Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism by Cornel West

Everyone can complain, but few do it as well as Cornel West. For example, speaking about democrats caving to republicans [in the early 21st century] instead of following their conscience and the will of the American people:

“Unlike their idol Bill Clinton - a masterful neoliberal communicator, who subordinated his conscience to the exigencies of re-election strategies but was able to conceal his opportunism with his charisma - the vast majority of democratic party elites are rendered impotent in their timidity, and paralyzed by their cupidity, their courting of corporate donors.”
Democracy Matters is West's critique of various democratic failings and his sincere appeal for greater awareness and action. The broad-ranging work examines deep democracy and race in America, Israel-Palestine issues, Christian identity and the importance of engaging youth culture (i.e.,  hip-hop/rap).  West is a master rhetorician, not sophist, that delights with his deconstructions, denunciations and deliberations on our deep democracy deficit.

West is a very knowledgeable man and advances interesting theses like the tripartite necessity of Socratic challenge, Jewish prophetic wisdom and tragic comedy for democracy to persist in America. He is very persuasive but there is so little objective data to actually evaluate, such is the nature of the humanities, I would have to explore the issues in much more detail to feel confident in his assertions (despite their plausibility upon reading). That said, I enjoyed the examination and I appreciated his pro-Palestine AND pro-Israel stance, his notion and actualization of what it is to be an intellectual and hearing his side of the Larry Summers issue - a saddening event all around.
I experienced this by audio and his personal presentation likely had a lot to do with my enjoyment. Oh, and I don't think I've heard the term 'plutocratic elites' so often in one book.



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