false consciousness or just stupid?

There are lots of political commentators that find the idea of false consciousness displeasing, in part because it tends to flatten out the appeal of social processes that people find compelling by focusing solely on the economic impact of those choices. For example, that a working class family tithes 10% of their income to the church might not make financial sense, but this fails take into account the social and communal values that a struggling family might obtain from the church. This failure to understand the non-instrumential appeal of values is the primary critique leveled against Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter with Kansas.

But what are we to make of Kenneth Gladney, a Black conservative tea party activist involved in an altercation while protesting Obama’s proposed healthcare plan in St. Louis?

A few days after the fight Gladney made an appearance before a

crowd of about 200 people. His attorney, David Brown…read a prepared statement Gladney wrote. “A few nights ago there was an assault on my liberty, and on yours, too.” Brown read. “This should never happen in this country.”

Supporters cheered. Brown finished by telling the crowd that Gladney is accepting donations toward his medical expenses. Gladney told reporters he was recently laid off and has no health insurance

Yes that’s right. A black man got beat up for standing up for the values of right-wing conservatives by protesting against Barack Obama’s healthcare plan and it turns out the dude has no health insurance. SMH


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