I often wonder whether there is more commonality across the ideological spectrum than might otherwise seem the case.
For example, conservatives sometimes articulate a critique of the dissolution of social norms and bonds. But, then again, so do liberals or radicals. That is, both the "left" and the "right" seem to find some despair in modern culture, and yearn for "community" at least in some sense. The "traditional values" rhetoric articulated by conservatives is, to be sure, often nothing more than a cloak for sexism, xenophobia and homophobia. But I am not convinced it is entirely that. When conservatives rail against, for example "Hollywood," and the perceived attendant degeneration of culture, they are, it strikes me, concerned (at least in part) about the dissolution of human bonds -- and, though they would not put it this way, the commodifcation of culture, and perhaps of humanity itself.
And, of course, this is an impulse that guides many on the left. The increasing commodification of culture seems to dissolve all that is recognizably human. "All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned." (Marx's rather famous description of the sheer brute and transparent conditions of commodification and exploitation under capitalism, as written in The Communist Manifesto.)
Am I being too Pollyanish about finding a bridge between left and right? Perhaps. But occasionally I see works of art that suggest that there may, in fact, exist such a commonality.
One of those works of art is a short video called "More." For a silent, stop-action, claymation, six-minute film, it covers an impressive number of topics. These include: (1) happiness as a commodity to be bought and sold, as opposed to being found in human relations; (2) how the spark of innocence -- or perhaps, of one's soul -- that exists in childhood, can become extinguished in adulthood, and (3) the socio-economic structure that facilitates (1) and (2) -- such structure, specifically, being the relationship between worker and boss under capitalist relations of production.
The clip I linked to above is a relatively recent upload on YouTube. I wish I could find the earlier uploads. There were far more hits, and far more comments. What I recall from those comments was that: most people took away points (1) and (2). But fewer, as I recall, took away point (3), even though it is explicit (to the point of caricature). To me, this is a shame; for it seems impossible to speak of reclaiming our humanity without simultaneously speaking of the dehumanizing forms of socio-economic institutional relations.
Regardless, I nonetheless regard this short video as testament to the fact that there are certain common values that animate both the right and the left -- i.e., all of us.
It also says something additional about the institution of wage-labor that I barely alluded to in my earlier posts. In my earlier posts, I spoke of the ways in which wage-labor necessitated irrational social consequences -- specifically, the imperative for growth -- or "More" (the title of this video) -- irrespective of whether people actually desire "more." Here, however, lies another critique, namely, that the institution of wage-labor is dehumanizing. In Marx's language, we trade our essence for our existence (the classic statement of alienated labor, as articulated in the 1844 Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts)
In any event, after you watch it, tell me please -- do you think this video reflects values that animate political movements from both the left and the right? Or, again, am I trying too hard to find a bridge?