Wendell Berry and Education
Wendell Berry among new members of American Academy of Arts & Letters

Blog Watch: Wendell Berry cited on Political Discourse

In his essay “Discipline and Hope,” American cultural critic Wendell Berry argues that such pettiness is a result of the devolution of politics from an art in which leaders defend their visions and principles, to a “shallow game” where “language ceases to bind head to heart, action to principle, and becomes only a weapon in a contention deadly as war”. He claims that just as farming has been alienated from land and marriage from love, politics has abandoned the disciplines that should be at it’s heart; namely, “considerations of fact and of principle and of human and historical limits and possibilities”.

Berry observes that marketing tactics designed to placate a need for immediate cultural and political satisfaction have replaced these disciplines of discourse. Such tactics are rooted in a ‘popular perfectionism’ that – like philosophical traditions such as Marxism – strives for a utopian society, but is uniquely childish in obnoxiously demanding it now. Such civic irrationality stems from a broader societal obsession with consumption and efficiency, which has resulted in the “relentless subjection of means to immediate ends”.

Read more at Space to Breathe

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The comments to this entry are closed.