We seem to be on the verge of a new era of populism, a search for someone to rise up on behalf of the little guy and gal like- Obama was rhetorically pining to do before getting knock-kneed- and defying the progressive master by speaking truth to power. At the same time there is a tendency inherent in our system of creative destruction. The hallmark of the capitalist, consumer driven society is permanent revolution in the name of progress. The problem here is that these same forces eventually undermine the social institutions that gave it birth and protected its existence. And, community and interdependence, are not easily quantifiable or part of the bargain meaning social and family ties are less significant.
We see with the loss of property and homes, the foreclosures and unemployment that the virtues associated ownership and decentralized trade, mobility, eventually get bitten by the hand they held and nurtured. The loss of these possessions, combined with a wave of technological unemployment, is striking the middle classes more severely; the loss of a way of life and these newly poor and alienated are fighting back as they did in the robber baron era. But, unfortunately for Ron Paul, we can’t go back to some idyllic idealized version of Jeffersonian America. Our society is not intrinsically constituted to tolerate a status quo for extended periods. The so-called civilizational milestone, markers in our history are Polaroids in time reflecting perpetually evolving reality despite the fragmentation and distortion we see. Which explains our present conjunction, perfectly natural, that in a period of change, a transitional period, people are prone to populism for some easy solutions and are mixing this up with the independent idea of authenticity.
Does authenticity have anything to do with the truth? Or is authenticity only being true to an idealized sense of self even though most assume it to be equated with truth and honesty and politicians have seized on this as a means to trust or at least their advisers are saying the electorate has conflated the two. But it doesn’t work. Politicians need to appeal to the lowest of the masses. This is the system. They change course, lie, and act in politically expedient ways which may not be the flaw in the system, it may be a necessary feature that keeps it together, buying time to arrive at alternative structures without doing a Marcel Duchamp dada of politics. At least according to some…
Andrew Potter:The American writer Joe Klein signposted the trend in his 2006 book Politics Lost, an essay about the decline of authenticity in presidential politics. Klein took his inspiration from what he called Harry Truman’s “Turnip Day” speech at the Democratic convention in 1948 that confirmed his nomination for president. Coming on stage after midnight, speaking plainly, simply, and without notes, Truman challenged the “do-nothing Congress” to act upon those views they claim to endorse, and get back to work. Klein thinks we need more Turnip Day moments, more politicians like Truman. He argued that politicians need to “figure out new ways to engage and inspire us – or maybe just some simple old ways, like saying what they think as plainly as possible.”
By the time the 2008 election rolled around, the authenticity meme had completely taken hold. For the most part, that election was framed as a battle between competing authenticities: Barack Obama’s post-partisan and post-racial authenticity against John McCain’s Straight Talk Express. Paired on the VP tickets were Joe Biden’s “authentic” tendency to speak first and think later, up against Sarah Palin’s moose-hunting mavericky small-town heartland authenticity.
Four years later, the question of the supposed authenticity of the various Republican candidates for the nomination is once again a big issue – and it’s something the candidates themselves seem happy to embrace. Here’s John Huntsman in a recent NYT profile: …
…“I think what’s going to drive this election, really, are two things — authenticity and the economy,” Huntsman told me. “I think people have become so disillusioned by the professional nature of politics — the organizations around politicians, the way that politicians approach problem-solving, the way in which they go about their daily business. There has been very little in the way of authenticity in politics in recent years.”
My argument is that Huntsman has it wrong. The problem with politics today is not that there is not enough authenticity in our politics, it is it that there is far too much of it. The push for more authenticity fundamentally misunderstands the nature of mass politics, and contributes to the very problems it is supposed to solve.Read More:http://authenticityhoax.squarespace.com/