Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Mistaking Mythmaking for Social Remaking

Peter Dorman:

No doubt the centrality of moral judgment goes a long way toward explaining the popularity of This Changes Everything. Movements need an ethical compass, and this book is never shy about who to blame for our problems and who to turn to for solutions. It captures the zeitgeist superbly, striking all the right political notes: anti-oppression, decentralization, spiritual attunement, equality. Readers are likely to love this book if they already share the values it’s built on. Whether moral positioning is a sufficient basis for a successful social movement is less clear, however.

Wow. What an absolute runaway steamroller of a book review. That's one of the best things I've read online this year. Yet, as Dorman says in the conclusion, however flimsy and incoherent Klein's book is, the biggest problem is the warm, uncritical reception it received from the left-wing choir, the same people who have quickly adopted Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century as the New Testament update on Karl Marx's wrathful, thundering Old Testament. And don't even get me started on the undying progressive faith in a What's the Matter with Kansas? framework that condescendingly attributes false consciousness to all opposition...