Matthew Crawford, about whom we have talked a good deal before here at Front Porch Republic, is back with a new book. Like so many other wise observers of our late modern capitalist culture, Crawford has turned his attention to just how distracting, and socially debilitating–and perhaps even inhuman is the most literal sense–the technology-enabled colonization of our every solitary moment (iTunes on the commute, advertisements before movie trailers, smartphones buzzing in the park, etc.) has become. No doubt his perspective will be much debated here. But for the moment, just look at the above quotation in full:
Asked about his politics, he said: “I’ve been called a Marxist and a conservative. I guess both are kind of true.” He added: “Marx had a whole anthropology of what a human being is, which is connected to activity.”
As has been often pointed out here at FPR over the years, Marx’s anthropology is by no means irrelevant to understand best how to defend the integrity of places, and thus to defend tradition and community. In fact, I would argue that Crawford’s side comment actually touches on something vitally important. The best kind of Marxism ought to be, I think, conservative, recognizing that tradition forms an essential bulwark against the alienating social power of the market. But at the same time, the best kind of conservatism ought to be, I think, Marxist, recognizing that without the empowerment of the working class, creative destruction will end with the 1% selling off every cultural good worth having. Putting them together is the most important ideological project of our era. Anyway, I’m looking forward to Crawford’s book, and the chance to get into these discussions a little deeper.