Thursday, 17 February 2005

Improving rather than Removing Standards

I just discovered Rob Salkowitz' web log, Emphasis Added this morning, and lost no time in adding it to my blogroll. He roped me in with reflections on the blinders worn by ideologues, regardless of their polarity:
The problem with libertarianism in its extreme form is the same as the problem with any ideological position in its extreme form: the ideals rarely survive contact with reality. ...

From a practical perspective, the most successful forms of government are those that mix free market and government in ways that preserve initiative and competition while mitigating their worst effects through the actions of government. The reasons for this are plain obvious. To embrace either libertarianism or socialism as a complete philosophy, you need to have a painfully limited view of human nature. Libertarians believe everyone is a rugged individual, or should be. Socialists believe we’re all cogs in a larger social construct, or should be. In fact, humans are complicated creatures with aspects of both individual and group affinities. This could only come as news to hermits, shut-in or people whose ideology has completely crowded out their common sense.

In well-balanced human beings, ideological rhetoric that emphasizes either our sacred dignity as individuals, or our solidarity as members of a class or state can stir passions temporarily, but few people live their lives as uncompromising devotees to a theory that does not satisfy their material needs in practice.
But it was his next post which I found particularly provocative, and highly recommend you check it out. There he argues that well-meaning progressives of the sixties created the opening for the current moneyed interests of the rightwing to pollute our media without the critical filters they deserve, by challenging outdated standards and creating an environment in which any newly proffered idea deserves its own fair hearing. The progressives were right to challenge outdated standards, but what was needed was a tweaking and improvement of the standards, not their removal.


Cockmaster said...

Oh come on lighten up for the week end, next you will try and convince us Bush is a nice guy.... agree with the anti Mac D though,
Slick x

Rob Salkowitz said...

Thanks for the kind words. You run a pretty good shop over here, too. I will add you to the EA blogroll of honor when I get off my ass and update my template (probably a week or so).