The Tyee has dusted off a piece which Murray Dobbin wrote four years ago. It's worth a read. Dobbin maintains that progressives have been infected by the same consumer culture that is destroying our politics and our planet:
We have known for years that our consumer culture is out of control and our obsession with having more and more stuff has reached the status of a virus. Our consumer-driven global economy is a lethal threat to the planet and every one of its ecosystems.
The lock that consumerism has on Western so-called civilization is formidable -- a virtual death-grip on our culture and our future as a species.
Consumer culture is buttressed by what Michael Lerner calls "secular fundamentalism -- the tendency amongst mainstream activists to stick rigidly to a rationalist and technocratic interpretation of both politics and culture." That commitment to rigid rationalism leads to civic apathy -- unless, like the Right, you bemoan the loss of community. According to Learner:
The Right speaks about the collapse of families, the difficulty of teaching good values to children, the fear of crime, and the absence of spirituality in their lives. The Right seems to understand their hunger for community and connection.
The Left, writes Dobbin, needs a radical vision of community. It needs to rise above rationalism and appeal to the common good and to common decency. The Right bemoans the loss of community while it advocates hyper individualism. The challenge for the Left is to connect the dots. Hyper individualism leads to the loss of community.
Community is fundamental. Our politics and our planet are at stake.