It is very rare the opposition of somethings admits to the other side’s bumper sticker slogan. Imagine if Xi Jinping were to walk around in a shirt saying “China Lied People Died.” Or if Vice President Pence were to say on the floor of congress “I’m only pro-birth, not pro-life.”
Yet, even the harshest critic of free trade not only must admit, but does admit, that free trade lowers the price of products.
Pat Buchanan, who many consider Trump before Trump, wrote in 2019 that “Once a nation is hooked on the cheap goods that are the narcotic free trade provides, it is rarely able to break free.” Sohrab Ahmari went after “The blue-check Twitterati” who created a world “in which every other good had to be sacrificed on the altar of efficiency and cheap consumer goods.”
But now I must ask, when did cheap goods become a bad thing?
If I were to ask the majority of Americans if they support “cheap goods,” I imagine all of them would say yes. According to You Gov, even after an over two and a half decade propaganda (borderline on smear) campaign, the majority of Americans still support the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Think about this, we live in a world where “cheap goods” are being mocked by congressmen who have a median net worth of $456,522. Meanwhile, half the country makes less than $30,000 a year. When you’re making fifteen times more than the average person, I assume it doesn’t matter all that much to you if goods become less cheap.
I keep using this quote as an example of elitism (despite it being less than a month old at time of writing) but a few weeks back Ann Coulter asked “Is it really worth paying $3 for a T-shirt at Walmart, rather than $9?” Almost certainly not to Ann Coulter, considering she has a net worth of $8.5 million, 283 times what the average person makes in a year!
Maybe when a T-shirt starts costing $849, she’ll admit we might have had a point.
Think about this, we live in a country where the number one cause of bankruptcy is medical bills. In fact, one of the major reasons people considered voting for Senator Bernie Sanders was the burden healthcare costs have caused onto their lives. Even some of the right, such as Matt Walsh of The Daily Wire, have admitted that:
Bernie’s Medicare for all plan is a disaster but the problem is that Republicans have absolutely no answers for healthcare and never have. And the fact is that lots of people hate their insurance and are fed up. This is the kind of energy Bernie can harness. We had flu go through the house and it cost us 100 dollars per bottle of tamiflu for the kids. With insurance. Does that make me want socialized medicine? Not even remotely. But it’s the kind of bullshit that people are tired of, and Republicans have no solutions. — Matt Walsh, 2/23/2020
In fact, it turns out populist Republicans do have a solution, raise the price of medicine even more while creating shortages along the way. And they admit this will happen, just not with medicine, as if the laws of economics vary depending on the product — wait, that reminds me of another group I know.
This is why they also demand the conversation be focused on products that are not medicine. This isn’t about $9 T-shirts, it’s about $90 pills.
Hey, remember when Ann Coulter gave a shit about that:
A nationwide market in health insurance will drive down costs and improve access — just like everything else we buy here in America!
Instead, they wish to focus on cell phones and clothes because then it’s much easier to paint the opponents as cult like consumerists, which many of them love bringing up to the point where you think there’s a competition going on among populists for who can bring it up the most.
Remember this conversation I outlined in a Liberty Hawk article?
I think the best way to open this article is with a little conversation I saw on Twitter awhile ago. It started on 1/18/2020 when CNN reported the following:
“Millennials are on track to be the first generation not to exceed their parents in terms of job status or income, studies show.”
. . .
Senator Bernie Sanders saw this and tweeted the following:
“I refuse to accept an economy where our younger generations have a lower standard of living than their parents.
“That’s not what America is about.
“That is why we’re going to build an economy that works for all, not just the wealthy and massive corporations.”
. . .
David Berstein saw this and responded with the following:
“When I was a kid there was no internet. No Amazon, no Instagram, no streaming. For that matter, most people didn’t have VHS ($1,000 for a player), and there were no DVDs or CDs. No cell phones. 50 cents/min to call grandma. The idea that kids live worse today is ludicrous.”
A fellow named Michael Shindler then chose to put David in his place with this quip:
“‘When I was a kid I could barely CONSOOOOOOOOM’ [sic]”
I cannot stress how addicted I am to calling my grandmother. Seriously guys, I think I need real mental help.
I already do not find anti-consumptionism to be a stable ideology. I believe it is a cult like ideology that can only sustain itself on simplified terms and shame. (One also can’t help but notice the majority of anti-consumptionists live in a country where they can consume all they want quite easily. I think if these people lived in a country where their ideas are more applied, not always by the choice of the citizens, they might change their world views just slightly.)
However, I take much more issue with people who use it as a proxy for other ways of thinking, such as nationalism. Specifically, when said nationalism could get people killed.
Donald Trump can go to a rally in Wisconsin and promise to put those people first, yet, when that person gets sick it’s near certain he won’t be putting them first if what that person needs is medicine from a different country.
To put it simply, nationalism could kill people and the populist-right wouldn’t care. Any arguments about “the common good” are nothing more than a proxy for the real agenda, to make America an isolationist nation. Make no mistake, we are being governed by hardcore isolationists, and you should always remain vigilant because of that.