Friday, January 28, 2011

Barbara Ehrenreich: "Why are Americans such wusses?"

Barbara Ehrenreich (LA Times, op-ed):
The reaction to Frances Fox Piven's essay urging the unemployed to protest for change shows that we are no longer a democracy but a tyranny of the heavily armed.---Why are Americans such wusses? Threaten the Greeks with job losses and benefit cuts and they tie up Athens, but take away Americans' jobs, 401(k)s, even their homes, and they pretty much roll over. Tell British students that their tuition is about to go up and they take to the streets; American students just amp up their doses of Prozac.
There are all kinds of explanations for how Americans lost their grass-roots political mojo: iPods have been invoked, along with computer games and anti-depressants. And of course much of the credit goes to the so-called populist right of the Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck persuasion, which argues that the real enemy of the down-and-out is not the boss or the bank but the "liberal elite" represented by people like Piven.

But at least part of the explanation is guns themselves -- or, more specifically, the recent and uniquely American addiction to high-powered personal weaponry. MORE...

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