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Culture as Culprit.
April 6, 2001 11:07 AM   Subscribe

Culture as Culprit. Myron Magnet is the author of The Dream and the Nightmare, which George W. Bush has called the most influential book -- aside from the Bible -- that he's ever read. Is poverty in American less an economic matter than a cultural one?
posted by techgnollogic (9 comments total)

 
And all this time I thought George was more of a Golden Books kinda guy...
posted by fusinski at 1:34 PM on April 6, 2001


> And all this time I thought George was more of a Golden
> Books kinda guy...

I'd like him better if I thought he was. Tawny Scrawny Lion rocks.
posted by jfuller at 1:42 PM on April 6, 2001


I've always been more of a Pokey Little Puppy guy, personally...
posted by fusinski at 2:17 PM on April 6, 2001


OK, now that we've bashed Dubya again and reminisced about books from our childhood, does anyone have any thoughts on Magnet's views? Or has anyone in fact read The Dream and the Nightmare? I've put it on my to-read list because it seems like the guy has done a lot of thinking about his position, and I find I can almost always learn something from a well-reasoned argument put forth by an intelligent person, even if in the end I reject the conclusion.
posted by kindall at 2:42 PM on April 6, 2001


...poverty of the underclass is less an economic matter than a cultural one... he's asking for a total transformation of America's popular culture...

I might argue that so much of our culture is market-driven, so ultimately our problems (applying this assessment) might really be largely economic. I haven't read the book, though.
posted by dal211 at 3:12 PM on April 6, 2001


Definitely on my to-read list.

Strangely, I don't know that these views are entirely conservative, but I'd have to see more of it. As dal says, so much of our "cultural decline" is market-driven, but it's more about a glut of consumerism and media--which are both driven by huge corporations. Thus, if you want to change culture, you also have to change the corporations that are traditional benefactors of conservative thought.

It's an interesting little circle, and one worth breaking--but I hate to see this get categorized as conservative or liberal, since it doesn't truly look like either at first glance.
posted by frykitty at 3:18 PM on April 6, 2001


I'm interested in reading this too, if only to figure out if he's as loopy as he appears to be. Anyone who would find validation of Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents in the failure of public welfare has got to be some kind of sick Malthusian freak, right? Maybe not. I'll suspend judgement until I read the book.
posted by varmint at 3:23 PM on April 6, 2001


frykitty: No, breaking it would produce a breakup of the current Republican Party coalition, which really began with "fusionist" ideas of the '60s. There have been strange coalitions before -- note the southern conservatives and blacks of the New Deal coalition who were for years only united in their voting for Democrats. In any case, the Republican economic libertarian/religious conservative coalition cannot last. It makes no sense, not even when you bring the Weberian theories of Protestantism's effect on capitalism into the equation. There's a built in self-destruction element -- maybe it will be set off by an economic crisis, maybe just tension between the two sides, who can say?
posted by raysmj at 9:42 PM on April 6, 2001


It's fairly obvious that W is as wealthy as he is because of the work ethic and value set instilled in him by his culture, rather than, say, the fact that he was given all his money by his multi-millionaire, ex-president father. Makes perfect sense to me.
posted by Doug at 12:32 AM on April 7, 2001


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