by rob kall
It's usually right wingers-- Republicans and Libertarians who take
stances opposing government. This anti-government stance has become
a meme that many moderates are embracing.
Maybe it's time for people on the left to take their own
stance criticizing government and own the meme. I think we can do
it while separating out the baby from the bathwater. There are a
number of reasons to look at reasons to oppose government that
could be used by the left.
I believe that there will be a number of issues that
progressives may find common cause with those in the middle and on
the right-- which may give us the leverage to make major change
At the least, it could give progressive candidates a way to
tap the power of the anti-government meme in a way that is
synergistic with progressive values and goals. So much of how we
make change happen is based on the framing, the narrative and
stories we tell.
In the past, the right has been very effective at
marginalizing or neutralizing language the left has used. Smart use
of progressive anti-government framing could weaken, or even take
the whole anti-government meme away from the right and
Most on the left oppose too-big-to-fail corporations. Perhaps
we need to look at ways to de-centralize government and shrink
aspects of it that become so big they are not longer
manageable or accountable. If we take on government, it may be
easier to take on too-big corporations as well.
Here's a list of some aspects of government that
Progressives already oppose.
Let's start with the easier stuff.
-The Patriot Act-- a huge danger to democracy and the freedoms
guaranteed by the constitution and its amendments.
-a bloated, uncontrollable, unaccountable military
-a bloated uncontrollable, unaccountable
-a congress that a massive majority of Americans are disgusted
with, which has surrendered its power to the White House and the
-Laws that people who don't harm any person or property
criminals, like marijuana possession laws.
-a prison system that is bloated and unaccountable
-militarization of the police, moving towards a police state,
where police and prison guards can literally kill without any worry
of having to be accountable.
-government regulatory agencies thoroughly corrupted through
the appointment of agency directors and staffers with deep,
long-term, conflict-of-interest ties to the industries they are
supposed to regulate
-An executive branch that has grabbed and amassed a record
level of power
-a redistricting system that allows outrageously uneven,
unfair, undemocratic gerrymandering.
-Money that buys politicians way into government with the help
of billionaires and massive businesses.
-Lifetime appointments for Supreme Court Justices
-a two party duopoly political system which has made it
extremely difficult for third parties and third party
-a two party duopoly that makes incumbents almost entirely
safe when it comes to primaries.
-government secrecy, opacity, abuse of top-secret
-privatization of the commons-- selling out resources and
functions of our nation that should be owned and run by government
rather than handed over to private companies which, overall have a
history of law and regulation avoidance or breaking as well
exploitation that is not in the interest of the public.
-weak, corrupted government regulations. One of the main
purposes of government is to create regulations, laws and enforcers
to protect the people from the predatory behaviors of corporations
and the rich and powerful, where it is far more likely to find the
worst white collar narcissistic and psychopathic harmful
This is just a beginning, an off-the-top-of-my-head list of
objectionable aspects of government, as it now operates, that I
believe most progressives would agree with. I think that some of
these might also resonate with other political ideologies, and
perhaps with different church groups and religious