From the article: America spent decades deliberately destroying its own institutions — its educational, legal, health care, and financial systems (“drowning them in the bathtub”).”
That’s true. But it wasn’t America in general. And it wasn’t by accident. The destruction didn’t fall from the sky. Two forces — corporate America and the religious right — set out to create a world very much like the one we live in now. Corporate America is closer to it’s finish line. But the religious right is getting there.
Beginning in the late 60’s and picking up speed in the early 70’s corporations began to exert more influence on the political process. Most would point to future Supreme Court justice Lewis Powell’s memo to the Chamber Of Commerce as the inspiration for organizing their power in response to liberal forces that were “destroying” corporations.
Conservative and libertarian think tanks introduced the concept of a “Marketplace of Ideas”. Facts, data and rigorous research were not the basis for how our society should make policy, ideas were what mattered. Ideology. And there are only two ideologies: liberal and conservative.
Conservative ideology preached (and corporate prosperity demanded) liberty, strength, rugged individualism. And individual liberty is always limited by institutions, restricted by society.
Liberalism was the opposite: weak, feminine even. Socialism was the same thing as communism. If you needed society or institutions in any way you weren’t a man. (Notice how Trump supporters describe him and themselves: Trump is an alpha male and by extension so are his supporters. Trump’s critics are betas. Snowflakes.)
Rush Limbaugh and Fox News prospered while spreading this message. The simplistic, fear-based “Us vs. Them” stories they tell make for great dramas. Great entertainment. Which just accelerates the speed at which their message was received and believed.
They set out to delegitimize the media, the courts and the schools. Hell, to lot of Trump supporters being educated is a bad thing. It makes you an elitist. (Fox News viewers burst with pride when they tell you it is their only source of information) All of which just strengthens the conservative’s abilities to devalue facts and intellectual rigor.
Once that is accomplished anything that gets in the way of profits can be delegitimized.
Global warming is a hoax and besides, CO2 is plant food. (Only after you have thoroughly devalued education and rigorous research can a talking point like that be repeated with pride).
Health care isn’t a right. It’s a product, just like a TV or a cheese burger. Half the healthcare for twice the cost just means more liberty for me.
To the corporate world ideas like these mean just one thing: mission accomplished.
The surest sign that your final paragraph is on the money is this: half the people in this country like what is happening. They think it is to their benefit to get even more of it.