Monday, December 27, 2010

Flight From Orthodoxy (part I)

It's a tendency of most people, conservative or liberal, secular or religious to drift towards orthodoxies over time. We settle into a philosophical box and close ourselves to different points of view. That's why its so important to routinely subject our beliefs to a healthy skepticism, explore their limits and see where they break down. So, in this post I will reveal some points were I depart from my philosophical framework.

Bo now my readers should be aware that I believe in the power of free markets (relative to other systems) to generate wealth and innovation. But, few are aware that I, like many progressives, find rampant consumerism distasteful at best and socially, culturally and spiritually toxic in its worst manifestations. It has contributed to the erosion of culture, tradition and family to a degree equal or greater than Marxist regimes. The only difference between myself and my progressive compatriots is that I believe that across time most cultures have possessed strong materialist tendencies, the only difference is that our economic system has allowed an unparalleled number of people to realize these tendencies. Throughout most of history, only the high aristocracy could achieve the status of rabid consumers, but modern systems of production, finance and distribution has allowed the majority of Americans to achieve this dubious title. And unlike most progressives, I do not believe that the state can or even should have the power to combat consumerism; each individual, family and community has to determine what their values and priorities are. Collectively these decisions determine how a nation and a civilization evolves or devolves.

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