Half-heads in American politics include Bernie Sanders

Half heads
Half-heads have intensely selective focus, only look at one part of a problem, and think they look at everything. For example, one can be anti-militarist while being pro-imperialist. Or think Wall Street is the problem while paying little attention to the Pentagon. The reality is, we have a “‘triangle of power,’ linking corporations, executive government, and the military” to the exclusion of the rest of us.

Bernie Sanders focuses almost entirely on domestic policy and Wall Street while saying little about capitalism, militarism, imperialism, and endless war, writes Zero Anthropology in an intelligent critique from the left. While Sanders is sincere in what he says and I support him, this is a valid criticism and highlights a continuing problem here. Our endless wars abroad have a direct negative impact at home for the 99% because less money and resources are available for domestic needs. So, yes, Bernie is a half-head (and so are all the other presidential candidates.) While he is certainly much less of a half-head than the rest, the very real problems in this country will never be properly addressed much less solved until we realize wars and its hidden cousins of regime change and humanitarian intervention are bankrupting this country economically and morally, and solve little if anything.  Why it’s almost like our wars are designed to create more wars.

[Sanders] emphasis is on finance: wages, debts, and financial institutions. Where the anti-militarists focus on the Pentagon, Sanders and his supporters focus on Wall Street. However, Sanders also focuses primarily on the domestic front. Sanders thus manages to evade a critique of capitalism, militarism, and imperialism.

So, half a socialist?. Plus, wealth redistribution, no matter how tepid, means the wealthy need to continue doing what they’ve been doing, making lots of money, perpetuating the system that leads to the inequalities in the first place. Hmm.

There is a political bargain that results from such half-headedness. First, if one of the major tools of wealth redistribution involves taxing the very rich, and taxing corporations, it means that such entities must continue to exist—more than that, they must thrive—because they are the cash-cows that will sustain the domestic new deal.

An oligarchic state like ours needs continual war to survive. A few band-aids applied at home won’t help much when wars abroad continue unabated. And that’s what Sanders misses.

Rather than challenge the arms industry, whose growing size and power stunned Eisenhower, Sanders would simply tax them more. It is open to debate whether Sanders’ is offering even half of a solution, and whether he sees even half of the bigger picture. Usually Sanders has voted in favour of military appropriations, supported the financing of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has backed a range of regime change and “humanitarian interventionist” efforts, from NATO’s war in Kosovo, to support for the Iraq Liberation Act and for regime change in Libya (contrary to his false representations on the latter point). He is also an aggressive supporter of NATO and its anti-Russian posture. While he is not even half of anti-imperialist, some might argue that it is also too generous to see him as half of a socialist–either way, we need to do better than beat each other up with half-answers.


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