« The Days of Wine and Reagan | Main | "Too Many Evenings" »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Ah, Enviros and Auto Workers. Oh, the comedy. Separate or together, neither of them has a pot to piss in.

Progressive causes are always in the minority and usually, in the extreme minority. When their proponents are added to a major party to make it a majority party, their programs get a hearing.

As long as the Democrats are out of power, progressive causes are so much pie-in-the-sky.

But hey, if you can't get results, you can always write an essay.


May I suggest basing a lefty majority ideology on Community, Opportunity, and Responsibility?

Since these issues were grappled with over a decade ago, we have some archival documents we can use as a basis for proceeding.

And if warmed over Clintonism wrongheadedly strikes people as no longer relevant, may I suggest John Edwards' theme of Valuing Work instead of Wealth as a root ideological base all other lefty agendas can branch out from?


60 minutes did a piece this week on ranchers in Montana being trampled by companies drilling for natural gas. The drilling is muddying their water and clogging traffic.

When Rather asked the rancher, who was irate at what the new drilling was doing to his land, if he was an environmentlist, the rancher replied "I ain't no tree hugger, if that's what you mean." Then Rather rephrased the question, and asked if he was a conservationist. The rancher was a little more comfortable with that term, but said "I just think it's about respect" about what "the man upstairs designed and gave us".

Quotes are inexact, but you get the idea. The word Environmentalist is seen as a fringe leftist. Pragmatic, mainstream, moderate conservationists do not see themselves as one of us.

Les B

"We need a whole new structure, built around a convincing narrative about society and the economy, and a new way to fit these pieces together."

Yes, and to get that right you need to do a real, serious social philosophy that analyses the various aspects of society and how they interact, including how things go right or wrong.

I don't think the left has even tried to do this for many decades. In particular, starting with the New Left of the 1960's, the left abandoned trying to develop a plan for how society should work. The assumption was that if capitalism was overthrown, then everything would magically go right.

One reason the right has been so successful is that it has an analysis and a plan for society, right or wrong, while the left has only complaints, slogans, and fragmentary analyses.

ruth fleischer

While I basically agree that the environmental movement cannot operate in a political vacuum and would profit from being integrated within a larger progressive grouping, there are problems with doing this in practice that I don't think are shared by other progressive movements. Right from the start, over 100 years ago, environmental organizations were a blend of all party affiliations and even those who were not interested in a broader politics. Those who call themselves environmentalists (not just conservationists) are so diverse that it is hard to generalize about them. I don't think this is true of other interest groups on the left. Whatever successes enviros have had in the last 10 years are as a result of alliances that included (and sometimes were led by)Republicans. This would be hard to give up in the name of a larger politics unless there was a guarantee that whatever replaced these fragile coalitions would have more success.

serial catowner

Well, it's not like it hasn't been tried. In 68 and 72 the Democratic presidential campaigns were challenged and then run by a "one big union" umbrella of social radicals. It might even be fair to characterize this experience as the LEAST successful effort at change over the past 40 years.

In any case,the basis of pluralism is the concept that one person belongs to many groups, some of which at times conflict in their goals. Concurrently this one person, as a member of the groups, finds themselves acting in concert on one issue with people they disagree with on other issues.

Without highly focused and technical group advocacy, we have little chance of creating effective social controls of a complex nd technocratic society.

Unless, of course, a large enough majority could demand that social managers figure out how to do something and then JUST DO IT. However, as the past amply illustrates, this approach has many pitfalls for the unwary.


Man, am I tired of being ruled by these wankers. Who would have thought at this point in our history we would have rule by bozos...a bozocrasy.

The comments to this entry are closed.