Tuesday, August 21, 2007



There was an "On Point" show on public radio the other day about the future of the Democratic Party. I had already noticed that it was a Farmer-Labor Party when I was a kid, pretty much through the depression and World War 2. But the flow of social evolution stopped around 1950 so that the bureaucratic establishment (corporate, government and academic) closed the door to upward mobility for women and people of color. Now they are closing it off for the lower levels of the bureaucracy because the status marker for the upper levels is the ability to waste resources, and there aren't enough resources to do that any more. The establishment are building walls around their ghettos (Israel and the US in particular) to keep out the "outside proletariat" (in Toynbee's sense) and the alienated "internal proletariat" are getting a sense that they have been left hanging out to dry.

The Republicans and "Centrist" Democrats are just trying to maintain their status under stress, scrabbling for those remaining resources they can waste. The "Liberal" Democrats are trying to adapt "New Deal" policies that are out-of-date to meet current problems. The "Progressive" Democrats sense that something is wrong, but they can't find anything to believe in among the available slogans that fits the current situation.

What the Progressives have to do is jump over the slogans that just serve to reelect politicians. Those slogans are too closely tied to the status quo. They need to believe in something that may sound impossible but feels comfortable. Like "All persons are equal".

In the current situation that isn't true anywhere. All the little political subdivisions have some quality that they use to divide society into strata. Some places it is appearance, or religious sect. In Western Civilization those exist but the primary division is the appearance of wealth.

If the Progressive Democrats take "All persons are equal" as their guiding principle the fact that we don't actually live that way isn't important. The important thing is that all progressives can agree on the goal even if they may differ on the method of achieving that goal.

My contribution is that "Wholly holistic evolution, Mr. Darwin" [http://we.karleklund.net] and "What Now?" [http://whatnow.karleklund.net] argue that the direction of human social evolution is precisely toward a future in which "All persons are equal". There is even a novel, "Utopia" [http://utopia.karleklund.net] in which that is officially (and almost actually) true. None of those books or essays plump for a particular method, so any progressive can create a hypothetical history that allows us to reach an egalitarian Utopia, and that can be different from the hypothetical history of any other progressive; and all progressives can feel a sense of unity because whatever the disagreements on method we all share the same goal: "All persons are equal"

I'll write some more about this from time to time, but this blog, and the books and essays mentioned, are enough to satisfy the needs of Progressives of all political creeds. Anyone who doesn't believe that "All persons are equal" except as the unfortunate description of a stratified society, simply isn't progressive. Anyone who does believe that "All persons are equal" will be willing to hear out, with respect, the argument of any other progressive. Eventually we will figure out just what kind of a global infrastructure will work; because we have the test that any infrastructure that maintains a stratified society is not progressive.

Send any comments to progressive [at] karleklund.net.

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