Friday, June 10, 2005

Initial Responses

Happy to report we have received some positive initial responses and some very helpful and relevant comments. We hope that readers will begin posting these comments on this site to get the dialogue going in a public forum! Thanks to all who have contacted us, and we look forward to hearing more!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few comments (possibly somewhat unconnected, intended to be concise rather than curt; sorry if they are the latter):

There's a whole world outside the borders of the USA. You might easily learn something from the rest of the world if you look.

Your assumption of dualistic politics is a reflection of your electoral system, not a reflection of reality. Reality is far more complicated. In fact, the conceptual modelling of culture wars is creating the division it claims to describe. In particular it leads both sides to act in a highly judgemental fashion both to their own side(too weak) and to the other (the enemy).

Your association of environmentalism with pro-choice/pro-abortion politics is an assumption which may not be justified and is alienating to many.

Your reference to war is almost entirely in a metaphorical sense. Your government is engaged in a global imperialist project by military means in breach of all international human rights and war laws. You cannot ignore this and look only at what is happening within your borders. You need to understand why your people allow this imperialism to happen. I suggest this is connected to the first point.

4:04 AM  
Blogger Lessons from the Right said...

Thank you to anonymous for this comment. I absolutely agree on many of the points mentioned. The influence of the US government internationally is not to be denied, and the current war is no exception. Needless to say, Jeni and I did not support going to war in the first place, nor do we approve of the way it has progressed (sentiments with which increasing numbers of Americans are beginning to agree.)

We do not wish to ignore the role of the US internationally; however, with this project, it was our primary hope to develop an understanding of how the Right has become so powerful in our country, and what progressives have done (and failed to do) to let so many people turn away from us. This is absolutely a function of dualistic politics, as you say; however, it is important to recognize that dualistic politics IS reality in our country. While there are certainly other models of government out there (some which may indeed be more effective than our dualism), it is also clear that all recent attempts to expand into a multi-party system in the US have almost entirely failed.

You are also right that alignment of environmentalism with a larger socially progressive stance will be challenging in places. Abortion is one of those places. In fact, it seems powerful to suggest that those who identify as "pro-life" should be strong proponents of the natural world, as "life" should include other, non-human forms of life as well as unborn humans. But we hope it is possible to find places of agreement in this, i.e. a movement built around "right to a healthy life," (a similar concept to that supported by Jim Wallis, who does not support abortion with a few, very limited exceptions) in which abortion is not the only issue, but quality of life for the already born is considered as well.

Finally, we believe that the imperialism our country now seems to be demonstrating is "allowed" by the American people largely due to the success of the Right's political machine, as we describe it in our paper. Dissemination of inaccurate information through the media, careful maneuvering by the administration, the instigation of fear at almost every turn, and brilliant message framing by everyone tied into the Right's meta-structure have encouraged our citizens to support the President's wishes. Still, we know we do not have all the answers to this important question. We simply hope to contribute these ideas to the larger body of work now amassing on this subject. It is also heartening to note that the currents may be shifting.

Thank you once again for your thoughts, and I hope this is helpful.
Dahvi Wilson

6:06 PM  
Blogger Lessons from the Right said...

I agree with both of you that the American environmental movement has traditionally disregarded the needs of the larger global community and that our paper has not attempted to deviate from this approach and break new ground on this front.

I would, however, like to echo Davhi's previous comment and reiterate the fact that our project was focused exclusively on picking apart strategic operational tools used by our opposition to accomplish its objectives.

Thank you for your honest remarks.

Jeni Krencicki

9:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, you should know that the link to this blog from your web site is not working.

I was refered to your paper on, and was up until 2am last night reading it.

Clearly you wrote this paper for me and those like me: progressive liberal Americans dismayed at the immorality of the extreme right-wing takeover of government and working tirelessly to reverse the trend.

Your lessons are well founded, your paper well researched, and your conclusions extremely exciting to someone searching glimmers of light.

Every day I battle the right wing scream machine baffled by the failure of the Democratic party leadership to actually set a clear, moral, passionate vision to recapture the spirit of the nation.

Where are the leaders? Where is the infrastructure? Where is the long-term planning and coordinated approach to WINNING ELECTIONS?
Without Howard Dean and Wesley Clark and Harry Ried, it might seem hopeless.

I found your work inspiring and with your permission, will continue to refer to it and use its lessons as I work with moral progressive liberal Americans to get out from under the foot of Free-Lunch Billionaires, Extremist Evangelicals and the working class of good conscience they have duped into giving them power.

7:14 AM  
Blogger Lessons from the Right said...

Thank you very much for your comments. I am so glad to hear that this paper succeeded in bringing you some new hope and some new thinking. We would be thrilled if you would refer it to your friends and compatriots... our goal with this paper has been to get these ideas out there, into the hands of the growing population of progressives who may put them to use. Your help in doing so is greatly appreciated.

Thanks also for the note on the blog link. I'll fix that today! But I wanted to just mention that to find even more reason for hope, check out the links page on There are a lot of organizations there that are working on this, and are, in one way or another, beginning to recognize the need for a new united progressive front.

Keep up the good work!


8:53 AM  

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