Only a strong dose of the left can save liberal freedom.This is a quote from a talk given at the London School of Economics (LSE). They have public lectures that are free to download. Sometimes I listen to some of them on walks with the girls. Contrary to the name of the institution, they are not limited to economics. The school also focuses on history, public policy, government, politics, global affairs, etc.
The one I listened to this morning was Living in the End Times, given by Slavoj Zizek, a Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic. Much of the talk was philosophy and economic theory and very over my head. I would think that he would not be very popular here in the States. Familiar with Marx, Mao, Stalin, and communism and socialism, I think that most Americans would have a knee-jerk reaction. Unfortunately, words like communism, socialism, social justice, liberal are considered un-American. This is a shame, I found much of interest in this talk.
As I said, there was much I didn't understand. He referred to many different living and historical philosophers. (For instance, I'm not sure just how bad it is to be a Hegelian.) At one point, though, he discussed the emergence of far right and anti-immigrant political parties in Europe. He talked about how the left had fallen down while these voices emerged. The problem, apparently, is that many mainstream parties have incorporated some of their policies and stands to - supposedly - reduce this threat. However, Mr. Zizek claims that this is more dangerous as it gives legitimacy to these voices. This is why the Left needs to act to "save liberal freedom."
This is where I perked up in the talk. I could see how this applies to us here in the United States. Our own conservative party - the Republicans or GOP - have adopted so many of the far right stands from the anti-immigrant and evangelical Christians that they are hardly recognizable as the GOP of my youth. When I first became 18 and could vote, I occasionally found myself voting Republican - it was safer to do so then. But, now, it is far more dangerous.
Perhaps it is the time for more than a two party system. I know there are many card-carrying GOP that must be disturbed by the takeover and transformation of their party. Once it was the party of pro-business and fiscal conservatives, now it is much more focused on things like stopping gay civil rights and women's health issues. Equally, the Democrats have the problem of their being too many forces pulling the party in all directions: social justice, anti-War, economic reform. This is where the independent (swing) voter has so much influence.
The Independents voted Republican quite a bit in this last election. This is due to objection of certain platforms in the Democratic administration. Unfortunately, this had disastrous results. Funding cuts to vital programs, blaming Unions for the current economic ills and persecuting them, favoring the rights of big business over the basic welfare of the American citizen. People must take care not to let these fringe elements to destroy our society. Take responsibility for your community. Vote and vote with care.