Author Topic: 'The New Age Racket and the Left'  (Read 5773 times)

Offline Barnaby_McEwan

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'The New Age Racket and the Left'
« on: September 17, 2005, 12:56:27 pm »
This one of those articles which as I read it makes me think 'That line's going to be my new signature at NAFPS. No, that one. Wait, what about that one...'

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Many New Agers seem to feel not just secure in but altogether self-righteous about the benevolence of their world-view, pointing to the fact, for example, that it 'celebrates' the native cultures that global capitalism would plow over. To this one might respond, first of all, that celebration of native cultures is itself big business. Starbucks does it.


http://www.counterpunch.org/smith08282004.html

Offline debbieredbear

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Re: 'The New Age Racket and the Left'
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2005, 05:27:49 pm »
That's a good article, Barnaby. That quote is right on. The nuagers are soooo sure they are righteous and right. I was having a discussion about eating meat vs. being a vegetarian. My points were that not everyone can afford the trendy organic foods, that too many people are disconnected from their food sources seeing it all nicely packaged in a store as aoppesed to growing/killing their own, and that some people need to eat meat. The last from friends who had been told to eat meat after years of vegetarianism. I was told I was trying to justify eating meat! UH, no, I do not consider it immoral and it is not illegal. Wha is immoral, is people going hungry while people toss perfectly good food in a dumpster.

Offline educatedindian

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Re: 'The New Age Racket and the Left'
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2005, 06:09:23 pm »
There's so many good points in his article:

"New Agers should be ashamed of themselves, for abandoning all concern with those goals that have traditionally served as the driving force of progressive politics, like social justice, equality, the end of oppression, etc., and allowing -nay, aiding- the cynical and opportunistic power-mongers to make the world as disappointing a place as it currently is."

"For New Ageism represents but one of the two possible outcomes of the 1960s. The other possible outcome, unflinching revolution against the status quo in society and its consequent radical transformation, fizzled out in the first decade of the 1970s, as all those Aquarians who, around 1967, joined up for the sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll, quickly realized they did not want to go all that far in pushing the dawning of a new age after all, by, say, joining violent revolutionary groups like the Weathermen and Black Panthers in the US, the Baader-Meinhof gang in Germany, and the Red Brigade in France, but were unable to come up with any more creative, non-violent ways of transforming society. The age of Aquarius, in short, won out over the dictatorship of the proletariat."

"The victory of the Age of Aquarius over the dictatorship of the proletariat, New Age over revolutionism, was easily, happily, accommodated by those in power. Go ahead, transform yourselves. Absorb all the energy you can from that crystal around your neck. Just don't try to change the world, or take control of the means of production, and we won't seek to stamp you out. While its adepts see it as an 'elevation' or 'liberation', in fact New Age is a retreat and a capitulation."

"This is the great illusion that sustains the New Age racket: that, because it is so spiritual, it is beyond all serious scrutiny. The proper comportment towards it is with bowed head, not open eyes."

"At best, then, New Age is a lucrative side venture of neoliberalism, lining the pockets of those crafty enough to package spiritual fulfillment as a marketable product while leaving the spiritually hungry as unsated as ever. At worst, though, it is the expression of something altogether more sinister. Rootedness in the earth, a return to pure and authentic folkways, the embrace of irrationalism, the conviction that there is an authentic way of being beyond politics, the uncritical substitution of group- identification for self-knowledge, are all of them basic features of right- wing ideology."

"Fascism would prefer that its subjects engage in a more harmless variety of searching for self-knowledge, the kind that comes to nothing, motivates no overcoming of dependency upon paternal authority, whether the original, family variety, or the kind that's invested in a F├╝hrer. Runes, anyone?"

"The simple fact that New Age is by its own lights multicultural and syncretistic is by no means a guarantee that it is safe from the accusation of being, at best, permissive of, and, at worst, itself an expression of, right-wing ideology."

"New Age is a sorry sort of fantasy, for it imagines itself to be a form of resistance, but is only able to take hold in history when true resistance proves too difficult to sustain."

Offline Barnaby_McEwan

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Re: 'The New Age Racket and the Left'
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2005, 08:52:58 pm »
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I was having a discussion about eating meat vs. being a vegetarian.


I'm a vegetarian myself, and was a vegan for about a decade (which would explain my pallor and stringbean physique). Just don't ask me what my star-sign is.

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I was told I was trying to justify eating meat!


Ahem, yes, I can remember being the finger-wagging kind of veggie. Lucky I didn't know any Indians back then. There, now I've said that, some Indian Buddhists will pipe up.

Offline Sparks

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Re: 'The New Age Racket and the Left'
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2019, 12:24:10 am »
This one of those articles which as I read it makes me think 'That line's going to be my new signature at NAFPS. No, that one. Wait, what about that one...' http://www.counterpunch.org/smith08282004.html

A very readable article even after 15 years. By now, it has a new URL:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2004/08/28/the-new-age-racket-and-the-left/

About the author: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justin_E._H._Smith