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Created: January 31, 2002
Latest Update: February 4, 2002

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Demonization of the Other

Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individaul Authors, February 2002.
"Fair use" encouraged.

This essay was prompted by Lauren Langman's post (below) on PSN . I share with Professor Langman the amusement and satisfaction of having our guys (Adorno and Marcuse) demonized by Pat Buchanan as the cause of "decline of white civilization."

The "decline of white civilization," the "decline of civilization," period, is a complex issue, even unto the point of my questioning the use of the term "decline." If, by the term, "decline of white civilization," Pat Buchanan means that the global society is somehow worse off because of the declining ability of the "white" or "Western" elite to dominate those of the "non-white" or "non-western" elite, then I would question whether measuring that effect in the short term represents an overall "decline" or "confusion" as the world adjusts to a non-colonial equality among peoples, or simply a time-bound effect in the short term as the cost of change.

That's one perspective I'd like us to discuss. Are we talking about the short term "local" effects? Local, in the sense of both time and space? Or are we talking about the long term effects? Most of today's important social issues require that we recognize the "tension" between these different perspectives.

I think of this tension as describing the differences of whic I would be aware:

  1. if I were to view the scene up close in time and space, in which I am more likely to be caught up in the specific activity and climate of the local narrative. At this level, I am more able to identify with the individual participants and the community within the purview of the local narrative.

  2. if I were to view the scene from the perspective of geography or history, in which I would be caught up more in the overview of the broader narrative. At this level, I am more likely to be aware of geographical trends with a comparative sense of how different parts of the global society are affected by the particular social issue, and with how different parts of the global society are and will be affected over time.

    On Monday, January 4, 2002, Lauren Langman posted to PSN:

    Subject: Hooray for My Side---WSF

    Just read review of Pat Buchanan's view of decline of white civilization. He mentions as its causes, the elevation of secularism due to Adorno and Marcuse. Wow, I can hardly get my students to read the assignments, but to know that my guys dethroned the Christian God (maybe Jewish too) in America sure makes me feel good.

    Cheers, Lauren