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View Diary: Tom Clancy's Dark Legacy (205 comments)

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  •  Well, I think part of what you're outlining here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Farugia, RiveroftheWest

    is the relationship between conservatism and romanticism, particularly romanticism about the past and the ideals it supposedly represents.

    If only we could sweep away the rotten establishment government, then we'd have ordinary volk -- er, folk sent to Washington.  

    That's quite plainly a romantic notion, and like most romantic notions it's more emotionally appealing than well thought-out.  A cataclysm that sweeps away a rotten government, but leaves the forces that created that government intact, will only produce a more extreme version of that government.  And lets not forget that that rotten establishment government is largely giving us things that we've foolishly allowed ourselves to be persuaded to want -- a priapic, Brobdingnagian military for example.

    There's nothing wrong with romanticism in moderation; it just becomes a vice when it's used as a substitute for reality.

    A lot has been written here about the silliness of the Tea Partiers, but I think what most people don't seem to appreciate is the role fantasies of heroism play in the movement, and indeed in most reactionary conservative groups.  The Tea Party, aa tiny, embattled (always embattled) minority of Americans is standing up and making a difference in American government.  As with the notion of arming airline passengers, it's not a well thought-out difference, but it's a difference of a sort.

    And the heroic theme goes on with other crackpot ideas, like appointing yourself the armed defender of your neighborhood, even though you don't know the people who live in that neighborhood well enough to know they've got family visiting.

    The romantic impulse is often noble, but believing it uncritically is just plain dumb.  Unfortunately many people do just that. They don't seem to understand that real solutions take more patience and hard work than the cheap emotional catharsis they get from wish-fulfillment stories in books and movies.

    It isn't fair to blame Clancy for that. He wrote military and political fantasies. Sure, the fictional world he paints has many details that make it feel convincing, but so does Middle Earth.  Taking the world of Clancy's novels (or Ayn Rand's novels for that matter) as an accurate representation of the world we live in is quite literally a Quixotic thing to do.

    I've lost my faith in nihilism

    by grumpynerd on Thu Oct 03, 2013 at 09:02:46 PM PDT

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