Monday, December 20, 2004

What Frank gets wrong

Unfortunately, Frank’s argument is excessively monolithic. He seems to claim that everything that’s wrong with the culture from the point of view of the wingjobs can be laid at the doorstep of the profit motive of the culture industry – which is why, in Frank’s view, the right’s softness on regulating business shows they are not serious about actually winning the culture war.

Now, it is certainly true that the coarsening of popular culture is attributable to the profit motive of the culture industry. But how exactly was Roe v. Wade a result of Hollywood (or any other corporate executives) pursuing profits? How is the science establishment’s demand that Darwinian theory be taught in school the result of capitalist imperatives?

Leaving aide the argumentative overreach, there’s also a bit of a contradiction at the core of Frank’s argument. He seems to argue that the paranoid-stylists – what he sometimes calls the plen-T-plainters – are foolish to vote Republican when all they get for their efforts is accelerated personal economic ruin. Then he turns around and argues that the Democrats are responsible for this situation, since the DLC-ification of the Party means that the Democrats are really not much better for the working classes than the Republicans anyway. But wait a second. If the Democrats don't represent the interests of the working classes any more than Republicans do, then what's irrational about cultural right-wingers voting for the candidate that at least proclaims their "values"?

These quibbles aside, Frank's fundamental point is clearly and profoundly right: the Democrats need to clearly differentiate their economic platform from that of the Republicans in a way that shows how they better represent the concerns of the working classes. A good place to do that is in the burgeoning debate over what to do – if anything – about Social Security.

No comments: