Information Age America

Although complex and philosophical to a certain extent, the concept or notion that the denial of democratic accountability and the denial of a pluralistic universe is at the heart of today’s gridlock and deadlock in Washington – and in turn this gridlock and deadlock can translate into something much bigger and severe – is also simple and straightforward. One should also mention that polarization is also at the heart of today’s conflict between Russia and Ukraine as a result of the far-right in Ukraine rising to power in 2014 amidst what is otherwise a very diverse society in Ukraine. 

And from polarization, we have reverted to the issue of identity, and how the denial of a pluralistic universe is at the heart of our problems in Washington today. As Francis Fukuyama wrote: “Identity is the theme that underlies many political phenomena today, from new populist nationalist movements, to Islamist fighters, to the controversies taking place on university campuses.” Fukuyama added:

“We will not escape from thinking about ourselves and our society in identity terms. But we need to remember that the identities dwelling deep inside us are neither fixed nor necessarily given to us by our accidents of birth. Identity can be used to divide, but it can and has also been used to integrate. That in the end will be the remedy for the populist politics of the present.” 

And there is an inherent diversity and pluralism of identity on both a domestic level and an international level that needs to be reckoned with by folks in Washington and in the American mainstream media. And as mentioned before, the reasons for why there is a seemingly outrageous denial of democratic accountability and an outrageous denial of the universe’s pluralism on the part of Washington and the American mainstream media are both complex and simple. As one writer has argued: “Without national control over multinational corporations and banks and without control of borders and immigration, it is very hard to imagine the United States becoming a more egalitarian society…Globalization is incompatible with social democracy in Europe or with New Deal liberalism in the United States.” 

Michael Lind has argued that since the collapse of what has been called the “New Deal Consensus” in the 1970’s, identity politics in the United States has elevated and has featured three groups which in turn have been dominating the public discourse in America above all others, namely, the “multicultural Left and the religious Right, and the libertarian glorification of the market above all other sectors of society.” The current identity politics of America is now in need of a “political program” that is “tailored to the new realities of Information Age America yet anchored in our nation’s timeless values” to borrow from Lind. 

In a sense, what has been called for by many people is “the creation of ‘new ideas’ that would ‘eschew the current instinct toward incrementalist problem-solving.” Moreover, rather than calling for an expansion or further empowerment of the central government in Washington, these ‘new ideas’ in an Information Age would amount to “the most vigorous departure from statist government since Franklin Roosevelt’s first and second New Deals.” And the development and exchange of such ideas becomes ever more critical and important amidst today’s gridlock and deadlock in Washington. 

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