progressivism

progressivism


Moderation is Sometimes a Virtue

moderation April 13th, 2019

I saw a picture of a childhood friend today, shaking hands with president Trump. He said he was proud to be shaking the hands of a president – this or any other. I spend so much time in a given week learning about or thinking about the travesties that pass as governance, and feel sometimes like I am stuck in an Orwellian nightmare. I can’t help but feel that if one agrees with Trump as a person, that they are a part of a social group that is diametrically opposed to my sensibilities and philosophies and instincts. And that if they support him as the leader of the free world, they are lost as to what values and virtues such as freedom, responsibility, and the rule of law really mean. I felt much the same way when Bush was in office. It raises some interesting questions not only about friendship, but also partisanship, principles, and temperament. As I reflect on this friendship vis-à-vis the problems in America today, I am asking myself questions about the virtue of moderation – not one of my most familiar values. 

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Do Politicians or Wealthy Activists Sustain Political Dysfunction?

politicians December 14th, 2018

I aim to approach the question, Is it politics that is causing the heart of the problem in America? Clearly, when the approval of Congress is below 25%, most people think that the first branch of government has some serious structural and/or functional flaws. However, when one looks at the influence of unregulated money in politics, one can see that perhaps it is the great wealth of that 5,000 American movers and shakers who wish to drastically affect the political process in a way that the founders of this country could not have imagined. So, which should we change to make the most, lasting change: reform politics as usual, or prevent the wealthy and powerful from having an outsize influence on politics? 

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Economic Inequality and Political Polarization

inequality November 3rd, 2018

The following is a brief piece written by New York Times columnist, David Leonhardt. In it, he asks the question, Race, class or both? He is referring to whether the 2016 election was in large part won by Donald Trump due to Americans’ racism (the white people, that is) or economic insecurity/economic inequality. It is an interesting summary, and it is recommended that the interested reader follow the links herein to the New York Times to read more. I also include a dozen interesting quotes about economics, capitalism, economic justice, and income inequality by scholar and author Steven Pearlstein.

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The Values and Virtues America Desperately Needs

the values and virtues America desperately needs September 2nd, 2018

America, if it were a person, would be experiencing anxiety, self-doubt, egocentrism, confusion, self-loathing, and narcissism. Life has never been easy or uniformly positive for all but the wealthy, and even then, the rich aren’t any happier than the other social classes. It’s true, there was what some consider to be a “golden era” as we came out of World War II. The wealthy and corporations paid a large share of the tax burden, had more in common with the other social classes (e.g., “the Commons” were more robust then), and jobs were well-paying and fairly secure. Despite the racial, gender and sexual orientation problems that plagued America then, it was a time of general prosperity, social mobility, and optimism. Something has gone awry to an increasingly dire degree; if America were a person it would be spending a lot of time in bars, occasionally getting into a fight while intoxicated, and dealing with a persistent cough. The values and virtues America desperately needs are the subjects of this blog. It entails social criticism, but I think America can look to its “better angels”, as Lincoln put it. We have to do it. 

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Democrats Make a Move Toward Progressive Politics

progressive politics August 28th, 2018

Boy, was I angry at the Democratic National Committee’s treatment of Bernie Sanders in 2016. Their chicanery (supporting Clinton for the nominee for patently political reasons) really rubbed me the wrong way. That cynical and corrupt situation plus a lot of Bernie supporters being unenamored with Hilary Clinton probably swung the election, because I believe Sanders would have prevailed in a few of the states Clinton lost. I mean, she didn’t even visit Pennsylvania, and Sanders had a robust following in many of those blue-collar swing states. It all added up to a bunch of crap, if you ask me. We are now enjoying the worst presidency in American history – an embarrassment for us in 2016, since we have so much more information and better education than they did during Pierce’s or Taft’s presidencies. We are supposed to be going in a progressive direction, but at least since 1980 there has been a reactionary counterforce in place, most notably perhaps with Donald Trump. Democrats made a big step a couple days ago that will help this whole country.

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Americans Aren’t Stupid, We’re Lazy and Misled

Americans aren't stupid August 21st, 2018

In a recent blog entitled “Are the American People Stupid?” I entertained the thought that yeah, we pretty much are. Americans have never been particularly high-brow, are more religious than most other leading countries, and are being swamped by a politics out of control and social media that is abysmally bad. So I wanted to attempt to paint a larger picture, to add some context to my depressing conclusion. In this blog, I explore the idea that Americans aren’t stupid, we’re lazy and misled. Many powerful and pernicious forces act upon us. I will get an assist from hip-hop artists Black Star and their song “Thieves in the Night”, believe it or not.

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Crony Capitalism: Even Worse Than Raw Capitalism

crony capitalism August 15th, 2018

It’s not a novel concept to compare America to Rome, nor is it to see connections between an ailing, sclerotic, corrupt Roman Empire and our own republic. One thing they share is moral decay, foolish financial/military policies, and perhaps above all, political corruption. I am talking about the effect of money on governance. In modern parlance, crony capitalism. It is a thorn in America’s side because it hampers a democratic and horizontal diffusion of capital and resources amongst the tens of millions of small businesses. Worse than unregulated capitalism, crony capitalism claws at the beliefs that America is the land of opportunity and that we’re all in this together, making them myth. Indeed, as Nobel laureate and economist Joseph Stiglitz maintains, “One of the darkest sides to the market economy that came to light was the large and growing inequality that has left the American social fabric, and the country’s economic stability, fraying at the edges: the rich are getting richer while the rest were facing hardships that seemed inconsonant with the American dream.”

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Liberalism in the Trump Era

liberalism August 13th, 2018

This blog dedicated to a brief analysis of what liberalism really means in this time of great storm and stress. I’ve been thinking about it while the news is showing the “Alt-Right” (or faction of power-hungry, white supremacist folks) and or the Nazis are planning to march on Washington D.C. this year – on the anniversary of the Charlottesville, VA debacle. I bet a year ago Germany looked at that hate-orgy and thought “Damn, America is tolerant of bigotry, hate, and racism.” Yes, America is the country that was built on slavery, did the Tuskegee Experiment, and shot J.F.K. But America is also the land of Thomas Jefferson, the country that beat the Nazis and Japanese in war, and created the University of California system of higher education. In a country with polarizing partisanship, the KKK and the Alt-Right, and extreme wealth inequality, what is the proper attitude for liberalism (i.e., political liberals, progressives, Lefties) to take? Agitate against power and bigotry vociferously, lay down, fight fire with fire, love those who hate us, or look down our noses on the Right?

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Modern Liberalism & Progressive Principles

progressive principles August 11th, 2018

I have been watching and rooting for liberalism and progressivism for decades now. One person who has been doing it for a lot longer, who is educated a lot further, and who boasts a significantly better employment history is the historian, journalist, author, professor, and Nation columnist, Eric Alterman. One could hardly do better if one wanted to get the gist of liberalism, progressive economics/politics, progressive principles, and a fair characterization of “liberals” than to read Alterman. In this blog, I share some of the wisdom that packs his readable book Why We’re Liberals. Here is an example of the truthful and justified case he makes for by liberalism and progressive principles are legitimate and laudable:

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Eight Myths That Undergird American Society

society July 30th, 2018

Our society should’ve collapsed by now; none should be able to function with this level of inequality (with the possible exception of one of those prison planets in a Star Wars movie). Sixty-three percent of Americans can’t afford a $500 emergency. Yet Amazon head Jeff Bezos is now worth a record $141 billion. He could literally end world hunger for multiple years and still have more money left over than he could ever spend on himself. This is a blog about the myths that undergird American society, written by Lee Camp.

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