Long ago when I was back in college, a bunch of us anti-war types realized that the then-dawning Libertarian movement had enough features in common with us that we really could sit down and talk about our similarities and hammer out our differences. We held what we called a "Left-Right Conference" at the University of Michigan, and invited everyone we knew in a student-political context. Well, only half a dozen people showed up -- which was a pity, because we found that yes, we really did have a lot in common.
Well, all these years later, we finally are seeing the dialog start. I happened on a political site called AlterNet, where there was an article posted called "Why Being Liberal Really Is Better Than Being Conservative"; it pulled out the usual cliches about how Liberals really are concerned for their fellow humans while Conservatives are passionately bound to "authority, loyalty and purity" -- and, being raised in old-fashioned Family Values, they were all victims of abusive parents. *Sigh*
Well, I was among the first half-dozen people to respond to the article, but I wasn't the first to bring up the word "Libertarian". The whole discussion -- over 100 posts now -- has gotten into a discussion of what Libertarian ideas are, and how they could be realistic in our modern "corporation-run" world. The posters are clearly coming from both ends of the political spectrum, and there are a lot of them. The ranting name-callers have given up, and the serious dialog has started. I've put in at least three posts explaining how a Libertarian (or even Anarchist) society would deal with social welfare ("Who'll take care of the sick and injured?" "YOU will -- you and everyone who thinks like you.") and corporate greed ("Organize!"). The discussion has gotten detailed and lively.
But the big point is, these left-wing Radicals and right-wing Libertarians are *talking* to each other, talking intelligently, noting similarities and hammering out differences -- finally, after all these years.
If only this tendency will spread! I expect I'll spend my spare time for the next week hunting up political blogs and forums to see how many of them really are conducting on ongoing, online, Left/Right Conference. I think this is what will bring on the real change in American politics -- after all these years.
--Leslie <;)))>< )O(