25 February 2005


Ken MacLeod reminds us of the wit and wisdom of Phil Agre. I myself have plugged his amazing comments from right after 9/11 in this blog.
Three days after 9/11, Phil Agre circulated this chilling essay about the consequences for democracy in the US. A few months later, I recall rereading it and finding it scary and prescient. Rereading it again now, "scary and prescient" is an understatement.
Even more so now. Definitely worth a read.
The conditions of war are almost identical with the social vision of conservatism, and it is no surprise that conservatives are so eloquent when the possibility of war arises.
And what is that social vision of conservatism? That's one of the Agre essays MacLeod links for us. Agre takes the long view to answer the question "what is conservatism?"
Q: What is conservatism?
A: Conservatism is the domination of society by an aristocracy.

Q: What is wrong with conservatism?
A: Conservatism is incompatible with democracy, prosperity, and civilization in general. It is a destructive system of inequality and prejudice that is founded on deception and has no place in the modern world.

That's a very strong statement, so Agre lays out his argument a length. It's worth your time. And for extra credit, you may want to read what Agre has to say about the current devolution of our political rhetoric.

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