Barbara Kingsolver has written a powerful book which speaks to our times called The Lacuna.It is a fierce indictment of intellectual and moral laziness, the effects of fear and propaganda and the loss of a certain kind of idealistic American innocence.
The strongest condemnation, or at least the one that struck me hardest, is the one against what she calls "howlers". These are buffoons, like our very own Beakerkin, whose thoughtless rhetoric can cause very real damage to very real lives. I admit to dismissing his diatribes as harmless "examples" but as Kingsolver so eloquently points out, we ignore the downward trend of discourse at our own peril. One minute you are blissfully blogging away and the next the FBI is knocking.
The timely re-telling of the grotesque, surrealistic horror of the Mc Carthy era should be a prod for all of us who dismiss the "howlers" as just some perpetual nuisance, lacking any real effect. Combined with a perversely incentivized "media, our countries famous historical amnesia, and our love of strong authority,these self-righteous pretenders are dangerous and the author pleads for a renewed vigilance and remembering.
Especially poignant were the descriptions of the attacks by militarized police on WW I veterans camped out in D.C who were demanding the veterans benefits they had been promised and the sad concentration camps America set up for it's own citizens in WWII. Kingsolver describes the last years of Trotsky and his relationship with the larger-than-life artists Rivera and Kahlo and writes with clarity and often poetic beauty about Mexico and it's people.
I should read more fiction and would if it was half this good and understood, as this author understands, the need for a renewed politics. She also got me thinking again of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which I had tended to dismiss as a liberal band-aid for capitalism. It might actually provide an entry point into a discussion on a just society. It certainly is the epitome of everything conservatives are against and liberals should be confronted with the economic conventions which have never been ratified.