16 June 2010

Who is Materialistic?

I ask the question as a result of reading this sentence from a piece by George Monbiot addressing the Tea Party movement:
In the United States one of the biggest exercises in false consciousness the world has ever seen - people gathering in their millions to lobby unwittingly for a smaller share of the nation’s wealth
I have mixed feelings about the Tea Party movement, so I've no desire to be seen to defend it or align myself with it, but Monbiot's criticism of it contains an ironic focus on materialism which often appears when instinctive authoritarians criticise those who are more liberty minded.

Those of us who value liberty highly are often criticised by authoritarians for wanting to created a selfish "me, me, me" world. That certainly isn't true in my case and while it may be true for others, it seems to me that, more often than not, it is the authoritarians making the criticism who are the more materialistic.

Take another look at the quote. Monbiot is criticising people for choosing to follow a course of action which does not appear to serve their financial self-interest. It's a thought process which appears to put the material above all else (or at least, above liberty) and assumes that those who do not focus on the material must be driven by misunderstanding, rather than a focus on other values.

It seems that those who value liberty face being both criticised by authoritarians for being selfishly materialistic and ridiculed by authoritarians for failing to be sufficiently selfish materialistic.

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