Friday, January 2, 2009

What is up? (instant transcript)

What is up with the boomers’ tense relationship with property rights, and their love/lust dynamic regarding consumerism/freedom? There is a tremendous distrust of the republic and a commensurate flight into the private sector, a kind of religious (in the dogmatic, scared sense) of the innate evil and unjust nature of taxation. It’s very passionate, and the sense of hurt is real. The suspicion and skepticism of a government that is actually much friendlier to them than to the people that they buy guns to defend themselves from runs deeper than ideology, or at least to the things that give ideologies depth.

I wonder if some of this does come in the wake of the civil rights revolution: a sense of fear that a government that could, with some success, change a whole people’s status in society. Many of these people feel like, in fact understand that their own relationship to capital, as something that dominates them rather than that they dominate, means that they are likely to lose out in any kind of rearrangement. Of course they also believe (reasonably based on experience) that someone has to lose out, and since this situation also reveals that their racial relationship to capital can be intervened in, unlike the more purely instrumental relationship to capital of other white people who happen to be rich, they are pissed off about it.

I wonder if there is something there in the 50s (and afterwards) that’s helping to reproduce this reaction to civil rights gains? Something that makes the flight into the private sphere that comes out of racial politics a strongly felt and somewhat painful state to be in? Whatever it is it isn't unrelated to the bubble of anti-commercial utopianism in the late 1960s, nor to the explicitly (and differentially) commercial nature of the distribution schemes for those Utopian visions.

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