Monday, August 2, 2010

Towards A Radiant Future

In a comment on the prior post, JR notes that ideology trumps reality. I'd go further and say that ideology trumps people, and the reality of people's lives. The victory of an idea is so important that, as in war, collateral damage is acceptable. Especially, of course, if the collateral damage is to someone else. One of the reasons it's despicable for the rich and powerful to demand 'austerity', 'tough measures', 'facing reality' and so on, requiring all that toughness, good citizenship and taking it on the chin for the team from those least able to bear them, or empowered to resist them.

Ideology doesn't just trump reality. It trumps people, and their lives, as if the theory of how people should live is more important than the actuality of their lives.

There's curious parallel between left and right. An old lefty would see individual dysfunction as a sane response to an insane society--greedy, corrupt, human values ground beneath the capitalist's boot, all that--and, come the revolution, with all that gone, nobody would be crazy, and the New Socialist Men and Women would march, arm in arm, towards the Radiant Future. A righty sees individual dysfunction as a predictable response to an insane society--permissive, encouraging of dependency, destructive of freedom and initiative, all that--and, with all that intrusive, tyrannous, parasite-coddling gone, the Newly Liberated Men of the Mind will pick themselves up by their bootstraps, better their lot and, therefore, society's, and march into the Radiant Future.

Neither of these pay much respect to the fact that human beings, leading individual lives, are more complicated objects than the philosophical, economic and sociological models which, against mountains of historical and contemporary evidence, ideologues hold sufficient. Neither the New Socialist Man nor the New Entrepreneurial Man will emerge, in shining sanity, to lead us into the Radiant Future once all of government and society is set right, in conformation with ideology.

And today's most prominent ideologues, the righties and tea partiers, so sure they are of themselves, the righteousness of their lives, the utter truth behind their anger, the worthlessness of their opponents' lives and ideas, are going to do more harm than good, even, in the end, to their own cause. But people will get hurt, many of them. And they won't care. Parasites, one-worlders, America-haters, welfare queens, all. Kulaks.

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