Saturday, December 31, 2005

On The Purported Absence of Progressive Message, And So-Called Liberal Elitism

Two of the prevailing contrived myths about progressives are these: that progressives don't have a positive message -- all they do is criticize the majority party; and that they are elitist.  In this post, I demonstrate the fallaciousness of these notions.

One of the leading progressive sites on the 'net is Think Progress.  Take a look at their home page.  At this moment, four leading stories are these:
Granted, that does look a little harsh; they are all negative stories -- deservedly negative, but still negative.  But look over on their sidebar.
What you see is that they are presenting positive messages, and that they have ideas that they think are good ones.  Regardless of whether one agrees, it is inaccurate to accuse them of not having a message of their own.  Clearly, they have adopted a reasonable strategy: they present their own ideas in a positive light, and the actions of their opponents in a negative light.  Seems sensible.

I think that whatever unfavorable impression of progressive politics there is, is partly contrived by the opposition, but partly an artifact of selective reporting.  There is so much to criticize about the current administration, that the criticisms tend to dominate the headlines.

As to the oft-floated allegations that progressives tend to be elitist, just take a look at what is happening in the economy these days.  No surprise, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.  Leading the charge are the oil companies, defense contractors, and top CEOs.  Meanwhile there is stagnation of real wages, widespread loss of health insurance and other benefits, record levels of long-term unemployment, record levels of household indebtedness, and increasing levels of poverty.  Sure, home ownership is at an all-time high, but so is homelessness.  The number of children living in poverty is increasing, while Congress brags about cutting programs that would enhance upward mobility of the impoverished.  So who's being elitist?