End of Dignity
To watch the labor leaders crawl all over each other to be the first to endorse Obama is the culmination of a long, disgusting process of accommodation and capitulation. The total loss of dignity takes awhile. To hear the excuses: "What choice do we have?" We will keep his feet to the fire, He has done some good things, blah blah, you just wish you had a tape recording of every such endorsement since Jimmy Carter. Begging for scraps and smiling all the while. They made their bed and now they get to sleep in it. One wonders just how many rank and file workers will be out knocking on doors for Democrats? How about teachers? Verizon workers?
Interesting piece in the Atlantic called Our Market Obsession. Especially poignant cause Ben Bernanke is celebrated on the cover! In it Harvard communitarian Michael Sandel (Liberalism and the Limits of Justice) bemoans the fact that "markets and market forces have come to govern our lives", what I and others have called an inverted totalitarianism. He worries that in a society where everything is for sale, a qualitative shift happens within a moral order, a "corrosive tendency" which "might also corrupt the meaning of citizenship".
This is obviously a reply to the Republican candidates and their market fundamentalism and also to the recent crisis of capitalism. The tea party is freaked about tyranny of the bureaucrats but is fine that free choice now means Coke or Pepsi. Sandel wants us to think about the harm in turning human beings such as children or slaves into commodities but interestingly finds nothing troubling about a person selling their labor power. He talks about rights and duties but we know every fine is just a cost and everyone has their price. He can't explain how a market economy turns into a market society. His only remedy is a "debate" but admits our "public discourse" has been drained of moral and civic energy. Bit of a dilemma!
Another good read is the novel Resistance by Barry Lopez. Ostensibly a "political" work, he mentions a war on terror gone amok and a government/business alliance a couple of times but leaves you hanging as to actual forms of resistance. Mostly it is psycho-social-spiritual explorations and it is imbued with wisdom and beautiful prose. He is coming to Missoula next week for a talk and I guarantee folks will come out. I wish he was a little less mystical and a little more political.