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A weblog by Laura Moncur


Socially Conscious Liberal

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big DifferenceMalcolm Gladwell is the author of The Tipping Point and Blink. They are non-fiction books that I found incredibly entertaining. Lee Siegel has decided that it is his mission to crusade against Malcolm Gladwell.

Now, I have some problems with Gladwell. He’s not actually a scientist, but he quotes their findings all the time. It’s kind of like getting your medical advice from an actor who plays a doctor on television. If you want good science, you really need to read the abstracts quoted by Malcolm Gladwell. If you want entertainment, you read Malcolm’s books. He’s bringing an introduction of behavioral science to the masses. It’s not perfect, but it brings the basics to a larger audience.

Lee Siegel can have his little crusade, but the strangeness that I noticed was this sentence:

“But the really sneaky thing about Gladwell is the way he constantly contrives to present himself as a socially conscious liberal, rather than the capitalist tool in journalist’s clothing that he is.”

I find it strange that he believes that a “socially conscious liberal” to be mutally exclusive of a “capitalist.” It’s possible to be socially conscious, liberal AND a capitalist. There is overlap. Not all liberals think that we should be communists. That might have been true back in 1963 (which apparently is the time from which Mr. Siegel has formulated his opinions), but it’s not true now.

That sort of thinking sets up a sort of simplistic rivalry where anyone who believes gays should have the right to marry, anyone should be allowed to immigrate to our country and women should have the right to choose what they do with their own bodies are automatically labeled as commies. Capitalism and Communism deal with the economy, not our social construct. The two influence each other, but they are both different views of the world.

It’s possible to be a liberal AND a capitalist.

Just thought Mr. Siegel might want to know that the world is a little bigger than his view of it.

Via: kottke.org


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