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The main weakness of the mind of a Liberal is its inability to deal effectively with inconsistencies, absurdities, chaos, irrationality, and evil (immorality), and to understand that in an immoral world, the adage that applies the most is that "might makes right."

The contemporary Liberal also has an aversion to the concept of not only having real power, but to use it effectively.

Scenario: I request a hearing with the United States Attorney General, which is attended by other corporate scumbag-looking officials who more than likely were recently working for law firms or lobbying organizations for the financial industry.

As a citizen, I tell the AG that I'm extremely concerned about the fact that the Administration is refusing to criminally prosecute top Wall Street executives who by all accounts seem likely to have committed massive fraud.  And I tell the AG that I'm terribly disappointed that he actually confirmed that we do have a two-tiered justice system by saying he can't criminally prosecute these Wall Street scumbags because by doing so, a global financial meltdown may ensue.

And so as the AG proceeds with some bullshit corporate speak justifying their decision not to prosecute these alleged criminals, I interrupt him politely and tell him that right now there is a posse of 50,000 men on Wall Street willing to move forward with citizens' arrest of a list of top Wall Street executives that has been vetted by an army of lawyers for the last six months, and that we feel pretty confident that those on the list should at least face criminal indictment.

He laughs, nervously, and makes some calls, and confirms that there are indeed 50,000 men.  When he starts making noises about sending the NYPD to disperse the posse, I calmly take my cell phone from my pocket and make a couple of phone calls; then I hang up and calmly tell the AG this..."Okay, so here's what's going to happen; if this office refuses to file criminal indictments against these alleged criminals within 24 hours, we're going to shut down the whole goddamned country with a general strike starting in exactly 24 hours.  In addition, as of right now, 500,000 people are going to start withdrawing their money from these criminal banks, and the same amount of people are going to continue doing so every 12 hours until there is run on the banks."

That scenario is a caricature, of course, a wet dream of a revolutionary wannabe, but I posit it to illustrate the concept of leverage, of power.

The typical liberal mindset revolves around the notion that when there is wrongdoing, injustice, corruption, or conflict, that it can all be handled through a series of logical or rational steps.  If the corruption is endemic, then the liberal beliefs that by exposing it through reasonable arguments, that people would then take some action, like voting the corrupt politicians out of office.

No matter the issue, the liberal is always operating in the "rational" and "logical" realm, thinking that through an appeal to reason and sense of justice, things can be worked out.

I've argued this point before, but I've come to believe that because the liberal mindset relies heavily on logic, reason and empiricism, it tends to under-develop its capacity to understand raw, unadulterated displays of in-your-face power.  In other words, and as I've argued before, the liberal mindset lacks the ability to understand malice.

Also, because the liberal mindset tends to be of higher intellect, it builds a very dangerous blind-spot by believing that the way you communicate with and influence average citizens is by putting forward reasoned arguments and propositions.

In reality, humans, being members of the animal kingdom, act based on both, consciousness, logic, and reason, as well as subconscious and irrational instincts, much of which can be manipulated through external stimuli.

For some reason which I'm still trying to understand, the fascist right wing mindset has always known this about the way to influence the "crowd."

Many on the Left are sometimes dismayed at how the Republicans and the right wing in general often present their arguments in a very narrow and repetitive format, basically repeating three or four main notions as answers to any question.

They do it because it works.  Here's the advise by one of the most vile characters in world history:

  • Appeal to the masses: "[Propaganda] must be addressed always and exclusively to the masses", rather than the "scientifically trained intelligentsia."
  • Target the emotions: "[Propaganda] must be aimed at the emotions and only to a very limited degree at the so-called intellect."
  • Keep your message simple: "It is a mistake to make propaganda many-sided…The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous."
  • Make no half statements: "…emphasize the one right which it has set out to argue for. Its task is not to make an objective study of the truth, in so far as it favors the enemy, and then set it before the masses with academic fairness; its task is to serve our own right, always and unflinchingly."
  • Repeat your message constantly: "[Propagandist technique] must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over. Here, as so often in this world, persistence is the first and most important requirement for success.
And herein lies one of the most cruel contradictions in human society.  Those who are evil and immoral have mastered the art of influencing the crowd, while those of higher morality and intellect have not.

For is not enough to be right, to have science, and empiricism, and logic, and reason, and empathy, and morality, on your side, if you don't understand that influencing the crowd is more about the mechanics of it than about carefully putting forward a reasoned and logical proposition.

Finally, and getting back to where I began, with the concept of "power," of "leverage," my impression of the liberal mindset is that it tends to reject the acquisition of raw power, and even when it somehow lands on the proverbial lap of the average liberal, he or she does not know what to do with it.

By contrast, the right wing mindset totally embraces the concept of raw power, so much so, that even from a seemingly weakened position, right wing ideologues push their agenda forward marching in lock-step, using whatever power they have to the maximum possible.

My main point?  It's not enough to be right, to be moral, to have a higher intellect, to have a sense of empathy (necessary for a decent society), to believe in science, and empiricism, and be logical and reasonable.

The rule of law, decency, justice and equality under the law for all, have to be defended with tooth and nail, fearlessly, relentlessly, understanding that we are dealing with a mighty, mighty struggle against those who are always willing, ready and many times able to impose tyranny.

Each blue dot on the map below represents a member of a growing nation-wide network of social justice and anti-corruption activists committed to finding the best way forward.  Join us in the effort!


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ray Pensador | Email List | Twitter | Facebook

Originally posted to Ray Pensador on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 09:02 PM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I dunno. I don't think you can generalize about (9+ / 0-)

    liberals in this way--that they are pure rationalists. In fact, I would think that because they have a more complex worldview than conservatives, liberal thinking is more fluid. Also, think of the work of Lakoff and Weston and others ...

    still, I appreciate your efforts here and hope it generates good discussion.

    There are moments when the body is as numinous as words, days that are the good flesh continuing. -- Robert Hass

    by srkp23 on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 09:23:20 PM PDT

    •  The problem I see is that there is an innate (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      6ZONite, Odysseus, Smoh, aliasalias

      dislike of concepts related to high degree of organization and strategic thinking, as well as the acquisition and use application of power by the average Liberal, while there is not such doubt on the right.

      I'm trying to figure out how you win like that...

      •  Have BO lullaby them to sleep for nearly a decade (0+ / 0-)

        and then Hillary rides in on her 2016 broom and kicks their asses while they are napping? 3d check mate!

      •  You're right about the disorganization, a (7+ / 0-)

        propensity to accept if not prefer a wide divergence in behaviors over coordinated effort, with GOTV being an interesting and useful exception to the rule.

        But the brain science behind the thing is that liberals are actually much more capable of entertaining ambiguity than the conservative mind is. They even have the brain region nailed down, noting that, in conservative brains, it is smaller, but I'm forgetting the name at the moment. I think the acronym is ANC, with the A being anterior and the C being cingulate, but then again it may just be something in S. Africa. :)

        So, it's not that the liberal is rigidly attached to the rational that makes it weak for the task of recognizing that rationality is not enough, but perhaps the over-flexibility of mind that limits it from seeing things in black in white that conservatives find so useful for galvanizing them in a unity in thought and action. Couple that where their sensitivity to disgust and fear, also grounded in brain science, and you've got a potent spear tip indeed.

        If you've experienced the Unitarian Universalist Society, you know that in their purist form, collectively liberals are a herd of cats... a mile wide and an inch deep. They don't do pyramids. Not naturally.

        And if you tend to be goal-oriented, it can be frustrating. Especially if the goal is important.

        This attribute was both the beauty and strength of Occupy -- because its ambiguity of both intent and purpose prevented it from being quickly defined and then marginalized  -- and then ultimately its weakness, because it lacked the ability for complex organization.

        So the question is: how do we embrace the intellectual diversity of our clans in such a way as to maximize its impact on governance?

        Your assessment of and interest in propaganda are spot on. I'm just convinced how to apply them, other than to subversively plaster the country with stickers with Guy Fawkes, the 99%, and the rich guy from monopoply in a red circle with a slash across him.

        But I'm listening.

        Mindfulness is the first necessity of sanity and survival and the first casualty of Consumer Culture.

        by Words In Action on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 06:59:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Plaster the country with stickers of Guy Fawkes." (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          marina, Words In Action, Smoh, aliasalias

          Now you're getting me.  If you study every successful social justice movement, including the late 1800's, early 1900's progressive movement, there has always been a "propaganda" (or public education) element to the successes.

          Also, the progressive movement did not achieve major successes until disparate factions united, big time, in the early 1900's.

          My argument is that it is utterly impossible to defeat an enemy that's highly focused, organized, and strategic, if your faction totally disorganized.

          That's what I'm trying to drive home with my writing.

      •  Well said. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ray Pensador, DelilahOhMy

        I think very highly of your series on this subject and I do think your assessments are rather accurate, though not entirely so.   I agree with WORDS IN ACTION's comment below.

        The thought I would add is the following:

        Liberals do respond to the "visceral emotional" stimuli just as much as do the conservatives, the difference however being that the type of "visceral emotional stimuli which the conservatives respond to tends to be far more of the base emotions variety. Namely, the conservatives in general are responding to "fear" and "survival" emotions, which tend to overshadow any logical rational thinking. Maslow's "hierarchy of needs" comes to mind. Consider the voting characteristics of the following two conservative groups, who we liberals find as strange bedfellows, yet as strange as they seem to be, they none-the-less, are in bed together:

        -- rich conservative industrialists (RCI)

        -- poor conservative Christians (PCC)

        Both of these groups are voting out of fear. 

        Note: the qualifier of "poor" and "rich" are not really necessary here, but are accurate to illustrate a point and reveal the characteristic, but can be replaced:

        Rich --> Fiscal 

        Poor --> fundamentalist 

        RCI are afraid of loosing their wealth.  No matter how much wealth they have, they feel insecure and afraid if they are not earning more, and they are deathly afraid of loosing their lifestyle. 

        PCC see the entire world as engaged in a battle between good and evil: GOD and SATAN. They are afraid of going to hell. They are afraid of Satan. They are afraid of Satan's influence. They are afraid to even listen to anyone whom they see has not embraced their religious beliefs in the exact same manner that they have, because this means that those people are in league with Satan and are going to hell. (My own aunt deleted my FB comment because I linked to Daily Kos, and she was made to believe, because of what she saw on FOX NEWS, that Daily Kos is in league with Satan. 

        An examination of Obama's success is an excellent case study to appreciate how to beat conservatives and why he won. Namely and specifically, Obama's calm cool level-headed diplomacy alleviated the fears of enough of the conservative faction of the populace that they were able to see the logical rationale of Obama's positions. 

        In some ways, Obama's second election was a shoe-in, or would have been, because he had not realized the big fears that the RCI's were concerned with, but then, because of Obama's overly diplomatic tendency, he was reluctant to expose Romney's lies during the first debate, which almost cost him the election. Obama was dominating in the polls until that debate. Obama avoided the confrontation. Romney lied about himself and he lied about Obama. This allowed Romney to paint a false picture of reality, making the RCI afraid of Obama. Fortunately, Obama saw the flaw of his approach, and corrected it during his second and third debates, as well as, in his speeches going forward. Romney's lies made the RCIs afraid, and Obama calling these lies out, alleviated those fears based upon falaehoods, and this (re)earned their trust, causing them to be  able to listen to Obama's rationale. 

  •  What srkp23 said. (3+ / 0-)

    Also, some of us definitely see the evil of the GOP, particularly in the past two decades, but don't know how to convey to others the evil that we can clearly recognize AS evil incarnate.

    Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

    by Youffraita on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 09:27:11 PM PDT

    •  It's not about seeing the evil of the GOP, but (7+ / 0-)

      about how we're going to do about it.  How are we going to organize in such a way as to be able to gain, project, and apply actual power.

      •  But Ray, seeing -- and communicating -- (0+ / 0-)

        the evil of the GOP is the starting point.  Once we can talk about it, then we can organize, project, and apply power.

        But the first step is to get the apolitical people to understand the kind of evil being perpetrated against them.  Right now, they aren't aware...at all.  I type this as someone who works among them, and doesn't have a clue how to communicate with them.

        Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

        by Youffraita on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 09:05:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  so, you're saying (4+ / 0-)

    The main weakness of the mind of a Liberal is its inability to deal effectively with inconsistencies, absurdities, chaos, irrationality, and evil (immorality)
    so you think Conservatives have a clue?
    the problem isn't not using might makes right enough, rather we've seen the last 30 years is the republicans think might makes right in all cases.

  •  Another good one, Pens (7+ / 0-)

    "To recognize error, to cut losses, to alter course, is the most repugnant option in government." Historian Barbara Tuchman

    by Publius2008 on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 10:10:20 PM PDT

  •  Right on. n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador, Words In Action

    You show a little grit and you lands in jail.

    by cal2010 on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 10:52:37 PM PDT

  •  OK, but there is another aspect (7+ / 0-)

    of the liberal mind that you must contend with.  The conviction that the means is more important than the ends.

    There are those who will argue with the semantics, but the truth remains . . . adopting the tactics of the rightwing may be effective, but it is distasteful and demeaning.  Is our goal really limited to replacing tyrants with more benevolent tyrants?

    With enough raw power, you can steamroll over this point, but otherwise, you will need to address it.  My own inability to satisfactorily resolve it lies at the heart of my apathy.

    "None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." - Goethe

    by jlynne on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 11:28:33 PM PDT

    •  You're right (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ray Pensador, WB Reeves, Smoh, jlynne

      in that it is impediment.

      We naturally do not believe that the ends justify the means, just as we believe in tolerance and moderation. But even moderation is supposed to apply to itself, as well.

      Sometimes moderation is immoderate and tolerance is intolerant.

      And sometimes focusing on the ends is the means.

      Mindfulness is the first necessity of sanity and survival and the first casualty of Consumer Culture.

      by Words In Action on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 07:08:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's a very insightful and accurate point. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jlynne

      There seems to be an innate distaste for the acquisition and application of raw power by the typical liberal, and as such, she tends to look down on the concept.

      But the dichotomy of that approach is that the distaste and about what it takes to gain power turns the liberal into a sitting duck since on the other side, there is no such concern--they embrace and welcome the acquisition and application of power in a ruthless fashion...

      That's why when rightwingers and/or fascists pass a certain threshold in the power game, the first people they go after are the Liberals/Progressive (intellectuals).

  •  IMHO, the problem with Liberalism (8+ / 0-)

    has little to do with psychology. In my experience there is no single psychological profile for Liberals. It's a catchall term that encompasses views ranging from Wilsonian interventionists to varieties of Social Democrat to the left of FDR. The only real principle that "unites" this grab bag is a belief in government activism for social/political ends. When you begin to examine what those ends might be, the unity evaporates.

    It's this fundamental divergence that explains the weakness you perceive.

    It wasn't always so. There used to be a thing called muscular liberalism whose heyday was the New Deal. It was no spontaneous development but arose in response to a burgeoning challenge from the Left fueled by the crisis of the Great Depression. That challenge was rooted in militant mass mobilizations of Labor, the unemployed and broad sections of the working population being ground down by the economic collapse.

    Muscular liberalism was a necessary response to the threat of a radical overturn of the existing order. Absent the militant stiffening this threat provided, Liberalism would have likely have floundered in the thirties much as it has floundered for the last thirty years.

    The key difference between the depression era and the present is the absence of an effective challenge from the Left. The primary reason for this absence has been the Left's disengagement and alienation from broad sections of the working population, the opposite of the experience of the thirties.

    In some respects the Left has come to mirror the same incoherence that typifies Liberalism. Rather than rooting itself organically in the direct experience and aspirations of a diverse population, it has followed the example of Liberalism and withdrawn into a posture where politics is defined by a laundry list of abstract propositions. Rather than consulting with the disaffected and dispossessed to determine their interests, the Left has taken the route of attempting to instruct them as to what their interests are. In this there is little to distinguish the Left from Liberalism.

    Absent this kind of creative dialogue, it's little wonder that so many respond to the cynical flattery and faux populism of the RW.

    The real problem isn't so much a mushy headed Liberalism as it is a mushy headed Left.          

     

    Nothing human is alien to me.

    by WB Reeves on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 12:58:22 AM PDT

    •  That's a very astute observation. I'd like to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ratcityreprobate

      highlight one thing you wrote:

      The key difference between the depression era and the present is the absence of an effective challenge from the Left. The primary reason for this absence has been the Left's disengagement and alienation from broad sections of the working population, the opposite of the experience of the thirties.
      I argue that one important reason for this is the level of incredibly sophisticated propaganda we are being exposed to on a daily basis.

      The effects of it can be compared to some sort of science fiction world.

      I've mentioned before that I basically stopped watching TV news (I still watch some HBO shows, documentaries, some movies, etc.), including MSNBC.  Now when I try to take a peek, even after just five minutes I'm horrified at the level of pablum, distortions, false narratives and misinformation.

      There many other reasons for the passivity and inaction, but again, I can't emphasize enough the effects of the most powerful and effective propaganda machine the world has ever seen, IMHO.

  •  Money and power. (3+ / 0-)

    That's all that matters. Wishing it wasn't so doesn't change that. Politically correct language didn't seem to do anything to stop the pillage of the working class.

    We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.

    by PowWowPollock on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 02:39:37 AM PDT

    •  Obviously it's going to take some.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eyesbright

      ... concerted and determined "incorrectness" to stop the pillaging. This need not be violent. Indian Independence and the Civil Rights movement were long campaigns of civil disobedience.

      That said, we aren't "there"...yet.

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 06:09:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Can be overwhelmed by strength in numbers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ray Pensador

      if the latter is organized.

      Organizing liberals is a challenge. It is one that OFA has managed for GOTV, though. SO how do we apply to the purposes of OWS?

      Mindfulness is the first necessity of sanity and survival and the first casualty of Consumer Culture.

      by Words In Action on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 07:12:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  democracy is about power, not freedom (3+ / 0-)

    the 1% have the power

  •  again, the death of the liberal class (6+ / 0-)

    posted on November 11, 2012

    The presidential election exposed the liberal class as a corpse. It fights for nothing. It stands for nothing. It is a useless appendage to the corporate state. It exists not to make possible incremental or piecemeal reform, as it originally did in a functional capitalist democracy; instead it has devolved into an instrument of personal vanity, burnishing the hollow morality of its adherents. Liberals, by voting for Barack Obama, betrayed the core values they use to define themselves—the rule of law, the safeguarding of civil liberties, the protection of unions, the preservation of social welfare programs, environmental accords, financial regulation, a defiance of unjust war and torture, and the abolition of drone wars. The liberal class clung desperately during the long nightmare of this political campaign to one or two issues, such as protecting a woman’s right to choose and gender equality, to justify its complicity in a monstrous evil. This moral fragmentation—using an isolated act of justice to define one’s self while ignoring the vast corporate assault on the nation and the ecosystem along with the pre-emptive violence of the imperial state—is moral and political capitulation. It fails to confront the evil we have become.
    “The American Dream has run out of gas,” wrote the novelist J.G. Ballard. “The car has stopped. It no longer supplies the world with its images, its dreams, its fantasies. No more. It’s over. It supplies the world with its nightmares now. …”
    Liberals have assured us that after the election they will build a movement to hold the president accountable—although how or when or what this movement will look like they cannot say. They didn’t hold him accountable during his first term. They won’t during his second. They have played their appointed roles in the bankrupt political theater that passes for electoral politics. They have wrung their hands, sung like a Greek chorus about the evils of the perfidious opponent, assured us that there is no other viable option, and now they will exit the stage. They will carp and whine in the wings until they are trotted out again to assume their role in the next political propaganda campaign of disempowerment and fear. They will, in the meantime, become the butt of ridicule and derision by the very politicians they supported.
    http://www.truthdig.com/...
    •  Like nomads in the desert, (3+ / 0-)

      those of us on the far left are relegated to trying to find a home.  We have lost our ability to change things because we have been so marginalized.

      This is why so many here are frustrated with the concept of more and "better" Democrats. It means nothing.  I have come to the conclusion that, with few exceptions, there are "better" Dems do not exist.  There are only some that are worse than others. The Democrats have abandoned the the very foundation of the party and it happened very quickly.  Before, their betrayals may have been subtle, but now it is in your face abandonment.  

      So I have to ask myself, how is Obama better than Bush when it comes to protection of our constitutional rights?  

      We on the left have been forced to make a choice between 3rd Way Dems and the worst of the Rethugs.  It is a choice akin to picking your poison,  Do you want to die quickly or slowly? Either way, you die from poisoning.

      "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

      by gulfgal98 on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 07:09:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Very powerful words. Thank you. n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  My simple take on all this (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    etbnc, raincrow, Ray Pensador, aliasalias

    Those of us on the left are humanists who care about others.  Those on the right are selfish.  The messages of the right appeal to that core value of selfishness in their base.

    It is about core values.  Beyond that, you may be over analyzing.

    "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

    by gulfgal98 on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 05:24:56 AM PDT

  •  We had passion, anger and the numbers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eyesbright

    during Vietnam.  We were in the streets protesting, we were rejecting consumerism and greed and the abuse of the planet.  Then we got jobs and made money and became apathetic because government oversight cut into our profits.  

    OWS had passion and numbers.  Banks and Wall Street still stand and thrive.  

    DOJ is successfully prosecuting fraud.  The two-tier justice you are so angry about came into being because liberals out here IRL ignored politics for decades, when deregulating was all the rage in DC.  We are the problem, we played with our new toys while Wall Street created dubious financial instruments and Congress made them legal.  

    We now have a framework for regulating Banksters and making them bail themselves out, which the Republicans are chipping away at, and instead of keeping our eyes on the ball and pushing for full funding and full implementation we're whining that Holder can't hop in his time machine and undo the legality of idiocy in fiscal management.  

    Here's the liberal issue that will continue to undermine our ability to change things:  we fight hard, we win, we don't follow through.  We get mad because it isn't exactly what we wanted so we take our toys and go home.  In 60 years it's become what we wanted so we fight to save it.  

    We'd have single-payer if we'd been pushing for it since Medicare came into existence.  We'd have a saner financial system if we'd paid attention to what Reaganomics really meant.  

    We prefer high drama to the long, hard slog of defending and protecting what we cherish.

    Don't lecture me about the Liberal brain, I've lived too long and observed too much to take this stuff seriously.  Let's start working to change things by doing what really works, building our power locally, statewide, and then nationally.  

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 05:35:27 AM PDT

    •  The long hard slog (0+ / 0-)

      won't scale to addressing the problems we face in the time-frame we have left.

      Even if your assessment of how we got here is correct, and there is much of it with which I agree, the old prescription will not cure the patient in time.

      So now what do you prescribe?

      Mindfulness is the first necessity of sanity and survival and the first casualty of Consumer Culture.

      by Words In Action on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 07:17:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  there's not the urgency to light our hair (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bill W, Eyesbright

        on fire and miss the crucial steps we keep missing.  Yes climate change is huge, and what are we doing?  I still drive, I still use fossil fuels.  It's built into the culture, it will take decades to change completely.  So why are we mad at Obama for not addressing climate change when his policies are the first real change we've ever seen?  EPA standards are stronger than ever, mileage requirements increase after 30 years of nothing, solar and wind power are flourishing because Obama funneled money to them.  

        We have financial regulations that prevent another taxpayer bailout, who knows that?  Not many here.  Let them fail, let them get pissed at each other for what it costs BANKS next time out.  Let them break up their giant industries because THEY are paying the price.  Fuck micro-managing Wall Street, let's get busy crowd-sourcing innovative companies and make WS irrelevant.  Obama is making that possible, but no one jumps on it.  Who's the problem here?  We are.  We're stuck looking for revenge and ignoring the power that's in our hands right now.  

        Wanna see forced-birthers lose power?  Change your Legislature, quit whining about how dumb they are.  Wanna see guns licensed and managed?  Ignore Wayne LaPierre and elect activists.  We fucking beat Citizens United in 2012 and all I hear here is "it's hopeless, they have all the power, we must start the revolution".

        Run for school boards and your kids can flourish.  Run for water commissioner and save the groundwater.  Crowd source funding for solar panels on every building, rainwater catchment on every structure.  Start at home and you have something to sell at the state and national levels- success.

        I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

        by I love OCD on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 08:59:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Because we have all the time in the world. (0+ / 0-)

          I get it.

          I don't believe it.

          But I get it.

          If I forget to turn the light off when leaving a burning building, I'm not going back to turn it off, even if it was the cause the fire. Forward, not back. Life, not death.

          And that difference makes all the difference.

          Mindfulness is the first necessity of sanity and survival and the first casualty of Consumer Culture.

          by Words In Action on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 06:43:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No we don't, but since it's Obama (0+ / 0-)

            who's pushing solar and wind energy, and maybe 1% of the activists here actually use mass transit, installed solar panels and have rainwater stored and in use, never shop at big box stores and live lightly on the planet I find it disingenuous to be panicking now.  We all own climate change.  Super-Barack hasn't hauled our asses out of the fire so it's his fault? Face it, we've been as negligent as everyone else has.  We love our comforts, we live better than 99% of the people on this planet and we're the loudest whiners about someone else doing something NOW!

            I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

            by I love OCD on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 05:34:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's about us doing something now, and (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ray Pensador

              not a single moderate is willing to lift a finger except to help with a campaign or cast a vote.

              And clearly that's not working and it will not work.

              You want to get real change. Convince the rest of the moderates to join the Left on the Mall for the 60 days straight. That'll get their attention.

              This waiting until next decade when we'll have the next window of opportunity to dominate the Hill is pathetic and dangerous.

              Mindfulness is the first necessity of sanity and survival and the first casualty of Consumer Culture.

              by Words In Action on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 06:00:30 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  No it won't. (0+ / 0-)

                What will create change is

                Driving less
                Using mass transit more
                resetting thermostats
                installing solar panels
                helping your friends install solar panels
                pushing your town to start catching rainwater
                pushing your local utility to build a smart grid
                pushing your town and state to use alternative energy sources
                use only energy efficient appliances
                install energy efficient light bulbs
                unplug that big screen TV that draws power when it's off
                push your state to get on the high speed rail track
                don't fly unless you must

                If everyone in this country took a few simple steps we'd be part of the solution not the problem, and we'd be creating the environment for change nationally and internationally.  We have no moral standing in this fight because we're the worst polluters.  Change that and you change the world.

                Or stand on the Mall and look serious about all this?  That means nothing.  Take action, push your neighbors to take action, show the rest of the world that we're serious and willing to be slightly inconvenienced in order to effect change all over.

                Trust me, it may not seem like it, but when the population is invested, things start to change.  It's not at Twitter speed, but it happens.  Stop spreading hopelessness and start being an advocate for the power of the people.

                I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

                by I love OCD on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 06:29:41 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Personal use accounts for 20%. Institutional (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Ray Pensador

                  use (business, government, defense, etc.), 80%.

                  I'm all for reducing personal footprints.

                  But that and electoral politics won't cut it. It's the insitutions. And they own government. They want you to play by the electoral rules. They want you to expend your energy in representative government. They have that sewn up already for another ten years, minimum.

                  The way forward is to show in no uncertain terms that the people will not stand for business as usual when it comes to climate change and sustainability. Not one more extraction or refinement facility, not one more pipe, for fossil fuel. We need a war effort approach to changing course on energy production. That won't happen unless the government and the plutocracy that owns it feels the breath of the masses in their face.

                  Mindfulness is the first necessity of sanity and survival and the first casualty of Consumer Culture.

                  by Words In Action on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 08:39:43 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  It's not hopelessness, it's urgency. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Ray Pensador

                  It's realizing that small increments will not scale to address the problem in time. Ask any climate scientists, they just won't.

                  Pretending they will gives people a false sense of security that if they use cloth bags instead of plastic or paper, everything will be ok.

                  By all means, let's do those things. But let's be realistic that what we really need is a huge paradigm shift that  must involve government and business. And let's be realistic that traditional methods of electoral politics and appeals to representative government will not do it.

                  Given all that, what are the options, assuming we want to avoid violence, which will come if we continue to stick with the traditional methods that lead to gridlock and teeny increments, at best. Given that, now what?

                  Mindfulness is the first necessity of sanity and survival and the first casualty of Consumer Culture.

                  by Words In Action on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 08:47:26 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The Great Lakes were dead a couple of decades (0+ / 0-)

                    back, DDT was killing most songbirds in the USA, San Francisco Bay was a total loss.  Small actions reversed those ecological disasters because hope-the return of one species- energized more action.  

                    I quit donating to the 16 ecology groups I was supporting for 10 years because I got a "It's hopeless!  We're losing!" letter from each group twice a month.  I returned to NRDC when they started compromising, negotiating and winning.  The victories were not pure, they took into account the cost to locals that pure victories would result in, they did things incrementally and taught ranchers, for instance, that wolves did not target healthy cattle they winnowed out the sick and weak.  Resistance dropped, more wolves were tolerated as the facts won out.  

                    It's damn urgent, and scaring the shit out of people increases their resistance and their apathy.  Once you learn that your power usage decreases with thermostat changes(my friend went from $430 a month electric bill to $155) you enter a new thought process.  Conservation is good!  Pretty soon you wonder why that Mall is at 65 degrees all summer, or why you keep a sweater at work, then you wonder why West Texas isn't planted with solar arrays, then you demand lower prices and less pollution.  

                    Urgent means nothing when you've so totally terrified people they refuse to think about it.  Human nature has to be taken into account if you really want to win.  Mother Nature is also resilient as all hell, and those small actions can pay off hugely, quickly.

                    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

                    by I love OCD on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 12:49:22 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

  •  Lack of agreement on urgency is the crux. (4+ / 0-)

    A huge impediment is that there is wide divergence of opinion among the left and its moderates on the urgency of the situation.

    At one end of the spectrum you have people, like me, who are freaked out by how little time we have to scale our efforts to deal with the crisis at hand.

    And other end you have people who think that we have time to begin by getting elected to school boards and working our way up over decades, the way conservatives did...

    And that disparity in thought is HUGELY significant.

    The reason we can't leverage our strength in numbers is because that strength is not reflected in opinion among our ranks.

    Mindfulness is the first necessity of sanity and survival and the first casualty of Consumer Culture.

    by Words In Action on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 07:21:58 AM PDT

  •  Real liberals are angry. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador
    No matter the issue, the liberal is always operating in the "rational" and "logical" realm, thinking that through an appeal to reason and sense of justice, things can be worked out.

    I've argued this point before, but I've come to believe that because the liberal mindset relies heavily on logic, reason and empiricism, it tends to under-develop its capacity to understand raw, unadulterated displays of in-your-face power.  In other words, and as I've argued before, the liberal mindset lacks the ability to understand malice.

    Au contraire, I am a liberal, and I am motivated by absolute anger.

    I am angry that the country has been looted for thirty years. Being robbed is visceral.It appeals to the masses. Etc. Elizabeth Warren gets it. She is writing a book called "Rigged". She says over and over, "the system is rigged".

    OWS had the same message. It is a strong message. Witness the brutal, illegal shutdown of OWS.

    I think real liberals get it. But, they lack the ORGANIZATION to carry through on what they understand must be done. The problem is that just about all the so-called liberals in Congress are bought and paid for. The majority of liberal voters are just coming to grips with the fact that Obama is a fraud who wants to sell out SS and Medicare. So, the liberals are without an effective ORGANIZATION.

    Michael Hudson, Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz, Dean Baker, and many other economists have explained in great detail how we have been systematically looted, and what needs to be done: Tobin Tax, prosecutions, bank breakups.

    As I said in another thread, quoting Hacker and Pierson, people need reliable organizations to deliver digests of information. Most liberals have mistakenly relied on the Democratic Party as a reliable organization. That is changing, as it becomes clear that Obama is a creature not only of Wall St., but also of Pete Peterson.

    The biggest change to the liberal mind will be when they all say to the Democratic Party in 2014, "just exactly what is it that you have done for me lately?".

    Too bad that will be way too late. The crooks at the top have been running this Kabuki theatre since 2007, when they bankrolled the Obama/Hillary Kabuki primaries to carpet bomb any legitimate discussion of the looting of America. The last chance to stop the looting was in 2008, after the election. Obama made sure that didn't happen. Most liberals have been in denial ever since.

    But I reject your caricature of them being hyper-rational. They are completely IRRATIONAL. The are in deep denial that they have been betrayed by the Democratic Party leadership. They are deluded that Obama is anything but the "good cop" in a scripted farce, paid for by the 1%,  that has replaced real politics in this country.

    Real liberals get it. Real liberals have been angry for years.

    •  These are excellent comments (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ray Pensador

      regardless of whether we agree in every detail.

      It's largely forgotten today but once upon a the Democratic Party was augmented by external liberal organizations that had no problem with hectoring the leadership and "holding their feet to the fire". No one could afford to dismiss the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt as a "purist saboteur".

      Nothing human is alien to me.

      by WB Reeves on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 08:58:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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