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Sun Apr 8, 2012, 02:00 PM

Cultural Liberalism Is Not Enough - Eric Alterman/NYT

Cultural Liberalism Is Not Enough
By ERIC ALTERMAN - NYT
April 7, 2012, 4:33 PM

<snip>

As White House aides and Congressional leaders flood the media with dueling leaks about just how far President Obama was willing to go last summer to meet the budget-cutting demands of House Speaker John A. Boehner, many liberals have reacted with shock and horror at how much of their historic achievement the president appears to have been ready to bargain away. If a Democratic president could consider cutting America’s shredded safety net further when unemployment remained stiffly high and the country was undergoing an explosion of inequality, was the “liberal moment” of American politics finally over?

Yet Maryland recently became the eighth state to join the same-sex marriage club (which includes the District of Columbia). Rush Limbaugh was force-fed a triple helping of crow for his failed attempt at “slut shaming,” after opening up the gender gap again. Women, young people, college graduates and mixed-race Americans, surveys indicate, are spurning conservative arguments about contraception, same-sex marriage and sexual freedom.

In other words, economic liberalism is on life-support, while cultural liberalism thrives. The obvious question is why. The simple answer is that cultural liberalism comes cheap. Supporting same-sex marriage or a woman’s right to choose does not cost the wealthy anything or restrict their ability to become wealthier. But there is more to it than that.

The United States has undoubtedly become a fairer, more open and less oppressive society thanks largely to the political and cultural struggles waged by liberals during the past half century. The progress in securing basic human and civil rights for women, African-Americans, gay men and lesbians, immigrants and their children, Americans with disabilities and so many others is a testament to liberal courage in the face of adversity and oppression. This was the work of “those who marched and those who sang, those who sat in and those who stood firm, those who organized and those who mobilized,” as Barack Obama recalled on the occasion of the unveiling of the memorial statue of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the National Mall in October.

Liberal optimism regarding race and progress had been buoyed by the belief that, with the right experts running the government, an expanding economic pie could be guaranteed indefinitely, which would in turn purchase peace between feuding factions. But liberals had no ready response when the global economy chose not to cooperate, first with the rise in oil prices following the 1973 Arab-Israeli war and then with the exodus of exactly the kinds of manufacturing jobs that had provided the engine driving the expansion of the middle class in the first place.

The failure of liberals to plan for the failure of their plans — what Saul Bellow once called the “Good Intentions Paving Company” — resulted in a bitter, resentful scramble for the remaining scraps...

<snip>

Much More: http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/07/cultural-liberalism-is-not-enough/?ref=opinion





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Response to WillyT (Original post)

Sun Apr 8, 2012, 02:03 PM

1. I have seen gay issues make pretty great strides lately, however...

the rights of workers have never been worse, the rights of ordinary people, of the working poor, of the old, of the ill, of the disabled, etc. have moved into the prehistoric ages, and I wondered why.

Then I read this article.

This explains it all:

In other words, economic liberalism is on life-support, while cultural liberalism thrives. The obvious question is why. The simple answer is that cultural liberalism comes cheap. Supporting same-sex marriage or a woman’s right to choose does not cost the wealthy anything or restrict their ability to become wealthier.

Once again, the rich have f'd up our country.

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Response to Sarah Ibarruri (Reply #1)

Sun Apr 8, 2012, 03:24 PM

10. I do not agree that equality is not an economic issue. If we were equal, millions of us would

get access to Social Security from partners which is now denied to us, health care from employers which is now denied to us, and we'd get equal treatment at tax time, which we surely do not now. Equality will in fact cost companies and the US money, and right now they profit from our inequality. Sorry. It is in fact mostly a money thing on their side, although they say it is 'Sanctity' it is money.

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #10)

Sun Apr 8, 2012, 06:59 PM

12. We're not discussing having arrived at perfect equality, but mere progress. In terms of economics..

we have gone backwards. Workers are worse off than ever now. Gay rights have advanced. Sure, they haven't reached the summit of equality, but they haven't regressed the way workers' rights and people's economic standing have.

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #10)

Sun Apr 8, 2012, 07:28 PM

14. it does not cost them as much

as treating dividends and capital gains like wage income would.

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Response to WillyT (Original post)

Sun Apr 8, 2012, 02:05 PM

2. Good piece

While signaling his support for much if not all of liberalism’s cultural agenda, President Obama has occasionally tossed economic liberals a rhetorical bone — but he has also worried too much about deficit reduction. In this regard, Obama embodies the unsolved liberal conundrum. Were the president to embrace a genuinely populist economic agenda and mean it this time — just as Franklin D. Roosevelt did in his second term — he might go a long way toward solving the problem that has dogged liberalism now for nearly half a century.

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Response to ProSense (Reply #2)

Sun Apr 8, 2012, 02:38 PM

4. obama is not a liberal he is a right of center conservadem nt

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Response to msongs (Reply #4)

Sun Apr 8, 2012, 02:43 PM

5. Obama is the most liberal President ever. He belongs on Mt. Rushmore. n/t



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Response to ProSense (Reply #5)

Sun Apr 8, 2012, 03:04 PM

7. Are we having a competition here?

To see who can make the most ridiculous claim?

My entry:

My left bunny is eating a tire and the salad is being nasally fitted for work in outer space.

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Response to ElboRuum (Reply #7)

Sun Apr 8, 2012, 03:21 PM

9. Yes,

that was my entry.

I like yours too.

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Response to ProSense (Reply #5)

Sun Apr 8, 2012, 04:45 PM

11. It wouldn't be Obama I'd put on Mt Rushmore. If you are talking a true liberal president

 

then I would suggest President Johnson.

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Response to WillyT (Original post)

Sun Apr 8, 2012, 02:09 PM

3. cultural liberalism\economic conservatism should be called by its true name: libertarianism.

 

the culmination of the "fuck you, I've got mine" attitude in America.

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Response to WillyT (Original post)

Sun Apr 8, 2012, 02:45 PM

6. That is why I hate Americans united

When you go to Huffpo, and see many of these "Socially liberal/fiscal conservative" types like Lynn Evelyn de Rothschild on, you know that the only thing they hate the GOP for is that they stepped on their toes. Seriously, if it was not for the Anti-Gay stance of the GOP, would Arianna H. have ever bothered to quit being the rather vocal, nasty and vicious conservative she started off as, or would Andrew Sullivan?

Now, this is NOT, repeat, NOT to be anti LGBT. There are many LGBT liberals that frankly are the conscience of the movement, as they realize what it is like to be the "other." Unlike the Ariannas and Andrews, they realize that being rich does not really make you an honorary white man, no matter how much the GOP tells you it does. It does point out that there are some who claim to be liberal, but frankly, do not give a damn about anyone else but themselves. AS hateful as it sounds, the left is going to have to do either one of two things: have a purity test to see who is honestly committed to helping all people, or figuring out how to deprogam new people, as there are many who are simply rats trying to avoid the sinking GOP ship.

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Response to DonCoquixote (Reply #6)

Sun Apr 8, 2012, 03:20 PM

8. When did Arianna come out? And Sully is GOP. He's a supporter of the President, ,not

a Democrat, and he is the vocal, nasty and vicious conservative he always was much, much of the time.
None of what you are saying makes sense....

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #8)

Sun Apr 8, 2012, 07:10 PM

13. arianna did not say she was Gay

But that her husband was, and led the "log Cabin Republicans", the Gay GOP branch named so because Lincoln was supposedly gay.

The point is that there are people who attach themselves to the liberal cause, but who frankly have no intention of letting liberals make decisions.

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #8)

Sun Apr 8, 2012, 07:38 PM

15. She didn't, but she had a very lucrative beardship going

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