Nader on the “isms”

No Big Thinkers On The Left, says Nader. It’s always been presented to me that the lack of an “ism”, or any big picture systemic vision that could be portrayed as a victory for freedom of thought, with people no longer locked inside these rigid structures. It’s occurred to me since that the discrediting of any ideology (except the dominant and therefore generally un-articulated ones, like capitalism) is actually a way of crippling thought. It’s like how knowing scales and chords and stuff doesn’t make you less free to improvise with music. What Nader says here, about how it was actually the Mcarthyist purges that made people first move away from these systemic, society wide critiques, and into empiricism (he describes his own work focusing on auto-safety as an example), and what he says about the consequences of this, fits very well with my argument. What I fear is that many of Nader’s generation of lefties don’t realise the extent to which they through out the baby with the bathwater… with big picture political movements gone and a generation (the boomers) where both sides were busy singing the praises of the glorious atomized individual, it’s easy for people of my generation to view political action as a hobby,to think of being radical as a consumer lifestyle option that one can pursue without threatening the centers of power. Key to remaining non-threatening to these systems is the endless talk about localization and living small, let us have our little hippy commune on the fringes, Mr Bigshot, and we’ll let you have everything else.


About Austin G. Mackell

I am a freelance journalist who has worked for a variety of corporate and community outlets from my hometown of Sydney and from the Middle East, including from Lebanon during Israels 2006 invasion and from Iran during the tumultuous presidential elections there in 2009. I have recently moved to Cairo to watch the revolutions in Arab world unfold.
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