At the granular level, there have been a number of progressive policies that started out with good intentions but eventually led to unintended consequences — especially when there were major economic and/or cultural shifts over time. One example is recycling: it used to make a lot of economic sense because the U.S. exported its raw recycling materials to China, but China has long since shut that gravy train down, leaving certain types of recycling like plastics completely untenable. Additionally, the early recycling of post-consumer paper waste actually produced a lot of toxic pollution that was potentially more ecologically damaging than harvesting trees. Then again, recycling programs have reduced landfill materials and extended the life of many dumps in large municipalities for decades…so it’s a mixed bag. But because recycling remains popular as a virtue-signaling activity among progressives, progressive politicians are hesitant to champion new policies that correct for new conditions on the ground. I think there are several examples similar to this, but it is by no means a majority of progressive policies, just a select few that remain problematic.
In terms of overarching policies, however, I think there are three areas where progressive ideology (or at least the beliefs of most progressives who hold public office) has been corrupted by neoliberal propaganda in very destructive ways:
1. The idea that corporations should be treated as “persons” in terms of free speech, political contributions and lobbying, receiving welfare, receiving aid when they are in distress (i.e. bailouts), and so on — when this is clearly the most toxic and corrosive thing that can happen in democracy, as it allows huge concentrations of wealth to create huge concentrations of influence and power (i.e. super PACs funded by dark money, the astonishing reach of the American Legislative Exchange Council, etc.). It has already turned the U.S.A. into a plutocracy, with really no end in sight.
2. The idea that a progressive arrogance or superiority complex has alienated rural white voters — when that alienation is instead clearly the result of rightwing propaganda around an invented “culture war,” along with the economic suffering created by rightwing economic policies like supply side economics, opposition to minimum wage, dismantling of unions, etc.
3. The idea that radical rightwing distortions of fact, deliberately manipulative disinformation, and extreme and hateful views need to somehow be “heard” or incorporated into our political dialogue — when in reality this far right ideology (anti-government, anti-democracy, seditionist, xenophobic, racist, religious fundamentalist, Trump cultist, willfully ignorant, etc.) is profoundly opposed to the values expressed by the U.S. Constitution and to democratic civil society itself…and really shouldn’t be honored, acknowledged, or accepted as “reasonable” within a sane political discourse. Instead, this increasingly deranged extremism should be called out — and dismissed — for what it really is: spastic wackadoodle wholesale destruction of democracy fomented in broken brains by the plutocratic masters of hoodwinking propaganda.
Essentially, then, progressives do make errors in some policies that they then fail to correct because of the virtue-signaling popularity of those policies….But the much more significant failure of progressives is buying into the idea that plutocracy, disinformation, deception, hate-centric beliefs, strident proclamations from ignorance, liberal-shaming, and outright lunacy should be “welcomed” on equal footing into our political discourse. This greater mistake of tolerating and engaging with the far right’s broken brain ideas — if it continues —will inevitably lead to the final downfall of the United States itself.
My 2 cents.
TrackbacksTrackback specific URI for this entry
This link is not meant to be clicked. It contains the trackback URI for this entry. You can use this URI to send ping- & trackbacks from your own blog to this entry. To copy the link, right click and select "Copy Shortcut" in Internet Explorer or "Copy Link Location" in Mozilla.
The author does not allow comments to this entry