Centrism.biz: Scathing New Parody Site Rips Mask Off 'Zombie Neoliberalism'

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Centrism.biz: Scathing New Parody Site Rips Mask Off 'Zombie Neoliberalism'

To become a certified centrist, you simply need to love inaction, indifference, and the murderous Saudi regime

"We want to create a fresh, same approach to politics and win the race to the middle," the site declares. (Photo: Centrism.biz)

There is no shortage of overtly ideological internet publications and websites in 2017—Breitbart for the alt-right, National Review for the so-called "respectable" conservatives, Jacobin for the socialist left.

"We don't need visionary leaders with big, cumbersome ideas. We need competent managers with small ideas. Ideas that we can fit in our wallet. Like money." 
—Centrism.biz

But what about an online home for the dedicated centrists: for those who prefer small ideas to large ones; for those who oppose both fascism and universal healthcare; for those who take money from the murderous Saudi regime and still claim to value human rights?

Centrists, the wait is finally over: Centrism.biz is the brand new, one-stop shop for all things "moderate."

Launched by Canadian comedy writer Scott Vrooman, Centrism.biz is obviously a parody—a rebuke of centrist ideas rather than an embrace of them.

But parodies are ineffective if they are not at least loosely grounded in truth. Judging by the response to the site's launch Wednesday, many felt that the satire "cut to the core."

"We want to create a fresh, same approach to politics and win the race to the middle," the site declares. "Not by offering policies that voters value, but by making voters feel more valuable."

To achieve this goal, the site continues, "we don't need visionary leaders with big, cumbersome ideas. We need competent managers with small ideas. Ideas that we can fit in our wallet. Like money. From lower taxes. Ideas like tax cuts. How about tax cuts?"

In addition to a "values" section (moderation, optimism, shopping, power) and a "friends" section (donors, focus groups, Saudi Arabia), the site also features a policy section with centrist "solutions" for some of the most pressing issues of our time.

  • Climate change: "Like every other problem, climate change can be solved with economic growth. We have grown our way out of recessions and we will grow our way out of this planet's inherent limits."
  • War: "Our military isn't just a weapon, it's a healer of the world’s wounds. Because as any good healer knows, the best way to treat a wound is to shoot off the blood with a gun."
  • Inequality: "Instead of 'haves' and 'have nots' we want a society of 'haves' and "think positive!'s."
  • Nuclear weapons: "We take a principled stand against the slaughter of civilians with nuclear weapons, and that's why we promise that if any nation uses them, we'll nuke that place to fucking ashes."

When asked about his motivation for creating the site, Vrooman told Common Dreams that he wanted to argue through satire that the "label 'centrist' is on its face absurd."

"It's obviously just a mask on zombie neoliberalism, which refuses to die even after it's whole intellectual edifice collapsed in 2008," Vrooman added, referring to the global financial crisis.

"Centrism has a global reach, but as far as I can tell it's everywhere the same: neoliberalism with a wider, faker smile."
—Scott Vrooman

Centrism.biz appears during a time of intense debate over the ideological trajectory of the Democratic Party, and of American politics more broadly.

Many argued in the aftermath of Donald Trump's victory in the 2016 presidential election that Democrats should move "back to the center" in order to regain power.

Others—like Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—have argued that the time for "lukewarm" centrist ideas, like many of those satirically featured on Centrism.biz, is over.

Vrooman agrees with the latter, but notes that Centrism.biz is not merely taking aim at American centrists, but at all centrist politicians who function as—in the words of the site—"charismatic stage managers for capitalism."

"In my country, Canada, Justin Trudeau and his Liberal party very much fall into this category of fake progressivism," Vrooman said. "Our handsome, walking-saxophone-solo of a Prime Minister made half of his cabinet members female but is also okay with mass surveillance, selling arms to Saudi Arabia, and building climate-torching pipelines."

"Centrism has a global reach," Vrooman concluded, "but as far as I can tell it's everywhere the same: neoliberalism with a wider, faker smile. And it's not good enough."

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