Saturday, February 12, 2005
More on the "DeathThing..."
The concept of the "Death of Environmentalism" seems to have taken a strong hold within the progressive movement as an apt metaphor for the splintered, issue-driven nature of our organization. Dave Roberts has posted some compelling ideas from other online progressives on the subject. Ultimately, the message seems to be that we need to find common ground (or a "compelling narrative") within the movement rather than zealously guarding the ground of our particular interest group. I don't think this means sacrificing, say, environmental progress for concerted effort on health care; rather, it means doing something the right has done very well over the past 30-40 years -- creating a conceptual framework (Matt Yglesias uses the dreaded word "ideology") that creates a genuinely progressive foundation for addressing single issues. Think of recent memes from the right: "the culture of life," "the ownership society," etc. While it's easy to argue that these are merely linguistic covers for a radical agenda, they give people a sense of larger meaning to the pursuit of their more focused agendas. We can do this without becoming the rabid ideologues that seem to have co-opted conservatism.