Lazaro cardenas and high modernism

Historically, scholars views concerning pre-Revolutionary Michoacan contend that peasants openly welcomed the secular ideologies of Lazaro Cardenas, and willing formed alliances in the post revolutionary Mexican state as a result of the sweeping reforms initiated by the Cardenistas. However, as Marjorie Becker claims in Setting the Virgin on Fire, Cardenas cannot be viewed as a redeemer or a later-day Jesus, instead as an individual who attempted to rid the peasantry of their cultural and social heritages. James Scott argues in Seeing Like A State that when such governmental policies include centralized state planning and eradication of local norms and ideologies they adhere to high modernism. In short, Scott defines high modernism as a strong confidence in the progress of science, control and mastery over nature, and rational planning of the social order (Scott 4). To a degree, Cardenas’ attempt at reforming mestizo, Indian, and campesino cultures supports claims of high modernism ideologies in his government. However, not all the policies were strictly high modern. The social reforms implemented bettered not only the peasants ideological outlook on life, improved social conditions, but also provided them with access to land. Cardenas therefore cannot be defined as high modernist given that Scott’s title assets that “certain schemes to improve the human condition have failed”; yet many of the political, economic and social changes improved the condition of the Mexican people. Cardenistas believed that to improve the condition of the peasantry, that the existing ideologies had to be replaced. In particular, the ideals espoused by the church needed to be debunked and replaced by the rational views of the revolutionary party. The church represented a danger to the Cardenistas’ given their views on property and social class. Becker addresses the issue of “the marriage of piety and property” with an overview of the teachin…

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