Saturday, August 20, 2005

What's The Matter With Thomas Frank?

Bad Hair Blog has a good post about an interview with Camille Paglia, who is commenting on Thomas Frank's theories in his recent book "What's the Matter with Kansas?". For those of you who aren't familiar with Frank's work, he often describes the midwestern working class, which is his background, as unaware of their economic interests and, more specifically, the political party that represents them.

Paglia, a Democrat who later voiced support for Hillary Clinton's presidential candidacy, described Frank's notions that Midwesterners are voting against their "interests" condescending. Her point is valid, as voters shouldn't be branded as ignorant because they prioritize other interests above economic prosperity. Seriously. Many voters in Kansas are employed, happy with their economic situation, and want their kids praying in school. Or they hate abortion, or gay marriage, or they want a bigger military. In these cases, the GOP is representing their interests.

The other issues, such as the war in Iraq, terrorism, social security, health care, and education, are issues that are up to debate on which party has the best policy.

3 Comments:

At 12:27 AM, Blogger Enlighten said...

Your post is every bit as condesending as the book Thomas Frank wrote and Paglia dismiises.

The Interviewer in the article asks Camille Paglia:

”I take it you agree with Thomas Frank’s [What’s the Matter With Kansas] notion of what he calls an “age of derangement,” that working people are voting against their interests?”

Paglia responds:

“The people are voting against their interests? Who knows that? Tom Frank knows that? Tom Frank knows what is in the people’s best interest? It’s an outrage.

Their interest is capitalism. This is my objection. In my view, comparing the evidence of the 20th century, that socialism in a nation ultimately does lead to economic stagnation and eventually of the creative impulse, in terms of new technology and other things. And that capitalism, despite all its failures, despite the fact that it’s Darwinian, has indeed produced a high standard of living.

And, here’s the big one for me, as a feminist: It is capitalism that has enabled the emergence of the modern independent woman, for the first time free from fathers and brothers and husbands—a woman who can be self-sustaining.”

You wrote:

“voters shouldn't be branded as ignorant because they prioritize other interests above economic prosperity. Seriously. Many voters in Kansas are employed, happy with their economic situation, and want their kids praying in school. Or they hate abortion, or gay marriage, or they want a bigger military. In these cases, the GOP is representing their interests. “

How big of you to suggest voters shouldn’t be branded as ignorant for their priorities, In this case, the priorities you’ve invented for the “working class, as you put it, in Kansas. What you wrote has absolutely nothing to do with Paglia’s comments on the subject. Her point about condescending leftists is valid and you’ve helped to prove her point.

Paglia was quite clear in her belief that the people of Kansas are voting in their economic best interest and for the political party that best favors capitalism over socialism. The people in Kansas vote Republican.

 
At 2:58 PM, Blogger Jack said...

You have gotta be kidding me. I was being as honest as I could possibly be. I wasn't going to make a post to simply regurgitate Paglia's theory. I made a different one.

I didn't "invent" priorities for any class. Kansas is in the bible belt, and to think that "moral values" aren't a large part of the voter base there is ignorant on your part. The polls have indicated this as well as the elected officials from the region.

Time and time again you seem to extract some kind of nonexistent political argument in my posts. I am not endorsing any economic policy in this post, I am simply suggesting that if church is more important than money to you, than you vote for the church candidate, not the welfare or tax cut candidate.

- Jersey Perspective

 
At 12:27 PM, Blogger wfoley said...

I have to agree with Jack on this one. Enlighten comes to the rescue of Bush's economic policy even when it's not under attack.

 

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