Mitt Romney, Cultural Economist And/Or Weberian-Calvinist Chauvinist

Governor Romney, I’m trying to come up with a context in which these comments you’re making about culture as the driver of economic prosperity aren’t racist.

But I’m having trouble.  Maybe you’re thinking of Max Weber’s look at the role of Calvinism in creating what’s been called the Protestant work ethic.  But that’s pretty case-specific and related to the pioneer existentials of colonial America. Even if you’ve spelled all of this out in meticulous detail and nuance in your book, you’re running for President.  You have to know how this stuff (USA hardworking! Mexico lazy! Israel hardworking! Palestinians lazy!) sounds. Especially when you say it on the world stage.

The thing is, I don’t think you know or can even imagine how these things sound.  I don’t think you have the social or political instincts.  But since I haven’t read your book I can’t come out and say your take on global cultures is racist, simplistic, and representative of your general out-of-touchness, can I?

 

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2 comments

  1. GDub · August 4, 2012

    I would say if you can’t come up with a reason that it isn’t racist, you aren’t trying very hard.

    Why is it “racist” to say that the habits, traditions, and customs that different groups of human beings form by interacting with each other have an impact on how those groups live? No one said it is the exclusive determinant, and I’m sure nearly anyone, to include Mr. Romney, would agree that geography, natural resources, history, colonization, conquest, etc. all play a role in how different states develop. Nor did anyone say it isn’t changeable.

    How do you explain the differences between, say, North and South Korea. Or Poland and Ukraine? Or Chile and Peru. The sum total of human behavior and interactions over time make some impact–maybe its ok to learn about the future from the past.

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  2. Mr. Salk · August 6, 2012

    I didn’t read Romney’s statement as racist; just his usual classism. The bitter irony of course is that he would have the chutzpa to hype the Jews of all people with the concept of cultural superiority.

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