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Posted by mary green on 2010-11-08 05:51:50
2 LONG COMMENTS FIRST: I would suggest that Teague’s reasons for ‘stove-piping’ are the manifest reasons for the rivalries that have evolved in the environmental movement specifically and on the left in general. “Special interest” liberalism and all non-cooperative interests arise out of much deeper sources that plague us all in all areas of our lives. Following his line of thought would take us away from the root causes. And for a good reason, a very good reason: to avoid despair and feeling overwhelmingly impotent. A major root cause is our virtually universal drive to solve our basic problems of feeling secure and adequate by feeling right and/or better than others. I cannot imagine a more entrenched and unyielding problem in human relationships. This leads either to warfare or wrapping ourselves into cocoons that seem protective and reassuring. It is utterly rare—at least for me—to see political analysis that brings this in as a central issue. As a result, we keep following the cycle of tearing down the old to build new structures of cooperation that carry the rivalrous seeds of its own destruction. Yes, this is an ancient problem, and many assume it is human nature. Maybe it isn’t. Or, maybe it is part of our current evolution as a species. If this is a useful assumption, then all our democratic initiatives, projects and strategies should take this as their context. With all due respect and deep understanding, Teague along with all of us on the Left do not do this. I see democracy as the political manifestation of our cultural evolution. Its anti-thesis is the drive for authoritarian control, such as—pardon the oversimplification—‘Corporate America’s’—relentless concentration of more power and wealth in the hands of a few. The synthesis of this dialectic needs to be our long-term goal, and it should frame all of our short-term and medium-term thinking. SECOND: Telling a better story means selling a better story, and this is as it should be in partisan politics. And politics has to have partisanship. And I want the kind of stories Teague, et. al want and are busy developing. And I want the policies these stories will promote to prevail. However, this is all middle-term changes. I am a progressive who is convinced that our democracy requires one thing that transcends partisanship: the ability of many ordinary citizens to become informed, proactive, and compassionate in their voting. That is, voters who can discern partisan stories and then choose well for the public interest. That is our monumental weakness as a democracy. Changing this is the “long-term cultural transformation” we need. Conservatives, moderates, and progressives who value democracy--and we need all of them--need to embed their partisanship into this long,long-term effort.
Posted by joncehart on 2005-06-22 10:59:37
Criminal investigators "follow the money" when things don't make sense. Mr. Teague's article ignores the obvious, that the numerous, diverse groups provide livelihoods for a number of people who don't want to risk losing their jobs in any consolidation. Also, there is the apparently insurmountable problem of people not wanting to appear to be racist by discussing the effects of human population on the environment. Even though human population is the root of most environmental problems.
Posted by Robert James on 2005-06-22 03:09:53
I found this article really worth reading. At least it rises above fragmentation, specialization, classification, division and sub-divisions, political tendencies described in degrees to the left or to the right,national or local issues and all the abundant talk to say nothing of the really important. Let me remind you that no matter where you were born, the importance of your country in world decisions, and the lot of gadgets you may have access to compared to a member of a poor tribe with no electricity, we are all members of the human race, and the use we make of nature will sooner or later influence our possibilities of survival so, while as the author says "many people out there are trying to find answers for a more intelligent way of using the means we have at our disposal" the rest are simply letting themselves be carried by trends, slogans and life without a high purpose. We have to cease being this or that, and try being just a human being with problems common to all. Intuition is far more intelligent than cold intellect, considering the root of things is the only way we can get to grasp their meaning, the rest only brings about more pain, more confusion, more division.
Posted by Mariluz on 2005-06-21 15:58:46