Democratic cultural policy

Government should take pro-active measures to support pro-democratic (with a small “d”) cultural movements. That is to say, the tools and scale of government should be brought to bear on promoting democratic practice and minimizing authoritarian attitudes.

The Wagner Act paved the way for this form of policy - the US government is committed to promoting unionization as a form of workplace organizing, in order to give citizens more venues to “practice” democratic skills. More policy work needs to be done in this space, including:

  • Civic education in schools, especially education aimed at protecting young students from cults and online radicalization
  • Greater use of citizen assemblies, at every level of government, to explore policy problems; Wayne Leibman discusses the use of citizen assemblies in his Great Battlefield interview at the 34:18 mark
  • Subsidies and other financial incentives for pro-democratic indepdent films and other cultural products, similar to ideas, as Rachel Lears discusses in her Great Battlefield interview at the 30:13 mark
  • Tools and education programs for adults who wish to become civic or online leaders
  • Encouragement for civic society institutions like universities and churches to provide more widespread opportunities for organizing and democratic practice
  • Assistance for families affected by cults and online radicalization, as is practiced in Germany
  • Use of government holidays to promote pro-social civic behavior, e.g. a federal holiday for Election Day or National Voter Registration day
  • Greater investment in Americorps to promote bridge building in civic society, as Nealin Parker discusses in her Great Battlefield interview at the 1:06:15 mark
  • Policies to heal the urban/rural divide by providing greater interaction between these areas, in both directions
  • Tax credits and other incentives for civic society organizing work

Similarly, government should seek to actively combat toxic problems in civic society. Prime examples are the crisis of loneliness, which is a serious public health crisis only exacerbated by the COVID-19 quarantine; and the crisis of masculinity, which is a serious civic society problem which tends to leave open a space for misogyny and online radicalization.

Ideas like those above are described in much greater detail in Rachel Kleinfeld’s 2022 report, Five Strategies to Support US Democracy. The Death of Deliverism also touches on some of the same underlying problems and recommend service-based organizing as an antidote.