Communitarianism No Longer In Fashion

Mid-Summer                                                                          Waning Garlic Moon

Today is a bee day, with reversals and hive inspections.  In reversals hive boxes get shuffled to keep the queen working in the bottom hive box and so the colony feels there is plenty of room, therefore no need to swarm.  At last check the colonies all looked good, plenty of bees and brood.  We’re still working out the kinks of our honey extraction process, trying to figure out ways to make it less painful for all:  us and the bees.  This year we’ll try an experiment, running the extractor in the garage with overhead water and an enclosed trailer for the frames awaiting extraction.  Might work.

The potatoes still need mounding due to the back spasms yesterday.  If I can get finish that, I’ll call it a day.  No Tai Chi tonight, at least I think not.  We’ll see if the back limbers up after a day’s work or seizes up.

Lori Sturdevant nailed the main problem with politics in our time.  Communitarianism is no longer in fashion.  Democracy demands a sense that we’re all in this together, all of us, the poor, the environment, business and government.  The concept of social justice, so dependent on a robust notion of communitarianism, has disappeared from the political stage, reflecting in part the decline of the mainline protestant churches focus on the least of these.  It reflects, in part, too, the old, more muscular liberalism of Hubert Humphrey:

“It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”

It is not only, nor even most importantly, the moral test of government.  It is the moral test of our nation.  In this high stakes testing, we have slumped, our gpa falling, falling, driven lower and lower by greed that blocks out the other, by, as Lori Sturdevant also pointed out, a religious perspective focused on individual salvation, by a shriveled sense of community, one so depleted that community may extend no further than the edges of our own yards, our own apartments.

Returning to Heidegger, we are thrown into the world, landing in it with many existential givens.  Those of us fortunate to have an upbringing that celebrated education, that helped us learn how to plan, how to work toward our goals, succeed.  Those thrown into poverty, into communities for whom education equals selling out, for whom planning does not extend past today and whose work ethic never had a chance to develop, don’t.  Of course there are exceptions, but note that there are exceptions in both sets of existential givens.  There are, too, those thrown into disabled bodies or saddled with disabled minds.

To not note the grim effects of our thrownness on some and its salutary effects on others is to deny reality, to pretend the world is other than it is.  This is the opposite of realism, it is denial.  To note those effects and be committed to leveling them is not idealism, it is realism.  In an increasingly competitive world we need the gifts and talents of all our citizens, not just a few, a lucky few with fortunate existential givens.

Let me try another tact.  Love thy neighbor as thyself.  We hold as self-evident that all (persons) are created equal.  As long as one person is hungry, then we are all hungry.

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