‘Reason and evidence are triumphing’ – Dan O’Brien on neoliberalism and its reactionaries

Cunning Hired Knaves

I left this comment on Dan O’Brien’s piece in today’s Irish Times titled ‘‘Neoliberalism’ is being used as a straw man to close down reasonable debate on policies’. In it, he claimed that ‘in a world that is increasingly complex, reason and evidence are, thankfully, triumphing’, against ‘reactionaries on the right’ and ‘reactionaries on the left’. The latter, in Ireland, are ‘seeking to close down debate’ through ‘name-calling’, which ‘happens even though no political party, grouping or individual in Ireland describes itself/himself/herself as “neoliberal”.’

Pro-tip: if you’re going to attack straw men and emerge with respect, it’s always better to refrain from erecting 300ft straw men of your own. Dan O’Brien contradicts the supposedly ‘reactionary’ conception of neoliberalism with the following claims:

a) that there is a contradiction between neoliberalism and ‘the combination of the state, its agencies, market mechanisms and private business’;
b) that neoliberalism means diminished state involvement;

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