|Brian Holmes on Mon, 26 Jun 2017 05:37:45 +0200 (CEST)|
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|Re: <nettime> Hungary: new NGO law passed|
On 06/18/2017 04:05 PM, Zenaan Harkness wrote:
We speak rather arrogantly in the West, treating Liberalism as unassailably good, yet the superficiality of our MSM driven discourse rarely acknowledges that the desire for a conservative community is not only a natural and acceptable desire, and widespread across the world, but does not mean that those who express such desires are bigots, and most fundamentally, the hypocritical ignoring of the facts that "global homogeneity" is the opposite of "preserving diversity", that if you don't stand for something, you fall for anything.
This is a complicated issue, among others because a lot of the people on this list are Leftists of some kind, not liberals in any sense of the word. Most people on the Left do not treat liberalism as an unassailable good. Instead we decry the many negative effects of free trade and free movement of capital (the two things which define economic liberalism), while supporting the free movement of people because we value solidarity and human rights. We think that free trade and transnational finance tend to destroy the social and political systems of smaller countries, and that is one of the reasons we feel solidarity with those trying to find a safer and healthier home. I think you are right to insist that the desire for a tightly controlled border (if that is in fact what you mean by a "conservative community") does not automatically make those who desire it into bigots. There are quite serious conservative theories of democracy holding that only those with a long-term stake in a given polity can be counted on to assume the responsibilities of citizenship (the French historians Francois Furet and Pierre Rosanvallon come to mind). People on the Left would do well to debate these theories more deeply, to see how *we* think democracy operates under conditions of high-volume immigration from countries destablized by war, climate change and the economic sabotage of so-called free trade. If we would debate more among ourselves, then we could try to raise the level of the debates with true conservatives, which are now at an all-time low level. One conclusion from such a reflection is that it is urgent for rich countries to manage their economies both for the support of all their citizens (something which is not presently being done in the US where I live) and in such a way as to strengthen neighboring economies (something the US is not doing with regards to Mexico, nor the rest of Latin America). Great inequalities both within and between countries raise serious threats to democracy, because they create powerful resentments, We are experiencing those threats at present, all across the developed world. Not only the poorer countries and their increasingly desperate populations are responsible for these threats. Those classes of people who concentrate wealth are also responsible. It's pretty important to see that those extremely wealthy millionaire and billionaire classes are not conservatives. They are liberals in that they favor free trade, free movement investment across borders, and they're just plain capitalists in that they favor cheap labor, whether because the labor is undocumented or because it's the labor of citizens stripped of all their former rights and collective bargaining agency. How can conservatives support these oligarchs who rig the game in their favor, whatever side of the political spectrum they claim to be on? The end of your paragraph includes a bit of its own arrogance, and if you're addressing me or my likes, then I would respectfully take issue with that. I do stand for something and I do not fall for anything. The world we live in is not one of global homogeneity, not from my viewpoint. It is one of tremendous cultural richness, full of warm humanity and the chance to get outside one's own skin. Life is good when one can experience and at least partially share the desires and even the fate of others who speak different languages and dream different dreams. The homogenizing and standardizing forces come from large-scale capitalist enterprises that only benefit a thin slice of the population. You may not accept my view of the good life, but if we can debate about the relation between democracy and corporate capitalism, about the proper role of borders and of citizenship, and about the questions of equality and inequality, then we can get a lot further than if we trade rhetorical barbs and arrows while leaving our own preconceived notions intact. Democratic societies around the world are clearly at an impasse, and polarization is creating the conditions for war, both civil and international. Will that bring the good life? I don't see any reason to think so. We need some new ideas and that means taking the risk of shedding some old ones. best, Brian Holmes # distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission # <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism, # collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets # more info: http://mx.kein.org/mailman/listinfo/nettime-l # archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: firstname.lastname@example.org # @nettime_bot tweets mail w/ sender unless #ANON is in Subject: