Culture Rover

#96 - Pipe Dreams Need Wrenches

Catching up on magazines from the spring, I came across "Taming Global Capitalism Anew," a series of essays in the April 17, 2006 issue of The Nation. The articles were chock full of intriguing policy ideas, such as Jeff Faux's call for a North American Bill of Rights. The analyses and the suggestions for solutions were absolutely convincing.

Why, then, after reading them, did I feel so devoid of hope? Part of the reason why is obvious. There are powerful forces either cynically aligned against making the world a more just, equitable place or sincerely convinced that "free-market" solutions are the way to improve the human condition. The commentaries in The Nation seemed like pipe dreams because there are well-funded efforts to make them seem so.

But part of the reason why the essays seemed so pointless despite their many insights also had to do with The Nation's presentation of the essays. This forum was anything but. Everyone essentially agreed on the issues. Do I have to go to The Weekly Standard to dig up rebuttals?

I, for one, would rather see debate within the progressive movement itself. What the forum needed to address was why such reasonable suggestions would fall upon deaf ears, or meet with resistance. On intellectual grounds, what problems do even these supposedly obvious solutions raise?

The Nation could make progressive politics far more relevant by throwing some wrenches into the pipe-dream machinery.

22 June 2006

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