1. Now, to echo some points by m’colleague Keane, we live in a profoundly individualist and atomised society, in which people build identity through media and markets. Everyone now realises that this creates a cultural crisis of meaning. The Right deals with that by fusing free-market individualism with conservative ideals — patriotism, etc — which free-market individualism undermines.
    Labor offers a pallid version of this. Sooner or later it will have to come up with something else — a genuine program which posits new ways of putting society together to respond to human needs and desires that atomised market life cannot offer.
    — 

    Guy Rundle on the Labor Party strategic review | Crikey

    (behind a paywall, can be read if you sign up for a free trial)

    So this has helped me to clarify where i diverge from Grundle and others on the left who use this kind of rhetoric.*

    I don’t think we quite have “a cultural crisis of meaning,” i think there is a general inability to fully articulate the meaning of contemporary culture and events but that’s more an issue for ideologues (and others) who have a need to define and tie down ideas into various camps. Yes we’re going through a period of dramatic change but that change is infused with all kinds of meaning and fascination beyond people being “atomised” because of teh markets. Hindsight is pretty well a requirement for the best understanding of meaning, although we can give it a pretty good shot without it.

    I also disagree with the implicit notion that we’re in a world, so devoted to individualisation and, once again, teh dreaded markets, that we are left in a mindset where there is almost no such thing as society left but people “building identity through media and markets.” Firstly I agree with a comment here that that is a bit of a straw argument made by those on the left, although one which i have some sympathy with given the rhetorical emphasis of the right. Secondly, i don’t wander around during the day, lamenting that society only values me as a consumer of products. I’m pretty sure most people don’t think like that, and those that do wouldn’t think that way all the time.

    I am on the left and a significant part of why i say that is because i believe in many collective solutions to problems, e.g. Medicare. I acknowledge that the last two to three decades have seen a movement away from these kind of solutions towards more individualisation and less intervention by governments, and i acknowledge that a political climate geared in that direction makes it harder to advocate for collective solutions, but i think the general thrust of these reforms in Australia has been a net positive, even though i really can’t be sure in many respects, because of my age and experience (or lack thereof.)

    Finally, i read this statement, “a genuine program which posits new ways of putting society together” and i’m left thinking that, sure, a government may look to re-arrange society in some ways, but they don’t actually have to put society together. Society does that itself. And it actually does it reasonably well by its own accord.

    *Although now i have written out this response i’m also left with a lot more of questions of myself. Hmmm.

     
    1. thewetmale posted this