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View Diary: Reason, Emotion and Politics: An Interview with Drew Westen (88 comments)

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  •  The Thoughtless Left (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oldpro, Icarus Ascending


    ... the left has no brand, no counterbrand, no master narrative, no counternarrative. It has no shared terms or "talking points" for its leaders to repeat until they are part of our political lexicon. Instead, every Democrat who runs for office, every Democrat who offers commentaries on television or radio, every Democrat who even talks with friends at the water cooler, has to reinvent what it means to be a Democrat, using his or her own words and concepts, as if the party had no history,

    failure of DailyKos to have a "Humanities Thread" although having a "Science Thread," when the humanities are traditionally a fundamental source of ideas for social philosophy providing "talking points," illustrates why "the left has no brand." Past commentaries on this point being consistently met with indifference or derision simply drives the point home. Currently the left in the United States is devoid of social thought, and sadly is proud of this circumstance.

    •  So start a weekly Humanities round-up (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oldpro, Icarus Ascending

      Post a diary each week -- or each day, if you feel the need -- to point people to interesting articles or issues. I bet a lot of people would read it and end up contributing their own choices in comments.

      •  That would be so awesome! (0+ / 0-)

        For those of us who love this site but are not the
        total political animals like some of the geniuses
        in residence, it would be great!  We deeply need more sources of replenishing material.

        I cannot WAIT to read this book by Dr. Westen!
        What a refreshing take on the world.

      •  Splutter . . . Splutter . . . . (0+ / 0-)

        Look Susan G., bloggers like yourself on this site are supposed to blunderingly reply to the brilliant repostes to their blogs like those provided by me, they aren't supposed to tell an all knowing responder to put up or shut up. Don't you know your "netiquette?!"

        Outside of the fact I do not know what is occurring currently in all the humanities and social sciences, these latter sadly lacking presentation on this site as well, meeting your challenge by myself beyond my own narrow expertise is a daunting task. Actually, a pool of contributors is necessary, representing the spectrum of discipline areas.

        (Now after my awkward start, I'm warming to my reply to you, so take that Susan G.! Hah!) Additionally, how does one go about initiating a blog, rather than responding with keen insight into the flaws of the blog?

        Final point, I just realized after my attempt to be cute in the second paragraph, my ignorance of current developments in unfamiliar humanities and social science disciplines is the point. A periodic blog on them is necessary to inform readers and perhaps help develop an ideological foundation for them.

        My hero here is Georges Sorel, not because he praised violence, which he didn't, but because he presents perhaps the best case for how social change is shaped in the formation of the Social Myth.

        •  So put up a diary ... (0+ / 0-)

          that's a call to others interested and informed to try and make this happen. Brainstorm there about areas of coverage, schedules, whatever. Go ahead and see what happens. Maybe nothing. Maybe something. But it certainly seems an intriguing idea worthy of exploration and possible implementation.

    •  philandrel, you've got it backwards (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Icarus Ascending

      It is the Left that has an abundance of social thought- so much so that it is necessary to discuss it to come to a consensus.
      It is the Right that is devoid of social thought as it sets aside any personal opinions or beliefs to take up what has been dictated, sent down, to parrot in any conversation. "Talking points" are glaring evidence of Right-winger's desire to agree and embrace a shared ideology, and damn any evidence to the contrary of those points. To free-thinkers like us Liberals, the idea of conforming to so narrow a view for the sake of political unity is unpalatable.
      What Righties view as chaos within the Democratic Party is actually democracy in action. It is how it is supposed to be done. The other way leads to dull-mindedness and short-sightedness.

      You must be the change you wish to see in the world. - Gandhi

      by Gentle Giant on Thu Jul 12, 2007 at 09:53:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, I Don't Think I So (0+ / 0-)

        In the early Twentieth Century, a general thoretical consensus formed amongst liberals, which upon accession of Franklin Roosevelt, allowed quick implementation of a generally coherent social program. This ended in the late 1970s when increased economic competition by a resurgent Europe and Japan led Jimmy Carter and Paul Voelcker to shift finances from social to production investment.

        Ronald Reagan transformed what was probably perceived as a temporary shift into a permanent shift. Blaming their fate on social changes introduced by the Great Society, displaced workers abandoned the liberalism of the left for the corporatism of the right. Following the voters, the Democrats similarly abandoned liberalism.

        Achieving what appeared an ever expanding production--albeit at the price of stagnant wages--the right literally came to believe they had achieved the endless cornucopia of Francis Fukuyama's End of History. So being, Federal funding for the humanities in particular dried up. In Bush's current budget proposal, science funding is way up, while funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities is up .7% (seventh tenths of a percent).

        My suspicion is the humanities became perceived dangerous at worst and useless at best, either threatening the perfection achieved especially in the 1990s by Bob Woodward's Maestro Alan Greenspan, or a "luxury good" as asserted in an editorial by the editor of the Opinion section of our local newspaper. At the end of history, ideas are no longer needed, and may well be threatening.

        Wages of the End of History becoming manifest to the working class by the 2000s, there is a void in new ideas globally. Socialism has been abandoned, and liberalism rendered a bad word after incessant attack by political policy makers. Tony Blair, I believe, once commented when Prime Minister he couldn't think of any alternative to globalization.

        Currently the most active venue for new social thought is South America, which learned the price of Neo-Classical economics a bit sooner than the American worker. To my knowledge they haven't settled on anything yet. In the U.S., we have still to begin, humanists and social scientists cowed by a quarter century of funding cuts and ridicule. Test: how many reading this have heard of John Rawls?

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