- Jul 2021
A fascinating article (and I hope book). I'll have to digest and re-read this.
Meanwhile, we remain trapped in two countries. Each one is split by two narratives—Smart and Just on one side, Free and Real on the other. Neither separation nor conquest is a tenable future. The tensions within each country will persist even as the cold civil war between them rages on.
All four of the narratives I’ve described emerged from America’s failure to sustain and enlarge the middle-class democracy of the postwar years. They all respond to real problems. Each offers a value that the others need and lacks ones that the others have.
Just America is a narrative of the young and well educated, which is why it continually misreads or ignores the Black and Latino working classes.
the participants of "Just America"
In the same way that libertarian ideas had been lying around for Americans to pick up in the stagflated 1970s, young people coming of age in the disillusioned 2000s were handed powerful ideas about social justice to explain their world. The ideas came from different intellectual traditions: the Frankfurt School in 1920s Germany, French postmodernist thinkers of the 1960s and ’70s, radical feminism, Black studies. They converged and recombined in American university classrooms, where two generations of students were taught to think as critical theorists.
Libertarian ideas being picked up in the 1970s.in analogy with
Frankfurt School in 1920s Germany and French postmodernist thinkers of the 1960s and 70s put into "Just America"
Real America isn’t a shining city on a hill with its gates open to freedom-loving people everywhere. Nor is it a cosmopolitan club to which the right talents and credentials will get you admitted no matter who you are or where you’re from. It’s a provincial village where everyone knows everyone’s business, no one has much more money than anyone else, and only a few misfits ever move away. The villagers can fix their own boilers, and they go out of their way to help a neighbor in a jam. A new face on the street will draw immediate attention and suspicion.
A reasonable definition of "Real America".
If we mutually exclusively split America into these four classifications, what would be the proportion of people within each?
What do the overlaps of these four groups look like with respect to Colin Woodard's eleven American Nations?
- Smart America
- Four Americas
- American Nations
- Real America
- Just America
- identity politics
- Free America
- Frankfurt School