by Niki Raapana
July 13, 2008
There's a lot more people in the U.S. using the word communitarian now. When I learned the word in 2000 I found mainly references to it in upper academia, European Union and CAFTA integration papers, and eventually (twice!) in the Washington Post. I looked it up online. I scanned every philosophy and political science text I could find. Not one textbook I've seen included it. It seemed to have appeared in Etzioni's head one day at lunch, just like he said it did. Nobody I knew had ever once heard the word, and some people still accuse me of making it up.
I'm living proof that there has never been any funding for anti communitarian studies in the United States. If it hadn't been for a few generous private doners and people purchasing 2020, I would have starved to death, found slumped over my laptop, still trying to find more evidence to convince Americans communitarianism is a REAL threat to their liberty.
Since April 2000, I've written thousands of letters to academic institutions around the globe asking for assistance with our opposition thesis. When our ACL thesis was included in a sociology class at Vassar College last spring, I thought that would open up the debate to include opposition arguments. As recently as last month I wrote the Ludwig von Mises Institute, the bastion of individualist economic theory. Dead silence is all I ever hear back.
There has been no place in academia for our approach, since our focus is on the way communitarian programs and policies thwart legitimate American law. I don't interpret individualism as an egotism endangering the stability of democracy, I interpret the ancient theory of global communitarianism as high treason against every legitimately created people's government in the world.
This is the usual academic approach to the communitarian versus individual theoretical divide, from an abstract posted by the University of Heidelberg:
Christian Maul (HCA PhD in American Studies Scholarship, Landesgraduiertenförderung): “Henry David Thoreau’s Concept of Individualism in the Light of Communitarian Theory.”I've been attacked and ridiculed for years for refusing to shift my focus away from communitarianism. I've been advised more than once to start using a term Americans were more "familiar" with. The Libertarian Party told me they only use terms Americans can understand. The Democrats told me I sound like a Right Wing Property Rights wacko; Nancy Rising wanted me to include Jim Marrs' alien theory in my work. The Nebraska Republicans told Michael Shaw I look like a nutcase because I live in a tent. People who said they wanted to "help"ALWAYS told me told me the word was just too long and too hard to spell, so I should quit using it. Just recently I was asked to shift my educational focus to a bumper sticker with the words, "Sustainable development is a UN coup against Americans."
"Emanating from my MA thesis, my PhD project explores the representation of a core value of American identity, individualism, in the works of the influential transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau, who created one of the most consistent concepts of American individualism and the image of an economically and intellectually autonomous self. From the point of view of modern political philosophy, however, Thoreau’s approach to individual autonomy seems to have lost
its value; communitarian philosophers such as Michael Sandel, Michael Walzer, and Charles Taylor argue that individualism interpreted as egotism endangers the stability of democracy as it exposes the self to a process of de-solidarization. In fact, the communitarian movement pleads for a return of the individual into the community through active participation in democratic processes and institutions. Thus, the modern American individual exists in an area of tension between individualism and social commitment. In my current research work, I am developing a model for the interpretation of the relationship between the individual and society and of Thoreau’s concept of individualism from a communitarian perspective. This model is based on major writings of communitarian theorists and depicts the ideal communitarian self by tracing fundamental characteristics of an American self which interacts with the social forces surrounding it. My further research interests include the contemporary American novel, autobiographical literature, and American-German literary interrelations." Primary supervisor: Professor Dr. Dieter Schulz
In the past year I've seen my work plagiarized by Dave Hodges of the Arizona Constitution Party, I've been hounded for not submitting to the Fusionist Borg and the Wizard of Oz characters who followed Terry Catzman666 Hayfield to leftrightunite, and I have serious doubts about the Bridgestone Media Group's purpose for including my interview in One Nation Under Siege.
To top it all off, Nancy Levant, who became a dear friend and a prolific vocal opponent of communitarianism suddenly stopped emailing me last fall. I have only Darren Week's assurance that she is just taking a break because she works as a field laborer all the time now, and there's no internet where she lives.
Now, without any fanfare or apologies from anyone, I can find hundreds of references to communitarianism on all kinds of websites and online magizines. People all over the place are talking about it, almost as if it's been around forever. It's as if everyone should already know what it is. This article in the National Review on June 30, 2008 by Michael Know Beran refers to it hitorically, assuring us it's always been part of American politics:
Try to access Schlesinger's articles without paying for them, take this search link leading to JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/pss/1849465:
"The late Arthur Schlesinger Jr. once opined that the United States vacillates between phases of glittering, communitarian "public purpose," associated with appealing patrician showmen like the Roosevelts, and drab, profit-seeking "private interest" periods presided over by presidents so boring no one remembers their names. Amid his many errors, Schlesinger was right in perceiving that the idea of communitarian public purpose has a glamor, a charm, a way of touching the high-minded, generous instincts of the soul, that the ethos of profit-and-loss will never match, golden-egg-laying goose though it be."
* Review: [untitled]So how is it possible that Hegel's "Idea" just popped into Etzioni's head in 1990, if thirty years earlier, Arthur Schlesinger Jr. was talking about communitarianism in his review of the New Deal Community Program?
* Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.
* Reviewed work(s): Tomorrow A New World: The New Deal Community Program by Paul K. Conkin
* The American Historical Review, Vol. 65, No. 4 (Jul., 1960), pp. 933-934 (review consists of 2 pages)
* Published by: American Historical Association
Note: This article is a review of another work, such as a book, film, musical composition, etc. The original work is not included in the purchase of this review.
Beran's article continues:
What is the "good communitarian dream?" It's a vision of peace, health and happiness for everyone in the world. Visualize Heaven and you still can't imagine how beautiful it will be. Once the state is allowed to achieve its evolutionary role and become our god, anything is possible.
"Americans, with their democratic traditions, have an aversion to the word "aristocracy," but not to the idea of it, which, in its most innocent and natural form, merely acknowledges what everyone knows to be true--that in any one of the various departments of life, some people are vastly superior to others.
"I suspect that many voters might even be persuaded to distinguish between aristocracy's more- and less-salubrious forms. Of the two competing patrician philosophies on the hustings this year, one of them, McCain's, represents the aristocratic ideal in its prime, when the knight aspired to fight the good fight. The other, Obama's, represents the patrician ideal in its decadence, when the novice qualifies for the exercise of public power by dreaming the good
In Barack Obama, Americans have found their Hegelian Messiah. Protecting individual rights, the only legitimate purpose for American governance and law, has been slowly replaced with communitarian values. Obama was named the Wonder Boy for the Third Way back in 1994. Hillary Clinton uses the term communitarian to describe more enlightened voters. Both Democratic candidates for U.S. president are committed communitarians. Yet the Republican candidate McCain and the darling of the Independents, Dr. Ron Paul, both studiously avoid addressing the theory of communitarianism in any of their speeches. IF ONLY ONE of the above candidates had openly explained the new theory of community government, ALL Americans would have had the opportunity to choose between liberty and slavery. But none of them did.
The American conservative right has proved itself to be the perfect thesis to the necessary antithesis, cleverly never alerting their followers to the real deception, keeping loyal patriots behind the times by using outdated terms like caplitalism, communism and socialism to describe communitarianism. As a result of this concerted effort to keep Americans dumbed down, Individual Rights, the basis for the ENTIRE American political system, is what's defined as "outdated."
Watch closely as millions of Americans scramble to catch up with the newspeak. Our free people will never know how many thousands of enlightened Americans are already receiving trillions of grant dollars to fund the emerging communitarian vision, but they will quickly find out that if they object to the mandatory community service theory or refuse to cooperate with the communitarian datagatherers or developers, they will be ridiculed and ostracized by the more spiritual members leading the new American collectives.
The entertaining drama that is called "democracy" in the U.S. is about to drop the final curtain on the authentic American dream. Americans aren't voting for a new president in the national election this fall. They're voting for a new god.
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1282/is_12_60/ai_n26678769, "McCain's challenge: how to preempt Barack's communitarian dream," National Review, June 30, 2008 by Michael Knox Beran
http://www.inclusionist.org/node/1507 . About: "Inclusionist.org is a policy blog and website dedicated to advancing a progressive, long-term vision for a fairer, more inclusive and sustainable world. In February 2007, Inclusion entered into a partnership with the Center for Economic and Policy Research, one of the leading economic and policy research organizations in the United States. Established in 1999 by economists Dean Baker and Mark Weisbrot, CEPR promotes democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people's lives.
http://www.prospect.org/csnc/blogs/tapped_archive?month=03&year=2008&base_name=the_communitarian#105141. About the American Prospect; Liberal Intelligence:" The American Prospect was founded in 1990 as an authoritative magazine of liberal ideas, committed to a just society, an enriched democracy, and effective liberal politics."
http://www.savethemales.ca/obamas_slip_revealed_his_true.html , Dan's comments:
http://www.inclusionist.org/node/1509, "We're all communitarians now" by Shawn Fremstad
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gene-koo/obamas-message-is-in-the_b_87969.html, Gene Koo: "Obama's Message is in the Remix"
http://www.newswithviews.com/Devvy/kidd352.htm, "Okay Obama, let's talk issues" by Devvy Kidd at newswithviews.com
http://www.tehrantimes.com/Index_view.asp?code=172170, "Obama advisor: U.S. not cooperating with Solana," Tehran Times Political Desk
http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2008/07/hagel_reportedl.html, "Hagel reportedly to join Obama in Iraq" posted by Scott Hellman
http://www.radicalmiddle.com/politicians.htm, Radical Middle Centrist Politicans includes: Chuck Hagel (R-NE) -- Senator from Nebraska; spoke at radical-centrist New America Foundation conference in 2005; author of the misleadingly titled article "A Republican Foreign Policy," Foreign Affairs, July / August 2004
Hagels' sponsored and co-sponsored record in the U.S. Senate: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/R?d108:FLD913:@OD1(sen+hagel+chuck): He sure is focused on resolutions honoring everyone and establishing "new" national days. See http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c108:S.RES.461:, National Character Counts Week in 2004, co-sponsored by Senator Evan Bayh, the leader of the Third Way group in the Senate. The co-sponsor list pretty much names the rest of the Third Way Senate group and it includes Lieberman, who may end up as McCain's VP!
http://www.usnews.com/usnews/politics/bulletin/bulletin_080702.htm, highlights on McCain's trip to South America and promotion of free trade
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/06/20/politics/main4198107.shtml, Obamas Balancing Act on Free Trade
http://www.slate.com/id/2195008/, Constitutional Drift, Obama Steers Right
http://everything2.com/node/1621509, Barack's speech at the 2004 Dem convention
http://cumbey.blogspot.com/2006_07_01_archive.html, Hagel and Javier Solana with commentary on Hagels' ties to EU's high priest.
http://hagel.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Speeches.Detail&Speech_id=f69da09a-6756-4b90-9dc1-2c879b2b0b51&Month=6&Year=2008, "The United States must continue to press for a successful conclusion to the Doha Round of global trade negotiations. America’s leaders should stand behind our trade agreements and support the pending Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, South Korea and Panama as well as renewing Trade Promotion Authority for the next President.." and "Like our workforce, our nation’s infrastructure is aging and will require new initiatives like the bill that Senator Chris Dodd and I have introduced to create a National Infrastructure Bank that would allow private investment to finance public infrastructure projects." and "International institutions are more important now than at any time in modern history. Our post-World War Two alliances and partnerships, particularly with the European Union, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Turkey, must be strengthened and recalibrated to recognize that these powers are no longer American Twentieth century surrogate powers" and "We are engaged in a war of ideas and ideologies to win over the youth of this region. Classrooms are the battlefields. This will require a
revolutionary universe of new thinking and policies. The human dynamic always dictates outcomes. " and "President Bush deserves credit for his initiatives to create the Millennium Challenge Account promoting sustainable, long-term economic growth and good governance in the world’s poorest countries. The President’s Emergency Relief Plan for AIDS Relief…or ‘PEPFAR’…which has been the world’s largest international health initiative in modern history to combat HIV/AIDS also deserves great credit. These programs should continue. In addition, we need to understand how some of the developed world’s trade policies harm the world’s poorest countries, and, as I have said, urgently seek a successful conclusion to the Doha Trade negotiations. Public-private partnerships must become a central tenet in our development strategy."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A41113-2004Nov10.html, New Group-Third Way Values
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24257539/, Ed Norton's Earth Friendly Advice... and his family lineage