Well, you know, if you say you want a revolution then you do need to understand what the others who might revolt with you are revolting against. And contrary to a popular misconception it isn’t true that all who are willing to revolt against the current order are doing so for the same reasons you are. Or even trying to revolt in the same direction you are.
We here at the ASI are of course in the vanguard of the neoliberal revolution, railing against the manner in which the State is captured by special interests, the way that regulatory capture depresses the economy, the way that civil liberties are whittled away in favour of a soft authoritarianism. I, Tim Worstall, am of course an extremist even by our local standards at Great Smith Street (one editor recently dismissed me from a publication on the grounds that I am a “hyperneoliberal” which by the genteel standards of American journalism I might well be). All of which is what makes this analysis in The Guardian so amusing to both I and us:
In the twilight of neoliberalism it’s comics such as Russell Brand and Beppe Grillo who puncture establishment thinking.
It’s entirely true that Beppe and Brand are railing against the current establishment.
Brand is not an isolated figure. In Italy the comedian Beppe Grillo has been the catalyst for the Movimento Cinque Stelle (Five Star Movement), a populist, anti-corruption organisation which has tried to position itself outside of the traditional left-right paradigm.
Quite so. But to lump Brand and Grillo together is to entirely misunderstand what each is attempting to say. As far as Brand is concerned we seem to have the standard Teenage Trotskyism that most of us grow out of around our 16 th birhday and the discovery of the opposite sex. Beppe Grillo is a far more complex and interesting phenomenon.
For Beppe has been known to tweet on to his followers (the Movimento 5 Star operates largely through social media) pieces from myself, that hyperneoliberal. And anything more than a cursory glance at the movement’s desires and policies show that they wish to move Italian society in a more neoliberal, or even just a more classically liberal, direction. They wish to cull parts of the State, kill off some of those special interests, revive civil liberties and reduce the regulatory capture that plagues Italy.
Just because some ponderous theorists decry neoliberalism it doesn’t mean that all revolting against the current order share that analysis. It can be, indeed it is, true that some similarly decry the current state of affairs but are arguing for more of what the theorists decry. Grillo is outside the traditional left/right divide in Italian politics just as we here at the ASI are outside that traditional divide in British. We’re both arguing that classical liberal polity, that set of policies that doesn’t actually have a home in any of the traditional parties.
We might all be talkin’ ’bout a revolution but it’s not necessarily the same tables that we want to turn.