November 12, 2008

Bowling Alone and the `culture of death'

From this review on Pandagon.

If you’re succumbing to depression because of the sterile, lonely world you live in, rhetoric that promises, “Join us and your world will be teeming with life,” starts to sound good, no matter how illogical it is. I think most of us can sympathize with this problem. It also goes a long way to explaining how easy it is to freak out members of the religious right with sexual fantasies about all the crazy shit other people are supposedly doing. If you feel isolated from others, it’s much easier to imagine that their behavior is strange and inhuman. Merely knowing some gay people and seeing they don’t have fangs or scales goes a long way towards calming fears stoked by the religious right.

(And, if you don't get the post title.)

I agree with Amanda/her reading of Hedges up to this point. But I find the conclusion they draw from this analysis, frankly, horrifying: `he strongly suggests that people interested in an open society give up the idea that we can have some sort of discourse with people on the religious right'. After all, isn't increasing marginalization and alienation of anyone just going to exacerbate the root cause they've identified here?

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