Again, I don't believe I’m compromising any of my principles here, only being realistic. In order for any movement, however righteous, to succeed, it must have the critical mass behind it, that, plus a winning strategy. Truth alone won’t do it unless it’s preached from the rooftops. Lenin was a first-class tactician, none better; and so was Marx to an extent. We need people like that.
The panel discussion at the New School, featuring Michael Moore, Naomi Klein and some others, is a real treat, and you shouldn’t miss it if your life depended on it – yes, two-hours long but worth every precious minute of it. For those of us who are either sound-bytes bound or expect instantaneous results, let me suggest, however, two clips: the first, starting at about ninety minutes into the presentation, the second, at about one hour and forty four minutes. The first deals with structural problems we’re facing, that democracy is facing; the second, with the importance of self-education as a prerequisite to educating “the leaders” and the masses. If you haven’t the patience to view the entire discussion, your owe it to yourself to view these two clips.
Which brings another topic into sharp relief, perhaps the unexpected find of these deliberations, if not the most important one: the idea of pluralism (tolerance, really!) in the context of an open, democratic society. I used to think tolerance was a standalone virtue, divorced from any consideration as to context. No longer!
It now occurs to me that true tolerance can flourish only as a backdrop against fully established, moral and democratic values. In the absence of any such, the term is meaningless. It’s just like with deviance, which derives its meaning from what’s considered “normal.”
Well, it’s no different with tolerance, I say. To tolerate anything or anyone must presuppose a standard, a generally agreed-upon standard. And that standard had better be either a tacit or a fully-expressed agreement as to what the dominant values are, and again, they better be democratic and moral values – the only true basis for building any worthwhile and lasting consensus.