Sunday, September 6, 2009

Jackson Lears - Open Source

The podcast Open Source with Christopher Lydon gives a critical view on current affairs. Lydon interviews guests on their specialized subjects. The frequency of the editions (more than once a week) make it impossible for me to keep a close track of the show, but I will skim the subject and occasionally listen in.

This time around I listened to a fascinating interview with Jackson Lears, who tries to make a point about a fundamental weakness in American foreign policy. The basic paradox to begin with is that American ideology is against empire and Americans persist in view their country not as an empire. The foreign policy however, has been that of an empire ever since the beginning of the twentieth century. Lears add to this an almost Freudian point with the example of president Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt, he claims , had an idea that was inspired by his Presbyterian background of personal elation. Lears claims that the American culture is full of this strive to improve oneself. And on the collective level Roosevelt thought of war as elating for the nation.

Lears warns that this idea has taken a strong hold on the American psyche, especially under Bush, but with Obama has not gone away. He pleads for less of this idealism and more realistic pragmatism in foreign policy.

The next podcast I am going to review is not about foreign policy, but is also warning the American Psyche for itself and its tendency to lose track of reality. Stay posted.

More Open Source:
Two communities in one region,
We want Obama,
The end of Hegemony,
Go for a walk with Open Source.

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