Breaking Ranks

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Mar 15, 1982, 2:10:32 PM3/15/82
For the more politically - minded of you all out there, I
recommend Norman Podhoretz' new book, Breaking Ranks - A Political Memoir.
Podhoretz is a man who, in the period 1955 - 1980 as editor of Commentary
magazine went the full circle from Kennedy - style liberal to leftist
radical ( he was one of the founders of the New Left ) back to what is
now called the "neoconservative" position - that is, interventionist in
foreign affairs, and a capitalist - cum - welfare - state policy at home
(pretty much the Kennedy policy).
The interesting thing about this book from the perspective of those
of us who are interested in technology as a means to shape the future for the
better is his view of the neo-Luddite movements of the 70s and 80s. Podhoretz
claims that these movements (which are the principal anti-space movements)
grew out of the Movement that he founded and later came "to hate and to fear".
His essential claim is that Nader et al are afraid of technology, not because
it will fail to bring new equity and wealth, but because it will succeed - and
thus will perpetuate the hated "system" (a primarily capitalist economy in a
liberal-democratic society with a comprehensive welfare state) that they view as
the root of all evil.
His further point is that the ecological movement is essentially
another symptom of the self-loathing that he sees as the dominant cultural
strain of the counter-culture movement of the 60s (he further claims that
gay lib and "certain aspects of the women's movement" are other symptoms
of this disease).
I've gone on too long about this. Pick the book up. For once a non-sf
writer has something interesting to say.
Rick McGeer
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