Thursday, 03 April 2014 00:00
In many respects, Levittown and the growth of suburbia and the middle class in the three decades after World War II was a hybrid of politically charged goals and interests from both liberals and conservatives.
Liberals once championed the oppressed and downtrodden. Not anymore. The right of affluent gay professionals with secure incomes and no family obligations to throw themselves lavish weddings in Phoenix’s most palatial catering hall means more to them than
Arizona’s homeless or jobless residents. The animal rights of cows is a greater concern than the low pay and working conditions of meat-packing workers; than the young people with college degrees who need food stamps to purchase beef. The rights of some deadbeat to get stoned on marijuana whilst awaiting the welfare check’s arrival is of greater import than families working three or four jobs to pay for those who won’t work one.
Conservatives, on the other hand, have abandoned traditional family and community values. When they champion a corporation that pays its CEO millions of dollars, pays its employees the minimum wage, and drives Mom and Pop stores out of business with unscrupulous practices, that’s hardly a championing of family and community values. Nor is a fetish-like preoccupation with gun stockpiling and tobacco smoker’s rights whilst hospitals, schools, firehouses, and nursing homes close their doors.
Neither Left nor Right, liberals nor conservatives, Democrats nor Republicans are interested in the trade, labor, tax, immigration, housing, or educational issues that circumscribed “the American Dream” decades after World War II, which Levittown was the quintessential example. They have abandoned the working people, the Common Man, and the notion of a stable, prosperous, and tranquil social order for everyone.
But just because liberals have abandoned the oppressed, downtrodden, and poor doesn’t mean we have to abandon them. And just because conservatives have abandoned working families and traditional values doesn’t mean we have to abandon them. The fact is, traditionalism can be quite progressive and the progressive can be quite traditionalist. Ultramodern, hi-tech Singapore, for example, went from Third World poverty to First World prosperity by embracing traditionalist Confucian values and adapting them to the modern world. At the other end of the technological spectrum, the ultra-traditionalist Amish have created communities free of the guns, gangs, drugs, homelessness, unemployment, broken homes, and crime that plague many communities that pride themselves on being “modern”. We can do better.