Does Irrationality Doom America?
Continued from previous page
This might be seen in the situation described above like this: divergent speech that emphasises social distance is the language of conflict - specifically, in this case, class conflict: upper vs all the rest (but portrayed as middle vs under). This is what's used the moment any talk of raising taxes is involved. Convergant speech is dispassionate wonk talk, relatively drained of emotion - as well as inconvenient facts. The perversity of the situation is that conflictual language is used to exclude the interests and priorities of the large majority of the American people, while the dispassionate wonk talk is used to create a bipartisan elite concensus that fundamentally excludes just those interests and priorities. That's how you create an "expert" discourse of very serious people who are utterly out of touch with the world they are guiding to catastrophe.
Which is, of course, exactly how the financial crises was created in the first place. Not to mention the Iraq War. This is how US elites operate nowadays - not just in one field of politics, but all across the board. Problem-solving and argument-winning have become two entirely antagonistic activities, and "moderate" "centrist" "bipartisanship" has become the creation of such profound confusion that the voting public won't catch on until it's far, far too late.
This is how empires die. It is the exact opposite of how republics thrive.
Paul Rosenberg is a California-based writer/activist, senior editor for Random Lengths News, where he's worked since 2002. He's also written for Publishers Weekly, Christian Science Monitor, LA Times, LA Weeklyand Denver Post. In 2000/2001, he was a principal editor/writer at Indymedia LA. He was a front-page blogger at Open Left from 2007 to 2011.
Follow him on Twitter: @PaulHRosenberg
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.