An email from one of my readers. He starts out by quoting a comment I make elsewhere:
"It must be so sad for Leftists to hear even from their own that, under wicked old capitalism, the poor are getting richer, not poorer."
Oh definitely! I'm constantly hearing them say that this is indeed the problem. Because it's leading to people consuming too much. And they are becoming too "Americanized."
As I've told you, I'm in Costa Rica. And we get a lot of goofy leftist college girls vacationing here. Ultra granola wicca nature goddesses. And they don't like all of this globalization because they gripe that it's "destroying cultural diversity with globo-mono-culture." You'll find variations of this kind of thinking in Naomi Klein's book NO LOGO, which is mindless but an excellent description of the mindset. They are angry about the cultural imperialism that leads a peasant kid to buying a pair of nikes. Poverty is good, it keeps things as they are. Tradition. Diversity.
It's really a horribly patronizing outlook, which can be summed up as: "these people shouldn't have money because if they have money they'll no longer be cute little zoo creatures for me to admire as something different than myself. They'll be like people anywhere." Imagine a big nature reserve/zoo/park in the developing world where a bunch of native animals are kept in "their" natural environment. Now imagine the same with people. That's precisely what these leftists want.
And they've got some skilled rhetoric to back this up. They accuse "multinational corporations" of "preying upon" "poor people in the developing world" and announce themselves as the protectors of those people. Which is about as condescending as you can get, but it's for the native's own damned good. Because the natives are fooled by these wily corporations (no one could ever want a pair of nikes were it not for "brainwashing") and the higher consciousness leftists feel that they understand what the natives should be doing better than the natives themselves do. It's a religion. A religion of people obsessed with what other people are doing.
And as far as religiousity goes, there's another very interesting aspect. These leftists hate the SIN more than the SINNER, and look at the SINNER as being redeemable. What I mean by this is that they hate the companies, they hate globalization, they hate seeing a poor kid wearing nikes. But that kid is just a VICTIM. They don't hate him. They hate the sin of mono-globo-capitalism that has taken him over. Much like an old time priest might assume that a wicked person was possessed and needed an exorcism, these religious fanatics see the poor kid and think he needs to be "awakened." He's been "possessed" by advertising in some magical way. He can be redeemed, but he needs to repent. And we need to do all we can to save his soul.... It's quite supersitious. It's interesting how you can see man's religious nature so clearly in self-professed secularists.
I've not owned a pair of Nikes for years. The last pair I had wasn't great, and just as brands benefit from loyalty they can lose big when that loyalty is lost. I became brainwashed into buying other brands of shoes. But I recently went out and bought a pair of Nikes. Some leftist had sent me a bunch of materials encouraging me to boycott Nike.
And this led me to what I called the Nike Test. Show someone a poor kid from the developing world, clearly in a very, very poor neighborhood. And he has on a very nice pair of Nikes. There are two basic reactions: 1) Wow, that's cool that a poor kid in a remote part of the world can afford to have some of the most advanced shoes ever made, a shoe put together and distributed by an incredible harmonization of human effort in several countries. 2) that poor kid is a victim. He should only wear locally made shoes, even if they are of much lower quality and he doesn't want them. He's clearly brainwashed and it's just insidious. The leftist will find a victim where a conservative sees someone with expanded opportunities and enhanced connection with the rest of humanity -- AND more comfortable shoes!