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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Question of the Day #48: Consumerism

Image hosting by PhotobucketModern Christians sometimes refer to consumerism as a sort of "religion" where money is "God". Do you think there's truth to this, or is it a bad analogy?

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8 Comments:

At 6/19/2006 10:41 PM, Blogger Hellbound Alleee declaimed...

What--are the people at the Walmarts not devout Christians?

 
At 6/20/2006 12:10 AM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

I think that Christians are threatened by anything that seems more popular/useful/rational than God.

 
At 6/20/2006 7:23 AM, Blogger vjack declaimed...

The interesting thing is how so many Republicans manage to wear both hats - conservative Christian and free-market fanatics. It doesn't seem like they see any conflict between their religion and consumerism.

 
At 6/20/2006 10:05 AM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

As one of the aforementioned free market fanatics, I must say that "consumeurism" is a silly word. Everyone needs to consume, even people with the most ascetic lifestyles. That guy who lived in the woods for years still needed to "consume" trees and fish, as well as some modern items.

The passion against consumeurism is a passion against progress. That's all it is.

 
At 6/20/2006 1:24 PM, Blogger breakerslion declaimed...

Damn. You keep making me think! I had to run to Wikipedia to try and find the distinction between Consumerism and Materialism. I found this instead:

"The libertarian attack on the anti-consumerist movement is largely based on the perception that it leads to elitism. Namely, libertarians believe that no person has the right to decide for others what goods are "necessary" for living and which aren't, or that luxuries are necessarily wasteful, and thus argue that anti-consumerism is a precursor to central planning or a totalitarian society. Twitchell, in his book Living It Up, sarcastically remarked that the logical outcome of the anti-consumerism movement would be a return to the sumptuary laws that existed during the Dark Ages.

Conversely, many anti-consumerists believe that a modern consumer society is created through extensive advertising and media influence, rather than arising from people's natural ideas regarding the kinds of things they need. In other words, anti-consumerists tend to believe that consumerism is an artificial creation sustained by artificial social pressures, while libertarians tend to believe that consumerism is natural and the only way to eliminate it is through artificial social pressures."

They can't both be right, or can they?

What is ultimately responsible for the human susceptibility to hype?

I find most arguments against Consumerism to be self-serving. If I spend less of my money on myself, I have more to donate to your cause. It seems to me that it all breaks down to a battle of persuasion.

 
At 6/21/2006 10:20 AM, Blogger Joe Otten declaimed...

Good comment breakerslion.

I expect consumerism feels like an alternative religion when the christian is torn between the new car and donating to the church.

But I expect the genuine anti-consumerist would not say spend less, donate more, but spend less, work less, enjoy your free time.

This may seem anti-progress, but the anti-consumerist is advocating lifestyle choices just like the marketing droid is. At least one of them has an ulterior motive. So what's new?

 
At 6/21/2006 11:35 AM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

"This may seem anti-progress, but the anti-consumerist is advocating lifestyle choices just like the marketing droid is. At least one of them has an ulterior motive."

What a fucking insulting way of looking at people trying to sell their products. I bet you never had any productive work in your life.

Get off your fucking high horse and just accept that some people have different lifestyles than you do. Just ignore it if it annoys you so much- like I ignore people like you.

 
At 6/22/2006 7:12 AM, Blogger Joe Otten declaimed...

Whoa, Francois, I don't know what you think my lifestyle is like. I think it is pretty normal.

Forces campaigning pro- and anti- specific patterns of consumption are doing similar things, trying to influence some of the same lifestyle choices. Which group is supposed to be insulted by that comparison? Both?

My view, if you're asking, is that progress is best served when people are free to make their own choices. So I treat all advocacy of lifestyle choices with appropriate skepticism.

 

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