We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up
Saturday, September 21, 2013
The Global Crisis of Legitimacy and Liberation
The author attempts a lot in this essay and I leave it to you to see if she always succeeds. She reports that the legitimacy of our ruling institutions is dissipating among wide sections of our nation. The ruling class instruments of social control rooted in public relations, modern advertising, and representative government are no longer as effective as they once were for most Americans. She offers various theories to explain this crisis of legitimacy and how it developed.
As her essay appears to be heading in the direction of us becoming "good Americans" like the "good Germans" under the Nazis, she argues for a much more positive development. However, I think it might be a bit too hopeful, but that is for you to decide.