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View Diary: Brad Carson speaks - and pens a brilliant TNR article (348 comments)

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  •  Its a complicated equation (none)
    Revolt, revolution grows and manifests itself in different ways in different places. The revolt on the plains (so to speak) incubates in a climate in which government interference becomes the enemy, at least more so than corporations. At different times and in different places (indeed, as this revolt against globalization and modernity that is occurring in many other places) will manifest itself in different ways depending on the preexisiting cultural environment. This is exactly the point Carson makes. He is explaining a development in American political cultural in global terms.

    Ben P

    The United States has a conservative political culture defending a liberal heritage. The modern Republican Party's problem is that it is neither.

    by Ben P on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 12:42:16 AM PST

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    •  That's a generous reading (none)
      I don't disagree that fundamentalism is a reaction to globalization and modernization, though this doesn't seem to me to be much of a revelation. And I agree that the revolt against globalization has been directed against "big government," rahter than "big business," in several huge regions of the country.

      What I find less than brilliant about Carson's article is its vagueness. What is the "failure of liberal philosophy" and the failure of Democrats? Is it a commitment to atomistic individualism, heartless materialism and abandonment of tradition? Or is it a failure to successfully communicate our real, long-standing belief ina  caring community? I believe its a problem of communciation--a problem aggravated by the fact that Republicans have so successfully taken up the traditional values mantle, even though their policies are atomistically individualistic, heartless materialistic, and divorced from egalitatrian traditions. Carson might say I'm buying into a retro-Marxist idea of "false consciousness," and maybe I am; but what reason, other than sentimentality, is there to believe that the masses always frame issues clearly and are never duped?

      Although I find the article insatsifying, it does make me feel for Carson--he's obviously shaken by his loss and asking himself where he went wrong. But I would say that it may be the voters who went wrong by letting Coburn's side incorrectly frame the debate as Republican traditionalism vs. Democratic modernist. In reality, both Republicans and Democrats represent visions of both tradition and mdoernity.

      •  I agree with you 100% (none)
        Brad Carson captures something very important, which troubles me a bit about the Democratic Party and the philosophy of liberalism: the moral relativism, selling out every value except "tolerance", the naive faith in "progress" despite the technological destruction we see everywhere, the ethical void where everything just comes to down to "feeling good" - a sort of utilitarian calculus where integrity and character means nothing. Where economic progress and consumerism are more important than living an ethical and meaningful life. Where "virtue" is a vice. The cynical world of South Park.. spitting on religion and celebrating expanded consciousness merging humans with machines.

        So why am I a liberal Democrat? Well, the profile I just sketched is not the whole truth about liberals. It applies better to libertarians. We HAVE values - solidarity, environmental harmony, peace etc - and WE are critical of corporations and their technological annhilation of the earth and moral values. The Republican voters are right to recognize some of the ugly features of capitalist modernity, but they are voting for a party that is in the pocket of coporations.

        I would love to have a party - the Democratic Party - that stands up against corporations and against the most nihilistic features of modern life. Against corporate power. Against environmental destruction. Against moral relativism. Against nihilism. Against hedonism. Against the idea that narrow economic concerns trump everything else.

        We need to be more critical of modernity.  

        "there's a conspiracy out there - open and admitted - that's trying to convince you that you'll be happier if you buy various products"

        by Joe B on Fri Nov 12, 2004 at 06:49:03 AM PST

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