The Biology of Progressive Politics
Clayton Morgareidge, Old Mole Variety Hour
March 2, 2009
The rhetoric of the Obama presidency is a lot more progressive than anything we’ve ever heard coming out of the White House. The new administration is still taking shape, and so is the way it is perceived by the public and the media. So now is a special time when we should be pressing for the most progressive agenda we can come up with. To do so, we should first try to be clear about the philosophical underpinnings of a progressive agenda.
The political left is inspired by its sense that although we are individuals, human life is deeply social. We are social beings not just because we have to have rules of the road in order to not to crash into each other as we compete for scarce resources. We do not just live next to each other: we live our lives within the lives of other people. Together we construct the forms of life that make each individual life possible, meaningful and desirable. How others talk and think and write and paint and sing and build creates the horizons of what I can see and do. How others organize and implement personal and family relationships creates the world in which I will love and hate and fear and hope. The ways in which production and distribution are carried out determines my opportunities for being productive, secure, and comfortable. Human life is never merely individual or personal. There is no way for us not to be interested, and emotionally invested, in what other people do.