Saturday, November 23, 2002

It's been an interesting week I guess. Things are moving along nicely, in about 10 different directions. Nathan Newman has the best take on Bush and Iraq. Al Gore remains an idiot, but only the British press is willing to admit the game's a game. Americans have a habit of taking people at their word, and then laughing at them behind their back, [Link] though Frank Rich is an exception.

There is a segment of the right wing in this country that takes it's freedoms seriously. The barbarism that Europeans are always decrying, except when they lecture us about Hemingway or Charlie Parker, has it's corollary in a stubborn desire to be left alone, even if that isolation leads to chaos and a shorter life. The controlling technocracy which is working its way into our lives, on the other hand, is more radical than conservative in the sense that it seeks to reform social relations in a subsidiary relation to the market. In the past, and in the conservative tradition, social relations were subsidiary to family, church, and community. The market, the philosophy of the economic liberty of the individual, destroys that community. This is something that Libertarians do not understand, and that neocons, who are basically hypocrites, ignore.
The great and glorious contradiction in American life is between the individual and the collective. When people discover that the collective is not a collective but a cabal, they begin to fidget. The advantage Bush has is the advantage of the man with the carrot the possibility of riches as well as the stick, to which Gore can only respond with the condescending decency of the the factory boss's son. What Dick Armey and Bob Barr offer on the other hand is an anger that is fundamentally as anti-intellectual and irresponsible as the majority of the American people. Given a choice between freedom and loyalty, greed and humility, they write in "all of the above."
What a country.