I've had a correspondent or two pushing me to explain "what your problem?" with the modern Democratic party. Rather then write up something new, it occurred to me that a very old post of mine sums it up pretty perfectly:
From back in May, 2002:I've been thinking about "Liberalism" (as opposed to Lockean "liberalism") for a while - after all, I need to justify the title of this blog. I am trying to unify the examples of what mostly goes for Liberalism in this day and age, which I'm calling "SkyBox Liberalism" - which is v. different from what I'm promoting.
While the theory percolates, let me explain by example.
While I was there, there was a small controversy that I followed. It involved the effort of the student government to evict from the student union one tenant, and to replace it with another. This is to me, the perfect example of SkyBoxing, and I hope that telling the story will help define what I mean.
In the 60's in Berkeley, there was a movement to create a series of co-ops that would allow student-radicals to both generate jobs outside the hated-but-paying-their-rent capitalist system, and provide a living example that (for all I know) Trotskyite anarcho-syndicalism could triumph in the Belly of the Beast.
Most of these communal businesses failed mercifully quickly, as far as I know (this is all ancient history to me, so if I'm getting part of it wrong, drop a note). By the time I got there, there were two survivors - Leopold's Records ("Boycott Tower Records, keep Berkeley Free") and the Missing Link bicycle shop.
Leopold's was off-campus somewhere near Telegraph, but the bicycle store was a part of the mini-shopping area that was in the ASUC building.
The student government decided that they were going to evict it to make room for a small-electronics (Walkmen, stereo, calculators, etc.) annex to the Student Store. Why??
The small-electronics store could pay as much as $50,000 more in rent every year.
Now this is an appropriately cold-hearted landlord kind of decision to make. But the people making the decision weren't sweater wearing conservative Young Republicans, driven by their vision of the purity of the market.
They were a bunch of New Left, ethnic-identity, progressive communitarian kind of kids.
Why did they want to make this decision? Because it would mean $50K a year more for their organizing budgets; $50K more in pork they could carve up in the hopes of building their perfect communitarian future.
Now I don't know about you, but I have a hard time imagining anything more keyed to a progressive communitarian future than a cooperatively owned bicycle store. I mean, how much better does it get? Nonprofit. Cooperatively employee owned. Bicycles, for chrissakes. If you really wanted to educate people in alternatives to the "mass consumerist repressive capitalist paradigm" (I think I got the buzzwords right), wouldn't that be a good way to do it?
But reality couldn't stand a chance against the cold need for this elected group to make sure that they and their friends were rewarded.
See it's not about what you really believe in, in the SkyBox world ... it's about making sure you and your friends can be very comfortable while you think and write and feel very very seriously about it.
I'm not touting bicycles or co-ops right now (although there are things to say for both); it's the fact that one group put their beliefs into practice in the world, while another made it a point to live comfortably while thinking really hard about making the world a better place.
One of those is a Liberal - the other is doing something else, but is definitely doing it from a SkyBox.