Sunday, May 8, 2011

Anti-government ideologies, the Shrinking Middle Class and the Death of Architecture: Part I

The coupling of anti-government and pro-business ideologies of the American right are leading to qualitative change in the nature of American Architecture.

The reasons for American anti-government sentiments are many; the roots even older than the idea of America itself.  The firs seeds were sown with idea of discovery, of beginnings that the new continent, the "new world" embodied. Far away from Europe, the Americas were separate, special and, if not free from autocratic rule, had to at least go-it-alone for long periods of time.  Government was far away and not tangible.  Second, like the Pilgrims, many of the first colonists who came settled specifically because of religious freedom, using America as a place of refuge from governmental persecution. Many also settled for economic freedom because Europe also lacked economic freedom. Next with the revolution, those social sentiments became manifest in a revolt against government (government, at least as the world at that time knew it).  Replaced with a quasi Anti-government, anti Autocratic, form of government, democracy, each citizen (at least in theory) being of equal voice controlling their local community. After independence, the idea of one larger government again was tested.  However, the idea of a federal, centrally localized government was still very much in doubt and hotly contested with the presidency switching from one camp to the other (only ending with Lincoln). Much to Jefferson's dismay, slowly, but eventually Hamilton and the Federalist's ideas of a Federal community held the majority. All the while, however, the Southern politics of class and regionalism fired the  anti-government furnace by continuing to use the ideas of the revolution as a vehicle to argue and perpetuate oligarchical power.

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