Saturday, January 28, 2012

Let's Get Busy on 5.0 Liberalism!!

The Once and Future Liberalism - Walter Russell Mead - The American Interest Magazine

A slightly long, but needs to be read by all. An excellent summary on where we have been politically during our history and why it is so hard to get on with the hard work of the next release of "liberalism" (in the true, not common usage). Hint:: Too much success.

Liberalism 1.0, 1688, The Glorious Revolution

Liberalism 2.0, 1776, The US Revolution

Liberalism 3.0, 19th Century, "Ending Slavery"

Liberalism 4.o, 4.1 20th century, before and after FDR, "The Iron Triangle"

Liberalism 5.0 -- ?????

A good description of why we are just spinning our wheels at the moment.
Our real choice, however, is not between blue or pre-blue. We can’t get back to the 1890s or 1920s any more than we can go back to the 1950s and 1960s. We may not yet be able to imagine what a post-blue future looks like, but that is what we will have to build. Until we remove the scales from our eyes and launch our discourse toward the future, our politics will remain sterile, and our economy will fail to provide the growth and higher living standards Americans continue to seek. That neither we nor the world can afford.
A good summary of the current state of affairs.

Finally, in this regard, the blue model has impoverished our lives and blighted our society in more subtle ways. Many Americans became (and remain) stuff-rich and meaning-poor. Many people classified as “poor” in American society have an historically unprecedented abundance of consumer goods—anything, essentially, that a Fordist factory here or abroad can turn out. But far too many Americans still have lives that are poor in meaning, in part because the blue social model separates production and consumption in ways that are ultimately dehumanizing and demeaning. A rich and rewarding human life neither comes from nor depends on consumption, even lots of consumption; it comes from producing goods and services of value through the integration of technique with a vision of social and personal meaning. Being fully human is about doing good work that means something. Is a blue society with our level of drug and alcohol abuse, and in which the average American watches 151 hours of television a month, really the happiest conceivable human living arrangement?

Amen to his description of the current discussion and a little shape to how the 5.0 discussion format might look. My view would be that a cornerstone of that discussion is some variation on the theme of "A Lifetime Learning Nation" or "All America as "Silicon/Innovation/Advanced Tech/???" Valley" ... or ???

We must come to terms with the fact that the debate we have been having over these issues for past several decades has been unproductive. We’re not in a “tastes great” versus “less filling” situation; we need an entirely new brew. But this is nothing to mourn, because both liberalism 3.0 and 4.0 died of success, just as versions 1.0 and 2.0 did before them.
For those blue Democrats clinging to liberalism 4.1, this is a time of doom and gloom. For those red Republicans longing for a return to liberalism 3.0, it is a time of angry nostalgia: Ron Paul making a stump speech. This should be a time of adventure, innovation and creativity in the building of liberalism 5.0. America is ready for an upgrade to a new and higher level; indeed, we are overdue for a project that can capture the best energies of our rising generations, those who will lead the United States and the world to new and richer ways of living that will make the “advanced” societies of the 20th century look primitive, backward and unfulfilled.
We’ve wasted too many years arguing over how to retrieve the irretrievable; can we please now get on with the actual business of this great, liberal, unapologetically forward-looking nation?

No comments:

Post a Comment