Everybody's Got One
A blog. An opinion. An elimination orifice. A dream. An agenda. A past. A hidden talent. A conceptual filter. A cross. A charism (often the same). A task. A wound. A destiny. A lost love. A blind spot. A bad habit. A secret. A passion. A soul ... okay, maybe not everybody ...
Monday, February 23, 2004

 

Jim Henley at Unqualified Offerings:
What may be happening here is a familiar phenomenon: "progressives" tend to forget what they know about perceived self-interest, and class interest, when it comes time to explain themselves. If you see higher education as not just a system of transmitting wisdom but a process of reinforcing a set of values and a sense of identity, the "liberalism" of the highly-schooled seems easy enough to explain. Modern liberalism as it has evolved from the Progressive Movement period forward is an ideology of managerialism. Unruly society needs guidance to overcome the "short-sighted" perspectives of economic actors and citizens. American managerialist liberalism abjures absolute control over the totality of daily life, at least in theory, but still believes that there needs to be "someone at the wheel."

In some ways, the liberal managerialist vision may be even more attractive than the Leninist one to intellectuals, and this may have as much to do with its outlasting Leninism as the fact that the American-liberal version of Vanguard Theory is more in touch with reality than outright socialism proved to be. Under communism, the ruling class has to do even the scut work of planning - running the factories, deciding where every box of pencils gets shipped and so on. In American managerialism, aka liberalism, the Vanguard only has to do the cool jobs. The boring stuff (to your Kennedy School type) is outsourced to Republicans, Chamber of Commerce types who get a long leash but still must, when the government speaks, obey.
Class analysis doesn't apply to the New Class because, well, they're above it all. They have to be, to manage everything (and everyone) in a properly disinterested (but caring) manner.

And the interesting thing is the observation that the American liberal class is, in effect if not in theory, more elitist than the Leninist vanguard. Fascinating, and an unwanted solution to the riddle of why the left's most reliable sources of manpower and money have consistently been students and the celebrity rich.

posted by Kelly | 11:46 PM link
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