The Radical Individualism of Paul Goodman

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Richard Wall’s, “The Radical Individualism of Paul Goodman,” is a beautiful essay that captures the central core spirit of Paul Goodman. Newer LRC readers must be made aware of this inspirational prophetic voice who still speaks to us today in his powerful words and noble sentiments of humane resistance and courage:

How profoundly alien our present establishment is…[…] The term “establishment” itself is borrowed from the British – for snobbish and literary reasons, and usually with an edge of satire. But we have had no sovereign to establish such a thing, and there is no public psychology to accept it as legitimate. It operates like an establishment: it is the consensus of politics, the universities and science, big business, organized labor, public schooling, the media of communications, the official language; it determines the right style and accredits its own members; it hires and excludes, subsidizes and neglects. But it has no warrant of legitimacy, it has no tradition, it cannot talk straight English, it neither has produced nor could produce any art, it does not lead by moral means but by a kind of social engineering, and it is held in contempt and detestation by the young.

The American tradition- I think the abiding American tradition – is pluralist, populist and libertarian, while the Establishment is interlocked, mandarin, and managed. And the evidence is that its own claim, that it is efficient, is false. It is fantastically wasteful of brains, money, the environment, and people. It is channeling our energy and enterprise to its own aggrandizement and power, and it will exhaust us.

I would almost say that our country is like a conquered province with foreign rulers, except that they are not foreigners and we are responsible for what they do.”

~ Like a Conquered Province, chapter 6: “Is American Democracy Viable?”

11:37 am on March 19, 2014