Some More Random Thoughts on our Situation
August 7, 2013
The “liberals” and “conservatives” agree that a great nation is the appropriate goal for human beings and, hence, both are nationalists and both endorse nationalism. They have their differences although in light of their agreement on the pursuit of greatness, political, social, economic, and military greatness, these differences pale considerably.
There is another area of agreement between the “liberals” and the “conservatives” as well, viz., the desirability of rationalization. That is, both of these sects want to rationalize society and its people, even though they endorse different means to accomplish this goal. The liberals look to bureaucracies to accomplish this task, that is, public bureaucracies, which of course the conservatives attack in the name of what they, the conservatives, call “small government.” But this conservative attack on the liberals should not be confused with an attack or rejection of rationalization because the conservatives seek to rationalize society and its people using private bureaucracies. “Privatization,” a buzzword for most conservatives, only looks like an alternative to the liberals’ endorsement of public bureaucracies, e.g., public as opposed to private schools, if their endorsement of rationalization is ignored. Many conservatives are as keen as are liberals for rationalization; the difference is merely the means used to rationalize.
There is or should be nothing or little surprising about the perceived desirability of rationalization in modern nation states and, hence, the modern world. After all, it is difficult to imagine what other means works as well as rationalization for bringing order, security, and prosperity to a world composed of nations. As even Eisenhower recognized, the “military-industrial complex” makes a lot of sense. But as he also realized, it is at the same time a threat as it seeps into society and into us, depoliticizing us and, hence, dehumanizing us.
Given this consensus among those elites that “govern” us, it is almost impossible to see alternatives, at least to see viable alternatives. Perhaps it will only be when this project, the modern project so called, comes crashing down that such alternatives will seem viable. But one has to wonder what will be left after the crash, after “things fall down.” And, besides, it is or should be easy to see that flawed projects, like flawed human beings, can stumble along, seeming to be successful, for a very, very long time.