, 10 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
Too much activism by "new" groups like "the blacks," women, public-sector workers; the renewed romance of socialism; left-populist and plain populist attacks on the essential systems of international trade & post-WW2 order general. All this is anxiously lamented. 2/11
A detail: Huntington & Powell say Cronkite-era mass media polarizes & undermines authority.Today of course it's remembered as the technological precondition of national unity. The "crisis of democracy" is a recurrent genre, & it looks more like a crisis from inside. 3/11
That is, from inside the events from inside the genre. 4/11
The genre is usually framed by some combination of a Lippmann/Schumpeter idea that democracy is an impossible promise, so always tends to crisis when people take it too seriously, & a Tocqueville idea that democracy depends on an implicit consensus that's newly crumbling. 5/11
It reminds me of Raymond Williams's opening to The Country & the City, in which he says the English rural idyll has always just been lost, going back to late medieval or the earliest early-modern writing. 6/11
It's at least a helpful start in breaking out of the eternal parochialism of the present. It also confirms that the same themes are always present: economic power vs popular power, racial domination vs strong citizenship, the impulses to technocracy and/or cultural reaction..7/11
... as ways of putting the brakes on democratic dynamics that are supposedly self-undermining without these rudders and ballast. The latter is a story observers have told again & again, which doesn't make it wrong, but does make our crisis not unique. 8/11
This is relevant today, when the question is whether to respond to this truly horrible moment by rebuilding the buttresses & retreating from agendas for equality & strong democracy, or by deepening those those. We have a real crisis, not the first, but ... 9/11
... any idea that the response is to get back to safe ground of pre-crisis unity, consensus, & stability is not historical realism but the repetition of the conservative version of a recurrent American political genre. 10/11
The alternative is that the terms of a worthy unity, including strong democracy, social protection & empowerment, & an economy of ecological & social caregiving & mutuality, still have to be built. /fin
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