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Judyth Mermelstein @GadflyQuebec
, 16 tweets, 7 min read Read on Twitter
A couple of not-altogether-random thoughts:
- The constant complaint that "left-of-centre" values are now -unfairly, yet- prevalent over "conservative" ones may well be inaccurate, given the longtime deliberate strategy in some quarters to shift public perception of "centre" /1
dramatically rightwards. For example, the Republicans of today would consider that President Eisenhower was "dangerously liberal" for his fight against fascism and for decent lives for the poor. Americans generally still agree with Ike, though the Tea Party movement shifted the/2
#GOP's position further rightward; a resurgent racist, pro-fascism element is adding its pressure to that of the "1%" donor class to go even further into fullblown authoritarianism. That is, their new "centre" was what the 1950s called rightwing extremism. But most Americans /3
are not rabidly partisan and haven't followed that rightward shift. They are "left of centre" not because America's values have been corrupted by "liberals" but because the #GOP's efforts to change their minds about "equal justice for all" have failed. (Thank heaven for that!) /4
Another thought:
@reihan seems to be coming from a position where Americans are #consumers rather than #citizens. His essay assumes an inordinate control of public opinion by people selling entertainment to people who have no values of their own. I believe this is a big mistake/5
that undermines his argument, as well as suggesting he has too little contact with average American #citizens. Yes, they probably spend too much time watching TV or listening to pop. No, they haven't forgotten who they are: the people for whom "life, liberty and the pursuit of /6
happiness" are fundamental freedoms owed to all, not just those with accumulated wealth and privileged status. Most of those now alive are inspired, not angered, by the words on the Statue of Liberty about welcoming the oppressed to share their freedoms. Most want decent, /6
(sorry, that s/b 7)
peaceful lives for themselves and their children, not licence to prevent others from having such lives. Those #citizens give generously to their communities, in money &/or time as means permit, rather than espousing the "me first, anything for a buck" of /8
a so-called elite whose selfishness and corruption knows no bounds. In other words, they are indeed #consumers of cultural products but they are also good #citizens and makers of the American culture that values democracy, community & tolerance of differences.
Which -these days/9
in some frames of reference - is to say they are more-or-less "too liberal" and "left" of the redefined centre.
We are living in an era where big money and multiple influences are being directed at discrediting and undermining the values of good #citizens to enhance the power/10
of a selfish, self-appointed few. That is *not* what the Republicans of the post-WWII were about: they were creating institutions to foster peace, democracy and prosperity worldwide in the wake of horrific carnage. Of course the vision exceeded the reality but they tried and /11
what they built was better than what it replaced for millions of people around the world, as well as for Americans themselves. It's no accident that any American with a half-decent education (not necessarily elite or post-secondary) knows that history and is "left of centre" /12
as an *inevitable* result. There is a reason why those who would reverse that progress "love the poorly educated" and do all they can to ensure more American #citizens are ignorant #consumers of propaganda that would make them vote against their own interests. Celebrities are /13
not the cause but one manifestation of the degree to which #citizens are subjected to influences pushing them in different directions and must think for themselves about which values matter to them. @reihan's op-ed misses the point, blinded by his prior assumption that it's /14
all, and always, about commercial self-interest. Real conservatives know even Adam Smith didn't believe that.
#uspoli & #worldpoli are being pushed in a direction that leads to planet-wide disaster by people for whom self-interest is everything. We #citizens must say no or else.
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