cj#1101,rn> re: traditonals, modernists, cultural creatives


Richard Moore


Dave Korten was kind enough to respond to some of my comments.

I hope he won't mind if I share his main points, and the 
response I sent back...

7/9/2000, David C. Korten wrote:
    While [traditionals] share some basic values with the
    Cultural Creatives, they tend to be substantially less
    committed on environmental issues. While I don't see
    specific results on this in Ray's report, I would guess they
    are also less interested in social and economic justice.
    Most particularly, they seek a return to traditional gender
    roles and have conservative religious views, which I believe
    means they place their faith in external sources of
    spiritual authority. They are more interested in returning
    to an idealized past than in creating a new future.
    ...While there are disaffected among the modernists who might
    well jump at a real alternative once they see there is an
    option other than traditionalism. The core of the
    modernists, however, are not simply going with the flow.
    They have turned greed into a virtue and are deeply
    dedicated to consumerism, materialism. They are most of the
    powerholders of the capitalist system...

Dear David,

I agree more or less with your characterization above.  What
you've done is to outline some of the barriers which must be
overcome if we are to achieve the kind of civil society you
have described.  For completeness, let's include some of the
barriers due to cultural creatives...

    (rkm:) While some cultural creatives are beginning to think in
    terms of a movement-of-the-whole, many others are locked into some
    particular 'cause', such as feminism or environmentalism,
    which they believe is the 'one issue' that must be addressed
    before all others.  Most of these causes have been
    long-since coopted, and considerable energy is wasted in
    competition among them.  Many other cultural creatives are
    locked into the 'lesser of two evils' mentality, and limit
    their political activism to voting against conservative political
    candidates.  They resist anything more radical, because they
    think that would play into the hands of the conservative 'enemy'.

This little off-the-cuff characterization may lack the depth
of your own, above, but I'm sure you will agree that
cultural creatives, like the others, have beliefs and
habits-of-thought that are just as much barriers to change
as those of the traditionals and modernists.  As a matter of
fact, I suspect your books may represent, in part, your own
efforts to expand the awareness of cultural creatives.


This is how things are now.  This is our starting place. 
This is what we have to work with.  So once again I raise my
question: What is our strategy?  How do we get from here to
there?   How do we get from a hierarchical Capitalist
Society, whose population is divided by competing
ideologies, to a culture-based Civil Society such as you
have described?

If everyone goes on thinking and behaving as they do now,
there will be no change.  In order for change to be
possible, large numbers of people will need to begin
thinking differently.  And for radical change to be possible
-- for capitalism to be replaced -- I suggest that thinking
must change throughout the population, across all
categories.  Each of us has different things to learn, and
the lessons we need will not all come from cultural
creatives.  All sides have something to contribute.  

I suggest what we need is more dialog across ideological
divides, and I think the experience of the Seattle and DC
protests testified to that fact.  Labor and environmental
activists found common cause, gained respect for one
another, and began to build a spirit of broader solidarity. 
Traditionals remained traditionals, and cultural creatives
remained cultural creatives -- they did not need to change
their stripes in order to work together.  What they learned
is that their common interests transcend their ideological

We need to learn that we are not each other's enemies, but
each other's potential allies.  It is not traditionals, nor
modernists, nor cultural creatives who as a class are
setting global policy -- it is a wealthy elite as
represented by their various agencies, institutions,
corporations, and beholden politicians -- as shown in your
diagram.  We are all being equally victimized and it is in
all of our interests -- even as we each retain our basic
values -- to collaborate in changing the system.

in solidarity,

Richard K Moore
Wexford, Ireland
Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance 
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