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04/17/2005 Entry: "All God's Children Got Values"

"The Bush administration exploits our fears, but it is not interested in a collective effort to cope with them-that is, to provide the necessary forms of protection and to stimulate the necessary forms of mutual assistance. That is the project of the near-left. The ideological right aims deliberately at undermining security, in the name of self-reliance, but with a deeper purpose: to discipline the workforce and stabilize the new forms of inequality. By contrast, the left project is egalitarian because we are committed to distribute the costs of security fairly and to make sure that the most vulnerable people are the first to be protected-or to be helped to protect themselves. It seems to me that most of our values can be connected to this project. We can tell a plausible story about 'freedom from fear' that addresses the actual vulnerabilities of ordinary people and advances the cause of democratic equality. We may not be able to match the excitement of real war: the Red Army marching on Warsaw in 1919, say, or the U.S. Army marching on Baghdad in 2003 (these two provide another example of the great crossover). I am not advocating a crusade for security-just a 'battle.' I doubt that faith will figure in our story; we won't be able to claim divine support, and in parts of the United States today, that is a serious and for us an unavoidable liability. But the American people will figure in the story, and their democratic values, and the anxieties they share, and the old liberal-left commitment to humane reform. If we can connect the values, the anxieties, and the commitment, we will have begun a 'fight' that we might be able to win."
All God's Children Got Values, by Michael Walzer, Dissent Magazine, Spring 2005

 

 

 

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