Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Good Piece Of Social Criticism

From the Atlantic:


From the Article:

Yeah, and I guess part of the problem we try to identify is that there's a difference between the countercultural version of opting out and the kind of opting out where you just quietly slink off and become a hermit in the woods. I mean, Christian hermits have opted out for centuries without promoting consumerism. There's a specific problem that arises with the counterculture when people opt out as a way of rejecting mass society. There's an implicit status move there. People who opt out because they don't want to be members of the brainwashed masses are passing judgment upon all the people who choose not to opt out. You can see the almost unassailable sense of superiority that's associated with the vegan, organic-vegetable-shopping, back-to-the-land, Guatemala-handcraft-wearing, anti-globalization activists. They clearly think that they're better than the people who do not share their system of values. So, because other people don't like being characterized as brainwashed cogs, they wind up promoting competitive consumption. There are markets for people who haven't got the time or the leisure or the wealth to completely opt out, but who want to adopt the opting-out lifestyle. Sure, it's great if you can bake your own bread, but if you're busy, at least you can buy home-made-style bread. And there's that Mountain Equipment Co-op sort of "get away from it all to the wilderness one week a year" lifestyle.

This article about sums up all my complaints about the left. How did "I don't like conservative values so I'm buying a Mac" ever come to make any kind of sense to anyone? This is exactly what life in Austin can be like sometimes. I'm a liberal, but here in Austin there is always this left-ward pressure to be more liberal. You must drive the right car. You must listen to this music or not listen to that music. Your food must be cruelty free (as if any kind of trip to the slaughterhouse doesn't have some inherent degree of cruelty). Blah. Blah. Blah.

Meanwhile, while all us lefties are dithering about what kind of natural clothing fiber best fits our lifestyles, the poor are still poor. 200,000 kids are booted of healthcare in Texas. And outsourcing looms on the horizon for most of the tech industry in Austin. So are we solving anything or just engaging in "one-man circle jerks"?

Julie and I call them SAWLs--Sheltered Austin White Liberals--and sometimes they piss me off. I'm buying these guy's book so I can get more worked up.


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