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Blog // Thoughts
May 1, 2007

The Rebell Sell II

The second quote from The Rebel Sell (as part of an ongoing series) – this time from page 20. “The goal of radical political activists and thinkers in the 18th and 19th centuries was not to eliminate the game, but to level the playing field. As a result, radical politics throughout the early modern period […]

The second quote from The Rebel Sell (as part of an ongoing series) – this time from page 20.

“The goal of radical political activists and thinkers in the 18th and 19th centuries was not to eliminate the game, but to level the playing field. As a result, radical politics throughout the early modern period had an overwhelmingly populist character. The goal was to turn the people against their rulers.

But in the second half of the 20th century, radical politics took a significant turn away from this pattern of thought. Instead of treating the masses as an ally, the people began to be regarded, to an ever increasing degree, as an object of suspicion. Before long, the people – that is, ‘mainstream’ society – came to be seen as the problem, not the solution. Whereas the great philosophers of the Enlightenment had railed against ‘obedience.’ as a slavish disposition that promoted tyranny, radicals began to view ‘conformity’ as a far greater vice. The story of this remarkable reversal provides the key to understanding the origins of the myth of counterculture.”

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