American Culture

Liberalism is dead, long live Progressivism

By Martin Bosworth

We’re genetically and sociologically oriented to think of things in duality. Two arms, two legs, a base-10 mathematical system that comes from multiplying 5×2. So there has to be a “right” and a “left,” and because the majority of people are right-handed, the “left hand” is considered strange and different. Did you know the word “sinister” originally meant “left”?

Is it any wonder, then that the modern liberal movement is so unable to really grasp the hearts and minds of the people? We’re the “left hand.” Strange, different, abnormal, not the normal part of the body politic, and our influence, while pervasive, is fractious and hard to coalesce into a single unified voice.

A few days ago, Mudcat Saunders took a huge shit on the majority of the progressive Democrat blogosphere, exposing the raw divisions of class and regionalism between the various ideologies under the big tent. Today, Matt Taibbi stabs a shiv in the exposed wound, saying what we’ve been thinking but were afraid to face–liberalism as we know it is dead:

Progressive politicians in Washington frequently complain that the political mainstream’s abandonment of working-class issues opens the door for Republicans to seize the ignored middle-American electorate, mainly by scaring them with bugaboo images of marrying queers, godless commie academics, dirty bearded eco-terrorists, and so on.

To them, the essentially patrician structure of the political left is mostly a logistical political problem, one that can theoretically be solved, as Sanders solved it in his state, by shunning corporate campaign donors, listening to voters again, and re-emphasizing working-class issues.

But having rich college grads acting as the political representatives of the working class isn’t just bad politics. It’s also silly. And there’s probably no political movement in history that’s been sillier than the modern American left.

The issues of economic populism–the destruction of the manufacturing base of the country, the dismantling of the safety net that buttressed the middle class, and the economic terrorism of credit cards and the horrific bankruptcy laws–these are LIBERAL issues. These are issues of justice and fairness and the right of people to be able to make a living without worrying if one mishap will send them to the poorhouse.

And yet, when your idea of marshaling a response is to send underpaid college students knocking on doors to demand $20 donations, is it any wonder that people will turn away from you? Or that people didn’t care about so-called “free trade” until they started seeing their own jobs on the chopping block?

I resented Saunders calling me out for having the gall to be well-educated, making money, and yet still caring about the welfare of those less well-off. But there is an undeniable truth that liberalism breeds a sort of elitist snobbery just as rampant conservatism does. You can write off checks in the six figures to Giuliani OR Clinton in the next election, but no matter which one you support, you probably won’t be paying attention to the poor guy shining your shoes or chopping up your salad while you put away your checkbook.

These are issues of class and status that cut through political affiliations and parties. America has steadfastly refused to accept that we have a stratified class system, and now, with the erosion of the ability to own a home, keep a job, get health insurance, or avoid crushing debt from credit cards or student loans, we’re seeing that there are no Republicans or Democrats anymore….our ideologies are too complex and diverse for that. There are the haves, the have-nots, and whoever else is left.

Taibbi is saying the same thing I’ve said for years–that it’s time for us to be the leaders. It’s time for us to stand up and embrace new philosophies, new definitions, and new ways of looking at the complexity of our struggles. Instead of subscribing to the eternal infantilization of victimhood or the nagging finger-wagging of typical liberal moralizing, it’s time to move forward. To come up with new arguments, new answers, and new methods of politics, as Howard Dean did. In short, it’s time to progress.

That’s why that while I’m proud to be liberal, I identify as a progressive. Because like Taibbi, I’m all about leaving the old ways behind. It’s the only way our ideas will survive.

ADDENDUM: In reading what I wrote, it bothered me to think that I haven’t explicitly acknowledged the huge successes of the blogosphere in raising political awareness, driving opinion on issues from Iraq to net neutrality to employees’ rights, and getting elections won. That’s the last thing I wanted to convey, so let me make this clear– the blogosphere is probably the strongest force for progressive political change in the last thirty years. No one can deny it now, and it’s broken the field wide open to talk about deeper issues and fight for bigger struggles.

45 replies »

  1. Ahem, Martin. Where do I send the check? 🙂

    I spent much of my life in Massachusetts, thinking I was a traditional liberal Kennedy Democrat. (Was that Teddy I saw shilling for that egregious immigration bill? When the hell did he lose his mind?)

    But I aged. I’ve seen Republican governments; I’ve seen Democratic governments. Neither seemed to address issues that, addressed 20 to 40 years ago, would led to different outcomes today.

    Education: The U.S. is falling behind the rest of the developed world because government did not invest wisely and fully in educating its citizenry. These young college kids knocking on doors for the Dems and the GOP rank as the worst-educated generation in our history. Why? Because governments let it come to that. (And perhaps some generational attitudes on the kids’ part, too.)

    Economy: Reagan said “a rising tide lifts all boats.” I can’t even see the tide anymore. Globalization has been incredibly poorly managed by U.S. governments. Too many have suffered for the gains of too few.

    War: We seem to be losing wars for the last 50 years. It’s not because of the lack of courage, training and technological know-how of the children we send to fight them. But the leaders who send them

  2. Denny,

    I think the disillusionment you express is all too common for too many people. We believe in our idols and leaders, and when they fail, we become so upset that we devolve into cynicism and mistrust, and then to apathy.

    It’s very much a case of seeing your parent let you down. You have to learn to move past it–to accept that politicians will lie because they must, that money has tainted politics since the beginning of time, and that any success in the larger sphere of ideology is a tug-of-war between staying true to your ideals and achieving the greatest good for the greatest number.

    We have to cut away so much clotted, clogged crap from the old ways of thinking–to embrace public service as a noble calling again and not a way to squeeze money from the till. To rebuke corporatism and replace with an ideology that marries the best aspects of capitalism and progressivism together.

    Maybe it’s too Herculean a task for us. I hope not. I hope we can live to see it through.

  3. Who are Mudcat Saunders and Matt Tiabbi? Are they somebody?

    They seem like they can’t get past labels.

    It’s the belief system that counts. The belief in a fair system. A transparent system.

    They can call it whatever they want to. It’s the underlying core principles that are important.

  4. “…achieving the greatest good for the greatest number.”

    And the folks who whold the above as one of their ideals (as I do) cannot make it into politics because of the damn money problem. You don’t get funded without exciting people, and pragmatism isn’t exactly the most exciting thing in the world.

  5. Ya know…I’m just ‘jonny foreigner’ here but I cannot get over how much the USA is slammed.

    I wish statistics were published in this blog when the young are slam dunked…

    So there are lies, dammed lies and statistics but still…

    Click to access p20-550.pdf

    What am I not getting?

  6. Pingback:
  7. You actively campaign for people like Obama and Hillary Clinton, who voted these horrendous bankruptcy bills into law, and you call yourself “left?” Left of what? Newt Fucking Gingrich?

    Face it, you’re a Regan Democrat at best. Probably more of an Eisenhower Republican. You can try to ‘reframe’ it anyway you want, but you and your pwoggie-bloggie brethren wouldn’t know a real leftist if she kicked you in the keyboard.

    Left. What a fucking joke.

  8. Elaine,

    All education isn’t equal, as you know. And “more educated” no longer means anything at all with respect to more capable, more critical, etc. It merely means that the government entities with a vested interest in certain outcomes have rigged the definitional process so as to optimize their position in the whole mess.

    Let me rewrite the definitions and I can change that headline fairly dramatically without touching the core reality being described.

  9. After the 70s, the Dems abandoned the labor issue. And that left them with nothing but easily criticized positions on abortion, flag burning, homosexual rights, affirmative action, etc. Perhaps the problem is that we keep electing millionaires, who have no clue what kind of life 90% of us live.

    As for education, I’m in that profession. And the single biggest obstacle to American education is DISTRACTION. The kids are overwhelmed with an infinite amount of games, gadgets, and internet time that they have no motivation to learn. What’s algebra compared to Xbox? What’s reading compared to chatting and MySpace? The government has nothing to do with this problem. No amount of funding can overcome this. Education is not the path way to the life these kids want to have, because they have it ALREADY.

  10. Perhaps the problem is that we keep electing millionaires, who have no clue what kind of life 90% of us live.

    Ahem. That’s 99% of us. Maybe 99.999.

    Economic justice is so….1968…

  11. Liberalism is dead because it’s been co-opted by a bunch of pussies who are afraid to even publicly identify themselves as “liberal.”

    No you say?

    Would George Bush run from the label “conservative?” Nope, and that moron is the President.

    And who was the last great liberal president? Roosevelt. He was paralyzed from the waist down and he still has more balls than just about the entire Democratic field. Do you think he would run from a term?

    Dems – Keep listening to the consultants, they’re doing a fantastic job of winning you elections. Funny thing about those guys, apparently after the people who write the dictionary looked at their records for predicting elections they were going to call them “weatherman” but alas it was already taken. God only knows why they didn’t opt for the more apropos & descriptive “ineffectual” instead of the rather ambiguous “consultant.”

  12. Liberal is a bad word because the conservative pundits said so. They banged that drum, marginalizing big-tent liberals and focusing on the fringe, or spreading misinformation.

    Who drives the definition car? Is it the pundits who redefined the word? Is it the press who regurgitate the party line and focus on the fringe? Is it the schizophrenic politicians who blow in the wind? Is it a mindless public that can’t cut through all this crap to see and understand that liberal, like feminist, means many things to many people and can encompass varying issues and shades of gray? Is it the “liberal bloggers” who, oh my gosh, don’t march in lockstep?

    Some people get bent with the term “progressive”, well, when the other option is the pejorative “liberal”, yeah.

  13. Every time I think of these ridiculous labels we place on ourselves and one another, I’m reminded of tupperware. And that seems about right.

  14. We are not liberals. We are not progressives. WE ARE CENTRISTS.

    I’m sooooo weary of the right playing the refs, incessantly pushing the balance to the right, to the point that we don’t even realize that so-called “liberal” or “progressive” positions are shared by anywhere from a small majority to a vast majority of the public.

    “Progressive” is a matter of opinion — “centrist” you can count. It’s the majority. Centrist is not the geometric center of an imaginary line drawn between Marx and Mussolini. Centrist is the big middle of political thought. So no matter what the right-biased media says, McCain is no centrist. Lieberman is no centrist.

    WE ARE THE CENTRISTS and we should not cede one millimeter to the media goons who try to define us otherwise.

  15. What a crock of shit. Liberalism isn’t dead, it’s only sleeping, like the majority of this country who were lulled into complacency by the slick words of the snake oil salesman, Ronald Reagan, who conned them into believing the “big government is bad” and everybody is over taxed so he could reduce taxes on the richest people, while creating “fees” that the rest of us had to pay. He seduced them with catchy newspeak slogans like “right to work”.

    The core principles of liberalism are as alive and vibrant today as they ever were.

    From a piece by Geoffrey R. Stone posted on Huffington Post 10/8/06:

    1. Liberals believe individuals should doubt their own truths and consider fairly and open-mindedly the truths of others. -equal justice for all
    2. Liberals believe individuals should be tolerant and respectful of difference.
    3. Liberals believe individuals have both a right and a responsibility to participate in public debate.
    4. Liberals believe “we the people” are the governors and not the subjects of government, and that government must treat each person with that in mind.
    5. Liberals believe government must respect and affirmatively safeguard the liberty, equality and dignity of each individual.
    6. Liberals believe government has a fundamental responsibility to help those who are less fortunate.
    7. Liberals believe government should never act on the basis of sectarian faith.
    8. Liberals believe courts have a special responsibility to protect individual liberties.
    9. Liberals believe government must protect the safety and security of the people, for without such protection liberalism is impossible.
    10. Liberals believe government must protect the safety and security of the people, without unnecessarily sacrificing constitutional values.

    And that’s not all:

    “We want a better America, an America that will give its citizens, first of all, a higher and higher standard of living so that no child will cry for food in the midst of plenty.” — Sidney Hillman

    No one who works for a living should live in poverty.
    — Senator Edward Kennedy

    “Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”
    — Abraham Lincoln

  16. Elaine,

    One must be careful about generalizing, but let’s not forget that “generalization is always a new influx of divinity into the mind. Hence the thrill that attends it” (Emerson). And as Hegel said, “an idea is always a generalization, and generalization is a property of thinking. To generalize means to think.” Macaulay said “generalization is necessary to the advancement of knowledge; but particularly is indispensable to the creations of the imagination. In proportion as men know more and think more they look less at individuals and more at classes. They therefore make better theories and worse poems.” And while I can’t find the damned quote now, I believe it was Johnson who said that without generalization it’s impossible to talk, or something to that effect.

    Sometimes it probably seem like I

  17. Proud American Liberal – I’m someone who holds most of those 10 principles pretty highly, and I’m also implicated in the finger-pointing that Matt Taibbi does in the original Rolling Stone article. Yet I’ve found that most of my fellow liberals take those principles to a level that I cannot comprehend. Tolerance is all well and good, but I know too many people who take it to an irrational extreme.

    And if we liberals value tolerance so highly, then why do we demand ideological purity on issue like peace and Iraq? If you’re not 100% for pulling our soldiers out of Iraq right now if not six months ago, or if you happen to believe that there are situations where military might is both right and necessary, you’re simply not welcome in most “liberal” circles (and yes, I’ve been made to feel like I had 666 heads more than once by “tolerant” liberal groups because I hold those very views). “Progressives” tend to be less ideologically intolerant, in my experience, so I more easily identify myself as one instead of as a liberal.

    Can we take back the word “liberal?” Should we even try? Yes to both, but we’re going to have to fight idiots like Sen. Kennedy and the moneyed elites like Sen. Clinton (and even Dean) nearly as hard as we’re going to have to fight conservatives.

  18. I’ve watched the rise of Elite “Progressives” with horror. The Eschaton’s and Americablogs are rife with people who demean anyone not urban as a “Nascar Dad” or a wifebeater. All Christians are fundies who keep women barefoot and pregnant.
    And not one, other that Sirota, ever mention the American worker.
    It is a deep decline from what was expected on Liberals to the reality we see today.
    And if you disagree with them on any issue you are immediately branded a troll or banned. Despite these are the so called protectors of “Free Speech”.
    Tese Faux-Progressives are as intellectually vacant as the Conservatives they hate so vehemently.

  19. Sam,

    With the passing of each year I am aware that I know less and less…

    There is one thing I know and it is this.

    As with a Family when all the generations are valued, are assigned worthwhile roles and come together for celebration and love and are the happier and richer for it…so to is a society richer and less divided against itself when all the generations have a mutual and healthy respect for one another.

    I understand that to talk in generalisations is a good communication tool for humans. At its most negative it gives the haters the ability to ‘talk’ to one another and pass on their belief system – take a look at the anti-women sites ‘out there’ (which no doubt you have seen).

    My hope is that one day all humans will be able to connect with one another and that those who live only to hate one thing or another will die out…and then we will have no more need for Warriors.

  20. The more the noise machines and media declare liberalism dead the more I am convinced that it is important to be a Liberal. I am very happy to call myself a liberal. Liberalism has taken a lot of knocks over the decades. Why does liberalism provoke this kind of label scapegoating? It is because liberalism is interested in true reform and adaptation and is a genuine threat to oligarchy. Progressivism is a philosophy with a excellent history and is not in conflict with liberalism at all. There is no reason why someone cannot identify as both a liberal and a progressive. The reason I prefer to continue to identify myself as a liberal is that to do otherwise is capitulation to the right-wing propaganda. When someone dismisses you as a “liberal” just say “damn right I’m a liberal. Liberals made America great. What are you?”

  21. Man, there are so many comments here I’ll just reply to everyone:

    A very good friend once taught me that the choice of language you use to frame your argument will influence its success. The words you use and how you use them will determine how your message gets conveyed.

    In this case, my belief is that we can reframe the ideology of liberalism as something that looks forward to the future. The party of new ideas and new approaches–one not held hostage to the cliches and stereotypes that have been so deeply entrenched in the group that people start buying into them. I was saying this for YEARS before Taibbi did, but until recently, I freely admit that no one outside my own little blog audience heard it. 😉

    Look at the civil war going on in the GOP–the pundits and tastemakers are desperately trying to frame Bush as an aberration–not a REAL conservative. Even though his abuses of power and policy are the logical conclusion of every conservative action that’s been taken in the last thirty years. They’re trying to reframe their own debate to paint the modern Republican Party as something different than what Bush’s influence has made it.

    It’s ironic–I’m pushing for a language reframe on my side while advocating that the other side be held to their own corrupt symbols. But politics ain’t always about fighting fair.

  22. Genetically disposed to think in dualities? Do you have empirical proof of that? It’s more like lazy binary thinking (either/or). It simplifies decision making when subjects are complex or too time consuming to research in depth.

  23. I have always been somewhat progressive, if by progressive we mean that we favor moving society and quality of life forward for everybody on the planet. A lot of my philosophies would be called Liberal but I have a strong LIbertarian streak in me as well. I used to vote primarily Republican though I was then and have remained fiercely independant. Then the part went collectively insane with the rise of Newt and the neocons. I haven’t voted for a Republican since 1992. My sister in law believes me to be a Michael Moore type liberal since I worked so hard to elect Dems in ’06. What she fails to grasp entirely is that if we had had an insane Democratic president and a complicit Democratic congress, I would have worked every bit as hard to elect republicans.
    I am personally sick of voting for the lesser of two evils and holding my nose when I vote. For all of the corruption in the Republican party, we have seen with several recent votes that the rank and file Dems are just as bad. They caved in to Bush on the Iraq “supplemental” and they have recently voted to not only fund but to increase funding for the failed abstinence only program which is based much more in superstitious dogma than science. Steny Hoyer, Rahm Emanuel, David Obey, James Carville, Joe LIEberman, are just a few examples of people who like to call themselves “Democrats” that are no allies of Progressives. They are, in fact actively working against the progressive movement and the netroots.
    I have opposed Bush and the neocons for well over a decade now, sometimes with little or no help and even scorn from the left. I opposed Bush for Texas governor. I was proudly against Bush when he announced for president and I am a member of the ten or so percent of the American population that disliked and mistrusted him every bit as much on September 12th, 2001 as I did on September 10th, 2001. All during this time, I have been attacked and ridiculed for attempting to warn people what Bush was all about, including by some now prominent bloggers. For the record: “Yes, it CAN get as bad as I thought that it could and it can still get much, much worse”.
    For the past several years, I have suspected that our hope doesn’t lie with the Democrats. After recent votes, I am more convinced than ever that the Democratic party is not where we should place our trust. There are many honest progressives in the Democratic party; Russ Feingold, Lloydd Doggett, Sam Seder, Al Franken, Henry Waxman, Howard Dean to name a few. The problem is that other than Dean, none of the true progressives hold the purse strings. Those belong to the DLC and their pawns. The feud between Emanuel and Dean before the ’06 election is the perfect example. Emanuel was perfectly willing to, (and in fact did), abandon some candidates around the country just to demonstrate that is was he that called the shots as far as funding races go. Get that? Rahm would have happily thrown the entire party under the bus just as a “fuck you” to Howard Dean. The DLC Dems are NOT on our side.
    That being said, the reality of the situation dictates that we can’t fully abandon them as a party. Recent history shows the folly of progressives supporting a non viable third party. That and apathy, (to a large extend generated by the Democrats themselves), were our biggest enemy of 2000, 2002 and 2004. For better or worse, intellectually free thinkers are the core of the left in this country. That is our strength as well as our weakness. We are mostly only cohesive when we oppose tyranny and greed and war. During peacefull and profitable times, we tend to work to advance what is important to us as individuals, rather than common goals. This gives the conservatives a huge advantage because, by the very definition, conservatives resist changes in their lives, even changes that are universally accepted as changes for the better. Historically speaking, it is inevitable that progressives will win in the long term. Otherwise we wouldn’t be having this conversation. We would be picking fleas off of one another in caves.
    My solution is just this: SANE republicans, (if there are any left) and honest progressives may differ in philosophy but there are many, many people on the left and the right who are not ideologues. People who don’t vote by party line or think in terms of party affiliation. There are approximately 25% of the population who, if Bush said eating babies was nutritious and good, would demand that their grocers begin to stock baby. There is also about another 25% on the left who would happily and zealously bomb Iran because Joe LIEberman has said that it’s a great idea. That leaves 50% or just under who do at least some thinking for themselves. This would not only be a viable party, it would be an undefeatable party. I believe that as the disgust factor with Bush continues to trend upward and the approval of the now Democratically controlled congress continues to go lower, the time to express our mutual unhappiness with the status quo and to shout a huge collective, “ENOUGH” is now. The Dems must know that they can’t throw progressives under the bus and continue to count on our support because the Republicans are so much worse and the Republicans must be made aware that just because they claim to espouse a lot of the ideals that so many conservatives have, doesn’t mean that they will be taken at their word for it. Both parties must be unquestioning in their belief that they ultimately serve at OUR pleasure and that they will be held to account no matter philosophy or affilliation.
    Or progressives can go on supporting Dems until sickened by their corruption just because we are philosophically similar and in twenty years, we can meet back here and discuss our passionate dislike of the “wanking Democrats” instead of the “neonut Republicans”,….

  24. Martin,

    I wrote a piece about Bobby Kennedy a while back that a number of people read and liked. Perhaps you saw it, too. I, like Bobby Kennedy was, am, in the main, a liberal.

    Bobby Kennedy was a liberal. He was a man who had picked up the torch of that greatest of liberals, Franklin D. Roosevelt.

    But Franklin Roosevelt, A Democrat, got many of his liberal notions from his cousin Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican Progressive. These he simply expanded upon to include more people in the fair treatment/practices and access to services that progressives like TR championed.

    What current progressives really want is PROGRESS. Progress for the people.

    They want the people to be able to make a decent living no matter their race, color, or creed; they want the people to get decent health care when they need it without regard to their ability to pay being the sole criterion for access; they want the people to be able to speak their minds without government or corporate spying or censure or other hegemonic response; they want corporations to be responsible – both to the employees who make their products and services and to the public (those same people) who buy those products; they want the government to pay attention to the tenets of governmental action laid out by Gouverneur Morris in The Preamble and to act as necessary to provide those to – the people.

    Democrats can be progressives – Republicans can be progressives. The Roosevelts themselves prove that. It’s not about political affiliation. It’s about one’s philosophy of what life in the United States ought to be.

    Conservatives (whether trad or neo) have yet to prove they can be progressives. Current Conservatives seem to have replaced the people with the corporations – or the church – or vested interests….They seem mired in these….

    Liberals have yet to prove they can be progressives. Liberals seem to have replaced the people with the environment – or the war – or vested interests….They seem mired in these….

    Bobby Kennedy’s last lucid words were “Is everyone all right?” If we can’t answer, “Yes, Bobby, everyone is all right,” then we need progress.

    What your piece here is asking for is progress. I’m with you.

  25. Mike, I do think that Dean qualifies as a “moneyed elite,” but he’s a different stripe of elite from your standard Clinton-type (thus my parenthetical inclusion).

    Dean had a highly priviliged upbringing, went to an Ivy League school and became an MD before entering politics. When he ran for the DNC chairman, he ran against people who were far more centrist and less likely to draw fire from the right (my favorite was former Denver mayor Wellington Webb, but that may be as much due to my familiarity with Webb as anything), and so I beleived then that Dean was going to pull the party too far to the left. But what attracted me to his campaign in 2004 was his policy statements, and yet as DNC chairman, he’s done almost nothing independent of the other high-profile Democrats. Now, maybe it’s the nature of the position to focus on making money for other Democrats, but I didn’t expect Dean to be so intent on power as to sell his policy soul to be a fundraising devil.

    In essence, it seems to me (and I’ll admit I may be wrong) that Dean has sold out his convictions for money and power. And it’s the fatcats who are most likely to do that. Dean is different in that he at least had convictions at one point – too many powerful Democrats appear to have the same fundamental convictions as powerful Republicans, namely money and power. And frankly, I expected more from Dean (just as I once expected more from McCain).

  26. Remember, being a pwoggie means never having to look at the record of the neo-liberal corporate-suckup scumbag you’re supporting. All you have to do is wish really really hard and voila! Dean is a liberal! Isn’t magical thinking wonderful? Whoot.

  27. liberals have become anti-freedom/ pro-control ever since they embraced anti-gun, anti-smoking, anti-drug politically correct agendas, and they remain too afraid and too locked into these idiological agendas to find a new definition of liberal…too bad

  28. I agree with Mr. Booth that anyone can be a progressive regardless of political affiliation….history has shown that It is very hard to be a progressive during certain times in history…I think US citizens–despite the blistering economy–are feeling the squeeze in their paychecks and bank accounts. In times of economic distress country tends to be veer sharply to the right.

    Corporation, politicians, and the legal community have worked together to reduce taxes on corporations, allow them to leave the country without significant sanctions, and have not fostered any union activity. This has led to a lot of economic uncertainty in this country. What happens during this time is that the average citizen tends not to blame the business community, but instead blames other citizens Gays, minorities, immigrants….anything but the real source of the problem. And then, we get conservative leaders who step in and fan the flames…look at this country, look at France, look at Germany many years ago.

  29. Tax reform is the key issue, and corporate law reform.
    Non profits should be allowed to profit if they solve a global problem, such as pollution, climate change, or some social problem. By ending the segregation between Non-Profit and For-Profit and creating a new classification of hybrid Corporations, Corporations with a social conscience built into the design itself, then there will be actual organization.

    But as I see it, there is no will to innovate, or to organize, people want things to remain the same essentially forever. If the system was a computer, we have not updated the operating system in like, 100 years. Sure we upgrade pointless software that isn’t essential, but when was the last time, that progressives actually stopped hating on Corporations, and actually tried to understand Corporate laws, and invent new forms of Corporations that do what progressives want?

    The only way to have social responsibility in Corporations, is to design Social Corporations as a new breed/classification of Corporation to compete alongside the others. Why should a Corporation that is focused on a social agenda, not be able to profit?
    And why should a Corporation, focused on a social agenda, be paying any taxes at all?

    It’s more efficient for everyone, if the responsible, pay less taxes than the irresponsible. If you break the law multiple times, you should pay higher taxes than a person who never broke the law in their life. Just like people get credit ratings by banks, perhaps the credit system needs to be applied to everything else as well.

    Why should a person with bad credit, due to criminal activities, pay the same in taxes as a person with good credit? In fact, why shouldn’t the criminals always pay the highest taxes? Or maybe tax individuals based on how much they damage society.

    The same goes for Corporations, if Corporations are persons. But you see, no one it seem’s, on ANY of the blogs, be it Kos, or MyDD, or any that I’ve read, is actually willing to take a libertarian (low taxes) point of view, while also being extremely progressive.

    Tax cuts should go to the responsible citizens, based on how responsible that individual citizen is. If a citizen has never gone to prison, has a clean criminal record, has not broken laws, why make that citizen pay higher taxes?

    Liberals far too often, don’t even think things through, making decisions which seem to be based on emotion, without any of the reason. Just making government bigger does not mean it will suddenly be efficient, just like if you just make Walmart bigger, it does not mean it will make Walmart better. The way to make something better, is to redesign the core of it, the engine of it.

    The engine of all of this, is the Corporation, and we simply do not have enough breeds or classifications. Also, Tax reform is an absolute must, we have computers now, we can track who is and is not responsible, we can KNOW which individuals are criminals and which individuals are model citizens. By raising taxes on criminals, through the institution of the criminal tax, there will be funds for national security of the entire country.

    If we want to solve pollution, the pollution tax. But basically, taxes have to be extremely strategic and never again should taxes be just a wide net. Tax individuals based on what they do wrong, and reward individuals who do right, with lower taxes. This is basic psychology 101! Corporations are person’s, so they should get the exact same treatment.

    Criminal Corporations should pay higher taxes, and Social or Eco-Corporations should pay no taxes at all.

    Now, discuss my idea’s, and if any are good, go to the popular blogs like DailyKos, and actually post it there. All I know is, if people are serious about taking on Climate Change, well then SOMETHING has to be changed, and I suggest we UPGRADE the engine, in the same way your browser software is upgraded constantly so you can surf the web more efficiently, we need to evolve the Corporation.

    The main reason we are in this mess, is because everything else evolves, but the damn Corporation, by design, doesn’t evolve, yet it’s supposed to be a person? The only answer is to change the DNA, step by step, and create a new kind of Corporate organization, and also new kinds of organizations in general, but organizing is the key to everything and the best way to organize people is through their greed. Thus, it has to be profitable to solve Climate Change or Climate Change will never be solved. It has to be cheaper, it has to make lots of people rich, it has to be efficient, less time consuming, at the same time it has to solve social problems.

    Non-Profits by design, are non-profits, and they are not meant to solve problems, they are meant to put bandaids on problems while the Corporate entities create newer problems. The only way this ever can change is with a balance. So, how can we balance?

  30. The best plan I have ever heard of for making the government and the economy more responsive to the needs of the working classis to automatically pass out a case of hand grenades to everyone who applies for unemployment insurance. Think about it. That is the exact reason for the 2nd ammendment.

  31. Liberals have to grab for the hearts of people because liberalism defies logic.

    Liberalism isn’t rooted in logic. For example, the most prosperous societies on earth are capitalistic societies, yet liberals want to revert us to Socialism.

    Liberals want to raise taxes during an economic downturn.

    Liberals want to prevent Americans from accumulating wealth, retiring early, enjoying family vacations, and living the good life.

    Liberals want to tell people what to eat, what kind of cars to drive, what population density they must endure, where they can go to the doctor, not to consume too much energy or spew too much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere–unless you are Al Gore, then you don’t have to live by your own rules.

    The LAST thing liberalism is is progressive. Liberalism is regressive. It’s about robbing people of freedoms and enslaving the masses under centralized–Liberal–control.

    If we look at Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, John Edwards, and others, we can clearly see the hypocrisy that is the liberal leadership. Most Americans are smart enough to see that!

    Sensible Americans reject liberalism because of its logically flawed premises and utter hypocrisy.

    It isn’t a public relations problem; it’s an ideology problem. Hard-working, intelligent people do NOT need liberals (“progressives” or the feel-good term du jour) and do not need the Democratic Party!!! We can, and WILL, excel on our own, thank you very much.

  32. Yeah, right. Like the HMO/PPO/corporate healthcare system has let us choose where we can go to the doctor….

    We have here an example of the fundamental disagreement between the values of unfettered freedom and forced equality. DFL, you provided the perfect example of just how out of touch with reality the “unfettered freedom” extreme is just as AlanSmithee provided the opposite extreme.

    I’m quite proud of being somewhere in the middle, thanks. But by all means, please continue trying to make your point. The more you try, the better the alternatives look.