Politics & Media
Jan 06, 2009, 05:09AM

The Retro Left

"I’m wondering whether it’s time for the modern Left to get a bit retro. (I forget what variation of “New” or "New New" we’re currently on). Liberals need to get a bit more old school—they need to start seeing the world again in terms of class and economics."

"But it’s time to go further":

To be clear, I don’t mean “Left” in the Limbaugh caricatured sense, but in the traditional economic sense. I’m finding myself much more comfortable with efforts to reduce inequality by, for instance, strengthening unions or taxing the top brackets at much higher rates. At the same time, I’ve become more convinced that, while markets are essential, they need a lot of public and political intervention to make them work well.

The point of all this navel gazing is that I think many liberals (particularly younger ones) may be at an ideological crossroads. For the past 20 years or so, the Clinton/Blair ideology has been a fairly consensus view among not just mainstream Beltway pundits (e.g., the late Russert), but among younger liberals who came of age in this era.

To us (or to me anyway), the old class wars seemed quaint – if not inaccessible. Unions were fine, I guess, but they seemed relics of a bygone era – unnecessary in the new dynamic global economy (I was in college during the height of the Internet boom, which colored my views). Unlike those silly union organizers in the 30s, big modern me had the good fortune of living in an era enlightened by the Chicago School about both the virtues of wealth concentration and the vices of regulation.


Register or Login to leave a comment