Progressive Allies

Observers on the left side of the political spectrum are constantly dismayed by the power of the right. How can a party that serves so few receive support from so many? Their success is dismissed as the result of a well-funded and disingenuous propaganda machine. As relevant as that might be, there is also a logical reason for the phenomenon.

Although conservatives argue for increasingly wilder and crazier business practices, conservatism as a word can have meaning only when it refers to the conservation of something. It only has meaning when applied to the attempt to return society to a previous, simpler, and morally correct state.

An example of rolling back the clock might be strengthening the power of white males. Here, going back to 1950 is not an obstacle to going back to 1850. In fact, it is on the way. The more success there is going back to 1950, the more any regression is seen as reasonable. The conservative political engine becomes shinier as it approaches its goals.

Progressive activists, however, play an entirely different game. They strive toward a future that has not yet come to pass. The branching of possible future time-lines means that progressive activists may not lie on the same line. Conservatives do. The line toward the past is a straight one, because there is only one past, while the line to the future branches.

When progressives share support for some legislative project, the closer they come to making it a reality, the more the details begin to matter. Allies who promoted some general idea become enemies when quarreling over the details. As adversaries attempt to undermine each other, they end by discrediting each other in the court of public opinion.

This should inspire deep rethinking on the side of progressives. The problem is not simply that they face monied interests as enemies, but that they have progressives as allies.

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