Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Current political policy and imperial critical analysis


So I have been thinking (dangerous activity I know). For the record, I am neither a democrat or republican. I find it interesting that most of the scholars I know doing postcolonial biblical criticism, individuals keenly in touch with the evils of empire, are politically liberal, either outright Marxist, socialist, or very left leaning democrats. Most that I know are staunch Obama supporters. Indeed, Obama himself is a very well educated man, in tune with oppression and social justice. However, I find an egregious disparity with the radical expansion of government and postcolonial/imperial critical sensibilities. How can individuals who realize the danger and oppresive domination often weilded by centralized power structures support the radical expansion that this administration is putting forward? It seems to me that such policies of increased taxation and govemmental influence in peoples lives is fundamentally contradictory to the fruits of critical analysis of imperial expansion and domination. Does anyone else see a disparity here?
-- Post From My iPhone

5 comments:

Rod said...

Rob, I am right there with you!

Being post-colonial does not mean that we should be for big government.

mwhitenton said...

You do bring up a good point.

However, I think we both know that you need to repent and do obeisance before the emperor. Perhaps, by his grace, Emperor Obama will spare you. After all, he is a gracious god.

dallasjg said...

First thought: Blogging with an iphone has to be a pain in the butt. You must be a. determined to use your iphone, or b. feel that you have something very important to say in blog format!!
Second thought: I think that you're thinking about places of power in ways that are more fitting in previous eras, even a few years ago. Multinational corporations hold power in ways that are historically unprecedented, and much of what "oppresses" or does "injustice" does not come from the government proper, but is in fact directly attempting to avoid the rule of law. Even current Niebuhrian thought takes this into account when attempting to think through issues of power from a "realist" perspective. From that vantage point, the "increase" of democratic power -- through the elected officials in a system of government designed to make change slow but consistent because of the balance of power -- is itself a safeguard, vis a vis the rule of law, against abusive forms of imperial power.
As a "left leaning democrat," and an avid supporter of President Obama, I am not happy with all of his decisions, and I have friends more "left" than I am who are just as unhappy. In fact, over the past two to three weeks, some of his biggest supporters have been neo-con pundits. I still think that there are too many interrelated issues with the current "war(s)" to make rash judgments on what his administration will look like for four to eight years, and I think that the Congress, and perhaps even the Judiciary, will play their constitutionally appointed role in overseeing the abuses of power by the administration (past and present) in issues like the release of torture photos and investigations of war crimes and the like.
Thus, a tricky balance of power that does not always (or even ever) function in the perfect way, is preferable in giving oversight and holding multinational corporations to some provisional idea of justice, and providing for things like infrastructure, than is a (impossible) ideal of "libertarianism."
Eagerly awaiting your "hunt-and-peck" iphone response.

Rob G. Reid said...

Dallas,
Thanks for your thoughtful response. However, I would like to first take issue with the way in which you reframed the question. I note that through a sleight of hand, you attempted to identify multi-national companies as the fundamental evil that must be "reigned in." This, it seems, is a significant point of disagreement between us. I disagree with you that much of the "oppression" does not come from government. Although it is somewhat "passive" in application, I believe that the government in usurping private, individual space in the name of regulation thereby does exert the types of force upon citizens that you would prefer to relegate into the realm of "evil" multinational corporations, because as we all know, our real problem is evil business, government is our friend/savior. Secondly, let us consider present auto standards as a case in point. Today, Obama set forth a new course for the "auto" industry, note the TOP DOWN approach to Obamanomics. The underlying principle is that a few elite bureaucrats determine better than the market how the future should look. So, in usurping individual freedom to choose from a variety of cars, the government has chosen what kind of cars we are allowed to have. Do they care how this will impact poor people? Do they care how this will impact small business? No, that doesn't matter, because the elite have decided for the people what the people need. The elite have chosen that global warming as a theory is REALITY (a giant assumption) and therefore they are going to determine how business may operate and what consumers may choose in light of their ideological vantage point upon a perceived problem, as though there are no alternatives. Therefore, it is not a stretch to see that the Obama Empire is placing private business in a choke-hold (for their own good!?!) in an effort to control private citizen's personal liberties in choosing an automobile that they can (a) afford, (b) meets their family's needs, and (c) that they want. It seems there is a greater "multinational" corporation that is the problem---the Empire.

Rob G. Reid said...

Mike,
I have beseeched the great king, in his own name, Obama, and I await the gracious outpouring of the Benefactor to rain down upon me.