It's finally happened: the Progressive Book Club has begun operations, offering an alternative to both mainstream non-political clubs and right-wing ones such as the Conservative Book Club. PBC's book list is a little thin so far, although there are plans to expand it. There is also a philanthropic aspect to PBC:
Progressive Book Club is committed to building a powerful movement for change. That is why we work with a broad spectrum of media, political, and activist organizations - groups dedicated to the environment, human rights, literacy, and many other progressive causes - and why we support them with a substantial portion of our revenues. Unlike other booksellers, when you join Progressive Book Club, you can select a beneficiary organization to support via the books you buy as a PBC member. We will donate $2 from the purchase of each regular club-priced book ($10 or more) to the group you select.
Ross Douthat writes at The Atlantic that:
For a long time, liberals have enjoyed the advantages that flow from dominating the commanding heights of culture, and the disadvantages as well. On the one hand, the near-universal dominance of left-of-center ideas in the publishing houses and TV networks, universities and Hollywood studios has given liberals tremendous power to set the terms of national debate. On the other, the establishmentarian spirit that comes with this sort of dominance has tended to breed cocooning, sclerosis, and the inability of many liberals to take their own side in an argument, which has often left them at the mercy of the tight-knit and pugilistic insurgents of the modern Right.
Uh, Mr Douthat? I'd like to point out something that you may not have noticed, so please check your calendar. The year is 2008, not 1968. The "near-universal dominance of left-of-center ideas" of which you speak has scarcely existed during the last forty years of conservative rule, despite the GOP's perennial desire to paint itself as an insurgency.
Has he not recognized the significance of the fact that liberal groups like the PBC tend to be startups rather than forty-four-year-old institutions like the Conservative Book Club?