Notes from an upcoming book by WC Turck and BL Murray
The origin of an idea, a movement or a revolution begins in the mind of an impassioned or oppressed individual. What characterizes and legitimizes it is one simple element: Community. Community is fundamental, and nothing binds a community like common cause, or common oppression, whether real, perceived or manufactured. This single fact is what the Tea Party, the Occupy movement, the Suffragists and even the National Socialists in 1930’s Germany share in common. The question becomes, can the fundamental tenants of those movements be expressed in predictable algorithms or reproducible marketing concepts to sell a better cola or promote the ultimate candidate, or manufacture a revolt based upon the whims of, say, a corporation or an individual?
By contrast, what is it that excites a revolution out of the languishing toleration that precedes a popular uprising? In Common Sense Thomas Paine wrote:
As a long and violent abuse of power is generally the means of calling the right of it in question, (and in matters too which might never have been thought of, had not the sufferers been aggravated into the inquiry,) and as the king of England hath undertaken in his own right, to support the parliament in what he calls theirs, and as the good people of this country are grievously oppressed by the combination, they have an undoubted privilege to inquire into the pretensions of both, and equally to reject the usurpations of either…
The cause of America is, in a great measure, the cause of all mankind. Many circumstances have, and will arise, which are not local, but universal, and through which the principles of all lovers of mankind are affected, and in the event of which, their affections are interested. The laying a country desolate with fire and sword, declaring war against the natural rights of all mankind, and extirpating the defenders thereof from the face of the earth, is the concern of every man to whom nature hath given the power of feeling; of which class, regardless of party censure, is
Philadelphia, Feb. 14, 1776.
It is important here to draw clear definitions, as well as distinctions between the Left and the Right, between Liberal and Conservative, and Liberal and Progressive. All have their stalwart(the opposing sides would call that the extremist wing) unwavering and often uncompromising constituencies. Each has its elitist hierarchy, primarily its political and financial leadership. It is here the fundamental difference between the Left and Right come practically into view. The elitist segment of the Left has far more in common with the elite Right than with its own far Left. Indeed, as was seen with support for the Iraq Invasion, or the Patriot Act, SOPA and many other prominent national issues, the elitist Left, though not in lock step with the Right tends to shadow it very closely. They both represent and drive aspects of the status quo.
The far Left tends to a more egalitarian design of society, eschewing the pseudo-cult of personality worship prevalent on the Right. The far Left was immediately critical of the Obama Administration over its flaccid response to the torture of Terror suspects during the Bush administration and its equivocation of Don’t ask don’t tell. They were vocally outraged at the continuation and expansion of the Patriot Act under the Obama Administration, and deeply disappointed that Healthcare reform was not more aggressively pursued and that it did not go nearly far enough. On the other hand, the far Right looks to the elite Right for its marching orders from groups like the Heritage Foundation, FreedomWorks and the Tea Party, all constructions of the Elitist Right, funded by billionaire like the Koch Brothers. The truly idealistic Left is abandoned to its own initiatives, compelling progress on social, political, economic and Human rights issues purely through the sheer numbers it can bring to an issue, or through testing the extremes authorities will accede to without becoming nakedly unconstitutional or unlawful, or in teasing and probing boundaries at the fringes of the tolerance of the status quo.