Sunday, March 15, 2015

The arguments from the "communitarian Left" get personal, for me at least


Here we go again.  In the New York Times on Sunday, 0p-ed columnist Ross Douthat (“For Poorer and Richer”) pits Charles Murray of the “libertarian right” (“Coming Apart”, books (March 14, 2012) against Charles Putnam’s “Our Kids”, where Putnam represents “the communitarian left”, link here .
   
The adjective “communitarian” is interesting, because it conveys the idea that one problem is that a lot of people on the fence, the “divergents” like me, don’t want to “belong” to someone else’s world, at least until we’re good at living in it, and (right-thinking) competitive and even charismatic at it.  I don’t want to be dragged into the world of families and kids now when I didn’t (and maybe couldn’t) have my own first.  Putnam's ideas, as reported here, comport with recent columns on Vox Media (by Ezra Klein and others) that giving the poor money really does help them. And it also agrees with the position that most street people really do benefit from some personal attention.  Now that I ponder it, it seems that Murray, too, had criticized the unwillingness of a lot us to "belong". 
     
But the most interesting idea is that the “right” has outlined a cultural permissiveness for itself, including the sexual revolution, maybe gay rights, but certainly explicit content (as to sex and even violence) in entertainment media, and then told “the poor” that “you” are such because you just aren’t good enough.  



Update: March 17

Michael Gerson talks about Putnam's book on p A17 of the Washington Post March 17, "Poverty and 'Our Kids': Families are strained, and kids feel the fallout", titled online simply "The effects of inequality on America's kids", link here

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