just what we need, more freedom/risk for all our hourly workers. Isn’t that what’s been happening since 1980? Look at all the pensions that have vanished, forcing many people now to work until they die. As an unrepentant New Deal Democrat, I have been appalled at what has been done to the American middle class since the plutocrats took over the reigns of power. Baal bless America.

      • rj chicago says:

        Hobbes, Locke, Plato and the other dystopian visionaries?

  2. BigPictureReader says:

    Why is there no more aggressive effort to change the system to reduce the influence of lobbyists and money on government? Of the revolving door? What can a citizen do? Should not each of our 535 representatives be asked almost constantly What is [Goldman Sachs, BP, the NRA, Pfizer...] getting for the tens of thousands of dollars they donate to your campaign? John Oliver tried to ask Kirsten Gilibrand that question on the Daily Show and she just brushed him off. How can we go after people to insist that they answer this question and get them on the record?

  3. LAgraves says:

    This is what I was trying to tell my aging parents, tonight. They LOVE Obama, and get very mad when I “diss” him…(yes, we live together in a 9000 square foot McMansion, but I have my own staircase, and garage spot!)

  4. Grunschev says:

    Just to rile my Republican friends (those who still talk to me), I sometimes ask them if they think Nixon was a communist. After all, his Economic Stabilization Program (ESP) included a set of federal wage and price controls, he normalized relations with the Chinese communists, had detente with the Soviet Union, and ended our war to stop the domino effect in SE Asia. If those aren’t the policies of a communist, what are?

    I used to think Chomsky was a bit out there. The more I listen to him, the more I agree with him.

    • VennData says:

      That Nixon and Reagan had left-wing polices or raised taxes doesn’t mean Democrats are rightists.

  5. Robert M says:

    While I dislike his vitrol towards the President he hits the nail on the head in his analysis of state of African American leadership and its servitude to the Democratic Party which is the perfect match for the quotes above, given the President’s absolute policy of ignoring the Banksters. AG Holder announcing he is going to become tough on the banksters for past deeds when the statue of limitations is up is all that need be said as empirical proof.

  6. Chief Tomahawk says:

    Whatever became of the metric about how ‘the rich have gotten richer…’ W was hit up with that over and over again. I suspect the top 1% have pigged out at the U.S. Treasury trough under Obama, further fattening their waste line. If true, Obama has been getting a free ride thus far.

  7. dbrodess says:

    Sad state of affairs but solid: AGREE

  8. MikeInSF says:

    Agreed on the larger issue that money controls nearly everything that is done in Washington to our nation’s detriment. But to maintain that there are no differences between the D’s and R’s is irksome.

    Consider for a moment the consequence of a Romney presidency and its implementation of the Ryan budget, for example: Dismantling of the New Deal – Social Security, Medicare, further tax cuts for the wealthy, etc, etc. Wouidn’t/couldn’t happen you say? Why not? All of these things were core planks in the Romney candidacy and continue to be key objectives of the republican-led house

    Times change but democrats are still democrats. Republicans have lost their collective mind and even the R’s are beginning to agree on this point. The rightward pull has more to do with: 1) an influx in large amounts of cash from a handful rich ideologues; and 2) keeping a check on the crazies/Birchers/TP folk that were drummed out of the room in years past but now allowed free reign. It is difficult to move forward when your efforts are focused on preventing your counterparts from setting fire to what has already been built.

    I say all of this as an ex-republican and current independent: Abortion rights. Voting rights. Environmental protection. Tax policy. Social safety net. Treating everyone equally. No difference? You’ve got to be kidding.

    • rd says:

      Ironically, most of the major environmental acts were put in place under Nixon and Reagan (these days they would both look like left-wing nutjobs to the Republican party). Very few have been passed under Democratic presidents although they get the blame for over-regulating.

      Once the white middle class voters in the red states figure out that it is THEIR Social Security, Medicare, and Medicade on the chopping block they would suddenly realize that they have been voting for the wrong guys. Right now they think it is just the poor minorities that are the target of the Tea Party. Many of the “swing” states have lts of retired folks in them. Slashing their government programs would get rid of their swing status.

      The recent NSA events clearly show that both parties want to install cameras and microphones throughout your house and GPS trackers in your car. The main difference between the two groups is that one wants to control what you do in your house while the other one just wants to know what you are doing.

    • S Brennan says:

      Democrats are always asking me to consider a hypothetical “Consider for a moment the consequence of a Romney[McCain] presidency…”

      Republicans are always asking me to consider a hypothetical “just imagine how bad it [911] would have been if Gore had been President…”

      Hmmm, compare that with a president who had the wherewithal to keep the US intact through the depression, militarize our production facilities prior to entering WWII, a war we won because we could outproduce anybody on the planet, a president who proposed and built the Interstate highway system, a president who called and made a decade long triple bank jump shot that a started technological revolution that is still underway, a president who ended racial segregation, provided healthcare for seniors and did much to end poverty that surrounded my youth…now compare those feats to your hypothetical. The last three baby boom presidents are pathetic by comparison….hypothetical..or otherwise.

      • gfcz says:

        @ S Brennan: Im going to get so “dissed” here for this comment but whatever. I have to say that US had been the MAIN and the ONLY WWII winner. Consider THE AMOUNT of resources (capital/human) that migrated to US before/during WWII. Consider that US did not sustain any physical damage inside its own country during WWII (Pearl Harbour? are you kidding me???). Consider how many goods and services had been sold by US during that time. Resources+stabilty+accelerated growth, even if US had Schwarzenegger at the helm at the time economy could not but quadruple by itself within the next decade. I am sorry, but there is no thank you to the president, but to the world’s circumstances at the time.

        P.S. I know it is totally unrelated to the topic, but I personally think that all politicians are corrupted muppets, thank you very much.

        P.P.S.: @Chief Tomahawk: no need to blame the rich for getting richer, capitalism or communism (I lived under both) you just have to get up your ass and do something (not work for somebody) if you want to earn more.

      • S Brennan says:

        a few major nations relatively/completely undamaged by WWII

        New Zealand

      • rj chicago says:

        Ahhhh…there Brennan – hold up on the Swiss – they are without doubt the most militaristic lot on the planet – tunnels and bridges are mined and set to detonate if invaded. Me thinks it would be terribly difficult to invade a country when all you have is mountain passes to attempt to do so. There are exceptions but then the Swiss already have that figured out too. There was a book a few years back – can’t remember the title but it describes how the Swiss intend to defend themselves.

      • rd says:

        I think you are being harsh.

        The last Republican president won the Global War on Terror and brought us all prosperity through tax cuts and stellar budget management while the last Democratic President has improved the American healthcare system to the point where it is the envy of the world while stabilizing the financial system for the next 70 years.

        I am eagerly awaiting to see what triumphs the next two-term president will bring us.

  9. We have the government we deserve.

    Oversight of Congress is the responsibility of the people. If the people choose to watch TV rather than protest against the flagrant corruption and injustice, then there will be more corruption and injustice.

    Many of the great changes in America’s past didn’t come about because of Presidents, they came about because the people stood up and demanded them.

    • S Brennan says:

      BS SG,

      We are force fed two choices by two corrupt parties. In my state, against the express wish of the people and by the collusion of Demo/Repu the open primary system was replaced by a COURT ORDER with the caucus system. Those who show up and don’t go along with the thuggery are marked for reprisal later by the respective party bosses.

      “We have the government we deserve” has always been BS [just ask black folks who remember Jim Crow], but is now is domain of lords and lunatics.

  10. A. Cy Lum says:

    Once upon a time in the smug 80s I “sagely” came to the above “All For one(%) Party” state, Then, Canada had real parties of distinct dogmatic colours. Australia, though more right-centric than Canada as well. And don’t get me started on those poli-sophisticates in western Europe.

    Somewhere in the 90s came the Blair bunch with their election winning “New Labour.” “New,” yes; “Labour,” no; victorious, oh yeah. That incipient model of packaging right as left caught on elsewhere, and only the mildly prescient saw the morphing convergence of political party planks, hacked together by pollsters, gnashingly smaller media-gated sound bites, and personal aggrandizement over party theory.

    So, today, you Yankees(sic) do not lament alone.

    To clarify, I do not espouse some world One Party conspiracy, though politicians are that ambitious, they are not that clever — think parochial.

    A. Cy Lum

    PS Jimmy Carter at the least needs a good (Joe DiMaggio ala Paul Simon) song.
    PPS And this from “Outer Space Ike:”

  11. Willy2 says:

    One website in the US ( repeatedly uses a special description for the Democrats & Republicans. They call them the “War Party”.

  12. VennData says:

    “…and virtually no liberal Democrats in what’s called the Democratic [sic] Party…”

    Is laughable. You mean members in good standing? elected officials? Media talking heads? This is total arm waving, semantics (perfect for Chomsky.) The initial assumption of the op that these two are scientific arbiters of what is or is not Liberal is incorrect. If you disagree on one or two Democratic party platform planks that does not make you a Chamber of Commerce-type “business interest.” There is a lack of nuance in these two quotes and their creators.

    Is your definition of liberal is freedom, rule of law, open marketplaces, fixing market breakdowns, using science. Liberal with a capital ‘L’ or a Chomsky need for nationalization (i.e. if you think broad nationalization of resources is scientific, you are not liberal you are a loon, just as if you think no regulations is “natural” you are a right wing ideologue.) forced busing, guaranteed equal outcome-type stuff, then OK, but that is not a reasonable definition.

    Would Chomsky kill Osama bin laden? Never. Would Vidal? If someone has declared war on you, if you use force at all you are somehow not liberal and a business interest? Crazy.

    The problem is the GOP today: immigration, voting restrictions, debt ceiling bankruptcy, the de-legitmization of Obama, the inability to support any Dodd-Frank after what we went through. These are GOP problems. That is why they are splitting, losing voters, etc.

  13. grimreaper says:

    One of Barry’s best, and explains most everything. I have forwarded this to the vast majority of friends, and nary a one gives a tinker’s. We are all in our own little reality bubbles, and until something pops them, we think we’re OK and all’s right with the world.

  14. WickedGreen says:

    BigPictureReader is the only commenter so far who has even approached the issue.

    Look, just save your energy.

    Until the trend that culminated with the ridiculous, shameful Citizens United ruling is reversed, the rest of it remains useless horsecrap.

  15. stonedwino says:

    There’s one solution to all of this. Take money out of politics entirely . Federally financed elections for all offices, federal, state & local. Make it illegal to give any amount of money to a politician. Voila!

  16. small investor says:

    Watching the countrys’s rightwards drift away from policies promoting an expanding middle class, the Democractic Party has been both feckless and tacitly complicit in this drift. Obama’s democrats are essentially moderate republicans (Bruce Bartlett) and the Republican Party is controlled by conservatives. Liberals have been successfully marginalized. Obama Care is not socialism: it is a big bone thrown to the insurance industry the way Medicare D was a fat, no bid contract by the Bush administration to Big Pharma.

  17. PrahaPartizan says:

    I’ve been reading a primer on the French aristocracy, the Bourbons and the ancien regime as it hurtled toward the French Revolution. Interestingly, the author of the piece states quite clearly that the thing which killed the monarchy wasn’t unbridled tyranny or absolutisme, as one might imagine from our perch in history. No, it was privatization – especially privatization of the sources of revenue for the state. It seems that the “job producers” of the time used their access to the crown (those infamous courtiers we see parading around Versailles) to argue for their exemption from or reduction in taxes. Worse, in some cases, the state sold off its taxing authority to private entitities for a discounted price, undoubtedly using a very disadvantaged net-present value calcuation. Ultimately, the state had removed itself from collecting taxes owed it, further reducing its ability to repay the debt it might have racked up. All that it took was a bolt from the blue and we know how that story ended. Today, things move much more quickly.once the cascade begins.

  18. 873450 says:

    Reps. Nolan & Pocan Respond to Hundreds of Local Resolutions Calling for “We the People” Amendment
    (Washington D.C.) – The movement for constitutional reforms that would end what organizers call “corporate rule” has arrived in the chambers of Congress. This morning, two members of the U.S. House of Representatives joined Move to Amend by announcing their sponsorship of the “We the People Amendment,” which clearly and unequivocally states that:
    - Rights recognized under the Constitution belong to human beings only, and not to government-created artificial legal entities such as corporations and limited liability companies; and
    - Political campaign spending is not a form of speech protected under the First Amendment.
    Proposed 28th Amendment to the Constitution
    House Joint Resolution 29 introduced February 14, 2013

    Section 1. [Artificial Entities Such as Corporations Do Not Have Constitutional Rights]
    The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.
    Artificial entities established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law.
    The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.

    Section 2. [Money is Not Free Speech]
    Federal, State, and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own contributions and expenditures, to ensure that all citizens, regardless of their economic status, have access to the political process, and that no person gains, as a result of their money, substantially more access or ability to influence in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure.
    Federal, State, and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed.
    The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.

    • jesseL says:

      If those amendments were passed, the following laws could legally be passed:

      – “a 10% tax will be assessed to any corporation that provides any business services to planned parenthood.”

      - “a 10% tax will be assessed to any corporation that provides business services to raytheon, Inc.”

      - “Any corporation may contribute to republican candidates for federal office. contributions to democratic candidates for federal office are prohibited.”

      - “Any corporation may contribute to democratic candidates for federal office. contributions to republican candidates for federal office are prohibited.”

      It sounds good to say that corporations don’t have rights, but following that thread can actually lead to some ugly places.

  19. rj chicago says:

    Barry – seems you have lit a fuse with this post.

  20. wally says:

    The NSA and “Homeland Security” are being positioned to preserve this status quo. They understand that the only real threat to this one-party system comes from Americans who still remain idealistic… but there are ways of dealing with them.

  21. panskeptic says:

    There are two words that starkly paint the difference between the two parties: Supreme Court. If you can’t tell the difference between a corporate apologist like Alito from a progressive like Kagan, you’re not watching, or you’re blinded by your own prejudice.

    Reagan would never make it through a Republican primary today. The goal posts have moved, and not to the country’s benefit.

    The Democratic party is filled with the moderate Republicans the Tea Party call RINO. The only real leftwinger in Congress is Bernie Sanders, and day after day he makes a helluva lot more sense than Gohmert, Imhofe, Bachmann or the rest of the frothing-at-the-kneecap rightwingnuts.