Communities Are All That’s Substantial: Kurt Vonnegut’s Post-Liberal Political Thought – American Political Thought – article

Communities Are All That’s Substantial: Kurt Vonnegut’s Post-Liberal Political Thought

Philip D. Bunn | American Political Thought

2019-11-05

Rarely considered as a significant political thinker, Kurt Vonnegut is a neglected source of political criticism, theory, and practice. This article explores Vonnegut’s perspectives on war, technology, and community to demonstrate that Vonnegut’s well-known criticisms of war and technology are founded on deeper concerns surrounding human nature and the need for fellowship and community. Vonnegut comes to reject individualism, which he suggests tends to breed loneliness. For Vonnegut, the solution to many modern social and political ailments is found in the “folk society,” an intentional, small group of like-minded individuals pursuing similar goals. Vonnegut’s community and family-centered politics can ultimately only be located outside of contemporary political dichotomies and provide a significant contribution to an ongoing conversation about the potential failings of liberalism and practical remedies to them.

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