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"Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown" is Philip Mirowski's 2013 book on how neoliberalism's true nature and virulence were exposed by the 2008 crisis.…

Now, in a new interview with @jacobinmag's @alexdoherty7, Mirowski lays out a sharp-eyed and alarming analysis of how neoliberalism is capitalising on the pandemic crisis and making ready to finalize its dominance over the human race and our planet.…

Mirowski says that the one ideology that binds together all strains of neoliberalism is the belief that "people are inherently bad cognizers — they can’t work their way out of their problems just by thinking."

And the corrolary to that is that markets' function as a corrective for our irrationality. Markets aren't an allocator of resources, they're "the greatest information processor known to mankind" - that's the Hayek conception and it runs through every strain of neoliberalism.

The implication of these two facts is that people don't know what's good for them, so they have to be led into a system of governance-by-market, by trickery, force, honeyed words, whatever it takes.

Hence the circular neoliberal debate:

"Why can't democracies tell companies to stop polluting?"

"Because companies' success is will of the people."

"I thought democracies were the will of the people?"

"No, that's what people say. Markets are what they DO."

The conviction that people don't really know what explains the neoliberal project and its vast array of rigidly disciplined thinktanks and pundits - the so-called "Neoliberal Thought Collective...a deep bench of ideas and people able to move very quickly when crises arise."

For Mirowski, "the Koch group are unapologetic Leninists - their line is 'we have to take over.'" When your group takes Koch money, it also has to take Koch perspectives.

By contrast, lefty funders like The Democracy Alliance (ironically) operate a "marketplace of ideas" where groups are free to disagree with one another. The left's allergy to top-down governance is why "the Left is set up to lose, if it keeps operating in that way."

It's why there's no leftist Mount Pelerin Society, and why left populism is genuinely populist, rather than astroturf ops like the Tea Party and its weird offspring, the anti-quarantine Flu Klux Klan.

The left's disarray allows the right to own this moment. exploiting the crisis to gut FDA controls over drugs, to institutionalize telemedicine (whose long-run outcome will be to deny poor people the right to ever see a doctor), and to remake pharma as a "heroic" industry.

And, of course, it's the perfect opportunity to kill off the US Postal Service.…

Mirowski is pessimistic about the left's chances to seize the crisis to advance its program: after all, House Dems haven't been able to get ANYTHING in the bailouts, not even a budget for comprehensive covid testing and treatment.

But he's just as pessimistic about the right's ability to retain control. Neoliberalism is going to destroy the economy and leave 30+% of workers in permanent unemployment. The paranoid militancy they fostered with the Tea Party will mutate into outright fascism.

Just as the Weimar establishment thought that Nazis were useful idiots who'd only terrorize their political enemies, only to lose control over these "fringe elements" that became "more fascistic, more racist, and more nihilist."

It's not the only parallel to the Holocaust to be drawn here. As @HamidDabashi writes in @AJEnglish, the first move in Nazi esterminationism was the "involuntary euthanasia" of "life unworthy of life": people with mental and physical disabilities.…

This normalized the idea of worthiness of life, paving the way for mass extermination campaigns targeting Jews, Roma and others.

Today, we're being told that chronically ill and elderly people are unavoidable "collateral damage" in the "war" on pandemic.

The right's become a full-on death cult, willing to sacrifice unlimited numbers of expendable and dispensable human lives for "the economy." Even their own stalwarts - the elderly voters who are the GOP's most loyal base - are slated for liquidation.…

Right on cue, the US government is procuring vast stockpiles of antipersonnel equipment: "disposable cuffs, gas masks, ballistic helmets, and riot gloves, along with law enforcement protective equipment."…

As @lhfang writes in @theintercept, the newly armed Veterans Administration police are a microcosm of US elites' instinctual view of how the rest of us will act as things get hard.

It's a phenomenon familiar to readers of Rebecca Solnit's must-read 2012 book "A Paradise Built in Hell": the "elite panic" response that pre-emptively treats ordinary people as looters and rioters until proven otherwise.…

A final word to Solnit, who updates "Paradise" with a crucial Guardian essay:…

"When a storm subsides, the air is washed clean and you can see farther and more sharply than at any other time. When this storm clears, we may, as do people who have survived a serious illness or accident, see where we were and where we should go in a new light."

"We may feel free to pursue change in ways that seemed impossible while the ice of the status quo was locked up. We may have a profoundly different sense of ourselves, our communities, our systems of production and our future."

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