Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Well said (the elusive center edition)

A Huffington Post piece does a good job of capturing the current state of the culture wars, be it political, partisan, or social issue in substance (emphasis mine):
Beware the dirty hippies. They're immature and irresponsible. They're utopians and dreamers. They meddle with lives and hate Christian values and blame America first and root for terrorists. They want free sex and legalized drugs and mandatory abortion. They want to eat your babies. They heart Satan.

This enormous backlash against revolutionary leftism continued growing and gaining strength long after revolutionary leftism petered out as a political force of any real influence. The narratives and habits of mind bequeathed us by the culture war are with us still, despite the long-ago disappearance of one combatant. It's shadowboxing on a nationwide scale, and it shows no signs of abating.

Any number of examples could be cited. The same dynamic plays out on virtually every issue: there's the virulent far-right position, funded by deep-pocketed reactionaries and pushed by talk radio, an enormous network of mutually reinforcing conservative pundits in every major media outlet, an entire cable news network (three now, really), and numerous powerful politicians in leadership positions in every branch of government. Then there's the avowedly liberal position, represented by some obscure professor or a guy in the comment section of a blog or a random placard at a protest. Then there's the "centrist" position, which is the far-right position with the edges rubbed off.
. . .
In other words, the "center" has become utterly detached from facts, substance, or majority opinion. It's an insular, self-sustaining myth, all about the vanity and egos of powerful people in the Beltway clusterfuck.
Indeed. Much of the energy driving the "netroots," new progressive political organizing, and many other changes in recent politics is the desire to recreate an actual left to balance the (heavily weighted) right, which is why cries of "bipartisanship" and "triangulation" lead to such clamor and frustration.

(via Hullabaloo)

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