Politics: March 1997 Archives

Rome (Respone in HotWired)

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I apologize. I did not read your piece. I was simply reacting to the misnomer "post-politics." I wonder if there is something you might do to correct the problem ... ?

I thought at first of similar terms, such as "post-modernism". But "modernism," unlike "politics," is a misnomer itself, describing a very specific style of thought or art which may or may not actually be modern, as it were.

Regardless, however, I still disagree with some of what you said. Or perhaps I am still misreading you. I can't believe, for example, that there is such a thing as an online ideology. Yes, everyone online subscribes to one or more ideologies, but I can think of no common ideology threading everyone together. The idea of "netizens" being a political force is somewhat incomprehensible to me, as I see too many people online who believe too many different things. I see "netizens" as being no different than normal citizens, with the same diversity of opinions and agendas.

Your description of "Self Navigators," while probably true, says nothing about the ideology that really matters in a post-political political landscape.

And while I think you correctly mark the media's -- and public's -- ignoring of the changing values of this nation, I think you are among those you chastise. I think environmentalism and feminism and global issues and spiritual issues are side issues of a much more relevant shift. I don't think these little beliefs are really relevant at all. Maybe this is something you will be getting to in your next piece, but I think it is the underlying philosophies and beliefs that are paramount here.

But it is not a shift away from political parties. I don't think political parties were ever very important in the average person's life until FDR and Vietnam and now. I think this shift is similar to the shift that occured during the time of Vietnam. It is not one away from political parties. It is not one away from a two-party system. That is just a small part of the big picture.

What it is is a shift away from any sort of predefined standards. That is the sum total of the shift. However, I do deny that this there is any link from electronics to this ideology. I think the correlation is reversed, in that young people tend to have this ideology, and are more handy with computers. Likewise, even older people with this ideology are more likely to use computers.

But back to the ideology itself. I hate to invoke the almighty 60s, but it is necessary. The postwar era was nearly devoid of true thought among the populace. Parents were apparently so busy with the depression and the war that maybe they didn't have time to explain WHY they believed what they did. But regardless of the reason, the parents of the 1950s and 1960s did not know why the did what they did. They didn't know why they believed in God, country, and family. They just knew that that was what held them together for so many years.

Come the 1960s and the revolutionary philosophies from Paris. Come the kids without any reason to believe what their parents believed, and racism and wars which their parents' beliefs did nothing to fix. Come history classes and philosophy classes about the ancient Greeks that people just thumbed their noses at as out of date and irrelevant. The youth grew up not beleiving in anything except that there was nothing to believe in that they couldn't figure out for themselves.

This is the shift. Does it sound judgmental and accusatory? Well, maybe it is.

I have no problem with environmentalism or feminism or caring for the world or searching for spiritual answers. I recycle, I wnat women to hae equal opportunity, I want no one in this world to suffer, and I am constantly seraching on my own spiritual path. But I also look to the history of not only my parents and their parents, but to the founding of this nation and the nations before it. I look not only to William F. Buckley but to Twain and Jefferson and Locke and Socrates. I look not only to my pastor but to Graham and Stott and Lewis and Calvin and Luther and Pual and Christ.

Yes, many post-modernists/politicists will say they do, too. "I read all those guys. Yeah, I have a sense of history." But then they reevaluate it all as if somehow it could become irrelevant. As if what was true in philosophy or religion 100, 1000, or 2000 years ago could ever become irrevelant. If we were free in 1776 because we were endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights, then for goodness' sake, we are free in 1997 because we are endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights.

I am not so blind to think that if someone said something a long time ago it must be true. But I am also not so blind to think that if it happened that long ago, then it probably ISN'T true. Because that is what the subculture you speak of is saying. And it is bunk.

Yes, ideas do change. It is possible for us to improve upon the ideas of our predecessors. But let's improve on it, not throw it out, unless you have a damn good reason to. Questioning authority is good, but this subculture is throwing out the great ideas of the past that they don't even understand. They don't see that they are just like the Romans of a couple millenia ago, who thought they were above standards and authorities, that history meant nothing and held few lessons, and that their greatest days were ahead of them if only they would become more open a society.

If you know your history, you know that those soecific societal changes were a large part of the downfall of that civilization. Now, I don't want to be like the Rome of the first century, but I don't want to be like the Rome of today, either.

I am a libertarian. I align myself with the GOP for purely political reasons, despite my disagreements with the party. In Jon's words, I might even be considered a leader of the post-poltical movement. But if the post-political movement is to be filled with the prevailing thoughts that I've discussed here, then I want no part of it.

P.S. I just read Mike McNeil's piece, and I like a lot of what he said.

<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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