Tuesday, September 15, 2009

U.S. politics and the lunatic fringe: Van Jones revisited

In the wake of Van Jones' resignation I wrote a short article for the on-line Italian news outlet Il Sussidiario: Jones Resignation/Is it time to put an end to the "czar" system? My main point in the article was that the citizens of the U.S. are poorly served by the czar system, which represents nothing other than a massive power grab by the executive branch of our government, thus compromising our well-constructed system of checks and balances. Hence, I mentioned only in passing that Jones was far out of the political mainstream, which put it rather mildly.

Ed Kilgore's post on his blog over on The New Republic's webpage this morning, in which he asks if the Democrats need their own crazies to counter the Republican crazies, reminded me just how easy a pass I gave Mr. Jones in my article. To that end, I direct you to Marty Perez's blog post on TNR's blog The Spine: Cool... But, Yes, Communist. In his post, Perez, who is thoughtful and unapologetically liberal, shows that Jones fits Kilgore's bill and that, as we all know, there is a lunatic fringe of donkeys, too. Of course, the drum was beaten daily and loudly for Jones' resignation by Glenn Beck. Maybe it takes a crazy to know a crazy. Of course, I am referring here only to political viewpoints, not either man's mental health.

Am I the only one who sees the strange irony of a communist becoming a czar? No... wait a minute... Lenin was the first, followed by Stalin, followed by Khrushchev, etc. According to Kolakowski, this is not an aberration, but the direct result of Marxian ideology. There is far more irony in putting a person with Jones' ideological commitments in a high-level job designed to help get the economy moving by creating green jobs.

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