“Capitalism has a built-in incapacity to generate legitimations of itself, and it is particularly deprived of mythic potency; consequently, it depends upon the legitimating effects of its sheer facticity or upon association with other, non-economic legitimating symbols.”
In Part 1 of this two-part series, conventional, market-based electricity was described as inescapably lacking an overarching myth that gives it legitimacy against postmodern renewable energy, global-warming ideology, and energy regulation in California. This insight comes from sociologist Peter L. Berger’s 1986 book The Capitalist Revolution: Fifty Propositions about Prosperity, Equality and Liberty.
Given Capitalism’s mythic deprivation, what then can be done, if anything, to re-legitimate cheap, clean or cleaner conventional energy and demythologize renewable energy?
Can Anything Be Done?…
“Capitalism, as an institutional arrangement, has been singularly devoid of plausible myths; by contrast, socialism, its major alternative under modern conditions, has been singularly blessed with myth-generating potency. No theory of capitalism can bypass this, so to speak, mythological inequality between the two modern systems of socioeconomic organization.”
Why is it so difficult for cheaper, cleaner electricity— from nuclear and hydroelectric power, to cheap, lower-polluting natural gas-fired power—to compete in the ideological culture wars against crony-capitalist, semi-socialized renewable energy?
We would offer that one of the most helpful frameworks for answering this question comes from one the most unlikely of disciplines: sociology. Sociology in general is, accurately, perceived as antagonistic to rational economic electricity. But we are here referring to Peter L.…