Monday, January 03, 2005

From Race to Democracy Matters

I just started reading Cornell West's new tome, Democracy Matters, the sequel to Race Matters. I recomend both books to you even after only reading a few pages of the former:


on page 2 - "There is a deeply troubling deterioration of democratic powers in America today. The rise of an ugly imperialism has been aided by an unholy alliance of the plutocratic elites and the Christian Right, and also by a massive disaffection of so many voters who see too little difference between two corrupted parties, with blacks being taken for granted by the Democrats, and with deep disaffection of youth...."

page 3 and going forward....The problems plaguing our democracy are not only ones of disaffection and disillusionment. The greatest threats come in the form of the rise of three dominating, antidemocratic dogmas. These three dogmas, promoted by the most powerful forces in our world, are rendering American democracy vacuous. The first dogma of free-market fundamentalism posits the unregulated and unfettered market as idol and fetish. This glorification of the market has led to a callous corporate-dominated political economy in which business leaders (their wealth and power) are to bw worshipped - even despite the recent scandals - and the moste powerful corporations are delegated magical pwers of salvation rather than relegated to democratic scrutiny concerning both the ethics fo their business practices and their treatment of workers...

Page 5 - The scond prevailing dogma of our time is agressive militarism, of which the new policy of preemptive strike against potential enemies is but an extension...

Page 6 - The third prevailing dogma in this historic moment is escalating authoritarinism. This dogma is rooted in our understandable paranoia toward potential terrorists, our traditional fear of too many liberties, and our deep distrust of one another. The Patriot Act is but the peak of an iceberg that has widened the scope of of this repression of our hard-earned rights and hard -fought liberties...

There are many pearls laced within the slanted and powerful rhetoric (remember, the pen/keypad is mightier than the sword)...but I don't really want to steal West's thunder. Here's just one on page 5: How ironic that in America we've moved so quickly from Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Let Freedom Ring!" to "Bling! Bling!" - as if freedom were reducible to simply having material toys, as dictated by free-market fundamentalism."

Like I said, I find this read to be very interesting and powerful and that is only after reading the first chapter. I highly recomend this book to bloggers everywhere, regardless of your position on the state of America today.

West gets my vote for one of the most intelligent thinkers of our time.

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