What do the Populists want?

Liberals and other political analysts, have been perplexed for years about the political attitudes and behaviors of the American working class, especially those white and populating the so-called Red states. From Thomas Frank's book, "What's Wrong with Kansas?," to Paul Krugman's latest column in the New York Times dated November 25, 201, (http://nyti.ms/2gcRpr9), These people have wondered deeply about why so many Americans seem to be acting against their own interests regarding political and economic policy matters.


 What these pundits are missing is a sense of the humanity and dignity of people which goes beyond and deeper than rational decision-making and public policy preferences. While these people do not articulate well or even accurately what really ails or concerns them you can make a good argument that do not like the bare-knuckled competition of contemporary capitalism, they want meaning in their lives beyond being mere workers and consumers, and they want respect for living the "small life" well, or at least as well as they can do it.


 To get these people on their side, in a sense, liberals and progressives need to address the deep psychological attitude which mostly motivates these people and to appeal to their wish for a balance in their lives between private and public interests, their quest for meaning, and their insistence on respect. 


 The book, "An Action Manual," refers to this addressing of the psychological attitude as BMR-- Balance, Meaning, and Respect.  Until this psychological attitude is properly recognized and addressed, you can forget about detailed policy proposals and tinkering with the mere mechanics of the governmental processes.


 What is really needed is an understanding of a new paradigm of American governance and how we socially relate to one another. There is no way of ultimately bridging the perspectives of the populists and the more "rational"  political actors other than seeing and thinking about American political elements with a new perspective. That perspective involves moving America from its 18th-Century institutions and principles to a  21st-Century level involving being Smart about governance and social relations. 


 Being smart means updating our political institutions to more modern, professional, and rational ones. It means creating a new social "tribe" including nearly all Americans (i.e., an American Team.) It means imposing a collective interest and rationality alongside of our individualist/capitalist ones. (See the book for more discussion of these topics.)


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