Getting “There” From Here: No Joyride

Or: Why I am a Liberal, Part 4

We as Progressives/Liberals have an unspoken, almost unspeakable vision within us. We look around at the current world and want to change it. Some of us would be content with relatively minor changes. Others see the existing world, see what is wrong with it, and want to take the changes needed all the way to their logical end. To create a new and different world based on Progressive principles, to get ‘there.’

We have The Idea, even though we are not really able to articulate it cleanly and clearly right now. The Idea of a world far different from this one.  A world based on equality and justice, on freedom and on the worth and dignity of the individual. A planetary society based on and adhering to real, universally human, moral principles, but without the moral dogmatism and hypocrisy of our current, failed model. A world, to put in the current frame, where the economy (and everything else) is based on benefit of ALL the people, not for the very few. A world where “the greatest good of all concerned” is the driving paradigm. Where people are as, if not more, important than profit. A world where political, economic, and moral decisions are NOT arrived at solely because they benefit those making the decision. A world based on cooperating for the greater good, not competing against every other human for personal or ‘tribal’ advantage.

And above all, by necessity, a world that has ‘solved’ the Climate Crisis, with a healthy atmosphere fit for humans to breath and oceans that are not vast pits of acidic brew incapable of supporting life. A world we can leave to our grandchildren and the next Seven Generations with a clear conscious.  

That sort of thing. Something closer, at least, to a utopia not a dystopia. Creating this better world, or as much of it as we can get, is what is at the heart of Progressivism.

Or to put it strictly in terms of contrast, a world without the ideologies of Republicanism and its outdated worldviews and policies of separation and hate and conquering….everything and everybody. Again in the current context, a world without Class War, where the well being of the privileged Ruling Class is based on ensuring and continuing the suffering of the poor and middle class. A world, if it is possible, without a Ruling Class. An egalitarian world where hard work and intelligence is still rewarded, but not at the expense of the ‘average guy.’ And especially not at the expense of the poor and the weakest members of society, since society, ideally, exists to protect the weak and less fortunate from the strong and powerful.

Civilization and the Rule of Law, not the Rule of the Jungle…..which somehow the privileged and strong always seem to try to create.

As one Progressive put it: “Some people look at the world as it is and say why, I look at the world as it could be and say …why not?


Of course this conflict between “progressivism” and “conservatism” has been going on throughout human history. One could even say that it IS human history. The Enlightenment was a progressive revolution, as was the creation of America, to oppose tyrrany and establish freedom and equality through democracy. The conflict can be described as a battle of freedom vs tyranny, or to take THAT thought to its logical end, light vs. darkness or, hyperbolically, good vs. evil. At the heart of it, conservatism is about “me and mine,” while progressivism is about “us.”

Throughout history this battle has raged, but now things are different. Our hand is being forced by Global Warming. If we do not find a new way of being, a new political way, a new moral way, a new economic way….billions of humans WILL die. Conservatism, Republicanism, has no solution. Unless you consider grabbing what you can and hiding behind a big wall while billions of your fellow humans perish a solution.

This is the battle writ large. Climate Crisis is real, it is not going away, in fact it is, as the current Republican regime and mindset does less than nothing, accelerating. Each new model thus shows the various and very real dangers looming closer and closer on the horizon, even as the minor, initial effects are being felt all over the planet. It cannot be defeated by deregulating or tax cuts for the rich or invading sovereign countries. It cannot be tortured and Diebold can’t cheat it out of existence. Praying to Jerry Falwell’s wrathful God won’t work. And it cannot be ignored out of existence. We have only one choice, change or die.

I choose change. And the only change that has even a chance of succeeding is Progressive change. Creating the world outlined above where the entire world cooperates to make the changes necessary to survive, instead of competing in resource wars for the dwindling deposits of oil and other material necessary to continuing the current paradigm. Instead of slaughtering each other to survive….for a bit longer.

Fate is forcing our hand, fate and reason are dictating a new paradigm, a new way of being. What amounts to an evolutionary leap in human nature. Change, now, or die. Or perhaps survive in what amounts to a post-apocalyptic dystopia in your walled compound.

So…a new Progressive paradigm NEEDS to be established, along with the age old desire for a world based on Progressive principles. Which leads us back to the title. How do we get there from here?

It will not be easy or fun.

But it WILL be easier and funner than the dystopian alternative.

And the “good” news is that it is already happening, in the form of Republicanism being discredited on every front. The Republican foreign policy of aggressive war is discredited, the Republican philosophy of government has been proven over the last eight years to be disastrous, and now the Republicanist economy is failing….Republicanism simply does not work in the modern world. It will work even less well in the world of the near future, the world of Climate Crisis. And as a fish does not see the water it swims in, we do not clearly see how much of our society, indeed our reality is based on Republican principles. It (especially the concept of “MINE!!!”) pervades our society. We are very much used to a world based on Republicanism, based on the  American Exceptionalism contained within its tribal precepts, based on an American Empire which is now beginning to crumble.

The current economic crisis WILL remove America from the center stage of world finance….our ‘credit rating’ is now shot, and people are NOT going to invest in America. Thanks to Republicanism and outsourcing, we no longer actually make anything in America. Our economy was converted by the concepts of Republicanism to a financial economy, almost exclusively. And now that is in the process of failing.

America consumes 35-40% of the entire worlds resources to support (and amuse) 5% of the worlds population. While not making anything. We take, and at this point all we are giving back is war and debt. This is not, to put it lightly, sustainable. Change will happen to adjust this disparity, change IS happening right now.

And if we do not acknowledge and plan for and embrace this, and the many other changes on the horizon….such as restructuring our entire infrastructure, economic philosophy, and political policies and way of life to get off of oil…

we will become victims of the changes, as opposed to world leaders, Progressive world leaders in the similar changes that the entire planet needs to embrace …….to merely survive.

It will be hard and painful and many many people will be hurt by the changes that are demanded of us by the world. Even if we DO plan for it, which, given where we are now, and given where we need to go to get “there,” seems very very unlikely.

Electing Obama is the first step, discrediting and defeating Republicanism is the next, and then…well we need to create an entire planet based on the principle of cooperation over competition.

As I said, no joyride at all. This will be hard. But we have no choice. It is time to grow up and make some hard choices.

I will be VERY happy to see any alternatives you have to offer in the comments!


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  1. Photobucket

    Time for us humans to grow up


  2. Though I have little hope for it, the time and place to start is NOW, with a bailout bill based truly and firmly on Progressive Principles.  

  3. One of the people that I think is leading the way with the kind of thinking you’re talking about is Riane Eisler. In her book, Chalice and the Blade she laid out the historical roots of “dominator” and “partnership” societies. Her latest book is The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics. For those of you who have 7 1/2 minutes, here’s a video of Riane talking about what she means by “caring economics.”

  4. Please, reconsider the wisdom of speaking to a “we” of “Progressives/Liberals”.  “We” are more than that, and your message ought to aim higher – because you are capable of more.

    Of course, I’d have loads more to say, but I’m not ready yet.  But I’d begin by questioning what is dystopia, and what overcomes it.  Before we can fight concepts, we have to understand clearly what we mean by them.

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