Monday, November 07, 2005

Interdependence versus greed

During times like these when it appears the fabric of our country is being destroyed by the party in power even as people desire something new, when it appears an arch-reactionary will be appointed to the Supreme Court in a few months, it might be worth it for those who still do support this regime to recall the second half of the 19th century, when industrialization was transforming American society from one of farmers to one of factory workers. This period of time marked probably the strongest era of class unrest which our country has seen.

It can almost assuredly be said that once Samuel Alito is on the court, the U.S. Supreme Court will nearly resemble the "Lochner Court" of the early 20th Century that struck down New Deal legislation as unconstitutional. I don't think people want to go back to a time when the Supreme Court espoused the interests of business--framed perhaps in a mildly plausible rhetoric of principle--while striking down laws that were popular and beneficial to a large portion of American society.

For this reason, I like the new dialogue of interdependence and civic responsibility that is coming from some Democrats, most particularly John Edwards, who I had the pleasure of seeing earlier tonight at my local district's Democratic political organization's annual dinner. It is also why I appreciate this quote from Hendrik Hertzberg from a year or so ago, which I will leave you with tonight:
Social Security--like the public-school system, the progressive income tax, the neighborhood public library, the subways and buses, food stamps, and a host of other socialistic schemes--runs counter to the narrow economic interests of the rich...It does benefit them as citizens, however, assuming that they prefer to live in a society of civic peace, civic order, and civic decency--a society of trust.

2 comments:

william t nelson said...

I got a chance to talk to Sen Daschle last week at ISRC. When he was asked about how social/economic equality can be achieved, he talked about tax reform, education (college grants) and investing in research.

None of that stuff will hurt, and I was actually glad he brought up research, but his approach can only slow the regression, not change anything. The only way social change will happen is if the party radicalizes lots of people, which is unlikely because it conflicts with their current base.

If "public libraries" are part of a "socialistic scheme" then that reflects how resistant the parties are to social change.

Elaine said...

Hm, why do you think there current base conflicts with the notion of radicalizing people? Which part of their base are you speaking of? I can see what you mean though about Daschle's propsoals only slowing the regression. One of the most frustrating aspects of the Democratic party is their lack of bold proposals that seek to challenge the Republican tenets that have under girded our social policy (or lack thereof) for the last 20 plus years.