Wednesday, May 05, 2010

A hopeful future

Yesterday as I was walking home from the library, I stumbled upon an election rally with all the leaders of the Swedish centre-right coalition. Surrounded by orange balloons and cheerful supporters they were hammering in their message about how fiscal responsible they have been over the last four years, about the need to continue rewarding work rather than benefits, and, of course, what devastating effects another €0.05 per litre of gasoline taxation (as suggested by the red-green opposition) would have on the economy...

Looking at them standing there at the podium I was reminded of a blog post I wrote last year called “King Théoden and the fate of Swedish social democracy”. I cannot say that much has changed since then. Though the good guys are leading in the polls by a 5-10 percent margin they still lack a theoretical analysis of their own, an ability to connect the dots and to challenge head-on the misanthropic views of the right.

In order to contest everything from seemingly innocent reforms (such as the school voucher system undermining social cohesion) to the perverse idea that we need inequality to have economic growth, progressives have to trust their own history and use an informed historical analysis to show that many of the arguments employed by the right today were used already a hundred years ago (think Hirschman). But looking forward, progressives also have to project their own vision of the future, to take up the great themes of the present, like the fundamental choice between social trust and surveillance, and show how their future will simply be more hopeful.


Post a Comment

<< Home