Thursday, May 13, 2010

If Only

Mark Lilla writes in the NYT Review of Books as favorably about Americans as might an English aristocrat of 1770 :
A new strain of populism is metastasizing before our eyes, nourished by the same libertarian impulses that have unsettled American society for half a century now. Anarchistic like the Sixties, selfish like the Eighties, contradicting neither, it is estranged, aimless, and as juvenile as our new century. It appeals to petulant individuals convinced that they can do everything themselves if they are only left alone, and that others are conspiring to keep them from doing just that. This is the one threat that will bring Americans into the streets.

Welcome to the politics of the libertarian mob....

...The new Jacobins have two classic American traits that have grown much more pronounced in recent decades: blanket distrust of institutions and an astonishing—and unwarranted—confidence in the self. They are apocalyptic pessimists about public life and childlike optimists swaddled in self-esteem when it comes to their own powers.
It is obvious to all intellectual, educational and informational elites that the colonial mob is utterly incapable of making the correct decisions. The elites are the only ones who make correct decisions, and that in itself gives them the right to rule the mob, both in general and in detail. Compact flourescent lightbulbs, anyone, whether they make sense in your particular situation or not? Massive subsidies for the correct technologies, even though they waste resources in the name of conservation? A statewide mandate, as in Hawaii, for solar panels on the roof of every new house, including those in areas in which the solar industry itself says they don't make sense?

I think the American Revolution is all over except a few years of Tea Party shouting, but maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised.

Very surprised.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home