Wednesday, June 22, 2011


People's actions in the past create the present. This seems to me to be axiomatic. However, there are those whose interest are best served by eliding agency. So, for example, Neo-liberals like to use "market forces" or some other obscurantist language to make the hideous appear inevitable. I was, mistakenly it seems, under the impression that people on the left were aware of this linguistic slight of hand. From Eric Loomis I learned that
even a lot of progressives seem to talk of globalization as this unstoppable trend with a self-powering propulsion engine pushing it forward ever faster.
I thought that this had to be wrong; however,  I read this in which a "progressive" admits to thinking that she once thought globalization was "evolutionary" rather than actively pursued in the interest of profit maximization.

Shortly thereafter I was reading an older James Fallows essay on the fundamental errors of the media, in his specific case how the journalists' intellectual laziness and ignorance buttress the lure of talking "horse races" instead of issues. It's undoubtedly true. What do these two things have in common?, you ask. Consider Yglesias' intellectual development. He went from an uniformed dimbulb urging war to a uniformed dimbulb using partially digested economic language to urge passivity in the face of inevitability of "market forces."

It's simply bizarre the extent to which masking reality is a fundamentally necessary skill for succeeding in the media business.

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