4 thoughts on “21st Century Public Policy Priorities

  1. bystander June 11, 2017 / 8:48 am

    I wish it weren’t possible for you to have outlined those priorities so…..succinctly.

    When stated that way, it sure seems like we ought to be able to amend them. “There is no alternative” just doesn’t seem to justify them.

    • William Timberman June 11, 2017 / 10:39 am

      The statement itself invokes the alternative, no? From the time I first encountered it, the dialectic as a concept has always seemed to me to be a form of sympathetic magic, meaning that a gripe, properly considered, is actually the first step on the road to enlightenment. Of course the older you get, the easier it is to comprehend what’s dying than what’s being born. Makes a person seem cranky, dyspeptic, anti-social, and rightly so, I suppose, from the perspective of someone with more life left to live. Common as it is, though, thinking that the world is ending because we as individuals are coming closer to our end has got to be one of the least admirable forms of egotism, and — gallows humor aside — I can’t actually subscribe to it.

      The short version: I’m no longer in any position to provide alternatives, but I’m pretty sure that a lot of younger, more capable people are working on them even as my griping dwindles away to a muttered aphorism or two. The necessary amendments will come from them.

  2. Pedinska June 12, 2017 / 6:53 am

    Re: The necessary amendments will come from them.

    Pretty sure we saw a little bit of that with the UK elections last week. It gives me hope that the US will also, eventually, be dragged kicking and screaming toward something resembling, however weakly, a course correction as well.

    Hope you are both well.

    • William Timberman June 12, 2017 / 7:50 am

      There are signs, yes, but when you think about it, how could there not be? Bernie hasn’t gone away — I marvel that he’s a year older than I am and still barnstorming around the country. (An anecdote from back in the day: A.J. Muste being helped up onto a stake-bed truck in Berkeley at 81 — the year before he died, in fact — to address and encourage a crowd of Anti-Vietnam protestors. We twenty-somethings marveled at the fire in the old guy, and how contemporary he seemed to us.)

      Then, as you say, there’s Jeremy Corbyn’s confounding of the Torygraph and the Sun’s character assassins, not to mention the cold water thrown on the Le Pen conflagration in France, and the increasing rumblings from the Left in places like Hungary and Poland. Most amazing of all, there’s the say what? announcement that 20,000 members — and counting — are now on the rolls of the Democratic Socialists of America. A drop in the bucket in historical terms, but still….

      It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

      We’re in good company after all. We should smile occasionally, really we should. (And I have to say that grandchildren, despite my fears for them and their parents, have helped me a lot with that.)

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