The perennial exchange between Peter Lawler and Patrick Deneen is something that should interest any concerned American. The latest salvos—each of which strike incisively at the interface (or gap?) between authentic conservatism, capitalism, and Marxism—are well worth your time.
Deneen’s thought that unregulated capitalism creates two giant classes—basically the bourgeois (or bourgeois bohemians) and the proletarians or those who do pure mental labor and those who are only fit to do physical labor—seems too Marxist to me. [. . .]
Except: Deneen doesn’t hold out any hope for hate-driven revolution. But: He does write on behalf of resisting politically the “disruptively” dehumanizing logic of the 21st century competitive marketplace. That means, in a way, Deneen is less Marxist than the libertarians Cowen and Silver, who are more about thinking that economic forces—the progress of the division of labor and technology—can explain everything and inevitably produce change, whether we believe in it or not.
Deneen for his part dismisses Lawler's identifications:
This constitutes a logical error—just because Marx was a critic of crony capitalism, that does not make all critics of crony capitalism Marxist. To such criticisms, I can only reply—if what you seek to conserve is liberalism, then you’re right, I’m no conservative. And by today’s definition, who, except a few discredited neo-conservatives (a.k.a., paleo-liberals) trying to reignite the good old days of the Cold War, would want to be so defined?
Read both articles for context, which would be hard (and silly) to try to replicate.
Important to this exchange, too, is economist Tyler Cowen's latest book, Average is Over (reviewed here by Lawler), which serves as a jumping off point for the particular type of meritocratic divide at stake in either case. Maybe also worth picking up a copy for yourself if you want to read what they're reading.