Are Democrats really so green and mean?

I’m watching the recent video discussion on gun violence and am loving much of it.
However, hearing Ken launch (as he often does) into the part where he describes the progressive part of the Democratic party in terms of a very mean and imbalanced version of the Green altitude, I keep feeling that this really does not jive entirely with the reality I am seeing:
Yes, as usual the evolutionary analysis of the Democrats and Republicans (emergence of green in the 60s and how it started splitting “liberals”), is amazing and rings true.
Yet–for example–listening to the Democratic debates and picking out the most progressive candidates, I do not hear ANYONE represent the views that Ken describes: anti free speech, wanting all outcomes to be entirely equal, calling people “racist” because they want “color-blindness”, etc.

It seems to me a bit that Ken is reacting to some kind of traumatization from certain college minorities, that he may have had to deal with. I am not saying that these “mean-green” types do not exist. I can see them in videos produced on the intellectual dark web or conservative pundits, but they seem to me to be small vocal minorities, usually extremely young and not represented in ANY candidates of the Democratic party.

I DO understand some of the deeper, more subtle (and therefor probably more powerful) problems of green (extreme relativism, etc.) and that they are an important philosophical problem to be aware of, but I really don’t see the extreme version of green he describes anywhere in actual politicians of the Democratic party–especially when it comes to actual policy and not just words or “dog-whistles” to a group of young voters that are on that extreme spectrum (Ha! The left can use “dog-whistles” too!)

Can anyone set me straight around this?


Hi Mbohu, great question. As an “integral progressive” myself, I too think that Ken sometimes leans a bit hard into his criticisms of the left, and I often try to make the case to Ken that, while I agree that some portion of leftist culture subscribes to these extreme views (particularly in our circus-mirror internet culture), the actual representatives being elected by the left typically do not display these same excesses. In fact, one of my major fears for the Democratic Party is that they become increasingly beholden to “woke” culture, just as the GOP has become beholden to its own red-meat base.

Where I think Ken is correct, however, is that the Democratic left do not currently have a real coherent “leading edge” to point to at this moment, which convinces a lot of folks on the left (and right) that this often-naive-but-well-intentioned woke culture itself represents that cutting edge. As a result, the political left is struggling to form a holistic vision that really captures the full gestalt of our time. Bernie comes close, but his holism generally extends only to the LR quadrant, and leaves out much of the LL cultural zeitgeist that Trump was able to tap into so successfully. Interestingly, Marianne Williamson is one of the only ones on the stage who is invoking this overall LL zeitgeist, and the only Democrat explicitly bringing in interior perspectives and values and visions into the conversation. I am hoping that she can hang around long enough for folks like Bernie and Elizabeth Warren (and Dems in general) to learn something from her approach. (I am currently supporting Warren, myself.)

So all that said, yeah I am an integral progressive, and yeah I am aware that sometimes the “progressive” side of that description puts me in some fairly embarrassing company. And aside from our criticisms of some aspects of leftist culture, as a political party they appear to me to be the only grownups in the room — especially when compared to the constellation of opportunists and anti-intellectuals that comprise so much of today’s GOP. Which I say with great sadness, because in two party system like ours, we really need a good faith, loyal opposition in play.


Thank you for your reply, Corey. No wonder I like listening to you. I very much agree with you on all fronts (re. LL, Bernie, Marianne Williamson, etc.)
As someone who grew up in Europe, with a parliamentary system, the 2-party system is one of the hardest things to wrap my mind around. It seems like it necessarily makes for some strange bedfellows and a true leading edge must take many detours and hidden paths to come to the fore. If you think that a leading edge will always be small at first (by the time it’s 5-10% it’s probably really well established) and a party necessarily has to appeal to at least (close to) 50%, that will always be very tricky.
RE. “woke culture”, I am wondering if another valid way of looking at this is by including our knowledge about trauma and especially intergenerational trauma (which some scientists now say can be passed on via epigenetics).
If I look at the behavior of that section of the political discourse, it seems to me like they are responding very much from a place of trauma (and that seems to be the case with some portions of the right as well), making any reasonable discussion impossible. After all, in a traumatized place, reason is the last thing you can easily access. So, while we want to allow some space for the trauma to rise to consciousness and be healed, allowing the people who react from that place to make decisions for others (and especially for the perceived perpetrators) would be a recipe for disaster.

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Disaster is always brewing. I think the key is to get ahead of the arising moment and take action from the next stage. This is what it means to be leading edge, to be focused fully not in what is arising, but on the design of the next emergence.

Ken is right that there is little leading edge even trying to envision what this new design will look like politically, but I do see a lot of that happening in other sectors. Honestly I think we are really close to it coming together. I see this convergence happening within the next decade.

I remember a question and answer I saw with Ken once where he was asked to envision this new design. I recall his answer being to the effect of “that’s not what I do, I found the system, you need to design the solutions”. I think about that a lot…it’s our job to envision what this next stage will look like! Really, there is so much great stuff happening if you just train your focus. Right now politics and media are the trailing edge not the leading edge, but again, they are all first tier systems so that makes sense. I think integralist need to focus less on critiquing the trailing edge and look more to designing the leading edge. If nothing else it’s a lot more fun!

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TBH, I think the whole concept of MGM is basically just Ken shadowboxing. And the results of that have been disastrous for the Integral community.

Reading (slowly but surely) Wilber’s Religion of Tomorrow book, I’m on the section of dysfunctions of 2nd tier and just got to this: “a very common pathology at 2nd tier-perhaps even the most common-is a green allergy.” “Green allergies have reached near epidemic proportions in Integral communities.” “They overlook the 'many gifts of green”…Earlier in the book he calls green “half-integral”.
“In one integrally oriented organization, it appeared that around 85 percent of the members had a 2nd tier cognition and a green center of gravity (talk Integral, walk green) and the rest had 2nd tier cognition and a 2nd tier center of gravity (talk and walk integral).”
How does one walk the talk?
I asked in a separate thread what does someone have to do to “earn” the integral structure…no responses yet.
Does knowledge of AQAL make someone integral? Can you be integral and have zero spiritual practice/no Enlightment/no center of gravity in subtle states, etc?

This is a great question(s). There is a lot to unpack here. One challenge right now is the internet has given rise to increased “ways to talk”, but no one has really figured out how to then develop it into “ways to walk”. Wanting to walk takes courage and is a very awkward process. We need to steward this process of “creative failure” with a spirit of compassion and passion.

I think a lot about what a platform like that would look like. Open mic, open source creative collective for new ways of doing things. Twitter in action…Flutter:)

I think it will be very hard to be integral without state development. I don’t know that I can intelligently articulate why but I think one is dealing with too much complexity and if there aren’t subtle and causal resources to rely on I can’t see how one does it. I certainly don’t have the “mind” to do it, although I can imagine a person who could, but they would be rare.

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So interesting these deep dives into current events and the very very modern philosophy and spiritual approach integarlists are taking (or evolving) . I keep watching that someone will go back into the Generations theory that Steve Bannon and some others have relied on to ply their political might with. And it might be under evaluated as it were. I agree all of what is being said here and how progressives struggle to see why Bernie doesn’t take off. Simply I would say that he is not a boomer and his time has come and gone. He could have beat Hillary (defeated by the mean greens?) and would have been our President; but Boomers want their day, right away. And Trump is a Boomer thru and thru. Pathological, but none the less. Boomers are a major and not a minor generation so its too late for Bernie. Sanders generation was all about doing it right. They ’ get er done’. Such is Nancy Pelosi. The center liberal wing still clings to this pragmatism. Bannon saw the mechanics of Generation theory ( he is a student) clear as day and now is having his way in Italy. In Generation theory he is grabbing the ring set up by the radical right and applying mass quantities of narcissism in his wake. I am a boomer and lets face it- the time to save the world for our generation was 30 even 20 years ago. We burned up on our me ness, greeness and a whole lot of consumerism. Actually Marianne Williamson would be the best antidote. Mayor Pete - would be alright I suppose but his past, his roots are very suspect. Modern or not- evolutionary or regressive- we may be doomed in our own glory. Too little and way way too late.

Your sense of optimism energizes me! :wink:

or not as the case may be. I failed to note Elizabeth Warren. Which is a logical path from the Silent Generation- because she is a person with a plan. Thats how things get done. Boomers tend to fight about which idea. Some want no idea- non action misunderstood in a sense. Again Bernie ‘had’ a plan- Marianne would come up with the right one if you can count on the cosmos. Mayor Pete- the plan of all plans. But you talk about optimistic!!!

Are you referencing this generation:

I like that term Corey, Integral Progressive. I think I’ll use that from now as it seems to fit me best as I understand it. Thank you for naming it!