The End of an EraSubmitted by Menschken on Wed, 11/14/2012 - 20:34
Ron Paul's farewell address and departure from Congress mark the end of an era.
The failure of the Ron Paul campaigns and the libertarian movement in America, from the era of Goldwater in '64 to Ron Paul's campaigns of 2007 and 2012, with the false spring of Reagan, sets us on our irreversible slide into permanent statism, empire, balkanization, identity politics, and the dissolution of both representative government and the individual as the center of the political universe.
These trends were a long time coming, beginning with the transition from the concept of "these United states," the voluntary Union, to "The United States," the indissoluble American nation and state established by the Yankee victory in the civil war.
Industrialization and the development of an "urban proletariat" and class consciousness in industrialized countries, led to both the fascism and socialism of Europe, and to the New Deal in America. In other words, the advent of the interventionist, welfare state. Pressures for socialism were nipped in the bud on the American scene with the so called Keynesian mixed economy compromise. Hence the idea of Keynes as "the savior of Capitalism."
The rearguard action of the old Right in America in the 1930s, to oppose Roosevelt and the New Deal, failed with the Second World War, and the emergence of the USA as a world superpower dominant in international markets and with a strong, unionized middle class and labor movement.
The 1970s brought renewed competition from Asia and Europe, the inflation of the guns and butter of Vietnam and Great Society under LBJ, and the abandonment of labor as a key constituency of the Democrats - the Reagan era, deregulation, outsourcing, and the financialization of the US economy through the 90s into the 2000s.
The neoconservative capture of the Republican party from the 1970s-90s, culminating in GWB, more or less killed a realistic conservative (hence constitutional/libertarian) movement in America of political significance.
Ron Paul represented the last major attempt at a resurgence of traditional Americanism in our political landscape, and is now over.
The opening of immigration to the third world into America, its rapidity and now likely permanent position as policy, portend the dissolution of a sense of American nationality and identity, the end of a relatively homogenous population with traditional left-right political forms.
The future will be one of market dominant minorities pitted against market under-performing ethnic and class majorities composed of many groups.
The welfare state is firmly in place, benefiting both the underclass and the disappearing middle class, who have no desire to foot the bill for their parents livelihood or their children's education.
A middle class with substantial ownership of property is the basic and only source of political allegiance to concepts of property and individualism. Ideology only motivates a miniscule number of people.
The future of American politics is going to be one of ethnic identity politics and class factions fighting over the spoils which constitute the government budget. Highly influential corporations and lobbies will bring up the rear. Voting blocs organized around identity and class will be pitted against the ever present interests of money. Basically a Latin American model of corporatism vs. socialism. That's assuming party politics and electoral jockeying even persist in the long run. Hopefully, not.
Whether or not culture will continue to be a monolithic consumer product or will fragment into many semi-organic constructs remains to be seen. With any luck, the latter.
In any case, the political constituency driven by pure ideology, especially traditional American concepts of individualism and market freedom, will recede, as conflicting identity and class groups emerge as the focus of political campaigns.
Whether two parties remain dominant or third parties emerge, the chance of a majority consensus focused on concepts of individual liberty, secure property, and market freedom will not likely be a serious possibility.
So, brace yourselves, friends! The future will be a grand spectacle of ugliness, inefficiency, conflict, stupidity, little wars, maybe some big ones, and a general decline and dissipation of energies. Get your seats for the death throes of western civilization. It was a good run.
Keep friends and family close, do what you can to form real organic bonds that will, or at least might, outlast the state and the paradigms of late modernity.
Some have characterized us as the "remnant" of a classical America polity, or more generally of our civilization. Like the old Roman gentry class that was swallowed up into by the empire and the collapse.
I don't know if those characterizations are right or not, we're a pretty mixed bag.
If so, the remnant needs to start thinking in different terms. Not as the late "true Romans" but as the early Christians. Start focusing on seeding the forms of the future, not hanging onto a dying past.
We need to be be less like the Catos and Ciceros and more like the early, organic Christian communities of the late Roman empire, able to outlast and subsume the role of the dying empire when that time finally comes.
We are probably born a few centuries too early for any activity of real importance, but we can at least try to become seeds of the future, and not get lost in the storms that are coming.
The conservative era is over...
The writing is on the wall...
The Rubicon has been crossed, and all that jazz.
Get your pessimism hats on, have a good cry, make your peace with the deity, and figure out what you're going to do so that your actions and lives today have some meaning 100 or 200 years from now.