#809 A look in the mirror and the rear view mirror (Progressives)

Today we take look at some progressives from the past a present and what they're up to. Starts to make you wonder if our best days are behind us.

Show Notes

Ch. 1: Opening Theme: A Fond Farewell - From a Basement On the Hill

Ch. 2: Act 1: How Many Americans Call Themselves Liberal? - @theyoungturks - Air Date: 01-13-14

Ch. 3: Song 1: We Shall Overcome - Pete Seeger's Greatest Hits

Ch. 4: Act 2: Give 'em Hell, Barack! - @Thom_Hartmann - Air Date: 01-29-14

Ch. 5: Song 2: A Few Honest Words - Learning to Bend

Ch. 6: Act 3: No Room For Fake Progressives in 2014 - @majorityfm - Air Date: 01-03-14

Ch. 7: Song 3: This Land Is Your Land (Live) - The Essential Pete Seeger

Ch. 8: Act 4: Socialist Councilwoman Accepts Less Than Half of $117K Salary - @davidpakmanshow - Air Date: 02-02-14

Ch. 9: Song 4: A Lot of Work to Do - Shake

Ch. 10: Act 5: President Obama Done Presidenting? - @theyoungturks - Air Date: 02-01-14

Ch. 11: Song 5: Audacity of Hope - Sooner the Better - EP

Ch. 12: Act 6: Obama vs. FDR - @Thom_Hartmann - Air Date: 01-30-14

Ch. 13: Song 6: Where Have All Your Good Words Gone - Beasts Of Seasons

Ch. 14: Act 7: In the Adegbile Affair, at Least, Obama More Honorable than Bill Clinton - Glen Ford of @blkagendareport - Air Date: 3-12-14

Ch. 15: Song 7: Which Side Are You On - Pete Seeger's Greatest Hits

Ch. 16: Act 8: 5 Years of Obama: Some Results - @davidpakmanshow - Air Date: 02-28-14

Ch. 17: Song 8: Little Boxes - Headlines & Footnotes: A Collection of Topical Songs

Ch. 18: Act 9: Bill Hicks - 20 Years Since His Death, Still Speaking The Truth - @LeeCamp - Air Date: 02-26-14

Ch. 19: Song 9: Solidarity Forever - If I Had a Hammer: Songs of Hope & Struggle

Ch. 20: Act 10: Social Change Central To The Inspiring Life Of Music Icon Pete Seeger - @theyoungturks - Air Date: 01-29-14


Ch. 21: Attempting to define a libertarian - Gordon from Chicago

Ch. 22: On labels and respect - Marty from Los Angeles

Voicemail Music: Loud Pipes - Classics

Ch. 23: Final comments on the incompatibility of libertarianism with society

Closing Music: Here We Are - Everyone's in Everyone

Produced by Jay! Tomlinson

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  • commented 2014-03-23 17:49:43 -0400

    I wanted to comment on the final caller and your response to them. First, I cannot pretend to know what the caller had in mind specifically, but I think I can add some things that might make his position comprehensible. Second, it might be useful to keep in mind that there are differences between American Libertarianism (which is a relatively new phenomenon) and Libertarian-Socialists (i.e. Anarchists), which is the position from which my viewpoint is coming from. Thirdly, I am not defending American Libertarianism, which I assume the caller is espousing; I probably agree with most of your critique of such a viewpoint. However, there is substance to a critique of modern political, and social society that ought to be considered.

    The caller mentions the resistance of Libertarian’s to be labeled anything or grouped together into a collective. In Max Stirner’s book, The Ego and Its Own, he argues (among other things) against loosing one self in the collective, or becoming alienated by putting the collective above the individual. We tend to look up, that is, we put ourselves second to the Community, to the State and to God; each of these have their own causes that they willingly sacrifice us to. He would argue to be just as critical with the ‘Left’ that wants to replace God or the State with another ideology like the Humanity. All of this is to say we need to re-center ourselves and overcome the alienation that can be the result of a collective.

    However, this is not to say that we are unwilling or interested in being part of a collective; indeed no one can survive without a collective. The point is to be critical because any collective can be susceptible to things like groupthink, where the uncritical acceptance of the group leads to very unsavory consequences. So, to use an analogy, an insurrection is something one would do to re-center ourselves, a revolution then is a task for a collection of re-centered individuals to take up together.

    The second point the caller made, asserting that the definition of Libertarian is basically the ‘Ability to say, No!’ is actually pretty significant. The positive way to say this is: the ability to voluntarily agree to something without fear of domination, coercion, or punishment etc. We ought to be able to agree to what it is we are part of, rather than, being forced to comply with something. This idea revolves around the question of legitimacy. The ‘philosophical’ anarchist critique of government relies on the inability of states to justify their existence, that is, their inability to ground their claims as a legitimate authority (this discussion far from being modern goes back at least to Plato).

    So to bring this together, your assertion that the best thing to do against (presumably, American) libertarians is to let them speak, might be appropriate, but I would caution you that there is a much older history of Libertarian socialist thought that have provided substantive critique of existing society/institutions that are still timely. Again, maybe this is not what the caller (and by extension, you) had in mind, so this can just be something to keep in mind or to expand the dialogue.

    I also thought you were too quick to dismiss the act of labeling to be a powerful act. The refusal to be labeled something, like human, is absurd as you say, however, that does not mean that the power to label is not a power. Think about this in terms of terrorism or criminality (two related phenomenon). When a group is labeled a terrorist, it is not that they become terrorist because the label, but the label has power to delegitimize the person or group labeled. This is why people fight over whether or not they are prisoners or political prisoners, or terrorists verses freedom fighters. The labels we use, the terms we use (ask our ‘buddy’ Frank Luntz) have the power to affect the way we see things. (Maybe a case could be made regarding the category of ‘human’ given that there are people who are not ‘seen’ or recognized as human, but I don’t think that your caller had that in mind).

    Finally, you say that Libertarianism is fine if it is an ‘opt-in’ sort of thing because it is incompatible with modern society and go on to mention that if they had an island or a reservation to live on, then great. The ‘opt-in’ point is particularly amusing because (I think) it assumes that our current society is an ‘opt-in’ society and then, by extension, this would mean that we could ‘opt-out’, which is not the case. State society is not built on consent and people freely opting to join, but rather is built on force, on conquest. Your use of the word ‘reservation’ in this context is troubling given that the natives of this land have been forced of their lands into reservations; they didn’t ‘opt-out’ of living on their land they were forced off. This is a more troubling point for your view of point given that the history of State Society is one of force rather than, opting in. (To use your sentence: “your view of the world is not compatible with society” because it encroaches upon others. Of course, I, like you, am being a little hyperbolic, but to give it substance look at the fight over Uranium mining on Native Land. The society you are talking about is always encroaching, which makes a critique absolutely necessary).

    Again, to be fair to you, I think you are critiquing American Libertarianism of the likes of Ayn Rand or Ron Paul, which is really just a veil for people who are patently selfish and do not care about the welfare of other people. If this is the case, I agree they do not care about others and seem to overlook those who are much worse off than they and ignore the ills of capitalism ‘free markets’ and the like.