Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The So-So Fight

Over at Slate, The American Prospect's Mike Tomasky and The New Republic's Peter Beinart duke it out over Beinart's new book The Good Fight.

Their digital sparring match is only moderately interesting as Beinart argues Tomasky has misrepresented his views.

But for me the interesting thing is Beinart's argument that we need to go back to post-war liberalism as a framework for today's Democratic Party if the Dems are ever going to rule again. I have a feeling that Beinart's book doesn't look at the dark-side of post-war liberalism. Under Truman, U.S. foreign policy was concentrated on attacking anything beyond the center-left in Greece and Korea that wished for something besides free-market economics by inventing the standard refrain of the Cold War: Communist subversion.

For me, if there's any template for rediscovering the vitality of liberalism and the left it lies in the thought of Thomas Paine. This succinctly would be as much liberty at home and abroad as humanly possible. This would mean economic democracy as much as political democracy. This would mean no less a total overhaul of our domestic political and foreign policy establishments.

Politics is too important to be left to the elite, and this is the lesson anyone should take from reading Thomas Paine.

As he so confidently wrote, "We have it in our power to begin the world over again."