Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Best Way to Fight the Demagogues? Know, and Say, The World is Getting Better

What makes reactionaries, reactionaries is that they view all change as decline.  It is not surprising that they are doomsayers - that is their slogan and recruiting strategy.

But it is a contradiction when progressive don't believe in progress.  They should be the most devoted to seeing hope in change.

In this moment it is left to centrists to see that, in a thousand important ways, the world is getting better.

As Greg Easterbrook said in a recent well-named piece, "When Did Optimism Become Uncool?", the problem is that "the lack of optimism in contemporary liberal and centrist thinking opens the door to Trump-style demagogy."


Mac said...

When I was the Stated Clerk of the New Wineskins Transitional Presbytery of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, I once had the opportunity to worship with four different congregations over a period of four weeks. It so happened that each of the pastors preached from the same passage of Scripture, and each message was different and yet equally true.

My read of Gregg Easterbrook’s article is one hundred eighty degrees out from yours: I hear Easterbrook saying that the “hate America first” message of the progressives has led (successfully) to what he calls “demagogy.”

So, I am left to ask: In your role as a centrist, what are any of the “thousand important ways, the world is getting better”? Importance is, after all, in the eyes of the beholder. For instance, it could be argued that the dilution and pollution of the American culture may please progressives, but it is probably not a good thing for America. Consider the history of Rome.

(By the way, Easterbrook's brother (along with Richard Posner) is one of my legal heroes. I did not realize they were related.)

CJ said...

The world and our society always have been, currently are, and probably always will be a mixed bag. It's important to appreciate the good and not immerse in cynicism that makes us easy to manipulate by demagogues.