So we have yet another story about the Left / Democratic Party setting up think tanks and what not in order to compete with the Conservatives / Republican Party. Because, of course, it’s those think tanks that have shifted the citizenry to the right. It’s certainly not the failure of Leftist policies.
What’s interesting is that this putative solution embodies precisely why the Left is fading away. It’s all about process. It’s cargo cult politics. The Right is winning, the Right has think tanks, therefore the Left needs think tanks. What’s missing is that the Right’s think tanks were set up in order to promote and develop existing conservative principles. In contrast, the Left wants the think tanks to create those principles. Or just promote and develop … something. In the same way that Leftist programs have failed to deliver in the real world because the evaluation critieria is generally whether the program looks like it is doing good rather than actual performance, I expect this effort to fail.
Given that the basic Left vision of activist government simply doesn’t work, what could they do? They would have done best to adopt the Opportunity Society which has an activist government that, rather than helping people directly, helps and guides them to improve themselves. Unfortunately, that would involve accepting limits on the ability of government to create a utopia, which is the cornerstone of the Leftist worldview. Think tanks aren’t going to overcome a problem like that.