Sunday, April 6, 2008
family and capitalism
I have been thinking lately about the hypocrisy of the right-wing and how strongly they represent the forces of non-poetry. What got me started thinking about this was hearing some ill-educated simpleton on the radio (wearing a grey suit I imagine) attacking the idea of gay marriage. He told his audience that gay marriage was one of a number of elements that were attacking the family and that, being that the family is the foundation of our society, our entire culture was going to break down into chaos. Now as laughable as this is on the basic level of everyday rational argument, it reminded me most of all of their ignorance and their hypocrisy. Their ignorance is displayed in their misunderstanding of the foundations of society. First of all it must be said that it is not the ‘family’ per se with which the right-wing is concerned – it is the bourgeois family that is their obsession; the modern insulated bourgeois unit that has so well upheld the modern capitalist economy. But this is not what families inherently are; it is what they have become. Prior to age of the nuclear family, families were extended groups that formed essential parts of communities. It is, and has always been, communities that form the foundation of societies. But once the scope of the family had been seriously restricted, once the focus of society had been reduced to the individual and his or her children, capitalism gained its real force. When we have no extended family, no community on which to rely and revel in, we must fit into the society of commodity production or we will perish in our vulnerability. But this is precisely what they want. What the right-wing is really threatened by is the extension of the family into communities – because then we will not so easily be victims of the casino economy. They want us to restrict our lives to small nuclear family units, which they convince us are the foundations of society, because that is the foundation of their political economy! Some right-wingers understand this. But most of them live in pure ignorance; they have simply adopted a pseudo religious ideology that they themselves do not even begin to understand. These are very much like the fools who accepted Colonialism at face-value, as the bringing of God and civilization to a world of savages. What grandly convenient foolishness! But just like some of the Colonizers understood, some of the right-wing knows what they are doing. They know that it is not the family they are defending against liberalism, it is capitalism that they are defending against the return of real communities! It is not families that concern them, they have no love of communities, they don’t care about society, they could care less for Shakespeare or poetry; it is capitalism that they must defend – money and its power. This is irony and hypocracy and ignorance all rolled into one. And here is the final twist – they don’t even defend the nuclear family that they profess to love so much. They create tax structures and advocate trade policies that make it increasingly difficult for one parent to stay at home even if he wanted to. It is harder and harder to maintain a household in the bourgeois fashion that they claim to represent. Instead the ‘family’ is their spin to keep the simple-minded on their side. It is not the third-world that they now colonize it is the minds of the citizens.