Sunday, November 2, 2008
How smoothly will America be transformed into a leftist republic?
There isn't much doubt, is there? that the line will change overnight on Tuesday. For now, the prospective Obama Administration will be just another Democratic administration, perhaps a little more "liberal" than most. Socialism? Pshaw. But Wednesday morning, it will be a "clear mandate for the progressive vision".
Fervent leftism, after all, has become a kind of political religion over the past eight or ten years for a surprising number of people who used to be liberals, or mildly left-of-centre types. (Leave aside Barack Obama himself and the menagerie of far-leftists in his lifelong entourage.) Will these people, a vast number of enthusiasts and believers, and tens of thousands of old and new government job-holders, abandon or moderate their fervent views once they are rewarded with sweeping national power? Hardly likely.
Will the hair-trigger anger, even hatred, that has been on display among many of these people over the past decade dissipate now? I do think a lot of this leftish anger and hatred started out as something less than serious or even sincere: something at least partly lathered up, semi-consciously, as a way to muster energy for the political contest, not uncommonly with some air of amused irony about it. But the sneers and the hatred took on a life of their own. It has been increasingly serious, self-righteous, and certainly un-amused as the years have gone on. When it is rewarded with national power, will it dissipate? Hardly likely. Attitudes that win you power - or that you reasonably feel have won you power - are more likely to grow once you are in power.
Barack Obama's candidacy has very largely been a creation of the MoveOn, DemocraticUnderground, Kos, and media left, and the fervent and sectarian "base" generally. Look for an administration that reflects that outlook - not perfectly of course, never using actual words like socialism, pacifism, disarmament or class warfare - but trying to govern, at least some of the time, as much as possible, in their spirit.
But America is really a centre-right country. Can it be transformed into a leftist country? Into something like a Euro-socialist country? Even if Obama and certainly many of his supporters are more radical than any Western European socialist or social democratic government?
Maybe. After all, a lot of elite American institutions have turned themselves over to the left or the far left in recent decades, with barely a peep of protest. Many (in fact most) universities and colleges. The foundations. The "mainline" churches and the non-Orthodox Jewish denominations. After all, the Democratic Party. Many if not most public school systems - where the only history taught is Howard Zinn or his like: the sort of US history that would have been taught in Soviet schools. And, obviously, the media. (Yes, there is Fox. How long will it last? And talk radio. Just until the "fairness doctrine" comes in.)
Perhaps the country will now go along too. If so, a smooth transition. Still, not a happy future, I think. The laws of economics aren't likely to be repealed, even for the Messiah. And the laws of economics, at least so far, haven't exactly favoured socialist or statist command economies, certainly not over the medium to long run.
But I think there will be more resistance in America generally than there was on the road to the one-party campus.
If so, look for more anger, not less. And more lies and chicanery. If the new order requires more ACORN "voters", more double standards for the campaign finance laws, more campaigns of crazed or semi-crazed vituperation against opponents or even against the ordinary Joe (or Samuel Joe) who asks an awkward question, look for all these things. The media won't cover it, they will cover for it. Everything may not be permitted, but an awful lot might be.
It will be interesting.