On courage, social justice and policy-making

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    Maugrim
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    On courage, social justice and policy-making

    Post  Maugrim on Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:00 am

    The spring of 2011 opens an instructive window to reflect on the question of courage in policy-making. For some months now we have witnessed "the Arab Spring," when millions of people filled streets across the Middle East in defiance of oppressive regimes and in the face of violent state repression.

    These images resonate with familiar lexicons of courage as a quality that enables a person to confront difficulty, danger, or pain instead of withdrawing from it. All of us at one point in our lives or another are challenged to confront threatening obstacles, but these private and daily acts of courage, by definition, defy a common yardstick. How, then, are we to think about courage in the collective enterprise of policy-making?

    The opposite of courage in such circumstances, Rollo May argues, is not cowardice but, instead, conformity: our willingness to bend our thinking and behaviour to fit with the status quo however unacceptable it may be.

    In The Death of the Liberal Class, Christopher Hedges makes a compelling argument that progressive policy networks in the United States, what he calls the "liberal class," have betrayed this legacy of calling political power into account. Hedges argues that in recent decades the liberal class was seduced by the utopian promises of globalization and the dubious dictum that markets should be the arbiter of all human, economic and political activity. Political science and economics departments and business and law schools parroted the ideology of free markets, refusing to recognize, let alone address, the mounting social and economic disparities that it has left in its path.

    Hedges argues that the liberal class abrogated its historic role as social critic. It succumbed to opportunism and then to fear and, in so doing, betrayed the working and middle classes. It also silenced the critics within its ranks, and, when the emperor of an unregulated market was revealed as having no clothes, the liberal class was bereft of alternative visions.



    http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/progressive-economics-forum/2011/09/liberal-math

    To the many right wing partisan hacks that populate DA the American Democratic Party qualifies as "Socialist" and even "Pro-Marxist", this despite the fact that it's rather common knowledge that in comparison to the rest of the world Obama and his party are really closer to being centre right than on the fringe left. This idea is further buttressed by the fact that while Obama has attempted some changes he has kept a lot of the same policies as the Bush administration. Personally I find that that when it comes to foreign policy be it Democrat or Republican there are very few differences.

    A lot of what this article discusses really strikes a chord with me. It echoes my sentiments that Obama has to a certain degree caved and compromised too much.

    What are your impressions? Do you think the political spectrum within the US is too narrowly defined by the two major parties?
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    Tezcatlipoca
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    Re: On courage, social justice and policy-making

    Post  Tezcatlipoca on Sun Sep 18, 2011 4:23 pm

    Maugrim wrote:To the many right wing partisan hacks that populate DA the American Democratic Party qualifies as "Socialist" and even "Pro-Marxist", this despite the fact that it's rather common knowledge that in comparison to the rest of the world Obama and his party are really closer to being centre right than on the fringe left.

    So what you're saying is...stupid people are dumb? Noted. But seriously, this is why sites like DA aren't worth reading, let alone posting on. The demagoguery is so thick you can cut it with a knife. It's not even their paranoid delusion, they're just repeating what Rush Limbaugh told them on the radio earlier that day.

    I'm actually not sure what Obama would have to do to open the eyes of the paranoid delusional ideologues.


    Maugrim wrote:This idea is further buttressed by the fact that while Obama has attempted some changes he has kept a lot of the same policies as the Bush administration. Personally I find that that when it comes to foreign policy be it Democrat or Republican there are very few differences.

    A lot of what this article discusses really strikes a chord with me. It echoes my sentiments that Obama has to a certain degree caved and compromised too much.

    Major cynicism ahead...

    Obama is what I expected him to be, another Atlas who shrugged. I mean his whole campaign was centered around empty, one word catch phrases like "Hope" and "Change." That's not intended as a diss, mind you. In a way I almost admire the effectiveness of the whole thing; it's brilliant manipulation of the simple.

    So anyway, is he a disappointment? Not for me. My expectations are so low it is virtually impossible to disappoint me. At least, where politicians are concerned. Tax cuts for the rich even while openly admitting it won't bolster job creation? Sure, why not. Requesting immunity for Raymond Allen Davis? Standard.

    My dislike for Obama is however spurred to genuine resentment by a comparatively petty, hobby related irritation. That being the knowledge that he is a poker player and fan of professional poker who to date has not once, to my knowledge, said one word about the UIGEA act of 2006. No show of solidarity for his pokering brethren? I don't expect him to make it a priority but throw a dog a bone for chrissake. Bush denounced steroids in baseball. No one said everything in a state of the union address had to be a geopolitical or economic crisis. But I guess this is par for the course, i.e., nonchalance for marriage equality.

    Maugrim wrote:What are your impressions? Do you think the political spectrum within the US is too narrowly defined by the two major parties?

    I don't think there are two major parties in the US. I think there is one party—the business party—with two halves. The differences—social issues, e.g., gay marriage, stem cell research—are there but you don't hold office without serving power. With that in mind, I think it's naive to think a politician could or would be anything other than spineless scum. My vote is based on who I think will be less aggressively baneful. I went with Obama and thus far he has been what one might have expected. Like optimus, I am actually sick of discussing what a fuck up Obama is.

    Side rant: Erin Weir seems a smug prick who fancies himself clever.


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