Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Mon Oct 23 08:42:44 PDT 2000

Matt Cramer wrote:

>I hate to break up this little "no I'm the underdog" love-fest, but
>utilitarian individualism is certainly NOT predominate in the US. "By
>their fruits ye shall know them". Judge the actions, not the words.
>Where are all these utilitarian individualists on election day? Voting
>for Gore and Bush????? Yeah right.

Oh yes. My dear friend Liza Featherstone said the other day that the Internet has empowered lots of people who shouldn't have any power. She was referring specifically to a certain net celebrity whose screeds are taken with inexplicable seriousness by people who should know better. But it's also an interesting general principle. Though there's plenty in mainstream American thought - and has been for a long time - that's utilitarian & individualistic, there's a lot that isn't, too. Because of the prominence of libertarians on the net, it's easy to think they're representative of the general population. In fact, they're a small minority of it. Nader, for exaxmple, is far more popular than Harry Browne. A few years ago, it was talk radio, whose audience is far to the right of the population, and whose callers are on the right end of the audience's spectrum. So people came to think that all Rush's bellowing yahoos were a fair cross section of the masses. In fact, they're not. There are some things to be grateful for.


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