Peter Beinart doesn’t understand why the Tea Party gets to be the populist movement transforming American politics, instead of whatever latest cargo cult on the Left is these days. In the spirit of bipartisanship – with ‘bipartisanship’ being defined as ‘kicking progressives in the teeth for the amusement of the crowd’ – I shall deign to explain things for him, hardline progressives, and everyone else with cognitive disabilities.
Yes, this is going to be one of those kinds of posts. Continue reading Why there is no left-populist movement.
It takes a national union to build a Potemkin Village.
[UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers.]
Ben Smith reports that “the Service Employees International Union plans to use its giant political operation to try to build a grass-roots movement of public protest and organization” – which is pretty much all that you have to read of that article, frankly. This is not a slam on Ben; Politico probably doesn’t look kindly on one-sentence articles, and writers need to eat. If your employer wants multiple paragraphs, you give your employer multiple paragraphs.
Still, the use of the phrase “plans to use” and “try to build” gives the whole game away. The tacit admission here is that the SEIU (and the rest of Big Labor) doesn’t actually have the populist support that the Left routinely [claims] to have; something that was glaringly put on display in the last few months in Wisconsin. While groups like these do have the ability to dump large numbers of its members into various anti-reform demonstrations (and near-riots), the results were neither successful in accomplishing any sort of meaningful change, nor in becoming self-perpetuating. For an example of the failures in the first category, note the Prosser/Kloppenburg election – particularly, the interesting fact that Kloppenburg received both less outside money than Prosser did, but more big-donor outside money in proportion. For an example of the latter, note the drastically-reduced protester footprint in Madison, now that they are no longer being artificially stimulated. Continue reading SEIU’s populist Cargo Cult plans.
It has long been my private contention that the intellectual Left’s stranglehold on academia has been a boon for the science fiction community: if you’re a lyric poet, an economist who takes Hayek seriously, and/or a historian who spits at the sight of any book with ‘People’s History’ in it, and you can write, there’s a place for you somewhere in the speculative fiction field. I mention this not for any real reason except as an intro to the aforementioned Law by Larry Niven:
Psi and/or magical powers, if real, are nearly useless.
More specifically: this One Nation thing will not work for the same reason that the Brownbaggers didn’t work, or the Coffee Party didn’t work, or any of the other cargo-cult projects that the Left have embarked on to ‘counter’ the Tea Parties didn’t work. It will not work because it is a cargo cult project: which is to say, it is an attempt to use the Law of Similarity by creating as many trappings of a populist movement as can be arranged, in the hopes that it will somehow attract actual populists. In short, it is efffectively a magic spell.
And as Niven noted: if magic worked that well, society would be already using it to do things.
PS: Yes, I understand that they have no choice in the matter: if they tried actually building a populist movement, the Left would rapidly run up against the problem that populist sentiment right now is pretty heavily anti-government interference – which is to say, anti-Left. So what? It’s not my fault that there are people out there who are emotionally invested in the big-government fallacy.