Monday, September 03, 2007

Books and the crisis of American liberalism

I am half-way through writing a post entitled "The crisis of American liberalism", prompted by something which Jogo sent me:
"The Karl Roves of the world have built a generation that just wants a couple slogans: 'No, don't raise my taxes, no new taxes,"' Pat Schroeder, president of the American Association of Publishers, said in a recent interview. "It's pretty hard to write a book saying, 'No new taxes, no new taxes, no new taxes' on every page."
What snobbish, foolish bullshit.

Does reading Harry Potter or the Da Vinci Code make you more progressive? Was going into Borders to buy the latest Michael Moore hit a defining feature of the black Southerners who sat in the whites only section of the diner? Did the factory workers who won fought for a ten-hour day in the nineteenth century come home and browse's reader recommendations at the end of working day?

And, as Jogo noted, did "the Karl Roves of this world" come up with slogans like "No blood for oil" or "All power to the soviets"?

With people like Pat Schroeder, no wonder liberalism in America is in deep crisis.


For some of the books conservatives read, look at these Opinion Journal lists: Five Best books on the relationship between religion and the state or Five best books on the founding of America.


mnuez said...

I'm not entirely certain that I understand your point, - or to be more precise, I'm not certain that I understand your entire point.

The part that I do understand and truly appreciate your raising to the fore is the need for action where some of our more literary minded friends may think that reading will suffice.

I'll never say a bad word about reading (and Certainly not one about writing) but, "Eis La'asos" - There is, indeed, a time for action.

To bring it more l'poi'al (into actual practice) what do you actually do, what do you recommend others do and what sort of action might you like to inspire your readers to join you in? (Hey, once we're talking boots on the floor, let's get specific about where they should go. :-)

Cheers mate,


Roberto Iza said...


bob said...

It's not, for me, about books versus action - each has their proper time and place.

It's about the self-regard of so many liberals, especially in America, that liberals and "progressives" are uniquely smart while the conservatives are dumb.

This is wrong on two levels.

One: It's wrong because only some conservatives are dumb (just as only some liberals are smart). The people who read OpinionJournal, National Review and Commentary are not dumb. The people who read Roger Scruton and Michael Oakeshott are not dumb. (Whereas plenty of the people who read Michael Moore are dumb...)

Two: It's reading books is no guaranty of being smart - and, for that matter, being smart is no guaranty of being right. You can read John Pilger and Noam Chomsky all day and still be stupid.

The self-regard of liberals, their smug elitist posturing, is one reason they are in such crisis.

The New Centrist said...

"The self-regard of liberals, their smug elitist posturing, is one reason they are in such crisis."

I was flipping through the channels on the tube last night and caught a few minutes of Greg Palast. Smug is about the most polite term I can use to describe the man. If he is one of the "liberals" best and brightest, they are in serious trouble.

Thankfully, there are still a lot of centrists in the Democratic Party. The left-wing may make speak loudly (and carry a bigger stink) but outside of the Internet and protest scene they are marginal political players.