Out of doors, all seems a market
“The dissonance of being both a person who ardently believes in democratic ideals – how can we not fall in love with them if and when we are exposed to them? – and a wise-eyed realist about the dispiriting truths of everyday life in America can be alternately enraging, numbing, and crushing. But that dissonance has also provoked our most impassioned and profound indictments of America’s democratic failures, from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s championing of the necessity of self-cultivation and his praise of John Brown’s radical abolitionism, to Herman Melville’s darkly tragic portrayal of Ahab’s crazed imperialistic nihilism, to Mark Twain’s sly indictment of white supremacy, to James Baldwin’s and Toni Morrison’s profound explorations of the psychic scars of racism, and to Tupac Shakur’s eloquent outrage. The violence-obsessed and greed-driven elements of American culture project themselves out to the world so powerfully – and offensively – that the world has developed a problematic love-hate relationship with America, the ufly extremes of which we are now forced to confront.
Men such as they are, very naturally seek money or power; and power because it is as good as money….
And why not? For they aspire to the highest, and this, in their sleep-walking, they dream is highest. Wake them, and they shall quit the false good and leap to the true….This revolution is to be wrought by the gradual domestication of the idea of cultuture. The main enterprise of the world for splendor, for extent, is the upbuilding of a man.
This invasion of nature by trade with its money threatens to upset the balance of man and establish a new Universal Monarchy more tyrannical than Babylon or Rome.
Trade is the lord of the world nowadays–& government only a parachute to this balloon.
There is nothing more important in the culture of man than to resist the dangers of commerce.
Out of doors all seems a market.'”
(Cornel West, Democracy Matters, 2004)