28 April 2014

What then must we do?

I was listening to libertarian constitutional law scholar Bruce Fein on Ian Masters yesterday and I was struck by a point he made. There definitely IS a deficit in what he refers to as the "kinetic energy of the young" in activism on the left. And I blame the timidity as "acephalous" (again, his word) leadership of the Democratic party... we don't have a clear moral mandate, and the reason is that we continually compromise our moral stance.
Progressives must wrest control of the Democratic party from those who would remain beholden to monied interests that merely want to use the government for their own ends. We must stand for an end to the war-state, the national security state, the surveillance state, the state which subverts the regulatory function to actually ensure control and enrichment of special interests, in favor of a state which is the guardian of the freedom (read "access to power") of the citizenry and ensures that the interests of the people are the only interests of government. Where we Progressives differ from libertarians is that we believe that there is a proper role for government in regulating the wretched excesses of capitalism, and ensuring access to education, health care, keeping jobs in America, robust infrastructure, (let's just refer to FDR's "Second Bill of Rights" as a manifesto)-- and add a survivable environment and world.
These are non-negotiable moral imperatives, and if our political party stood for these things, and not for the interests of the monied elites, we would capture the enthusiasm and activism of young people, as well as older people. Then, in Wordsworth's words (also quoted by Fein), the time will again come when we will say "Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven!"

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