liberals and leftists should not confuse a ubiquitous trope for a social and political reality. To train one’s ire on “the Establishment” is to embrace, implicitly, a baby-simple analysis of how power works in the public sphere, one that makes it hard to have a serious discussion about what it would take to transform American society. A left focused on our growing economic inequality more than at any time since the Great Depression needs a better understanding of the massive obstacles that stand in its way.

In fact, the most critical decisions of state are influenced by an economic dynamic more powerful than the acts of a group as well financed as the US Chamber of Commerce or the preferences of individuals as wealthy as the Koch brothers. Those who run businesses covet politicians and policies that give them the confidence to borrow and invest with the expectation of making profits and fueling growth. As the political theorist Fred Block wrote back in 1977, “Business confidence is based on an evaluation of the market that considers political events only as they might impinge on the market.” That tunnel vision is a big reason why same-sex marriage is now the law of the land, while labor unions in the private sector struggle to survive.

Railing against the establishment also ignores the mass resistance to ways of thinking that would have to undergird a truly democratic and egalitarian society. The hope that we can bring about fundamental change by exposing an immoral cabal and crushing its power fails to confront the deeply held belief in the essential fairness of capitalist society. The tenacity of this conviction helps explain why Americans keep electing politicians who promise a good job to anyone willing to work hard and blame the breaking of promises on a mere failure of political will.

Read the Article – Prof. Michael Kazin – Source: We Know We Hate the Establishment—but Do We Know What It Is? | The Nation

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