We really need a new progressive movement in America

A movement that will reject the free market as the utopian solution to our economic problems, and instead advocate a mixed economy.

A movement that advocates, as Mario Cuomo said, no more government than we need, but all the government that we need.

A movement for campaign finance reform and lobbying reform to take money out of politics, and to stop defining political spending as “free speech.”

A movement to end corporate personhood, regulate dealings by big financial companies, reduce corporate influence in government, and end corporate welfare when it is not constructive investment for the people.

A movement to protect human rights as well as keep us safe from terrorists.

A movement to end the religious right’s culture war, and instead support tolerance and women’s rights and protect freedom of speech and religion.

A movement for an internationalist foreign policy that is multi-lateral and peaceful, and supports advancement of freedom instead of corporate and fossil-fuel interests.

A movement to end global warming and other pollution, and supports new laws and energy sources to quickly clean it up.

A movement that supports and protects efficient social programs that help the poor and middle class, and to invest in vital infrastructure.

A movement to lower the cost of living by bringing down the high price of education, transportation and health care, now being driven up by greedy free-market policies.

A movement for a fair and progressive tax system instead of a flat tax or other tax breaks for the wealthy. A movement to reduce the debt in sensible ways, instead of using it as an excuse for the government not to do the things we need it to do.

A movement to create and foster a climate of free inquiry, creativity, the arts, idealism, health and fitness, relationship and connection, ethics, community, local economies, sensibility, spirituality, and cultural ferment. A true attitude and cultural shift to match a true political program-- even involving the government where appropriate!

Finally, a movement that is willing to use any effective and ethical means necessary to achieve these goals, not declare up-front that it refuses to use any of these means in order to protect its “purity” from feared co-option.

Where there is no vision, the people perish. Let’s revive the vision!

Is it Spring Break already?

What does that even mean?

And who precisely gets to decide how much government is needed? A group of right thinking people I would guess.

And how exactly are you going to achieve this? It seems to imply that all political advertising will be illegal, all campaigning involving co-operation between the candidate and any other person will be illegal, employing electoral aides will be illegal and exhorting another person to contact their congresscritter will be illegal.

Or is this yet another case where “right thinking people” get to define where “co-operation” and “advertising” becomes “political spending” and where “political activiism” becomes “lobbying”.

In short, you wish to demolish the US economy and attempt to rebuild it from the ground up while simultaneously making it incapable of engaging in international trade.

That certainly seems like a wise policy.

Once again, who precisely gets to decide how safe we should be and what rights people have? Yet another group of right thinking people? The same group of right thinking people perhaps?

So you are proposing to engender tolerance and free speech by silencing the religious right on cultural issue and denying them political representation.

Yes, that seems like a fine plan. And while you are at it you can try fighting for peace and fucking for virginity.

So in addition to demolish the US economy, you also intend to disband any armed forces capable of international intervention.

Well that will certainly save money.

So your position is that corporate and fossil-fuel interests are mutually exclusive with advancement?

And this will be achieved how exactly?

And so on and so forth for the rest of this scree. It’s standard left wing undergraduate boilerplate. It is most amusing that it has changed so little in the last 50 years.

None of these ideas are original and none of them are well thought out.

The best of them, eg “let’s stop all pollution” are bland motherhood statements. Might just as well say “wouldn’t it be nice if everyone was nice”. Well, yeah, but how do you intend to do this?

Some of them are just ridiculous, such as the idea that there will be no US foreign policy that is non-peaceful. No country in the world has a foreign policy that doesn’t even have *policies *for foreign military activity.

The worst of them are totalitarian nonsense that has been tried and failed many times. The idea that you can silence those you disagree with to produce tolerance and freedom, the idea that you can produce a perfect balance between governnance and freedom if only the plebs didn’t have any say on what that balance should be.

Seen it all before. It would invoke a yawn if only it wasn’t so alarming that the latest crop of college students haven’t learned a damn thing from the past.

We all know what we need. Delivering it is the real problem. Take just one of your points:

OK, how?

What does THAT mean?

I though it was pretty clear. What wasn’t clear? Every concerned and alert citizen knows that trickle-down economics has crippled all political action in this country.

Yes, the people need to support those who are doing the best thinking.

The solutions are very obvious and well-known to all these issues. Limit all campaign spending to $100. Require broadcasters to offer free time to candidates. Public financing of all campaigns. For a country not populated by right-wing free-marketeers, these solutions are no mystery.

No, make it incapable of financial gambling with no regulation.

Probably. Right-thinking people should be elected, instead of the idiots you guys voted for in 2010.

No, they just need to be outvoted. Santorum lost; that’s an example.

It will save money to use our military only when we need to, which would be a lot less. It would save money to use diplomacy more often. This is no mystery either; Democrats have been on the right track since Carter.

In regards to what we use our military for, that is? Example, we would never have invaded Iraq if not for oil interests. They may or may not have gotten more freedom, but at terrible cost to both countries. In Libya, we acted for the benefit of the people there.

If you have to ask that, you are terribly uninformed. There is nothing mysterious about requiring a shift to alternate energy, or laws against pollution. The obstacles are from conservatives like you; nothing else.

I am an MA over 50. What’s remarkable is how little of it has been achieved, because of so much resistance from folks like you.

The solutions are so obvious. The only obstacles are political.

Peaceful is a general term; as in more peaceful than today. I’m not a pacifist, but unprovoked imperialist attacks like the ones on Iraq should not happen, and the war in Afghanistan was poorly waged and overly ambitious.

Not my ideas. Calling it totalitarian is only name calling, and doesn’t display the kind of “well thought out” statements you claim to be an expert in.

What is alarming is that half this country is so wedded to the past that they keep installing reactionaries after the slightest attempts to move forward an inch in this country. We will continue to decline as a nation if we take no action to solve problems and improve our nation on the grounds that any action is “totalitarian” or costs someone some money. It is so old hat as to be amazing. If you want progressives to say something “new,” then support them so we can move ahead after 40 years of stagnation and resistance by wealthy cats and wannabees like you.

People really think this is hard to deliver? It’s all politics. How about repealing the patriot act and the recent defense authorization act? We all know what has been happening since 9/11 in this country. There’s no mystery; just too much fear, and too little political will to do the right things.

I dispute even that.

Do you really think that “we” all agree that we need to take money out of politics and end political lobbying?

Because I certainly don’t agree with that. I find the idea that nobody can spend any money at all on political activity to be abhorent. Even more abhorent is the idea that I can’t tell my neighbour to write to the mayor to complain about the pothole down the end of our street. But thatis exactly what would happen if we took the money out of politics and ended political lobbying.

So then Eric the Green will say that he didn’t mean to have that effect. Or that he doesn’t define those things as “money in politics” or “lobbying”. And then we get into a debate over what constitutes “money in politics” and “lobbying” and that stage “we” no longer agree on what we need.

This has always been one of the biggest problem with these freshman screeds. They start from an assumption that the problem is really simple, if only everyone would listen. They ignore completely the idea that maybe people over 20 have given these problems some thought before them, and maybe the current system is the best that can be devised, shitty though it may be. They are based upon a total ignorance of the unpleasant consequences of doing things like outlawing political lobbying and political spending, consequences that those of a us just a little older are well aware of.

Basically, we can’t all agree in what is needed because what is needed is needed invariably infringes upon someone’s freedom, and that someone is part of the “we”.

But I agree entirely that the screed is very heavy on motherhood statements and totally lacking in any sort of implementation even if we do all agree with the goal.

Of course “we” don’t all agree. You guys need to be outvoted.

We don’t have to settle for what has already been done, on the excuse that nothing better can be devised. The stagnation of the last 40 years or so is inexcusable. Just doing things the same old way is a recipe for the decline and fall of our nation, and hurts the whole world. Total freedom is a utopian dream; certain things are required for a civil society. Exaggeration is a bad debating ploy. I never said “end” political lobbying; I said “reform.” There is no mystery about that either.

Right. Sneelock, brave Sneelock will do it just fine - don’t ask how he’ll do it - that’s his job, not mine!

Fair nipick. I think we probably agree though, that it’s really really easy to write a long wishlist of how we would like the world to be that most people would probably mostly agree with, and yet lacks every kind of substance when it comes to delivering those wishes.

How about settling for something that treats capitalism as a tool (by which wealth can be generated) rather than some quasi State religion, by which - bizarrely - a nation purpose is apparently defined?

I little perspective, maybe.

It means that your entire post reads like a typical freshman screed, and I assumed it was posted because you were off on spring break and thus had time to discover this site.

None of it was clear. I have no idea what it means.

Which means that anyone who disagrees with you is either blinkered, callous or not a real citizen.

Classy argument technique. You do understand what poisoning the wellmeans i assume?

Such blatant logical fallacies won’t win you much support around here.

So these best thinkers are going to decide how the country should be run, rather than elected representatives?

Sounds like a good idea.

So the solutions are obvious and well known, but in 6, 000 years of human history nobody has ever implemented them anywhere on Earth.

But you worked them out.

Consider me somewhat skeptical of this claim.

Why $100? why not $101? Why not $99? Who decided that $100 is the magic number? Why would that work better than the current limit? What is your evidence for this limit being effective and producing a favourable outcome?

In short, what is your evidence that $100 is the optimum solution, and not $10 billion? Where is your evidence that it would produce an improvement over the current situation?

What, only broadcasters? Why not print media? Why not internet sites, blogs and twitters? What is your evidence that broadcasters offering free air time would be optimal over no free air time, or free representation in all mass media?

In short, what is your evidence for the claim that this is the optimal solution? Where is your evidence that it would produce an improvement over the currents situation?

What sort of air time? Interviews? One person talking head style addresses? Are they allowed to use Powerpoint presentations during those addresses? How about animated Power Points? Short films? How about 3d short films directed by James Cameron?

What is your limitation here and why did you set that as your limit? Where is your evidence that this is the optimum? Where is your evidence that it would produce an improvement over the currents situation?

So if 10 million people adopt a campaign position WRT the US president tomorrow, they will all have to be given the exact same amount of campaign funds as Barack Obama? How would you fund such a situation?

If that isn’t the case, then how do you decide who gets campaign funding? Do you intend to make it illegal for me to personally campaign on behalf of Obama because I *don’t *have public funding? If not then in what sense are all campaigns publicly funded? And if so then how do I have freedom of speech in any practical sense of the word?

What is your limitation here and why did you set that as your limit? Where is your evidence that this is the optimum? Where is your evidence that it would produce an improvement over the currents situation?

And yet amazingly nobody in 6, 000 years of recorded history has managed to make them work.

Doesn’t that set off any alarm bells at all?

Ummm, financial gambling is just another way of saying taking risks with money, where high risks reap high rewards and vice versa.

OK, so how do you do that? How can the US economy possibly remain fluid and stable when it is impossible for anyone to advance venture capital?

This isn’t a trivial issue. It is the heart of your screed. How exactly can an economy function when it is illegal to so much as buy a share or apply for a business loan?

And who decides who the right thinking people are?

You’ve told us that the limits of freedom and security must be defined by these Right Thinking People. And you’ve just told us that ordinary citizens can’t be allowed to judge who the Right Thinking People are.

So who does decode on who the new rulers are going to be? You and your mates?

You are advocating a system that can only work under authoritarian rule with no democratic representation. Do you really think that would be an improvement over the current system?

Right. So how do you intend to do that? It’s all very well saying that it would be nice if everyone was nice, but what do you propose to do about it?

While your proposal of a system that can only work under authoritarian rule with no democratic representation seems mighty appealing, I don’t think many people are likely to *vote *for it are they?

And who gets to decide when we need to? Let me guess, these unelected Right Thinking People again, right? The people that the citizens are too stupid to put into power, but that your reforms require to be in power? the people who we know are Right Thinking because they agree with you?

Because the people the citizens did put into power have decided when to use the military, and the citizens voted them back into power.

Yes, indeed. Being diplomatic with Hitler was a great saving.

Well apparently it has been a mystery to the heads of the armed forces and the state department for the past 200 years. But what would they know. You have worked it out.

Once again, I have to ask, doesn’t it give you even a moment’s pause when what you believe has not been believed by even *one *the greatest in the field for the past two centuries?

Ahh, Democrats since Carter have been responsible for more foreign military interventions than Republicans. Hence the old saw “Democrats want a small military and want to send them everywhere, Republicans want a large military and want to keep them home”.


You actually believe this? How charming.

So humour me. :wink:

Riiiiiiiiiight. So this answers the question of *how *we shift to alternate energy, or enact laws against pollution in what way?

You haven’t actually addressed the question at all, simply reiterated the statement.

Seriously? :eek:

I am astounded.

Yes, those of us who are non-Right-Thinking people who are blinkered, callous and not a real citizen. And you know that we are non-right thinking people who are blinkered, callous and not a real citizens because we ask inconvenient questions like “How?” and “Why stop there” and “Can we see your your evidence please?”

The bastards!

By which you mean the solutions are obvious, but 51% of the population keep voting against them. But you know so much better than the majority of citizens and the head of the state department and historians. You just need to put the Right Thinking People in charge. The ones that the citizens steadfastly refuse to vote for.

In short, the solutions are simple, if only it weren’t for this bloody democracy

The world today is more peaceful than it has been in the past, but you don’t take that as evidence that the policies of the past 50 years have been effective. So what exactly are you using to divine “more peaceful than today” Do you have an alternative universe you intend to measure this against?


Once again, wouldn’t it be nice if everyone was nice. But what are you proposing we actually do?

I’m well aware that you did not originate them, as i pointed out, they are boilerplate freshman screed. Could have been cribbed from 1965.
Nonetheless while you are expressing them they are your ideas and they will be labelled as such…

Totalitarian has a legitimate and specific meaning.

You have proposed a system wherein the limits of freedom, limitations upon security forces and political involvement are controlled by a group of elite “Right Thinkers” whom the citizens would never elect democratically. It isn’t name calling to point out that such a system is totalitarian.

Yes, indeed. That bloody democracy. If only you could install your right thinkers into power.

Indeed, we should not be afraid to embrace totalitarian political systems, should we.

Yes, indeed.

We should all support your scheme of installing unelectable “Right Thinkers” to arbitrarily decide the limits of freedom and military intervention, both domestically and abroad, with no evidential basis whatsoever. Simply because it is obvious.

Of course we should support such a system in preference to the horrors of “staganation”. :dubious:

Ahh, the eternal cry of the freshman screed “If only people would listen”.

Or as Harry Chapin put it when referring to his freshman years: “If only the world were as wonderful as I am”.


Can anyone parse this in a way that doesn’t mean “We should do what I have devised, even if it makes the situation worse?”

Because that is the only meaning I can get out of this. If we don’t have to settle for what we know because nothing else works better then it seems the only alternative is that we can settle for something new even though we know it must be worse.

At least 51% of the popoulation does not agree with you.


You actually said that you intended to “take money out of politics” and “stop defining political spending as “free speech.”” which rather clearly implies that you intend to make it illegal for people to spend money on political lobbying.

And then you weaseled away and said that people could spend $100 on political lobbying, without giving any reason why you set that as the limit or how you intended to delimit it.

There is a term for these: Motherhood Statements.

That made me laugh.

Who decides when it is a constructive investment for the people? What corporate welfare currently existing is not considered a constructive investment for those that passed it?

What “dealings” do you want to regulate? Should the government decide if an investment is too risky for a firm to take on?

In deciding what to regulate, from whom do you seek advice? For example in regulating the “big financial companies”, would politicians have the expertise needed to write such regulation? If not, wouldn’t they seek advice from professionals in the industry? Who’s interest do you think these professionals have in mind? Your goal of reducing corporate influence in government while simultaneously regulating “dealings” seems a bit silly now, doesn’t it?

If you think education, transportation, and health care operate in a free-market you’ve never heard of public schools, student loans, the interstate highway system, oil subsidies, medicare, medicaid, or insurance mandates. How and when exactly did you discover our civilization?

While I agree with many if not most of the things on your platform, the problem is that most Americans don’t. If the majority of people really wanted all of these things, then there would already be a political party that would use it as their platform. People often make the mistake of thinking that because there is a large faction of people who are fed up with the current two party system, that a third party would be viable. The problem with this is that they always assume that this third party would hold all of their views, when in fact everyone who hates the 2 party system has their own completely different idea of what the third party should look like.

You realize that we have a progressive tax system, right?

Even the oft-vilified capital gains rate is progressive - households making less than ~$60k pay a 0% cap gains rate.

There’s also the problem of using the system to change the system. The people with the power to change the system are the ones who gained that power using the system and thus are disincentivized to change anything lest it result in them losing power. Which is not to say that they are corrupt; just that any solution that requires people to act against their own personal best interest simply won’t work.

I recommend the recent episode of This American Life titled “Take the Money and Run for Office” to you all, assuming it’s still available somewhere online. It was quite an eyeopener on the nature of campaign funding, not least because it showed politicians chasing lobbyists for cash rather than the more commonly assumed lobbyists attempting to buy politicians. Also, it featured a conversation with McCain and Feingold, both of whom were less than thrilled by the outcome of Citizens United.

Which of those items does the current Progressive Movement not espouse?

Yes, yes, but how does that cover the “and keep us safe from terrorists” part?

Haven’t you been paying attention? That’s covered by the ‘we need a movement’ part.

I didn’t know that - thanks.