Skip to main content

View Diary: * New Day * — Is political activism on the decline? Not if you've heard the long sigh of support. (145 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  I see a lot of youth activism, (24+ / 0-)

    but I teach political science at a prestigious university, so that's the very definition of "skewed sample."

    Both here and in every prior city I've lived (spanning the whole political spectrum), I see the same pattern, and it's not good. There are exceptions to this generalization, of course; but the discrepancy is unmistakable:

    While young liberals and conservatives are both politically active, conservatives are far more attuned to the efficacy of their efforts.

    A lot of young progressives seem satisfied to "perform" activism. If you stand somewhere holding a sign and shouting something and then Instagram it, you're an activist. If I ask you what you're accomplishing, I get a convoluted story that may mention raising awareness (which itself is an important goal, but it's hardly the endgame of an effective movement). Defensiveness is common too -- "hey, at least I'm doing something. What are you doing?" Meanwhile, young conservatives, while occasionally holding signs and shouting, quietly and ruthlessly become cogs in the larger movement -- taking internships, working for think-tanks and other strategic organizations, running for office the minute they reach the eligible age, taking over school boards, taking over state legislatures. And so on. One telling indicator is that, even at overwhelmingly liberal schools, the College Republicans tend to be better organized (this is just anecdotal -- but I have dozens of friends who teach around the country, and they generally share this observation).

    It's certainly a reflection of the individual- and aggregate-level personality differences on each side (top-down, authoritarian, homogenous conservatives vs. diverse, egalitarian, anti-authoritarian progressives). And of course the superior funding on the right makes their tasks easier. But I wish I knew how to bridge the gap a bit.

    You won't believe what this gay dolphin said to a homeless child. First you'll be angry, but then at the 1:34 mark your nose will bleed tears of joy.

    by cardinal on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 08:09:17 AM PST

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site