Mar 242010

In 1968, an American assistant professor at York University observed to me that in terms of political spectrums, the Canadian Right begins somewhere left of the leftiest American Left. Here’s an essay by Stan Persky on Naomi Klein in the online magazine Dooney’s Cafe. Klein used to edit This Magazine where I once or twice published stories (I suspect this was before Klein was even born). There are a couple of interesting message vectors here. The first is that these are people who come from a Canadian Leftist tradition which, in many ways, has its roots in a Prairie Protestant religious movement of community and co-operation (unlike the U.S. where Protestantism is mostly on the Right). The second is that Canada also has, through Marshall McLuhan and Harold Innis, another tradition of culture criticism that rises from a study of the social and cognitive effects of technology. These two threads seem to coalesce in Naomi Klein and her critiques of market capitalism. Oddly enough, as Persky points out, Klein is getting some traction on the American Right, which seems paradoxical and fascinating. All this talk of Right and Left doesn’t mean that much any more since both sides seem to assemble slogans without giving much attention to underlying consistency or purpose. It’s strange to think that Tea Baggers and anti-globalization demonstrators actually agree on some things. Anyway this is a interesting article, not the least because it’s about how to write a bestseller against the idea of bestsellers.


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