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.