While politicians easily rake in hundreds of millions of dollars for their campaigns just for the asking, bloggers who do what politicians ought to do, and invariably don't, which is clarify the issues and inspire thoughtful debate, are reduced to begging for their basic survival, in order to be able to continue do what the rest of society does not have the time or the wherewithal to do for itself.
A case in point is Arthur Silber, blogger extraordinaire, who plows through the b.s. politicians spread around like so much manure, growing weeds, not grass -- thought weeds that choke the truth from the body politic. When he's not ill or stressed for money, or burying loved ones, he's doing some of the best blogging in the progressive sphere, offering one, after another and another masterpiece of analysis that would be hard to come by anywhere else. Arthur writes from the soul, drawing from his ecclectic interests in art, literature, and a boundless curiosity about life in general. He's also a clear political thinker and a cogent writer. In a time when lies, propaganda, muddled-reasoning, and confusion abound, clarity of thought is at a premium and ought to be sustained, if not handsomely rewarded.
So go check out Once Upon a Time...", and please consider offering a generous reward to Arthur's paypal account. Don't -- please, please don't -- let another great blogger go silent for lack of subsistence funds, for it is upon such as these that the survival of humanity depends. (Of course, Arthur isn't the only blogger hard pressed for funds. antiwar.com just recently posted their quarterly fundraising appeal, saying "it's going lousy").
As to the question in my title, this is an important subject that deserves much more indepth analysis than I have the time to devote. However, MyDD posted "The One-Way Flow Of Progressive Movement Money" back in January. It remains an excellent starting point for future discussion.
My own feeling, briefly stated, is that one of the root causes of the pausity of funding for progressive bloggers can be found in our national pathology for consumer spending. People give generously and freely to the establishment, whether polilitical or corporate, because they've been conditioned to trust establishment more than they trust individuals. They buy the familiar brand, the label, and pay the entity, and yet become exceedingly stingy when it comes to paying for individual efforts. On an even deeper level, there is a hidden bias among liberals in general, based on a belief that individuals ought to "sacrifice" themselves for the "greater good," and that asking anything for oneself means "taking a bite from the forbidden fruit." It is an indication of how deeply embedded puritanism is in the American psyche, even among self-proclaimed progressive atheists. Indeed one of the commenters on MyDD highlights this point when he says, "It could be a problem that many progressives consider money the forbidden fruit."
The consequences of this way of thinking are that progressives continue to empower the establishment with their money, even as they rail against the corruption within that establishment, while disempowering the movement itself, by impoverishing creative and committed individuals who labor to advance its cause, and then wonder why the powers-that-be continue to wield all the power.
This is not a sustainable condition and it has to change.
Posted by Diana at April 29, 2007 02:48 PM