False Consciousness

Culture Clash is one of the most entertaining blog posts I’ve ever read. The article is excellent and so are many of the comments. This was my second exposure to “false consciousness” theory. Oddly enough, just earlier, I had read George F. Will’s column relating to the same subject.

Since the term “false consciousness” is associated with Marxist theory, I would prefer a less pejorative term. The essence of liberal thought seems to be that ordinary people are harmed by forces beyond their control and thus need the protection of government. What’s more, since ordinary people often don’t agree with that assumption, it must be because they’ve been beguiled or tricked by sinister forces such as advertising or Republicans. It all comes from the liberal philosophy that wants to help those in need, even if they don’t want the help. How could anyone not want to be helped? Those that don’t must be deluded or dumber than chickens, in which case they have even a greater need for help.

This all presumes, of course, that liberal thinkers can correctly understand society’s problems, correctly prioritize them, and cause changes that don’t create even worse problems. Conservatives are deeply suspicious of all this, especially when the changes contradict time-tested principles.

This is what makes politics so interesting!

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