How the Left Can Win Arguments and Influence People: A Tactical Manual for Pragmatic Progressives

How the Left Can Win Arguments and Influence People: A Tactical Manual for Pragmatic Progressives

by John K. Wilson
     
 

If we were to rely on what the pundits and politicians tell us, we would have to conclude that America is a deeply conservative nation. Americans, we hear constantly, detest government, demand lower taxes and the end of welfare, and favor the death penalty, prayer in school, and an absolute faith in the free market.

And yet Americans believe deeply in progressive

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Overview

If we were to rely on what the pundits and politicians tell us, we would have to conclude that America is a deeply conservative nation. Americans, we hear constantly, detest government, demand lower taxes and the end of welfare, and favor the death penalty, prayer in school, and an absolute faith in the free market.

And yet Americans believe deeply in progressive ideas. In fact, progressivism has long been a powerful force in the American psyche. Consider that a mere generation ago the struggle for environmentally sound policies, for women's rights, and for racial equality were fringe movements. Today, open opposition to these core ideals would be political suicide.

Drawing on this wellspring of American progressivist tradition, John K. Wilson has penned an informal handbook for the pragmatic progressive. Wilson insists that the left must become more savvy in its rhetoric and stop preaching only to the converted. Progressives need to attack the tangible realities of the corporate welfare state, while explicitly acknowledging that "socialism is," as Wilson writes, "deader than Lenin."

Rather than attacking a "right-wing conspiracy," Wilson argues that the left needs one, too. Tracing how well-funded conservative pressure groups have wielded their influence and transformed the national agenda, Wilson outlines a similar approach for the left. Along the way, he exposes the faultlines of our poll- and money-driven form of politics, explodes the myth of "the liberal media," and demands that the left explicitly change its image.

Irreverent, practical, and urgently argued, How The Left Can Win Arguments and Influence People charts a way to translate progressive ideals into reality and reassert the core principles of the American left on the national stage.

Author Biography: John K. Wilson is the author of The Myth of Political Correctness: The Conservative Attack on Higher Education and Newt Gingrich: Capitol Crimes and Misdemeanors.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814793626
Publisher:
New York University Press
Publication date:
11/01/2000
Series:
Critical America Series
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.82(w) x 8.58(h) x 0.86(d)

Meet the Author

John K. Wilson is the author of The Myth of Political Correctness: The Conservative Attack on Higher Education and Newt Gingrich: Capitol Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Progressive Majority: How the Left Got Left Behind1
Ch. 1The Death of Socialism7
Sidebar: Labels for Leftists8
Ch. 2The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy (and Why the Left-Wing Needs One, Too)22
Sidebar: Going Negative30
Sidebar: How to Get a Letter Published36
Ch. 3The Failure of Centrism and the Fall of the Democratic Party42
Sidebar: Why Progressives Need Third Parties44
Sidebar: The Class Distortion in American Elections49
Ch. 4Polls: The Circle of Lies53
Sidebar: The Frozen Pizza Polls59
Ch. 5The Politics of Money: Campaign Financing and One Dollar, One Vote60
Sidebar: Why Full Disclosure Isn't Enough65
Ch. 6The Myth of the Liberal Media: How the Press Attacks Progressives75
Sidebar: Big Bird Votes Republican: The Myth of Leftist Public Broadcasting76
Sidebar: The 1 Percent Advertising Tax80
Sidebar: Corporate Television and False Controversies84
Sidebar: Why We Need Public Broadcasting93
Ch. 7The Globalization Wars: How the Left Won (and Lost) the "Battle in Seattle"110
Sidebar: Free Trade and Economic Liberty114
Sidebar: Stopping Sweatshops on College Campuses118
Ch. 8Pragmatic Progressive121
Sidebar: Right-Wing Nuts and Other Extremists126
Ch. 9Talking Tax Cuts: Lowering Taxes on the Poor131
Sidebar: Favoring the Flat Tax134
Sidebar: Raising the Minimum Wage137
Ch. 10Making Crime a Progressive Issue143
Ch. 11Winning the Culture Wars161
Sidebar: Why Progressives Must Love Free Speech163
Ch. 12Equality for Every Child: Reforming Education174
Sidebar: Universal Child Care174
Sidebar: Attacking the SAT177
Sidebar: Teaching Evolution180
Sidebar: Supporting Prayer in Schools182
Ch. 13Fighting the Union Label: Labor on the Left184
Ch. 14The Race for Justice: Defending Affirmative Action191
Sidebar: Reparations192
Sidebar: Why Progressives Must Pay Attention to Race200
Ch. 15Universal Health Care203
Ch. 16Greener Politics: Progressives and the Environment207
Sidebar: Animal Rights and the Hazards of Publicity208
Ch. 17Why We Need Welfare and How to Change It213
Sidebar: Ending Class Warfare216
Ch. 18Ending Corporate Welfare as We Know It220
Sidebar: The $500 Plan221
Ch. 19The Defense Industry: How to Protect America by Cutting the Military232
Sidebar: Star Wars Follies232
Sidebar: Progressives and the Good War: Why Military Intervention Is Wrong235
Sidebar: Why We Need the United Nations239
Ch. 20Saving Social Security241
Ch. 21The Future of Progressives: Generation Left249
About the Author253

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