Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Francis Fukuyama  argues in the current issue of Foreign Affairs  The Future of History   that"stagnating wages and growing inequality will soon threaten the stability of con­temporary liberal democracies and dethrone democratic ideology as it is now understood. What is needed is a new populist ideology that offers a realistic path to healthy middle-class societies and robust democracies." Almost o.k., as far as it goes, but, actually his main argument is that progressivism has not come up with coherent critique and policy to address the socio-economic and political realities of the time.

There is not so much a dearth of progressive ideas and ideology—but a corporate control 
of policy and minimization of distribution of those ideas.  The little known People's Budget 
of Congress’ Progressive Caucus is an excellent illustration.  It addresses many 
of the concerns raised in this article, yet few have heard of it.  Few, also, know that 
that same Progressive Caucus is the largest such entity in Congress.

In specific, Mr Fukuyama is in error regarding  his statement that  accuses the left of 
“a lack of credibility. (That) Over the past two generations, the mainstream left has 
followed a social democratic program that centers on the state provision of a variety of 
services, such as pensions, health care, and education.”   In fact where the social 
democratic left has been successful it has been in  these very areas.  Especially 
healthcare, where most of the developed world has some form of universal, equitable 
health care-- Always not for profit and often single payer.

Time and space do not allow for  a more  complete response. However, I would posit  
related and relevant points to ponder.  Corporate control of the narrative and  policy 
has curtailed progressive ability to mature the dialog.   That same corporate frame’s  
predominance   has only permitted  the “academic left … postmodernism, multiculturalism, 
feminism, critical theory, and a host of other fragmented intellectual trends that are 
more cultural than economic in focus” to be visible.  This has simultaneously served the right 
as a sop to their consciousness but one they can dismiss for its ephemeralness.   Far 
beyond incoherent scribblings, this progressive economic, social, psychological and 
political philosophy “it's all around if we could but perceive.”   It is in the 
aforementioned People’s Budget, in the writings and critiques of Thom Hartmann, Naomi 
Klein, Jared Bernstein,  Rachel Maddow,  Robert Reich , Paul Krugman and oh so many more. 
 And,  yes, Occupy is one of our distilleries. 

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