Two Puzzle Pieces | Easily Distracted

25 Oct

Where larger protests and anger are breaking out against the elites who have commandeered political systems, it’s because the publics behind those protests have dissolved or tabled most of their more specific demands or commitments, have recognized that you won’t get good policy until you get something close to a social revolution, until the connection between democratic process, genuine responsibilities to broad publics, and a constraining ethics of bureaucratic power and expertise is forged anew.

In the United States, I think the specific move that needs to be made is the recognition that the rank-and-file hostility of Tea Party adherents and sympathizers towards “big government” has an intimate, potentially generative connection to the possibility of a wider mobilization against the powers-that-be, that this is the cognate American form of the energy that’s flowing into protests in India, in Egypt, in the European Union. Which in turn requires a less knee-jerk response by progressives about the wonderful things that government can do or already does. It’s true that government action at all levels of American life could do a great deal of good, that it already secures many fundamental rights and protections, that we are dependent upon that power in so many ways. But when our first response to a fierce, wild and often reactionary anger at “government” is to recite a litany of its benefits, I think we disclose too much our own desire to retain an intimate access to acting within as well as against a deeply entrenched political class.

via Two Puzzle Pieces | Easily Distracted.

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