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1986 I VOLUMI> 1, NUMBER I FoundingEditorial Statement byMichaelLerner T IKKUN MAGAZINE hopes to provide a voice for those who still dare to hope, for those who are not embarrassed to dream, for those Jews and non-Jews alike who are still moved bythe radical spirit ofthe Prophets and who insist on keeping their message alive. Keeping the Prophetic tradition alive, as our spiritual mentorAbraham Joshua Heschel pointed out in his book TheProphets, means immersion in the details ofdaily life. The Greek philosophers spent much of their timetalking aboutabstractconcepts ofgoodness, virtue, andjustice. Eastern spirituality led its practitioners to the mountains, forests, and caves for meditation , and directed theirenergies awayfrom the daily life ofordinary people, often dismissed as "illusion." But to the Prophets, God's message directed attention to daily life, to the marketplace, to the family, and to the state. To the Prophets, each time the powerless were oppressed was a fresh outrage, each time religion was used as a cover for economic immorality was a new affrontto God. The commitmentto change the world, to demand justice and love in a world thathas given up on these ideals, is notsome pious sentimentclouding one's eyes to a hard-nosed lookat reality. On the contrary,therejection ofmoral neutrality, the committed stance on behalfofthe oppressed, makes possible a deeper understanding ofthe dynamics ofculture and society. It is precisely in the process ofacting to transform the world that the world reveals its deeper structures and meanings. Yet we shall insist that any social transformation requires a systematic and deep intellectual inquiry -we may get inspiration from the Torah, but we shall also engage in critical thinking that requires intellectual integrity, innovation, andsustainedanalysis. Tilclcun hopesto provide a forum for that kind ofintellectual work. Butwe are notuncritically committedto liberalism. "When liberalvalues are usedas a cover for materialism and individualism, we sayclearlythatthese arenotour values. We stand for tolerance, but not for ethical relativism , which is sometimes seen as eitherthe primary justificationfor or the logical consequence ofa commitment to tolerance. We stand for freedom-but not for giving unlimited freedom to corporations so they can exploitthe people and resources oftheplanet. Nor do we necessarily take atface value the claim ofWestern societies to be the livingembodiments ofthe liberal ideals thatthey so proudly proclaim. Ifradically alternative policies to those heldbythe dominantparties are systematically excluded from serious public consideration, if anti-nuclear and anti-apartheid forces must use civil disobedience to have their views even noticed (and even then, not given a serious public airing),ifU.S. military interventions can be financed despite the opposition ofa majority ofAmericans, if freedom ofthepress actuallyamounts tofreedom only for those with vast economic resources to buy media time or space, ifeconomic power concentrated in the hands ofthe few pre-shapes the options so that the range ofserious political choices becomes dramatically narrowed, then we can get a different kind ofunfreedom - an unfreedom that celebrates itselfas the paradigm ofliberal ideals. 198 6lvoLUME 1, NUMBER1 What'sWrongwith the Ri2ht? By Christop'tierLasch N OT ONLY TO oo conservatives have no understanding ofmodern capitalism, they have a distorted understanding of the "traditional values" they claim to defend. The virtues they wantto revive are the pioneer virtues: rugged individualism, boosterism , rapacity, sentimental deference to women, and a willingness to resortto force. These values are "traditional "only in the sense that they are celebrated in the traditional myth oftheWild Westand embodied in the Westernhero, theprototypicalAmerican lurkinginthe background, often inthe veryforeground, ofconservative ideology. In their implications and inner meaning, these individualistvalues are themselves profoundly anti-traditional. They are the values of the man on the make, in flight from his ancestors, from the family claim, from everything that ties him down and limits his freedom ofmovement. What is traditional about the rejection oftradition,continuity, and rootedness?A conservatism that sides with the forces ofrestless mobility is a false conservatism. So is the conservatism that puts on a smiling face, denounces "doomsayers:· and refuses to worry aboutthe future. Conservatism appeals to a pervasive and legitimate desire in contemporary societyfor order, continuity, responsibility, and 18 TIKKUN WWW. TIKKUN.ORG NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2006 TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY discipline; butit contains nothingwith whichto satisfy these desires. It pays lip service to "traditional values;' but the policies...


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