Monday, October 4, 2010

Foster on Franzen on Freedom

As David Foster explains, the intellectual class, our Obamaphile scribes, have abandoned freedom. Link here.

Whether they emphasizes the need for regulation or the damages that unfettered freedom can do, the scribes are hard at work figuring out how to reduce and diminish your freedom.

Be assured that they have your best interests in mind. And that they know your best interest a lot better than you do.

Lately, their hero is Jonathan Franzen whose novel:Freedom: A Novel (Oprah's Book Club) has provided something like fictional sustenance to those who feel that people simply cannot be trusted with freedom. My posts on Franzen here.

The Tea Party movement has picked up the fallen mantle of freedom. Those who believe that the Tea Party has arisen out of anger should also pay more serious attention to the way the intellectual left has given up on freedom.

Sorry to say it, but this does not make them liberals or progressives; it makes them radicals. All that European philosophy has worked its rough magic on their minds; it has turned them against freedom.


bikinipiano said...

Stuart, your post opposes European idealism to Anglo-American pragmatism in very simplistic way.
It is also full of genralisations and innacuracies.

The international financial markets do not primarily operate pragmatically, whether or not governments are involved or whether or not they are left to their own devices. During the recent finacial boom (and before the crash) property loans, debts and investment instruments were traded and re-traded without being properly capitalised. For a while, the market players made a lot of money out of this. What is striking, though, is that they didn't think their non-capitalised assets (essentially bets) would ever exceed their real value and become worthless. Surely this was a fantasy, an avoidance or reality. The crash was the return of this reality (or real, if you want to allow a Lacanian term back in your lexicon).

As for German philosophy - you stereotype it. Hegelian philosophy is rationalistic as well as mythic. You imply that German idealism (and - in a rather contradictory way - Marxism)somehow led to Fascism. What kind of historical argument is this? Idealism came before Nazism and therefore caused it? So what did modern English philosophy cause? The welfare state? Thatcherism? Your leap of logic is too big.

Finally, I find it incredible that you seem to think that the financial crash was somehow caused by governments and too much regulation. International financial markets have been de-regulated in all sorts of ways since the 1970s and this has obviously given governments less power to effect international investment. How can they now be the ones who have caused the crash? What about countries who have no equivalent of Fannie Mae (the crash was global, you know)? How can their govenments be to blame.

Your claims are very big and their not supported by much argument or evidence. This does rather make them look idelogical.

Proud Hindu said...

Freedom is relative.

I travel a lot and have experienced considerably more freedom in other countries than here, and vice versa, depending on the place and situation.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Can you tell us which ones have more freedom than we have here?
In terms of economic freedom I recall studies that suggest that America is hardly the most free country in the world... I believe that the honor went to Singapore.

Proud Hindu said...

So many.

But the freedoms are relative. Where the US is free in one area, another country may not be free in that area but free in others.

US is free sexually. If we could become as free in other areas as we are with our sexuality then that would be great.

I also can't say that the freedoms we give our children are neccessarily helping them.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

True enough, America suffers from a sexual freedom... probably too much, but that is for another day.

And I think that we often fail to recognize that with freedom comes responsibility.

Thus, that there is a difference between freedom to take responsibility and freedom from responsibility.

Too often freedom becomes what we can get away with, and that is a dangerous misinterpretation.

Economically, America is probably not in the top ten countries in terms of freedom. So, I agree with you that it would be a good idea for us to improve our freedom quotient, and take it more seriously.

Proud Hindu said...

Regarding "freedom" - in a truly free country, or world, the citizens would be fully aware of their consumption choices. Products that are genetically modified are not required by law to state so and Monsanto has fought in court the right to remain anonymous.

Many Americans "buy only organic" but few know that if they are buying wheat, corn, rice, soy that even if it's certified organic, it may still be genetically modified.