Thursday, October 02, 2008

Freedom Capsized

I strongly recommend reading Dennis Perrin's blogpost from yesterday, Halluci Nation.

Ordinarily I can only take so much of this internet Jeremiah because his relentless pessemism gives me heart palpitations. But I can't often argue with him. He strips away all the pretensions and puffed-up self-importance of politicians and the political system, and nurses a righteous resentment of the kitsch that passes for culture in our emotionally crippled society.

Of our current troubles and the possibility of popular revolt against the powers that be, Perrin says: (T)he great mass of Americans have no desire to bring down the system or change it in ways that would require radical actions. The majority want to be left alone with their toys and what money they have stashed away. They want to consume and be entertained as always, pretending that they're not connected to the wider world, or that their choices have real consequences. The proposed $700 billion bailout was simply too much, and this was reflected in Congress' rejection of Bush's plan.


What will be (a popular revolt's) ultimate destination? There's no real alternative support network for such a thing. No opposition party which this energy and anger can animate and empower.


Frankly, Americans haven't lost enough for a united tear-it-down response. For a great number, there's still a ways to drop. And even then, when they have nothing left to lose, a significant portion will refrain from direct action and place their concerns with demagogues who thrive in moments of despair. Many people don't want to confront it, but our consumer paradise covers all manner of ugly, bigoted, violent sentiments. The reaction to the 9/11 attacks should remind you of that.

This is harsh and discouraging stuff. But I find nothing here with which I can disagree. You might want to put on your shinpads and read the whole thing.

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