Sunday, April 24, 2011
It's Ok To Be Progressive (Anywhere But Washington DC)
It will probably come as a surprise that I, the dreaded arch-conservative, the Grinch who stole progress, support progressive politics in any place but Washington DC. In fact, I positively view the efforts of the people of Portland Oregon and other towns, to limit sprawl, preserve green space and strengthen public transportation. If they decided to legalize the marriage of cats and dogs and men and monkeys, it would be their business and their business alone. And I even view the socialist kibbutzim with great favor.
The reason is that on a local level progressive initiatives are more democratic and represent true self governance. And although I am personally averse to high taxation, I respect the rights of local communities to determine what portion of their earnings they would like to invest in the public sphere. On the other hands, federal efforts to impose "progress" are by their very nature coercive, and less responsive to the needs, desires and cultures of local communities. And most importantly, those who are unhappy with local initiatives are always welcome to challenge them through the democratic process or to vote with their feet and find another town or state that better reflects their values. In contrast, nothing is as permanent as temporary federal program and when politicians in DC imposes their laws and taxes across the land, there is nowhere to run.