There’s an interesting article on Washington Monthly about an American conservative magazine (Culture11) that eventually folded sooner after launching. But, the writer says, it was trying an interesting experiment. Here’s a good quote:
For decades, the Nixonian notion of the silent majority created a strong temptation for conservatives to simply wall off the parts of society that they didnâ€™t like or understand, secure in the belief that there were more people on their side of the wall. Ballot for ballot, this may have been true in the 1970s and â€™80s, and even into the â€™90s. But if you build a border fence, itâ€™s difficult to see whatâ€™s happening on the other side of it. Which is why in 2008 the Republican Party awoke to a world in which it was losing every politically important demographic battle and had essentially ceded the field on issues like education, where it hadnâ€™t contributed a new policy idea since the school voucher, and energy, where the best plan it could come up with was a renewed push for offshore drilling. Big Hollywoodâ€™s mania for ideological categorization stems from the same mind-setâ€”shared even by some of the smarter reform conservativesâ€”that produced the Bush administrationâ€™s disastrous loyalty-over-performance hiring practices: the instinct to see everything, from the Sundance Film Festival to NASAâ€™s atmospheric research programs, as just another battleground. What Culture11â€™s editors got right was the observation that, regardless of what you think of the world as it is, you canâ€™t figure out how to wrestle with it until you understand whatâ€™s actually happening in it.
I’m not a conservative, so while I understand that above paragraph is true – I also wonder whether it affects parts of the left in the UK. I saw this because clearly I see myself on the liberal-left, and I’d like those values/ideas to triumph.
But the article quite rightly states that what was different about Culture11 was not that it wanted to enter battle with liberals, but that it understood some conservatives needed to do some serious rethinking if they wanted power again. Does that apply to the left? Possibly (though the next person who says: ‘the left needs to stop appeasing fascism’ deserves to be shot by death squad).
I also wonder if internet communities – which have a tendency to attract similar minded folks, and then achieve cohesiveness by attacking ‘the enemy’ and constantly being in a state of battle against them – end up then reinforcing bad ideas and a victim mentality. Could the internet lead to more ideological battles that only end up reinforcing bad ideas?
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