Social progress can and will be undone by fiscal conservatism, by @DavidOAtkins

Social progress can be undone by fiscal conservatism

by David Atkins

I've noted in the past the harm done by the new ecumenical neoliberalism that attempts wash away the sins of fiscal conservatism in the cleansing salve of social liberalism. I've also noted that social liberalism should be the mere baseline for Democratic politicians, and that the true test of mettle for a progressive politician must be on economic issues.

All of this is true for its own sake, as well as for the future of liberalism. A political party that serves to protect and promote the othered, the destitute and the out groups of society will engender devastating backlashes if it fails to also protect and serve the economic interests of the broad, bourgeois middle class. Conservativism will always try to tell the middle class that their interests would be strengthened by pushing down on the downtrodden. Liberalism must protect the downtrodden while informing the middle class that its interests are best strengthened by taking power away from the wealthy advantage-takers who predate on the society by rent seeking. If liberalism fails to do the latter, it cannot hope to do the former.

Case in point? The austerity-driven uptick racial violence and rightwing sentiments in Greece. Just as in the German Weimar Republican, failure to address middle-class economic concerns leads inevitably to conservative social backlash against the oppressed.

Taking away the supports of labor, social services, pension programs like Social Security, and others while pretending to do well by minority groups does little good. Fiscal conservatism cannot help but do devastating harm to social liberalism in the long run as well. Any fiscal conservative pretending to be socially liberal is either deluding themselves, or deluding the voters.