8 comments on “Strange Ideas: A Launch

  1. Dave: great start. Looking forward to your thoughts on a variety of subjects and looking forward to responding periodically. Thanks for starting this blog. JRD

  2. Love it, Dave. And I would expect no less from you than ‘Strange Ideas’ – and I mean that in a good way!

  3. well, I like your optimism about students’ lack of positions, but I’m skeptical. particularly, I worry about your equation of teabaggers with hippies. while I wasn’t alive for the height of the hippie movement, I think there is an important distinction to be made between those who push for progress and those who want to stop history or dial it back… See More.

    the most troubling thing to me about the teabaggers is how reactionary the movement is. I take it that you’re right in saying that they really have nothing to say (i.e. they have no real thought out commitments to uphold) but I’m pretty pessimistic about the notion that they will “grow up” – it seems to me that this is the most current expression of the tendency to want to return to a “simpler time” – and, in my view, this is impossible. in other words, I think there is an important distinction between reactionary politics and “utopian” politics. both might be problematic; we might need something in between – but I worry about equating them. I think it’s different.

    and this same difference might express itself in our students’ quietism: there are those who have reflected on the state of things and realized that the best option is to deal with things as they are, foregoing ideology, and then there are those who haven’t reflected on their position at all…

    • Thanks for your comments. In retrospect I might have referred to this column by David Brooks. Certainly it must have influenced my thinking, although I did not recall it until I read your comments. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/05/opinion/05brooks.html
      You’re right that reactionary and utopian politics are different, but I think it mistaken to assign utopianism to the ’60s radicals who were more about tearing down what we had than about building up anything real. We had lots of slogans but no program, much like the tea partiers today. I don’t equate them, but I do find striking similarities. I like your last paragraph about the apparent realism of our students.

      • Hi David, I actually think you are buying into some pretty stale rightwing and mainstream propaganda about the 60’s –as one who was there. There was a lot nihilism and egotism mixed in –as with almost all significant popular movements, and some of the thinking was pretty naive and half baked, but there was a definite positive agenda involved in the 60’s expressed in many places–such as the Port Nuron Statement. Some of the expression of these ideas and some of the tactics used were primitive, naive, and even abominable, but the basic effort to combat a corporate state rings true to this day. And I think quite a bit was actually accomplished in relationship to the war, to race relations, to sexism, environmentalism, and in many other areas (and some bad trends were started as well, e.g. re drugs). The energy the 60’s brought was essential to change and we need that kind of energy now–we saw some in the Obama campaign, but electoral politics has a way of sucking up energy and then directing it toward small bore change. But I would also not dismiss the Teabaggers too easily either. They are racist, vicious at times, and hopelessly reactionary in many ways–and it is hard to take any group that puts Sara Palin on a pedestal seriously–but on the other hand they too are expressing revulsion with the power of large corporations over the direction of the governement. The distinction is that the basic ideals of the new left were positive and those of the Teabag groupu seem to be that the good old days when there was slavery, rampant sexism and hopmphobia and genocidal policies toward Native Americans were just great.

        Congrats on your blog you succeeded in getting me woudn up.

      • Bernie offers a useful refutation of a couple of my assertions and reminds us of the signal accomplishements of the ’60s left. I thank him for his observations.

  4. I hope I don’t fall into the category of a “quiet student”…

    Because if I’m being silent, it’s because I’m sparing my peers some ideas that I’m quite sure they wouldn’t receive well.

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