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This Magic Moment - De File — LiveJournal
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This Magic Moment
As the regimes of Eastern Europe began to fall one by one in the fall of 1989, the energy released by their disintegration could be sensed thousands of miles away. There was a chance, one felt, that the domination of the many by a privileged few, which was as much the case in the West as in the East, might be exchanged for a "third way." By the early 1990s, though, that possibility had been so thoroughly extinguished that it seemed, in retrospect, like the eptiome of starry-eyed idealism to have considered it in the first place. Perhaps the new boss wasn't the same as the old boss, as the Who song lamented, but the differences between them were less consequential than what they had in common: a steadfast commitment to maintaining an unjust order. That's what we see today, when we consider the nations of the former Soviet Bloc. And it's what we are finally wiping the sleep from our eyes to see here in the West, right in front of our faces.

It may seem excessively optimistic to hope that the current conjuncture, painful as it is to witness, will provide an impetus for a change in management, not only in terms of the names on the desks, but in the very approach to "managing" society. But hope, frankly, is one of the few resources that can still secured even when credit dries up like a puddle in the desert. Perhaps we will even find a way to recognize, not only for the short term, but a more substantial durée, that
failed economies are not the exclusive province of state-planning in the name of Communism, but can just as easily be the result of state-planning in the name of Capital. Whether you believe that the solution is the dissolution of the state or the dissolution of the market, it should be clear that the spaces in between these two extremes are dominated by orders in which differentials are inevitable and, despite their denunciation in the public sphere, the desired outcome for those who stand to benefit from systems that turns freedom into a luxury good.

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6 comments or Leave a comment
derdriu From: derdriu Date: October 1st, 2008 11:10 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 1st, 2008 11:17 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
This does have the potential to be a revolutionary time. And that doesn't mean a violent one, necessarily, as those 1989 regime changes remind us.
From: e4q Date: October 2nd, 2008 08:16 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
my freedom depends on a baseline of free healthcare. i think the NHS was probably the most enlightened and freeing thing the UK govt has ever done for it's people.

mind you, they were probably shitting themselves that if they didn't do something for the people who had really paid for the two wars we might have joined our cousins in communism.

(on which note, have you seen 'the lives of others' yet?)
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 2nd, 2008 11:48 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
There are good things about the welfare state, surely. It's important, though, to remember, as you point out here, that its goodness is largely the product of a concern for its own welfare. The New Deal here in the States did a lot for our infrastructure and, until Reagan and his pals began to deregulate, the stability of our financial system. But it was a levee designed to keep the floods of potentially revolutionary sentiment at bay.

Yes, I've seen The Lives of Others. A fine film.
From: e4q Date: October 2nd, 2008 11:49 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
god, i loved it.

at a certain point it reminded me of 80's feminism.
From: e4q Date: October 3rd, 2008 08:31 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
also, i, too, am ambivalent about the welfare state in general. even though i have arguably benefited from it, i can see how it is used and abused by government. this is why i single out the NHS. when it was introduced, they expected a bit of a rush, and then for it to settle down. but what actually happened is that enormous quantities of people with very real suffering came to the doctor for the first time, often with chronic conditions. mainly women. in a system where you pay for medicine, and men work, working men are the top priority in a family, then children, and women and old people last. on a personal level, without the medication i use i know i would be dead, or so ill that the concept of freedom would mean nothing to me, it's as simple as that.
6 comments or Leave a comment