Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Technoprogressive Mainstream

Hale Stewart blogs at BOPnews and as bonddad at DailyKos, both regular reads of mine and hundreds of thousands of other participants in the vital left blogosphere.

Here is the conclusion of a fairly typical post of his comparing the assumptions that distinguish Clinton's economic policy from Bush's and the lessons we can draw from the results:
The answer to the current situation of weak jobs and wage growth and runaway spending is straightforward.

1.) Balance the budget. This will require repealing some of the rich's tax breaks. My heart bleeds.

2.) Target economic areas that will create jobs. I would personally target alternative energy, nano technology and stem cell research, although there are many others.

3.) Give the middle class -- and only the middle class -- a tax break.

All we have to do is follow the directions.

I'm certainly no rampaging Clinton fan (though it's hard not to be fond of him, despite all the neolib DLC-enabling awfulness, just for provoking such reliably and deliciously symptomatic freakouts among religious and market fundamentalists), and needless to say these recommendations are far from adequate to a social democrat like me who demands as well universal single-payer healthcare and a universal basic income guarantee.

But what I want to draw your attention to is Recommendation Number Two. Take a good, long look... Alternative energy, nanotechnology r & d, and stem cell research.

The days when progressive democrats had to put up with kooky libertopian robot cultists if they wanted to have any kind of serious conversation about nanotechnology, digital networks, modification medicine, or other possibly proximate disruptive technological developments are finally over, people.

If you want to follow "Net Neutrality" (terrible term), the attacks on consensus science and scientific literacy, emerging renewable energy technologies, existential risk management you need to be paying attention to Daily Kos (everybody should read DarkSyde, among other consistently good diarists there), the Center for American Progress, the Apollo Alliance, AlterNet.

The next American mainstream democratic left is shaping up before our very eyes, and it is a left arising out the Netroots rather than inside the Beltway, a left that does its democracy peer-to-peer rather than in corporate boardrooms. And it has a considerable head of technoprogressive steam.

I keep telling you wonderful, beautiful technoprogressive types out there, it's long past time to toss aside that Stockholm Syndrome you shouldered through the long dread night of the irrationally exuberant extropian digirati.

There is simply no reason in the world for technoprogressives to continue to play nicey-nice to murderous sociopathic free-marketeers any more. There is no reason to read their Tech Central Stoopid or their Postrelian paeans to "dynamism." There is no reason to quietly cringe and politely flutter at their genuflections toward the racist Bell Curve. There is no reason to pretend you think there is anything to admire in the facile philosophizing of romance pulp-novelist Ayn Rand. There is no reason to give a single inch to the climate-change deniers, "Intelligent-Design" scam artists, desperate clingers-on to the myth of "safe cigarettes" and other profitable and hence "benign" toxicities. There is no reason to pretend you haven't noticed how often the guys who crow and stamp about "political correctness" are just assholes wanting to be assholes. There is no reason to treat libertarians as anti-war peers when libertopian ideology fueled so much of the rhetoric that exacerbated the worst devastations of that ongoing catastrophe. There is no reason to expect anybody who says government is evil in its essence to have any abiding contribution to make to the work of making government better.

You should be happy about this.

2 comments:

DarkSyde said...

TY for the plug Dale.

Jose said...

Just visited your blog for the first time surfing through a few transhumanist links. You've got some excellent commentary here.

Cheers