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Tom Coburn is a Big Fat Jerk


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Friday, January 28, 2005

Democracy, Progressive Values, Thinking About It

A few days ago, I posted a link to an article at Seeing the Forest, Why Republicans Win. I was struck by several points, but especially this:

quote: [,,,] we need to EDUCATE AND PERSUADE THE GENERAL PUBLIC about the fact that core Progressive ideas and values are good for them. What we are instead doing now is spending a LOT of money on narrow-interest environmental and other kinds of interest organizations that largely talk to the converted. Environmentalists have to combine forces with civil justice advocates, consumer litigation advocates, peace activists, etc. and all together go after the Right AS ONE. [bold mine]

We need to change what our existing organizations see as their core mission. They need to understand that the public consensus they thought they have is not there anymore. They need to understand that to survive a good part of their effort has to be toward persuading the public that the core progressive values of democracy and community are good, and benefit them, and only then can they also do the work that before now they thought was their core mission, be it environmentalism, helping the poor, or whatever else they do. /end quote

I've thought about this for a few days, wanting to post about it but not at all clear about what I want to say. I know I've found myself sort of piecemeal defining my own values and how interwined they are with one another. My belief in gardening and the use of heirloom varieties to preserve plant diversity is exactly matched to my belief in linguistic and cultural diversity --- they can't be separated because they spring from identical values and are actuated in exactly the same way. I abhor this war not because I abhor war, but because I believe that this war is thoroughly amoral and completely grounded in the ideals of 19th C colonialism, and that it is being waged to secure resources, obliterate difference and acquire a lot of money for a very few people. Etc. Etc.

Still undeveloped thoughts but I'm getting there.

In any case, I keep going over there and rereading that post and thinking about it. Then, today, in the comments to Who Are The Rational Conservatives? I found this:

quote: A lot of complacent liberals and self-described "rational conservatives" or "moderate Republicans" don't really understand what just happened. They keep trying to carry on this urbane, faculty-lounge type debate, but that's pointless now, and I think that it has been for ten ot twenty years. /end quote

And yea, that's my experience, too.

You know, I spent a lot of time in academia and I spent some time trying to battle the wingnut radicals both in cyberspace and real space and I spent some time with some coopters, so to speak --- people who claim liberal and progressive values, but who secretly --- it's possible it's entirely unconscious on their part --- who secretly believe in a hierarchal order of society, a caste system so to speak, and who undermine all efforts at preserving and revitalizing diversity.

And my experience is exactly as stated above: you can't deal with them. My experience is they're too busy trying to preserve their own place in the pecking order to really have any tolerance for true progressive values.

They're secret Republicans and fascists. They're the ones who keep quiet and avert their eyes when their neighbor gets drug off by the KGB.

I'm not sure what my point is here. More than anything, i suppose I'm thinking my way through all this, while also trying to be sure I have copies of the things spurring my thinking.

Whatever the case, these are excellent reads, as are the comments. Worth your time to go take a look.


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