Monday, January 1, 2007

The Future Matters:
  Restoring the Lost Progressive Message by
  Advocating for a Warm, Big-Hearted World

It is always hard to face reality when reality is dismal, but as represented on the map below the truth is that in the United States the Progressivism of the 19th and 20th centuries is meaningfully alive as 21st Century Progressivism only in the Progressive Pacific states of the United States.

Given that at any one point in time 250-300 organizations - institutes, foundations, centers, councils, funds, etc. - are actively working every day to advocate Neoliberal ideology in every state, the task of countering their efforts may seem overwhelming.

Note that we did not assert that 21st Century Progressivism is alive and well in Progressive Pacific states. Too much of the time Progressive activity is focused on fighting a rear guard defense to protect established policies. Neoliberal Republicans and Third Way Democrats have made some inroads in those four states. However, it is an evolved dependency on federal policies and funds supporting Progressive programs that forces energy to be wasted on defending policies.

Remember, the core Progressive Pacific Message is that individual freedom is bound to one's personal responsibility to assure equitable communities. The ongoing mission is:
As knowledge and technology evolve in the 21st Century, the day-to-day customs and practices of individuals, their organizations, and their governments should be adjusted to assure the creation and maintenance of equitable communities which permit every person the opportunity to pursue personal productive goals while sharing with all other humans equality in personal dignity and human rights while enjoying freedom with responsibility.

Overcoming the Neoliberal strategy

As noted above, throughout the United States 250-300 Neoliberal organizations are actively working every day to implement the Neoliberal ideology. Most are funded by large donors. Some are part of what the press refers to as "the Koch network." Many are given the benign label "think tank." Some exist only to file lawsuits when Neoliberal policy is threatened.

But most importantly, Neoliberals have never been confused about that. The U.S. Constitution vests political and governmental power related to most significant policy issues in each of the 50 states, separately and jointly.

Even after 2016, most voters still don't understand that Presidential elections are conducted by the states pursuant to rules established by state legislatures, not by the federal government.

Most voters still don't understand that education policy is not within the authority of the U.S. Congress and that federal education policy is mostly implemented through the strings attached to grant funding. State legislatures control education policy.

Most voters are only vaguely aware of issues like gerrymandering which result in a majority of votes being cast for Democratic Congressional candidates but the majority of members of Congress are Republicans.

Neoliberals understand these things much like they understand how unimportant the President really is in the long term scheme of American government. In other words, until your group has control of over 25 state governments, don't give too much thought to federal politics if you want to compete with the Neoliberals.

For Neoliberal organizations, the goal is to find state legislative candidates who will support Neoliberal policy and then get them elected. Related to that goal is, in the time-honored American tradition of gerrymandering, to create district boundaries to assure the election of those candidates. And finally, when a legislator you have backed fails to support key causes the goal is to find another candidate within the your party to run against that legislator.

What is curious is that American Neoliberals use fear of government and fear of the different as campaign hot-button issues. But it is apparent that the litmus test for candidates is only related to economics - the business sector. While most are libertarians who prefer government not regulate personal behavior beyond generally accepted crimes, they will tolerate anti-gay and anti-abortion positions taken by candidates who support their economic ideology because those positions win voting blocks on the right.

That leaves Progressives struggling on a broad range of issues. And so Progressive positions on issues are advocated by numerous single issue organizations - far more than those few hundred Neoliberal organizations listed in the previous post.

Groups advocating for women's rights, gay rights, black lives, health care, civil liberties, immigrant rights, etc., abound. But the long-term success of the Progressive Message cannot be assured across 50 states by single-issue advocates. Where Neoliberal-affiliated legislators and justices control the agenda, every Progressive policy is always in danger.

What is needed is not more separate one-issue-oriented groups. What is needed is more legislators who evaluate pragmatically community problems and legislative ideas in the context of creating equitable communities while maintaining individual freedom in conjunction with personal responsibility. But Progressive candidates must be recruited and need effective campaign support.

Issue-oriented Progressive organizations must come together to create state-by-state legislative movements.  In each state, they must form an alliance. The goal is to gain allies in a peaceful ongoing effort to persuade others to actively encourage changes in individual and group behavior, and in governmental policy, all to achieve for all persons equal justice, equitable opportunity, and dignity.

Keep in mind that the Neoliberals began their efforts in 1947 and could only begin to see victory 40 years later. It s now 70 years after 1947, a new time when short attention spans prevail and communications are limited to 140 letters of the alphabet. Can Progressives find enough candidates and advocates to succeed over the next 40 years? That is the question.

An Alliance does not equal assimilation or multiculturalism

As with other lies, Pacific Progressives studiously avoid the 21st Century "melting pot" propaganda derived from misleading 18th Century American history. The importance of any one distinct group or cause should not be diluted in our milieu.

As noted in Wikipedia the first use in American literature of the concept of immigrants "melting" into the receiving culture are found in the writings of J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur. In his Letters from an American Farmer (1782) he wrote:
    ...Whence came all these people? They are a mixture of English, Scotch, Irish, French, Dutch, Germans, and Swedes....
    What, then, is the American, this new man? He is either an European or the descendant of an European; hence that strange mixture of blood, which you will find in no other country. I could point out to you a family whose grandfather was an Englishman, whose wife was Dutch, whose son married a French woman, and whose present four sons have now four wives of different nations. He is an American, who, leaving behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and the new rank he holds....
    The Americans were once scattered all over Europe; here they are incorporated into one of the finest systems of population which has ever appeared.
Though Crevecoeur was opposed to slavery and had a crush on the indigenous Native American lifestyle, his "melting" involved only certain ethnic Europeans, not indigenous persons nor those of African descent.

His "finest systems of population" was that described by George Washington in his Farewell Address:
    With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles.
That great American Melting Pot idea began with WASP's - White Anglo-Saxon Protestants - proposing to generously accept white Protestants who spoke Northern European languages other than English. "Catholics need not apply" was a sign on the door from the beginning which barred Italians and Irish from jobs and Jews were out of the question. Blacks, indigenous Native Americans, and Asians - well, that was impossible.

In other words, America's "full assimilation" fantasy was always well beyond an achievable goal partly because one cannot "melt" together the religions of Buddhists and Anglicans. The problem was not that "outsiders" did not want "to belong" but rather those who "belonged" at birth wanted a level of conformity that precluded significant racial, ethnic, religious and cultural differences.

Just as the use of "alliance" does not imply "assimilation", it also does not embrace identity politics when the vision includes a rejection of others.

Rather, a cultural pluralism in which the various cultural groups collaborate and dialog with one another without having to sacrifice or assert their particular identities is necessary for a Progressive victory. The core values of individual freedom, personal responsibility, and equitable communities is the Progressive message.

History Matters: To win it's State Party Politics, not Celebrity

Winning in the American political environment will mean that Progressives not only need to wrest control of state legislative seats from Neoliberals, but wrest control of
  • the political party of Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt within each state from the Neoliberals and
  • the political party of Franklin Roosevelt and Jimmy Carter within each state from the both Third Way advocates and the pseudo-socialists.
The only alternative is to form and fund a new political party recognized under 50 different election laws within each of the 50 states.

Notice that the Republican and Democratic national parties are not discussed. The reason is simple. Even if you control party organizations the majority of the states, as the Neoliberals learned in 2016 the national parties are vulnerable to 21st Century national billionaire celebrity popularity contests.

Most certainly this is true for the Presidency. Donald Trump was never the Neoliberal candidate. Oprah Winfrey can never be the Progressive candidate. Frequently you hear news media and others using the term "rule" refer to someone in a presidential role in whatever country. Pre-20th Century royalty and 20th Century dictators "ruled." In the United States the President is to offer leadership and to function as chief administrator of the federal bureaucracy. Any other idea is to invite chaos and tyranny. That is why Friedrich Hayek and fellow exile from Austria Ludwig von Mises, living in fear in 1938 Europe, came up with the basics of Neoliberalism.

Congress was the branch of government that was to "govern" through a clumsy legislative process restrained by the Presidential veto and Supreme Court rulings based on the limits deliberately placed in Constitution. And even then, only the members of the House of Representatives were to be elected by popular vote - our Founding Fathers wisely feared populism for the same reasons expressed in 2016 by Mont Pelerin Society President, Economist Pedro Schwartz, when looking "celebrity politics" in the face and seeing Donald Trump.

In the case of the U.S. Senate, before the adoption of the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913, Senators were appointed by the individual state legislatures. After 1914 Senators had to win the popular vote within their respective states. It is becoming clear that candidates in the future are more and more likely to become "billionaire-celebrity-adjacent," the persons who more easily will receive funding from the national party as "matching monies."

This situation with the Presidency and the Senate is because of a 21st Century populism, an environment that permits demagogues 24-hour-per-day direct contact with "the people" through the internet to use all their tools. Let's clarify these terms and as you read about demagogues keep in mind the styles of pseudo-Fascist Donald Trump and pseudo-Socialist Bernie Sanders (our comments are italicized between braces {}:
    Populism is a political approach that seeks to disrupt the existing social order by solidifying and mobilizing the animosity of the "commoner" or "the people" against "privileged elites" and the "establishment". {Think both Trump and Sanders.} Populists can fall anywhere on the traditional left–right political spectrum of politics and often portray both bourgeois capitalists and socialist organizers as unfairly dominating the political sphere.
    Political parties and politicians often use the terms "populist" and "populism" as pejoratives against their opponents. Such a view sees populism as demagogy, merely appearing to empathize with the public through rhetoric or unrealistic proposals in order to increase appeal across the political spectrum.
    Scholars have argued that populist elements have sometimes appeared in authoritarian movements. Conspiracist scapegoating employed by various populist movements can create "a seedbed for fascism".

    A demagogue or rabble-rouser is a leader in a democracy who gains popularity by exploiting prejudice and ignorance among the common people, whipping up the passions of the crowd and shutting down reasoned deliberation. Demagogues overturn established customs of political conduct, or promise or threaten to do so.
{Think both Trump and Sanders.}
    Demagogues have appeared in democracies since ancient Athens. They exploit a fundamental weakness in democracy: because ultimate power is held by the people, it is possible for the people to give that power to someone who appeals to the lowest common denominator of a large segment of the population. Demagogues have usually advocated immediate, forceful action to address a national crisis while accusing moderate and thoughtful opponents of weakness or disloyalty.
{Think both Trump and Sanders.}
    Many demagogues have demonstrated remarkable skill at moving audiences to great emotional depths and heights during a speech. Sometimes this is due to exceptional verbal eloquence, sometimes personal charisma, sometimes both. Hitler demonstrated both. ... Normally reasonable people became caught up in the peculiar rapport that Hitler established with his audience, believing even the most obvious lies and nonsense while under his spell.
{Think Trump.} Hitler was not born with these vocal and oratorical skills; he acquired them through long and deliberate practice. {Think Trump.}
    A more ordinary silver-tongued demagogue was .... James Kimble Vardaman (Governor of Mississippi 1904–1908, Senator 1913–1919), admired even by his opponents for his oratorical gifts and colorful language. An example, responding to Theodore Roosevelt's having invited black people to a reception at the White House: "Let Teddy take coons to the White House. I should not care if the walls of the ancient edifice should become so saturated with the effluvia from the rancid carcasses that a Chinch bug would have to crawl upon the dome to avoid asphyxiation." Vardaman's speeches tended to have little content; he spoke in a ceremonial style even in deliberative settings. His speeches served mostly as a vehicle for his personal magnetism, charming voice, and graceful delivery.
    The demagogues' charisma and emotional oratory many times enabled them to win elections despite opposition from the press. The news media informs, and often the information is damaging to demagogues. Demagogic oratory distracts, entertains, and enthralls, steering followers' attention away from the demagogue's usual history of lies, abuses of power, and broken promises. The advent of radio enabled many 20th-century demagogues' skill with the spoken word to drown out the written word of newspapers. {This does not even address the impact of the internet in the 21st Century.}
    Another fundamental demagogic technique is making promises only for their emotional effect on audiences, without regard for how they might be accomplished or without intending to honor them once in office.
{Think both Trump and Sanders.} Demagogues express these empty promises simply and theatrically but remain extremely hazy about how they will achieve them because usually they are impossible. {Think Sanders and Trump.} For example, Huey Long promised that if he were elected president, every family would have a home, an automobile, a radio, and $2,000 yearly. He was vague about how he would make that happen, but people still joined his Share-the-Wealth clubs. Another kind of empty demagogic promise is to make everyone wealthy or "solve all the problems". The Polish demagogue Stanisław Tymiński, running as an unknown "maverick" on the basis of his prior success as a businessman in Canada, promised "immediate prosperity"—exploiting the economic difficulties of laborers, especially miners and steelworkers. Tymiński forced a runoff in the 1990 presidential election, nearly defeating Lech Wałęsa.
    Demagogues have often encouraged their supporters to violently intimidate opponents, both to solidify loyalty among their supporters and to discourage or physically prevent people from speaking out or voting against them.
{Think Trump.} "Pitchfork Ben" Tillman was repeatedly re-elected to the U.S. Senate largely through violence and intimidation. He spoke in support of lynch mobs, and he disenfranchised most black voters with the South Carolina constitution of 1895. Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf that physical intimidation was an effective way to move the masses. Hitler intentionally provoked hecklers at his rallies so that his supporters would become enraged by their remarks and assault them.
    Many demagogues have found that ridiculing or insulting opponents is a simple way to shut down reasoned deliberation of competing ideas, especially with an unsophisticated audience. "Pitchfork Ben" Tillman, for example, was a master of the personal insult. He got his nickname from a speech in which he called President Grover Cleveland "an old bag of beef" and resolved to bring a pitchfork to Washington to "poke him in his old fat ribs." James Kimble Vardaman consistently referred to President Theodore Roosevelt as a "coon-flavored miscegenationist" and once posted an ad in a newspaper for "sixteen big, fat, mellow, rancid coons" to sleep with Roosevelt during a trip to Mississippi.
    A common demagogic technique is to pin an insulting epithet on an opponent, by saying it repeatedly, in speech after speech, when saying the opponent's name or in place of it.
{Think Trump.}  For example, James Curley referred to Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., his Republican opponent for Senator, as "Little Boy Blue". William Hale Thompson called Anton Cermak, his opponent for mayor of Chicago, "Tony Baloney". Huey Long called Joseph E. Ransdell, his elderly opponent for Senator, "Old Feather Duster". Joe McCarthy liked to call Secretary of State Dean Acheson "The Red Dean of Fashion". The use of epithets and other humorous invective diverts followers' attention from soberly considering how to address the important public issues of the time, scoring easy laughs instead.
    Since information from the press can undermine a demagogue's spell over his or her followers, modern demagogues have often attacked it intemperately, calling for violence against newspapers who opposed them, claiming that the press was secretly in the service of moneyed interests or foreign powers, or claiming that leading newspapers were simply personally out to get them.
{Think Trump.} Huey Long accused the New Orleans Times–Picayune and Item of being "bought", and had his bodyguards rough up their reporters. Oklahoma governor "Alfalfa Bill" Murray (1869–1956) once called for a bomb to be dropped on the offices of the Daily Oklahoman. Joe McCarthy accused The Christian Science Monitor, the New York Post, The New York Times, the New York Herald Tribune, The Washington Post, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and countless other leading American newspapers of being "Communist smear sheets" under the control of the Kremlin.
As noted in an earlier post, Mont Pelerin Society President Pedro Schwartz at the September 2016 General Meeting in Miami, Florida, in his Presidential Address stated the Neoliberal view of populism:
    We must always be ready to Battle for Freedom and to open new ways for the progress of our societies. We are still very much needed.
    The latest danger for freedom is the spread of populism in our democracies, be it of the democratic kind or of those who use our liberties to try to destroy our freedom. We pilgrims of liberty have much to contribute to the fight against this new plague, because much of it originates in the realm of ideas.
Progressives face the same battle against populism. But it is more complicated in the 21st Century at least partly because of the successes of technology companies located in the Pacific States of California and Washington.

A Goal: Learn to use 21st Century technology to win

Over the next decades, it will be necessary for Progressives using 21st Century technology to create broad public support for our Message and for political candidates who support that Message. It will not be easy to explain to the American public the importance of the message that the brother of Republican Senator Orin G. Hatch and the other 420,000 U.S. troops who died for in battle in WWII...

...for it is easy for new demagogues using 21st Century oratorical skills adapted to platforms like Twitter to demean those who would assure the creation and maintenance of equitable communities which permit every person the opportunity to pursue personal productive goals while sharing with all other humans equality in personal dignity and human rights while enjoying freedom with responsibility.

And unlike American Neoliberals, since that Pacific Progressive Message is not limited to economic theory we will have to achieve our goals without catering to candidates who would support bigotry and promise policies for which there likely would never be available monies.

That is the challenge facing 21st Century Progressives.

Table of Contents
  1. Welcome to the Pacific Progressive Message
    1. Our Core Message
    2. The 70-Year Systematic Destruction of American Progressivism
    3. The Task Facing Progressives
    4. Statement of Obligations and Rights of People and their States
  2. History Matters: The 2016 Bi-Partisan Attack on the Pacific States People, Beliefs, Economy, Defense
    1. Why is it a "Pacific" Message???
  3. History Matters: The Significance of the Spanish Pacific in North American Historical Geography
    1. New Spain (1521-1849): The Real History of American States
    2. How the Spanish Created the 21st Century Pacific States Worldview
  4. History Matters: Conquering the Transcontinental Divide by Amplifying the Racial and Cultural Divide
  5. History Matters: Defending the Endangered Basic Human Rights of the People of the Pacific States
    1. It's not Roger Williams' American Dream
    2. About that Star Spangled Banner National Anthem
  6. Economics Matter, Stupid! Combating the Bi-Partisan Assault on the Enduring Economics of the Pacific States
  7. Wealthy Neoliberals Matter: How an Economic Ideology Took Control of U.S. State and National Legislative Agendas
    1. History Matters: Neoliberalism comes to America
    2. History Matters: The Loss of the Progressive Message in America
    3. History Matters: After Reagan, Neoliberals continue to win
    4. Organization and Drudgery Matter: The Neoliberal Advocacy Network
  8. The Future Matters: Restoring the Lost Progressive Message by Advocating for a Warm, Big-Hearted World
    1. Overcoming the Neoliberal strategy
    2. An Alliance does not equal assimilation or multiculturalism
    3. History Matters: To win it's State Party Politics, not Celebrity
    4. A Goal: Learn to use 21st Century technology to win