Stop whining and communicate
This Adbuster’s critique of the American left today had lots to say that I find to be just as true of the left in Canada.
The American left has turned into a skittish, hysterical old lady, one who defiantly insists on living in the past, is easily mesmerized by half-baked pseudo-intellectual nonsense, and quick to run from anything like real conflict or responsibility.
The sad truth is that if the FBI really is following anyone on the American left, it is engaging in a huge waste of time and personnel. No matter what it claims for a self-image, in reality it’s the saddest collection of cowering, ineffectual ninnies ever assembled under one banner on God’s green earth. And its ugly little secret is that it really doesn’t mind being in the position it’s in – politically irrelevant and permanently relegated to the sidelines, tucked into its cozy little cottage industry of polysyllabic, ivory tower criticism. When you get right down to it, the American left is basically just a noisy Upper West side cocktail party for the college-graduate class.
And we all know it. The question is, when will we finally admit it?
And now, the money quote:
A liberal wielding power is always going to seem a bit strange because a liberal always imagines himself in an intrepid fight against power, not holding it. I therefore prefer the word “progressive,” which describes in a neutral way a set of political values without having these class or aesthetic connotations. To me a progressive is not fighting Mom and Dad, Nixon, Bush or really any people at all, but things – political corruption, commercialism, pollution, etc. It doesn’t have that same Marxian us-versus-them connotation that liberalism still has, sometimes ridiculously. It’s about goals, not people.
Awww, shucks. Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi started out so well too. The comments are downright hilarious, if you’ve got time to kill. I have sympathy for his criticism and also think he’s highlighted a real solution – stop thinking of yourself as the ragged outsider. It’s delusional. There’s no reason a group like this – tops in education and earnings – is on the outs unless it is because it simply cannot broaden its appeal by way of outreach. Charity starts at home, so listen up. I’m far less impressed with the name change, and really don’t think it adds anything at all. The real use of the term ‘progressive’ is for those in the liberal camp to use in talking with one another. Using it outside the camp gets you nothing but splintering and therefore, weakness.
I remain as Tory as I ever was, so my suggestions here are really intended to strengthen the process by way of seeking a better exchange between the parties involved.