Return to Political Center

Posted on June 6, 2017


We live in an age where political discourse is defined by internet memes; therefore, it is  iconography and symbols that compress complex ideas into short bursts for the age of social media.

Donald Trump’s most ardent online supporters often brag that they “memed a president into office.” And Trump uses Twitter to get his message to his supporters.

And because memes are typically used by young people with extreme views, the format naturally lends itself to ideological excess. The sensible center just doesn’t have many memes of its own.

The record shows liberal centralists were driven out of Congress some years ago, and it time is for their return.

Within the sprawling online forum Reddit, there is a “subreddit” called r/neoliberal, whose members aim to change that.

“Neoliberalism” isn’t the most well-defined of terms. It loosely refers to free-market economic ideas, combined with technocratic, incrementalist approach to fixing market failures and redistributing wealth.

Many criticize the term for being too vague, but it’s slowly catching on.

Neoliberalism is essentially the centrist economic framework embraced by U.S. presidents like Bill Clinton, George W.  Bush and Barack Obama. In other words, neoliberalism is the model the U.S. has been operating under for decades, and it has had significant influence abroad as well. Many think past president Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first neoliberal.

People on the socialist left, especially in the U.K., like to blame neoliberal ideology for many of the woes of the modern world.

Meanwhile, on the right, protectionist and xenophobic ideas have rapidly replaced free-market libertarianism as the rallying cry for the Republican base.

The neoliberal center is under assault from both the right and the left. So some internet users have decided it’s time to fight back.

The neoliberal memes poke fun at both the socialist left and the populist right.

They portray centrist leaders like Germany’s Angela Merkel, France’s Emmanuel Marcon and Canada’s Justin Trudeau not as embattled apologists for a disintegrating world order, but as saviors leading the strays back to the light.

This neoliberal centrist push back is long overdue in America.

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