Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I think your point that classic 20th century American liberalism is no more viable due to scarcity, and due to corporations' unwillingness to go along in cooperation to provide a better future that provides for mass needs. That partly echoes 19th century Socialist and 20th century Green sentiments.

From a socialist viewpoint, I would further observe that the elephant in the kitchen is class, and, sad irony, the underlying reason corporations aren't up for cooperation is NOT scarcity, but losing fear of the masses with the death of 'Soviet-style real-existing socialism'. (E.g., 20th century liberal-corporate cooperation was originally based on fears of a revolution.)

On your title theme of only two choices, while I know this is a pointed political pamphlet and not academic discussion, I must emphatically protest: there are never only two choices. Your two-party system predestinates a dualist view on issues, but even considering two sides: there are many ways for progressives to blow it, and there may be a couple of more ways for the Repubs to fool the majority, white or not white.

On your specific choices:

-Do you believe subprime is caused by foolish borrowers who should suffer, or were they victimized by a fucked up system?

I think the fucked-up system was built on foolish borrowers. I don't believe responsibility is (ever) singular. While I won't say the foolish borrowers should suffer, they may deserve to bear some material consequence.

-When government is abused, is the solution to end the abuse and restore virtuous government, or abolish government?

The first if possible, the second if not. Crude example: the US liquor ban in the twenties. I'd say alcohol is the cause of more social problems and costs and suffering for people other than the consumers (from building walls through spouses and children to victims of road collisions) than any drug illegal at present, so government ban may be justified, but unworkable.

-When a hurricane hits, should people fend for themselves or have government help them?

Here I very clearly favour the second, with the quibble that government should mandate beforehand that people be prepared individually too, with zoning laws in endangered areas and laws on stocking supplies and such.

-When your employer interrogates you, you complain and are fired, is it your fault for complaining or the employer's fault for mistreating you?

Clearly the second.

-Will unions help restore our middle class or are they decrepit relics?

Unions are working class in origin, not middle class, even though they contributed to the groth of the middle-class (and that IMO more in post-WWII Western Europe than the US). Beyond push by business, I see three structural reasons behind their erosion:

  1. the growth of just the middle class since the New Deal, which is relatively well-off, and thus doesn't feel that confronting employers is vital;
  2. the growth of the service class more recently, which is employed too dispersed to effectively unionise;
  3. the corruptibility of union cadre (and I am thinking less of famous mob connections and more of bosses buying union inaction by buying union leaders).

-Should America embrace the rest of the world, teach our children foreign languages, or should we retreat into a Fortress America?

Definitely the first. Should be walid with Europe in place of America, too.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Dec 4th, 2007 at 02:32:23 PM EST

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