Saturday, May 6, 2017

Legitimation Crisis


I'm sitting here Saturday morning typing after finishing up today's grading. I can only grade in bursts or I get crabby pointing out non-sequiturs and poor grammar. Too much of those things can produce indigestion. Although, I know I'm guilty also of producing them in this age of constant acceleration.

I haven't posted in a few days due to the end of the semester rush. It was an insane semester because of a very high workload and because of the general climate of anxiety that pervades the university.

Uncertainty is high and trust in institutions is low. People feel pushed to their limits. This is a dysfunctional gestalt.

As I write this, Leonard Cohen croons in the background that "things are going to slide" in his song about the future:

There'll be a breakdown of the ancient western code. Your private life will explode...

Leonard Cohen captures the darkness in a zeitgeist. I worry that darkness and disorder are growing.

One of the papers produced by my graduate students this semester addressed the perceived breakdown of the ancient western code in their analysis of comments posted in response to a New York Times article addressing civil rights ( here ) posted at Facebook February 2017.

The students' analysis of 972 comments revealed deep suspicion regarding government with a strong us/them distinction.

I suggested that they apply Habermas' theory of "legitimation crisis" to explain what happens when the public loses trust in government. (see Plant for discussion here ). Habermas' analysis reveals that this type of crisis can unravel liberal democratic capitalism.

Corporations are also losing legitimacy, the legitimacy that rising wages, public relations and propaganda forged during the twentieth century. Growing cracks in corporate promises of endless consumption and improving standards of living shatter the ideological foundations of western liberal capitalism.

Fragmentation and radicalization across the political spectrum are accelerating as broken promises and outright lies unfold in accelerating automation, outsourcing, and economic polarization.

The appeal of strong men grows, as will the resistance against them.

How long can the center hold while legitimacy shatters?

Perhaps my exhaustion is exaggerating my pessimism. Perhaps my local conditions aren't representative of the zeitgeist.

I hope for improved conditions but my academic research on crisis communications and responses suggest otherwise, as my posts at this blog have illustrated (e.g., see http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2013/06/links-plutonmy-despotism-dispossession.html).

Our leaders had better realize soon that social or "normative" legitimacy is foundation to the perpetuation of the extant order, an order that is ultimately precarious and prone to radical re-structuring....








5 comments:

  1. I can see why republicans wanted to control congress now. Looks like the Mercers really wanted the republicans to pass a bill, to allow providers to freely violate peoples privacy. The bill that allow providers to sell individuals personal searches and other information from the inernet. The mercers were one of the largest contributes to Trump and the republicans. They are helping trump and the nsa develop a precrime database. The precrime database will hone in on citizens, in ways never imagined.

    Better watch what ya tweet and search for. You might be part of the political enemy number 1 list, of the new and improved republican new world order. Glad people are buying Orwell's 1984
    http://www.rawstory.com/2017/05/shadowy-tech-firm-that-helped-trump-win-could-be-paid-to-build-minority-report-crime-prediction-database/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes.

      Trump just keeps getting worse and worse. Now they are talking about eliminating national monuments.

      Delete
  2. There are several Uranium-tailings cleanups and epa superfund cleanups, that are cancelled now by trump. People who grew-up in mining communities know how it goes.  The captains of industry move-in and create a boom. They rape the earth. They leave a radioactive mess. A huge radioactive, tailings pile that they were supposed to clean-up, but,  did not. 

    They did not clean it up because they embezzled the clean-up fund many years before the went out of business.  Years of accumulated radioactive waste, in a plant that should never have been build on a major waterway or so close to town in the first place. 

    They went out of business when the price of uranium collapsed in commodities markets.
    Then the epa steps in. The epa says it will remediate the radioactive waste, that has been making people sick ongoing a few decades since the plant shut.
    The waste that was supposed to be cleaned-up by the uranium processing  and mining company that had created 40 years of the crud, in a populated area. Then Trump comes to power and says "We will cut taxes on the captains of industry, mass production, and non-sustainable living, because they deserve their exorbitant gulper lifestyles and you peons deserve to die of cancer young" They need more fur coats and jets and you need to eat crap. Good ol ayn rand.
    There are several Uranium-tailings cleanups and epa superfund cleanups that are cancelled now by trump. People who grew-up in mining communities know how it goes.  The captains of industry move-in and create a boom. They rape the earth. They leave a radioactive mess. A huge radioactive tailings pile that they were supposed to clean-up, but,  did not.  They did not clean it up because they embezzled the clean-up fund many years before the went put of business, when the price of uranium collapsed in commodities markets.
    Then the epa steps in. The says it will remediate the radioactive waste that has been making people sick for years.  The waste that was supposed to be cleaned-up by the uranium processing a and mining company that had created 40 years of the crud, in a populated area. Then Trump comes to power and says " There are several Uranium-tailings cleanups and epa superfund cleanups that are cancelled now by trump. People who grew-up in mining communities know how it goes.  The captains of industry move-in and create a boom. They rape the earth. They leave a radioactive mess. A huge radioactive tailings pile that they were supposed to clean-up, but,  did not.  They did not clean it up because they embezzled the clean-up fund many years before the went put of business, when the price of uranium collapsed in commodities markets.
    Then the epa steps in. The says it will remediate the radioactive waste that has been making people sick for years.  The waste that was supposed to be cleaned-up by the uranium processing a and mining company that had created 40 years of the crud, in a populated area. Then Trump comes to power and says "We will cut taxes on the captains of industry, mass production, and non-sustainable living, because they deserve their exorbitant gulper lifestyles and you peons deserve to die of cancer young. We will also cut your medical insurance so you will not be able to see a doctor because of all the preexisting conditions you have from living here. Ain't I grand!"

    Great article about book on millennial's by doctorow and how they feel about ayn rands captain of industry oligarchs.
    When atlas shrugged everyone said"so what" https://www.theverge.com/2017/5/4/15547314/edward-snowden-cory-doctorow-nypl-talk-walkaway

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am sorry to ask majia. Something happened when I pasted a section into that comment, if it is not too much trouble, will you please delete the comment ? I will fix it. I feel like it is an important comment. I know you are tired from finals. If you cannot, is OK. Sorry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tammy
      I hate to delete your comment because of the importance of the content. Why don't you re-post and I'll delete the original one for you.

      Delete