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how can we EVER take on the Right when Democrats can't take simple stands?

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ulTRAX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-05 11:00 AM
Original message
how can we EVER take on the Right when Democrats can't take simple stands?
One of the big strategic myths of the Right is that the government can do nothing right and free markets can do no wrong. This claim has repeated by the Right in one form or another for decades... perhaps longer.

Like the Right's claims about benefits of tax cuts... the best evidence is highly selective and anecdotal. When we scratch the surface, we find this claim to be ideological not scientific. The Right focuses on price competition as its measure of efficiency and ignores the bigger question of what's the most efficient way to make the best product at the best price.

Take the old Beta vs VHS war. Neither video format was superior to the other. Beta had better picture quality, VHS had longer run time. No matter which won in the market, neither would be as good as a theoretical format that contained the BEST IDEAS from both design teams where the companies focuses their energies on widespread market acceptance instead of dividing the market into two incompatible formats. Since no one bothers to calculate the costs of this pointless waste, the Right's claims about market efficiency stand. This situation is repeated over and over from PC operating systems to videogame platforms.

Yes markets can be USEFUL but they can also be terribly inefficient and wasteful. There WILL be times when it is necessary for government to step in to protect the public interest. When the first TV standard was being developed it was seen as CRUCIAL that broadcasters would know they were broadcasting to ALL the TV sets and consumers knew they could get all the stations. The federal government organized the electronic industry to put all its best ideas together to create NTSC. That standard has been with us since 1941 to the present. Color was added in 1953 in a manner that allowed compatibility with older set. Compare that to what Reagan with AM Stereo. He wanted the market to decide on which was the best AM-Stereo system. Broadcasters were reluctant to invest not knowing if consumers could get their signal.... and consumers were reluctant to invest not knowing if they could get all the stations. As a result AM-Stereo never got widespread market acceptance.

Now I'm not saying government can do no wrong. They are largely to blame for how dysfunctional the pharmaceutical sector is. But Unless the Democrats can finally come out and just state the OBVIOUS that often free markets do always NOT produce the best product at the best price, they allow the Right's framework to go unchallenged. This undercuts the Progressive position on any number of issues from free trade to deregulation.
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Ron Green Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-05 11:06 AM
Response to Original message
1. This myth can never be successfully challenged,
because the Free Market has the mystique of some Godly force, as if pure Adam Smith theory is as inerrant as Newtonian mechanics (which, when you think about it, is not perfect either.) And the Government is always tarred with the broad brush of incompetence ("We voted for these bums, and now they do this.")

Most powerfully of all, the Market always gives people what they want, even if it's not good for them, while the Government sometimes gives them what they really need, even though it doesn't satisfy their immediate desire. I don't see any way to change human fear and desire.
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ulTRAX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-05 11:23 AM
Response to Reply #1
6. ALL myths have to be challenged
Are you suggesting that the Democrats be a Party of deception?

How can there ever be any true societal progress if all sides of our limited political spectrum refuse to challenge myths? So what other myths should we not take on?

This issue is not whether these myths are too powerful to challenge but HOW to devise a strategy to do so. After all... look at how corporations have been molding America to suit their purposes all these years.
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Ron Green Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-05 12:01 PM
Response to Reply #6
12. I agree that the myth must be challenged, but it won't be successful
for the reasons I mentioned. People cannot handle too much truth, not when the fear in their gut wants a comforting lie. I mean, the truth is that most people are not very smart, but how many politicians could ever win an election saying that? Instead, they must spout such platitudes as, "The voters, in their wisdom..." and other lies like that.

I agree it is our job as progressives, or liberals, or whatever, to challenge the myths and the propaganda of the right, but in order to win votes we must have some propaganda of our own; it's just got to be less harmful.
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ulTRAX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-05 12:12 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. Your Approach is Disrespectul and Dangerous
Edited on Fri Jul-29-05 12:17 PM by ulTRAX
We must have propaganda of our own? I could not disagree more.

While at this point I may not have much faith in the public.... I can NEVER assume they are intellectually incapable of dealing with the truth.

All that assumption does is justify MANIPULATION the public as opposed to planning a strategy to enlighten them. It further undercuts the hope of a rational public because you soon have a vested interest in maintaining lies and distortions that seem to be working.

Unlike you, I seem to have enough faith in the intrinsic desirability of Progressive ideas to be willing to compete in the market place of ideas. I just would not fight with one hand tied behind my back in a way that undercuts my own position.
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CWebster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-05 12:17 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. Probably meant
Use truth as propaganda-marketing
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Ron Green Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-05 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. "The Marketplace of Ideas"
Here are some truths:
1) We in America, and the West, live an unsustainable lifestyle that will so foul this planet as to make it uninhabitable for humans.

2) People are so fundamentally fearful that they will pursue any harmful course as long as it satisfies their mistaken idea that they are not complete.

3) Suspicion of the Other is more powerful than love for the Other.

How would you sell any of these truths to the public?

The paradox of the human life is that, in order to progress, one must make choices that are immediately unpleasant to gain delayed happiness. In the "Marketplace of Ideas," as in any marketplace, the cheap and shiny will always outsell the dull and durable.

As far as a strategy to enlighten the public goes -- 2400 years ago Plato wrote about the ignorance of the masses, and the need for a class of the "best and wisest" to rule them. Has any strategy for enlightenment changed this situation? The question today is: Who will be the best and wisest, Dennis Kucinich or Dick Cheney?
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ulTRAX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-05 01:21 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. your approach is morally bankrupt
Edited on Fri Jul-29-05 01:31 PM by ulTRAX
Ron wrote: "As far as a strategy to enlighten the public goes -- 2400 years ago Plato wrote about the ignorance of the masses, and the need for a class of the "best and wisest" to rule them. Has any strategy for enlightenment changed this situation? The question today is: Who will be the best and wisest, Dennis Kucinich or Dick Cheney?"

And your simplistic choices are supposed to prove your point that we need a ruling class because the ordinary person is forever intellectually incapable of rational thought? Who says on the continuum of rational thought that Kucinich gets a passing grade? I see him as merely the least objectionable in a Democratic Party I have nothing but disdain for.

Your arguments are amoral. They not based in any principle except that our ruling class is less Neanderthal than the Right's. You're also undercutting your own argument. If we are living an unsustainable lifestyle sustained by entrenched societal myths, then your half measures are only going to take the path of least resistance. How is NOT taking on a dysfunctional economic and policial system... or the myths that got us into this mess going to get to what you claim you want: a sustainable society?

If you believe the common person is incapable of rational thought, then you set up the classic self-fulfilling prophecy.... low expectations creates the expected result. Poof! You're always right!

What we need is a change in core societal values.

I prefer to have some a positive view of the common person but that doesn't mean change will occur overnight. We need to clarify our core values and develop a clear vision of where we want to take this nation in 10-20-50 years. Part of that is a long-term strategy to untangle the web of lies we've created for ourselves.
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Ron Green Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-05 02:06 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. My approach can't be morally bankrupt, because I don't have
an approach. I'm simply observing some historical evidence and truths. But you have an approach, so rock on, and fight the good fight. Really. I wish you well.
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ulTRAX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-05 04:03 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. not to beat a dead horse......
I don't want to beat a dead horse but you say you don't have a plan... but you it sounds as if you do.

To sum up true Progressives should give up any vision of a sane, sustainable society and embrace defeatism. The best they can hope for is the least Neanderthal of the ruling elites to manipulate though propaganda enough people to vote for the least destructive political party.

Sounds like what we've been doing the past 230 years. Surely you can come up with a better approach than the status quo.

Clarify your values and think of where you want the US to be in 50 years. Identify the obstacles.

Once you strategies to get there become self-evident.

Some additional thoughts here:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

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Ron Green Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-05 04:23 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. The horse isn't quite dead --
Here's what I do:
* I live in the most sustainable way I can re transportation, homestead, nutrition, etc.

* I vote for the right people and work at the local level to help those people get elected.

* I have a career that directly affects people in positive ways to build their citizenship rather than their consumerism.

I've read your other posts to which you referred, and I admire your interest and energy. I truly wish you well and will continue to be on the right side of the issues. but I'm afraid we've seen the most positive swing of Jefferson's pendulum that we're going to see. America is an ideal, and the Jungle is reality.
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-05 11:46 AM
Response to Reply #1
10. True.
We all must live in awe and dread of the Invisible Hand.

Horseshit.

It only looks like an invisible hand because it is no nearly irreducibly complex, like worldwide weather systems. We don't really understand them so it must be god at work.

Too many people will always choose a supernatural explanation for something they don't understand, rather than simply say "Gee, I don't understand".

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volitionx Donating Member (86 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-05 11:07 AM
Response to Original message
2. In a similar vein...
it's obvious that the neo-cons WANT you to BELIEVE that they're anti-government. That's just a scam. They're pro-government when it comes to corporate welfare or using the government to extract money from your pocket and give it to the Pentagon or Halliburton, and anti-government when it comes to environmental regulations and the like.

In general, Big Brother LIKES Big Government. If they liked _small_ government, they wouldn't be trying to legislate morality, they wouldn't freak out about Janet Jackson's breast, they wouldn't be trying to steal your Social Security savings, they wouldn't be trying to overturn Roe V. Wade, etc. Hell, the Dept. of Homeland Security is the biggest bureaucracy in U.S. history, and although Bush opposed it from the beginning, he let it get as big as it is.

Like EVERYTHING else in this administration, they say one thing and do another. It's nothing but sleight of hand, 24/7.
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GracieM Donating Member (182 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-05 11:15 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. Every politician in DC is pro government...
What happens under a Democratic president/congress? Spending goes up.

What happens under a Repug president/congress? Spending goes up.

Ever heard of a politician calling for pay cuts for his/her position?
The only time a politician wants to cut spending somewhere is so it can be spent somewhere else.
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tmorelli415 Donating Member (268 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-05 11:14 AM
Response to Original message
3. Yup... they don't mind expanding government
they just don't think it should do anyting of any importance to the lives of the pee-ons.
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Armstead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-05 11:17 AM
Response to Original message
5. Eggs ackley
Edited on Fri Jul-29-05 11:17 AM by Armstead
Democrats shouold be pointing out the fallacy of pseudo-free market corporate conservatism -- instead of echoing it.
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CWebster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-05 11:31 AM
Response to Original message
7. And risk being called commies?
not the stuff of Clinton-era Dems. They don't even have any faith in their own issues. Their idea of new ideas is how better to beat the Republicans at their own game.
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-05 11:33 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. And what a fun game it is.
:eyes:
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ulTRAX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-05 12:03 PM
Response to Reply #7
13. then show examples of how PRIVATE cooperation brings benefits
Edited on Fri Jul-29-05 12:15 PM by ulTRAX
There have been plenty of examples of when private industry cooperation has led to better products. The DV and DVD video standards come to mind.

The problem is that while industry may cooperate for a while... given the rules of the game there's always a temptation for corporations to want to trap consumers in a proprietary monopoly. So when the DV consumer standard was announced, Sony and Panasonic both rushed to create incompatible professional variants.

On some level people don't trust corporations. They intuitively understand the razor and blades game. They know once you buy a vacuum cleaner, PC printer, or water filter.. they have you by the short hairs. I think the public would embrace some commonsense rules that encourage corporations to cooperate in developing standards so they can compete to improve quality and LOWER prices instead of try to trap consumers in proprietary standards. I don't think they'd see it as communistic.

This has to be accompanied with some reminders that corporations exist because they are chartered by the public.
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Totally Committed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-05 11:33 AM
Response to Original message
8. We need to be The OPPOSITION Party!
Repost from yesterday on another thread:

Democrats: What Does it Mean to be an OPPOSITION Party?

Earlier this week, potential 2008 presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Evan Bayh, Mark Warner and Tom Vilsack trooped to Ohio to join in the Democratic Leadership Councils National Conversation. Back in Washington, the DLC joined a shrinking group on the left side of the aisle advocating for the Central American Free Trade Agreement, or CAFTA. As the bill approached its vote in the House, even the New Democrat Coalition of centrist House Democrats came out against it. (My Note: Use of "Democrat", not "Democratic")

The DLC has been doctrinaire on free trade from the organizations inception, so it would have been a shock if it didnt support CAFTA. And the further enhancements of corporate power over nations, states and localities written into the fine print dont seem to bother the DLC much either, though even its advocates admit it wont have much of an effect on the U.S. economy one way or another. But in the end, only 15 House Democrats heeded the DLCs call to hand George W. Bush the first important legislative victory of his second term. Though 27 Republicans voted against it, CAFTA passed by a vote of 217-215.

>snip<

The first step to becoming an effective opposition is comprehending the meaning of your own powerlessness. Powerlessness can be both a constraint and a liberation; as Republicans have found out over the last few years, banging on the doors of power is easy but governing is hard. Too often, the Clinton alumni who populate the DLC seem to have forgotten that they no longer control the executive branch. When you dont have the ability to actually do anything, the only field you can play on is what you are able to say and what people come to believe about you. In that context, your goal isnt to come up with the most effective solutions to knotty problems, its to make clear who you are. The question with a piece of legislation like CAFTA isnt whether the bill is on balance better than it might have been. The question is: What does your support or opposition say about you?

If Democrats took the DLCs advice, the message much of the public would pick up about the party is that once again they are siding weakly with the Republicans corporatist agenda, signing on to another trade agreement that will hasten the decline of American manufacturing. Is that an accurate portrayal of the agreements effects? Perhaps, perhaps not, but that doesnt much matter.

http://www.tompaine.com/articles/20050728/caving_on_caf...

What this article essentially says is that in this time of "powerlessness" against the Republicans, Democrats have a great opportunity to define themselves as the true party of opposition. We could be using this time, and the votes we cast during this time to illustrate to the public who we are as people and as a Party.

Instead, we are voting with the Party in power and acting like the Party in power in the hope of winning elections by being like they are, instead of being exactly who we are.

This isn't just about CAFTA, or about the DLC. It's also about why the DSM, Rove/Plame, The Iraq War, and so many other subjects keep disappearing from the national radar. It's not just a complicit media. It's too few elected Democrats with the guts to cause a real fuss about them.


http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-05 11:54 AM
Response to Original message
11. Well certainly, it is true that a lie repeated enough becomes truth
of sorts,although it is still a lie.

But to answer your statement in reference to your last paragraph....

Unless the Democrats can finally come out and just state the OBVIOUS that often free markets do always NOT produce the best product at the best price, they allow the Right's framework to go unchallenged. This undercuts the Progressive position on any number of issues from free trade to deregulation.


There's little that most Democrats (especially the DLC....who's main point seems to be that they can be "business friendly" just like the GOP)....will do about this until election reform actually takes corporate money out of elections.

Until then, most Democrats will continue to spew the "free markets are good" line. Because, after all, look who's funding their campaigns.... :shrug:

Until corporate money is taken out of elections, Houston....we've got a problem!
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geek tragedy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-05 02:10 PM
Response to Original message
19. Markets in a modern economy NEED government regulation.
Edited on Fri Jul-29-05 02:11 PM by geek tragedy
By that, I mean they wouldn't exist or function without supervision and regulation by the state.

Think about where the big money is: financial markets, real estate, etc. Government regulation in those areas is absolutely vital to their existence. Securities markets are probably the most heavily regulated on the planet.
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AnarchoFreeThinker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-29-05 02:17 PM
Response to Original message
20. The anti-unrestrained market argument is
the Great Depression, provoked, in no small way, by the massive crash of a deregulated stock market. You can ask any Freeper if they want a new World War and a decade or more of colossal, far-reaching government programs to dig us out of the next Great Depression (as the New Deal did), or whether maybe we ought to just watch corporations a little more closely beforehand.
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