Monday, August 22, 2011

American infantilism

This author points out that our men and women in uniform deserve more than being put on a pedestal; they deserve to be treated as human beings. Along the way he points out everything that is wrong with American political life:

“America needs heroes,” it is sometimes said, a phrase that’s often uttered in a wistful tone, almost cooingly, as if we were talking about a lonely child. But do we really “need heroes”? We need leaders, who marshal us to the muddle. We need role models, who show us how to deal with it. But what we really need are citizens, who refuse to infantilize themselves with talk of heroes and put their shoulders to the public wheel instead. The political scientist Jonathan Weiler sees the cult of the uniform as a kind of citizenship-by-proxy. Soldiers and cops and firefighters, he argues, embody a notion of public service to which the rest of us are now no more than spectators. What we really need, in other words, is a swift kick in the pants. 

An Empty Regard

Although the authoritarianism of the Right is obvious, this disease also affects the Left. Every time you see a Progressive whinging about how Obama does not provide enough "leadership," you're seeing this sickness: this infantile desire to have someone else save us from ourselves.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting viewpoint - I don't think most people recognize that is what they are doing. Should the electorate awaken the politico's will have a rude surprise.
I don't expect that to happen - but it could.

MCPlanck said...

It is true that most people do not recognize either the roots or the effect of their own behavior. That's how we got alcoholism and Reality TV.