This Week’s Mtg: Why Do Left/Right Want Their Country Back?

This one is Fred’s idea, and it’s his show.  He’ll give the opening presentation, and I don’t want to bend the conversation any one way in my weekly intro post.

Still, I want to say a little, since this topic is in many ways a culmination of our last year’s worth of political topics.  I’ve been guiding us towards trying to understand the reasons people are so angry about politics right now, and why Right and Left are offering virtually incompatible responses to that anger and to our problems.  So, instead of new links this week, for each idea discussed below that we’ve discussed before; I’ve linked back to the “This Week” post of mine and/or to follow-up posts.  The links already embedded in those posts are as good as any I could point you to today.   

For Americans who “want their country back,” I think it’s logical to ask:

  1. 1.     What it is they think they’ve lost; and
  2. 2.     Who do they think took it all from them – i.e., who do they blame?

We’ve talked about the country’s big problems a lot:  Rapidly rising inequality, our unresponsive political system, the financial collapse and bailouts, etc.  Some of these problems are perceived by – and felt by — one side more than the other: Illegal immigration, the failing health care system, government spending, the tax burden, and so on.

Who do people blame?  Here, consensus seems not even remotely possible.  We’ve discussed:  Wall Street, Congress, big government, a polarized electoratepublic employee unions, and immigrants.   Plus: Big corporations, a biased or incompetent news media, an authoritarian political culture, a oligarchic political culture, high taxes or Americans’ hatred of taxes, laissez faire libertarianism, and, um, volcanoes

We also talked about the Tea Party movement:  See here and here.  The vast differences between the liberal and conservative worldviews here.

This should be a good one!  See you all there.


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