The Juicebox Mafia’s Utopian Excess

From Commentary (read the whole thing here) by the Washington Free Beacon‘s Matthew Continetti:

Charles Fourier, the utopian socialist who lived from 1772 to 1837, has been on my mind. Long ago, Fourier was considered a deep, monumental, visionary thinker.

“Among Fourier’s more spectacular beliefs: One day the oceans will turn into pink lemonade. He wasn’t joking.”

His theories of social organization inspired the establishment of a communal society, the North American Phalanx, in Monmouth, New Jersey, in 1843. It collapsed a little more than a decade later.

Among Fourier’s more spectacular beliefs: One day the oceans will turn into pink lemonade. He wasn’t joking. “His temperament was too ardent, his imagination too strong, and his acquaintance with the realities of life too slight to enable him justly to estimate the merits of his fantastic views,” wrote the Scottish philosopher Robert Adamson.

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As with Fourier’s North American Phalanx in the 19th century, so it is with the Juicebox Mafia Phalanx in the 21st. The Juicebox Mafia, of course, is the dismissive term assigned to the Beltway clique of twenty- and thirtysomething journalists known for their love of President Obama, their hatred of conservatives, their opposition to the war on terror, their quasi-religious faith in social science, and, juiceboxabove all, their earnestness.

“The Juicebox Mafia arrived in Washington a little less than a decade ago, just as the progressive left assumed its upward trajectory. Everything seems to be going their way.”

The Juicebox Mafia arrived in Washington a little less than a decade ago, just as the progressive left assumed its upward trajectory. Everything seems to be going their way. A larger government, universal health insurance, cuts in military spending, withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, same-sex marriage, marijuana legalization—bliss it should be in this dawn for these ardent temperaments, these possessors of strong imaginations, to be alive.

And yet, reading liberal websites and magazines over the last few months, one cannot help but think that their acquaintance with the realities of life is growing increasingly slight.

Someone is filling those juiceboxes with pink lemonade.

I first noticed the Fourierian drift of the Juiceboxers in March, when Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century was published to their swoons—especially Piketty’s call for a “global tax on wealth.” Then, in April, the Nation published an essay by Chris Hayes, the MSNBC host, that likened the campaign against climate change to the abolitionist fight against slavery. “The work of the climate movement,” Hayes wrote, “is to find a way to force the powers that be, from the government of Saudi Arabia to the board and shareholders of ExxonMobil, to leave 80 percent of the carbon they have claims on in the ground.” That was followed in May by a Ta-Nehisi Coates cover story in the Atlantic calling for slavery reparations.

Every one of these proposals has been cheered on by the bloggers and pundits and self-described policy wonks that make up the Juicebox Mafia, and their cheers have reverberated from the echo chamber into the mainstream media. And every one of these proposals is utopian—in the literal sense. Not one of them has a chance of being realized….(read more)

Commentary Magazine

Matthew Continetti, who appears monthly in this space, is editor in chief of the Washington Free Beacon.

 



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