I think she is on to something. In my youth, the politically concerned threw themselves in leftish proto-"revolutionary" struggles and disdained the prosaic practice of U.S. politics. I'm not going to say we were all wrong -- the complacent racist and sexist society of the Vietnam era needed a good shaking. But aside from a few stalwarts, mostly African American community leaders like John L. Lewis, those of us who insisted on maintaining critical distance, on staying "outside" the system, ceded a lot of everyday power to people who didn't share our values.
A subsequent generation of political types, the cohort of the Reagan/Clinton era "free market" era, threw themselves into the sort of non-profit policy advocacy organizations Freeland references. There didn't seem to be anywhere else to be. And her characterization of the allure of plutocrat-funded "pop-up political movements" to contemporary young techies seems apt, if maybe too glib.
Freeland is an accomplished journalist, the author of Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else, a book that deserves a lot more attention among my progressive friends than I'm aware that it has received. Interestingly, having chronicled the damage the super rich are doing to democracy, Freeland now seems to have joined the political fray herself. A Canadian, she's a a Liberal Party candidate for Parliament. (That positions her as a left liberal, even a socialist, in U.S. terms, though probably merely a solid centrist citizen in her own.)
This post was queued up before I left for Bhutan.