Friday, November 30, 2012

    1. Where’s the real Tea Party when we need it?
    2. Clotheslines are for Proles.


Stacy Mitchell, of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), packs a ton of information into a 15-minute TEDx talk.

The core insight, I think, is that sprawl and big box stores and the death of local businesses is not natural or inevitable. It’s the result of policy decisions by our officials, influenced by those rich corporate powers who benefit from the current arrangement.

She notes that there’s been a resurgence of support for small farms, local businesses, and community banks, but argues:

As remarkable as these trends are, they are unlikely to amount to more than an small sideshow on the margins of the mainstream if the only way we can conceive of confronting corporate power and bringing about a new economy is through our buying decisions… What we really need to do is change the underlying policies that shape our economy. We can’t do that through the sum of our individual behavior in the marketplace. We can only do it by exercising our collective power as citizens.

I wish our current “Tea Party” were truer to its roots: opposition to corporate power and privilege. To quote Bruce Bartlett’s Revenge of the Reality-Based Community, which is getting its 15 minutes of fame as I write this, “Honest to God, I am not a liberal or a Democrat. But these days, they are the only people who will listen to me.”


Some of the decisions that shape our lives are not made individually, or in the halls of government, but in a lawyer’s or developer’s office. I live in a place the developer of which decided “clotheslines are for the proletariat, and the subdivision I’m envisioning will be for the bourgeois.” Thus, restrictive covenants forbid a small, sustainable, and thus subversive, act of building a solar-powered clothes dryer.

I don’t think I’ll readily live in a place like this again if I move.

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Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.