Mark S. Weiner

Chipping away at the state

In Guest Posts, Rule of the Clan on April 1, 2013 at 6:46 am

The Chronicle of Higher Education today published an essay of mine, “The Paradox of Individualism,” which is available through the journal’s gated, subscriber site, here.

Update 4/1/13, 2 p.m.: The article also seems to be available to non-subscribers for the next five days, here.

  1. Mark, regarding your article on “individualism” the following is my initial response. I couldn’t accesss the Chronicle site and didn’t want to pay the exorbitant fee:

    I’m afraid this piece is a polemic for faith in an exhausted Liberalism now in its managerial form. It distorts the possibilities of communitarianism/populism to construe community or sociality in terms of the one-sided concept of “clan” and all its negative associations, whether rightly deserved or not as a concept. Community is not a ‘clan.’ The individuality, not “individualism,” that we cherish is lost as a function of the modernist State. Individuality is a function of community, family and locality and the heritage of Western Tradition. The super-legality of the bureaucratic-centralist State that we now live in is a symptom of the loss of faith in the freedom of the individual and his right to associate freely, democratically and politically. “Corporatist” groupings do not erode the State. The internal contradictions of the State erode the State. Its inability to deliver the “goods” erodes the State. The State subverts the question of legitimacy in the name of Legalism. Weiner seems to fear corporatism and thus Fascism. Possibly the greater fear is the authoritarianism of the bureaucratic-technocratic managerial elitist State. When there is little agreement as to fundamentally determinative principles of life together, i.e., community/culture, then the Statist application of the majority principle becomes a means of oppression and domination, the mass mediatized manipulation of large blocks of votes in the interest of State (i.e., Class) control of centralized wealth and culture(culture which is reduced to a marketing device). There is no paradox of individualism. This a confusion of individuality in terms of it social grounding and ‘individualism’ as the reified and alienatied deformed “individual” of an impotent and exhausted modernity struggling for survival through Statist legalism run amok. The real, concrete social contradiction is that between the “new class” attempting to further engineer society in the name of “liberty”(vs freedom) and the politically disenfranchised mass of people struggling to reconstitute individuality, community, culture and a true Federalism, not the Statist involution of Federalism that we now suffer under. …. Mark, I will read your book and possibly do a more thoughtful review in the near future. Thanks for your piece.
    Larry N. Castellani, Ph.D./ Philosophy Dept./ Niagara County Community College

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  2. Hi Larry, I had meant to respond to your comment publicly once it was posted, but as we’ve been exchanging a a number of nice emails let me just say thanks for your very thoughtful response, which I greatly appreciated. I think we’ve seen through our correspondence that in fact we share a lot more in common than one might expect–but your initial view was really understandable, since the Chronicle piece presents only part of the larger argument I make in the book. In any case, thanks for the above and for our private exchange, which I’ll look forward to continuing. Cheers, Mark

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