I have long said this podcast is about Bridging The Divide Between Personal and Social Change, but I feel it is important to explain why exactly self-help and personal growth ideas matter for progressive and leftist movements. Narratives from finance to fitness to personal relationships can all subtly influence politics in ways that campaigns alone just cannot do and cannot mitigate.
Slate Article on presidential candidates, showing off their fitness accomplishments: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2023/07/francis-suarez-miami-running-5k-rfk-jr-push-ups-presidential-campaign.html
Totalizing conservative media and business ecosystem with talk radio advertisers and influencers
Conservative Finance – Dave Ramsey
Growth in Conservative Fitness Influencers – Andrew Tate, More Plates More Dates, etc.
Why should progressives be involved in self help, finance, fitness, etc.? 5 reasons:
It’s Personal, Practical, Positive, Pre-political, and conservatives already have a Presence
Trump has allowed Democrats to campaign strictly on the preservation of democracy, but that won’t last forever.
A lot of people just don’t understand how political happenings relate to their own lives
But people are looking for help with problems in their lives, that they may not know have systemic influences
Mutual aid is powerful because it’s practical
My article on pro wrestling and mutual aid: https://www.prowrestlingmusings.com/post/rediscovering-the-dark-order-s-purpose-through-mutual-aid
False health claims to make you not care as much about systems and play on your fear of getting sick and the financial consequences
Conservative ideology and self-reliance
Avoidance of the system instead of trying to fix it
Progressive ideas are seen negative, whining, as things for weak people, and not aspirational
TikToker claimed people who say housing is a human right are whining and need to pick themselves up by their bootstraps: https://www.tiktok.com/t/ZT8dhGjPX/
We need positivity in the progressive narrative
We need both personal changes strategies and to address systemic factors like healthcare, food deserts, and inequality
The ability to fall and get up with support is positive!
Democrats allocate all of their energy to campaign season only. They should have more efforts outside of that. Conservatives already do.
Folks like Ramsey lead you to think that all of your economic hardship situations can be fixed by just working harder
Self-reliance advice can be bad advice.
Imagine how much better your retirement would be with a union and a pension rather than working 18 hours a day to contribute to a 401k.
There is always some truth to these ideas though.
Even fitness experts, like Andy Frisella, have been getting into politics
His 75 Hard program and its issues are a whole different topic
Going from self-help, fitness, finance, etc. to politics is just like a sales funnel
Not everyone can comply with these programs, maybe 30% succeed and then are sold
Influencers will show results and then use those results to make you believe that anybody and everybody can solve all of their own problems on their own, without regard for systemic factors, and without public assistance
Countering the claim that “if only poor people did the hard things in life, they would not be poor.”
Political opinions are often formed before you even notice them.
Presence: Conservatives talk about intellectual diversity, but they are overwhelmingly the only voice in these spaces around personal growth, so progressives should aim to have a presence too.
Focusing on environments and political systems is essential to ensuring you can reach your potential and also help others. Both are possible at the same time. Don’t let them fool you into believing they are a contradiction.
(Episode notes are always rough, may contain errors, also apologies for any audio issues.)
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