This article about our current politics is uncomfortable reading. The writer doesn't come at it from the same angle I do -- and he's upfront about that -- but nobody's corner of the present political divides is spared and none of them come off as shining examples of the way forward.
His analysis of the big picture looks pretty close to me. It's certainly worth your time to read it all the way through. Even if you decide he's off-base, it's a good look into another person's perceptions of where we are and how we got there.
BUILDING A 1:1 BALUN
3 years ago
I feel pretty good about what he's written here. We'd all do well to acknowledge our own flaws.
I also note that once again, I don't really fall into one of these categories.
I share a bit of all four, to be honest. I'm from a working class family, and a student of history, and Real America gets some things right. I'm also college educated and a highly paid professional, and I absolutely believe that meritocracy is the best way forward (the hardest working, smartest people SHOULD get ahead - there's nothing unfair about that), so I would probably most closely align with Smart America, where I'm sitting now.
But I also think that Just America has some good points - we're not quite there yet, and more effort towards Social Justice is warranted. However, I disagree with every fiber of my being with how they are going about it. I celebrated every advance in equality that has occurred in my lifetime - gay rights, the recognition that minorities still don't have the same fair shake that I had, etc. I even really like the idea of Juneteenth being a national holiday (because the offical legal end of that morally abhorrent institution is something to celebrate, even if slavery continues in various gray forms even today).
Free America also has good points, but again, they tend to take it too far. The idea that we're all individuals on our own is not an intelligent take. Maximization of individual liberty is a good goal, but it also must be tempered with the knowledge that no man is an island unto himself, and that we absolutely rely on each other, and should comport ourselves as such moving forward.
I really think that folks like me, the ones who take the best out of each of the bifurcations this guy lays out, are the ones who are right, and are the silent majority. Unfortunately, we're also not enflamed by our viewpoints in the way the more extreme members of these groups are, and so we just aren't heard from in the same way that they are. You can't be "militantly moderate"/
It's funny, I've been seeing writings about the divisions in America a lot lately – in the Atlantic article referenced here with Free/Smart/Real/Just Americas, over at unherd.com Joel Kotkin breaks it down into First/Second Americas (highly educated & affluent, and working & private sector middle class, respectively), and finally, John Michael Greer sorts America into investment/salary/wage/welfare classes in his new book "The King in Orange." It's as if they're looking at the same phenomena, each from a different angle, each revealing a slightly different aspect of the same thing.
Thanks for pointing out the Atlantic article.
I really like this response.
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