False consciousness & the liberal worldview

George F. Will gives useful background on the worldview that looms behind Barack Obama’s contention that Americans are religious, love guns, and want border control because they are economically oppressed. A sample:

The emblematic book of the new liberalism was “The Affluent Society” by Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith. He argued that the power of advertising to manipulate the bovine public is so powerful that the law of supply and demand has been vitiated. Manufacturers can manufacture in the American herd whatever demand the manufacturers want to supply. Because the manipulable masses are easily given a “false consciousness” (another category, like religion as the “opiate” of the suffering masses, that liberalism appropriated from Marxism), four things follow:

First, the consent of the governed, when their behavior is governed by their false consciousnesses, is unimportant. Second, the public requires the supervision of a progressive elite which, somehow emancipated from false consciousness, can engineer true consciousness. Third, because consciousness is a reflection of social conditions, true consciousness is engineered by progressive social reforms. Fourth, because people in the grip of false consciousness cannot be expected to demand or even consent to such reforms, those reforms usually must be imposed, for example, by judicial fiats.

According to Marxism and its neo-Marxist descendents (who apply what Marx said about ecoonomics to other kinds of oppression, such as by race, gender, and sexual orientation), “false consciousness” has to do with the oppressed being manipulated by those in power to co-operate in their own oppression. For example, in neo-Marxist literary criticism (still a big deal on non-Patrick Henry university campuses), Jane Austen is said to show “false consciousness” by having her female characters get married rather than empowering them to be feminists.

Liberal condescension

The Republicans have one hope in the next election: The Democrats’ Achilles heel. Namely, that liberals are SO condescending to typical, normal Americans. That does not wear well for typical, normal voters. Consider what Barack Obama says, as recorded here:

You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them…And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.

And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

So THAT’S why we small town yokels are religious. And THAT’S why we “cling to guns” and have problems with illegal immigration. Nothing about beliefs or principles. We are economically depressed and so are in need of Obama’s government programs. Then we wouldn’t have to be religious or like guns anymore.

Obama is saying now he didn’t mean to come across that way. But what is more worrisome is the glimpse of a worldview that the statement reveals. It reflects that old leftist ideology that Obama has up till now done such a good job of trying to transcend, the Marxist and neo-Marxist notion that accounts for beliefs, institutions, and habits of mind as nothing more than covers for economic oppression.

Identity politics

From Charles Krauthammer on the degeneration of the Democratic presidential race:

If there are no policy issues between them and the personality differences have been whittled down, what’s left? Identity. Race, age, and gender. Is this campaign about anything else?

Nationally, the older white woman — Clinton — carries the senior vote, the white vote and the women’s vote. The younger black man — Obama — carries the youth vote, the black vote and the male vote. . . .

The pillars of American liberalism — the Democratic party, the universities, and the mass media — are obsessed with biological markers, most particularly race and gender. They have insisted, moreover, that pedagogy and culture and politics be just as seized with the primacy of these distinctions and with the resulting “privileging” that allegedly haunts every aspect of our social relations.

They have gotten their wish. This primary campaign represents the full flowering of identity politics. It’s not a pretty picture.

The counter to global warming

Hell is freezing over: The Milwaukee Brewers are 6-2. Democrats are the ones getting charged with racism and sexism. Liberals and conservatives seem to be agreeing on something, namely, China.

Do you see any similar unlikely events that may portend apocalypse?

The story John McCain did not want you to read

John McCain fought with the New York Times to stop it from printing this story, such is his sense of privacy for his family, but what it shows is very much to his credit. His son, a Lance Corporal of the Marines, who rejects all special treatment, and is fighting in Iraq is a hero. I think some people assumed the story would reveal some deep, dark secret and would be harmful to McCain’s candidacy, such was the ferocity with which he asked the editors not to print it. That he didn’t want information out that would help him because he would rather keep his son out of the spotlight is commendable.

It’s so commendable, I don’t want to violate his privacy either. But the story is in the New York Times, so it’s pretty much out. I’ll link it.

HT: Nathan Martin

Condoleezza Rice for Vice President?

Condoleezza Rice Is Pursuing the VP Spot. She is denying, though, that she wants the office.) Hey, I wanted her to run for president! But would she be a good candidate?