Why aesthetics matter to the success of ideologies and movements
Just dropping in to say I really liked this essay and have continued to think about it since I read it two weeks ago. More, please!
I came here from Experimental History's blog, even though it's an older post, I just wanted to say I enjoyed this.
This does seem like an extremely rosy view on liberalism however:
"the Statue of Liberty overlooking New York harbor. Lady Justice, blinded and watchful. Neoclassical buildings, serving as the houses of government or the law, with their white marble columns and stately appearance — a nod to the birthplace of democracy in ancient Athens. Sounds: the chatter of lively debate in a coffee house of the Enlightenment; the bustle of an industrious and ethnically diverse city; the scribbling a quill laying down the principles of political liberty."
For other people it might bring to mind corporate news readers, clownish demagogues, for-profit universities, cities where everyone works pointless office jobs and rents cramped apartments, maybe stuff related to the British and American empires, colonies, sweatshops, the atom bomb etc.
Vaporwave aesthetics are honestly not a bad idea for a future (although probably not for EA) aesthetic that might work for liberalism. Mix the classical architecture with palm trees along with some shapes in pink, blue, and yellow. This would be a great way to reinvigorate liberalism by associating it with retro-futurism instead of early 19th-century government pre-Darwin optimism. Make a Vektroid track the national anthem and liberalism would reign the rest of the 21st century.
This may or may not be related, but does it feel like churches (and sometimes libraries, and *maybe* some university buildings) are the last places with interesting architecture? All of the new houses near me seem to take the same general style. All of the office buildings, stores, strip malls, etc mimic one another. The only places that try to be unique are religious buildings or places of learning.
New Atheism is too boring. Pastafarism is where it's at.
Also Dogecoin is the proof that sometimes all you need is good aesthetics.
I love this, and solarpunk immediately popped into my mind before you mentioned it. Unfortunately I think its art-nouveau stylings and some of its political ties (eg. implied degrowth) are maybe a little off-brand and , so classicism is a great fit.
I just can't sign on to any movement that includes Peter Singer. He is repugnant to me.