Thomas S. Harrington asks “what does it really mean to be a liberal?” on CommonDreams:
The drive to achieve harmony — bring what is thought and felt inside into line with one’s daily praxis — has always been an issue of central importance to most cultures. Indeed, the term “integrity” comes from the idea of “being of one piece”, that is, having few if any fissures between the inner and the outer self.
Maybe it is just me, but I don’t hear much about people in public life or in positions of authority over our children talking much about the goal of achieving internal harmony anymore. And on the rare occasions when I do, it is usually with the purpose of mocking such seekers as superfluous or flaky.
My sense is that this failure to promote or celebrate the search for inner harmony may have lot to do with the presence of in our lives of massive, and therefore seemingly insurmountable, moral inconsistencies.
One of the more confounding cultural phenomena of the last decade or so has been the failure of the people on the nominal left to mount any more than fleeting and largely symbolic challenges to the organized depredation of our economy and our civil society orchestrated by the right. The presidency of Obama is the farcical culmination of a long-running show perhaps best compared to a game between the always-sharp Harlem Globetrotters and the paid-to-be-hapless Washington Generals.
Intelligent people have come up with numerous theories for explaining this phenomenon. Most touch in one way or another on the unchecked presence of illicit money and overly entrenched interest groups in our political system.
And they are, of course, right …
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