In “Why Have Democrats Failed in the State Where They’re Most Likely to Succeed? Massachusetts should be a model state for liberal public policy, but instead it is one of the country’s most unequal” for The Nation, adapted from his new book, Listen, Liberal: Or What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? Thomas Frank discusses the rise of Uber, dry-erase walls in the Innovation District, and Elizabeth Warren as a “great exception.”
The answer is that I’ve got the wrong liberalism. The kind of liberalism that has dominated Massachusetts for the last few decades isn’t the stuff of Franklin Roosevelt or the United Auto Workers; it’s the Route 128/suburban-professionals variety. (Senator Elizabeth Warren is the great exception to this rule.) Professional-class liberals aren’t really alarmed by oversized rewards for society’s winners. On the contrary, this seems natural to them—because they are society’s winners. The liberalism of professionals just does not extend to matters of inequality; this is the area where soft hearts abruptly turn hard.
Frank is a co-founder of The Baffler periodical (“We … pioneered the cyber-skepticism that suddenly seems so urgent and necessary.”) which started in Charlottesville, Virginia, moved to Chicago, and is now based in … Cambridge. He will speak about his book on Friday, April 8, at 7 p.m. at First Parish Church in Harvard Square. You can read another excerpt from the book here on The Baffler’s website.