In the South Pacific, there’s a set of beliefs which are known as “cargo cults.” While they may seem ridiculous at times to Westerners, they make sense in terms of a society attempting to explain something in terms of that society.
Since the modern manufacturing process is unknown to them, members, leaders, and prophets of the cults maintain that the manufactured goods of the non-native culture have been created by spiritual means, such as through their deities and ancestors. These goods are intended for the local indigenous people, but the foreigners have unfairly gained control of these objects through malice or mistake. Thus, a characteristic feature of cargo cults is the belief that spiritual agents will, at some future time, give much valuable cargo and desirable manufactured products to the cult members.
Many of the rituals mimic what they saw during various times, particularly World War II. There are “airfield,” “control towers,” and so on, all designed to influence the gods to redirect the cargo to them. So what does that have to do with politics?
I haven’t done one of these in a while, but I thought I’d put together various “stub posts.” Those are created when I have an idea for a blog posting, but just not the time to, or sometimes interest in, get them fleshed out.
Over the past week since the election, I have seen a number of political blogs talking about various progressive ideas that are favored by “the majority” of the American people, and they’ll cite various opinion polls to back that up. Want a higher minimum wage? Immigration reform? Equal pay for equal work? Those are just a few of the topics that opinion polls will tell you that a majority – sometimes a large majority – of the American people support. It’s comforting to see, but then you have to look at the actual election results. Republicans, who have been stridently blocking action on any of those topics, and in many cases are actively against them, just got handed a majority in the Senate and increased their existing one in the House. There’s a reason for that: Only about 36% of the eligible voters actually showed up.
As regular readers of this blog may guess, I haven’t been too fond of “progressives,” or “The Left,” as they call themselves. Back about 5 years ago, they got tagged here (and a few other places) as “frustrati,” “emoprogs,” and “purity trolls.” Why have I been so … irritated … by them? It’s not their ideals. It’s not even their anger at the lack of progress on some fronts, or even their disappointment with some (or all) of the Democratic Party. Surprisingly, I sometimes share them. What irritates me is they aren’t doing anything to change any of that except to bitch about it, and even worse, assume that every place in the country is just like where they live.
Over at the Bondad Blog, New Deal Democrat has a blog post up promoting the idea that progressives should:
Similarly, progressives will not win because of GOP losses. Progressives will only win by driving corporatist democrats to the edge of extinction, just as movement conservatives took over the GOP by making Rockefeller Republicans as extinct as the dodo bird).
Progressives shouldn’t abandon the Democratic Party. But they should target the corporatists as mercilessly as Tea Party republicans targeted their less-extremist wing, and state level Third Parties are an indispensable part of that attack.
Except for one minor detail: They don’t have any capability to do so. In fact, the whole idea of “The Netroots” as a new power in politics, as promulgated by Kos and others, was a fantasy.