Sunday, November 7, 2010
Will It Matter?
Will the election matter? Or will the political class simply carry on?
Mike Ledeen is optimistic. I hope he's right. (Faster, please.)
But Ruy Teixeira says the demographics still favour the Left, statist hegemony, and the political class. (As, of course, does Teixeira. Teixeira's Yale classmates report that he was a Weatherman as a Yale undergraduate. Now he is a mainstream left-wing Democrat. Let's not go into how much of a change this entails, or doesn't.)
The European precedent isn't encouraging. During the past decade, the political class "project" was to transfer more sovereignty and power to the European Union, where the bureaucracy is unaccountable, and away from the (formerly) self-governing national democracies. The vehicle for this was going to be a new European Constitution. The Constitution was put to a referendum in Holland - and defeated. It was put to a referendum in France - and defeated. It was put to a referendum in Ireland - and defeated. Nothing daunted, the "Constitution" was simply re-named a "Treaty" and went into force anyway.
(Successive British governments, including the Tories now in power, promised a referendum in Britain. They reneged - i.e. they lied. Polls now make clear that not only would the EU Constitution/Treaty be defeated, but that a majority in Britain would vote to leave the EU. There will never be an EU referendum in Britain.)
Will America be different? The post-election Obama presser suggests Obama doesn't think so. ("What we had here is a failure of communication.")
Meanwhile, for a taste of life under "social democracy", tune in to Prime Minister's Question Time in the House of Commons. (It's huge fun to watch, whatever your politics. Kudos to C-SPAN for carrying it!) Every single question, every week, is about what goodies there will be from the government - or rather, now that Britain is bankrupt, what will have to be cut, but what the government will still promise. (So far, by the way, David Cameron hopelessly out-punches poor Ed Miliband. Question Time has real comic potential, if you fancy an unfair fight.)
Or back to North America, here is Macleans - the MSM Canadian weekly - on corruption in Quebec. Which is pervasive. Even Macleans acknowledges - softly, softly - that vast, endemic corruption follows from the fact that government commands and controls everything, or almost everything, that matters in Quebec life.
Let's hope Mike Ledeen is right. And that Mark Steyn's ebullient pessimism is unjustified. (The pessimism, that is. The ebullience is a gift of God.)
You make me laugh. Insulting someone else with your typical ad hominem attack because they used to be in SDS. You were a fellow traveler yourself. "Let's not go into how much of a change this entails, or doesn't."
Posted by: Anonymous | Nov 7, 2010 5:53:26 AM
I think you've got cause and effect reversed. I can assure you that the province of Quebec was a rat's nest of corruption decades before it became a modern, European-style social democracy. (In fact, it was a quasi-Fascist Catholic autocracy first. If you're interested, do a little reading on Lionel Groulx and Maurice Duplessis.)
As for Europe, its people were looking to the state, and/or to its aristocratic elite, for benevolent-but-firm guidance and generous material indulgence long before the invention of the welfare state. (Universal health care, if I recall correctly, was the brainchild of that legendary lefty-pinko granola-munching socialist, Otto von Bismarck.)
I don't know if Americans will eventually evolve into a populace of European-style passive subjects, but if they do, it will be as a result of a long, gradual cultural evolution, not the passage of a couple of new government programs.
Posted by: Dan Simon | Nov 7, 2010 6:26:54 AM
Failure to communicate? Huh? I thought O was the greatest orator in the history of mankind.
I'd think a failure to communicate would be the very last excuse in the world after all the Obama-mania we've experienced the past two plus years.
O really is the novice his critics thought he was.
Posted by: anon | Nov 7, 2010 10:36:15 AM
At least the cocks are in the ring.
Bismarck was asked by his boss to make that annoying socialist thingy go away, and he got too clever. Maybe Rove is a relation.
Posted by: james wilson | Nov 7, 2010 10:39:14 AM
The political class wants business-as-usual to continue but it cannot. Two things are in the way of the Left's project. One, probably enough Americans oppose it to keep it from happening, at least for now. Two, and this is the big one, the money isn't there to pay for it. The Left's plans to expand govt spending and control over the economy are colliding with the impending insolvency of our entitlements schemes. The Left's answer is to borrow and tax more, but that will merely hasten the inevitable reckoning. The voters show signs of understanding this even if most pols don't.
Posted by: Jonathan | Nov 7, 2010 8:19:22 PM
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Posted by: Undergraduate Dissertation Proposal | Nov 8, 2010 5:37:26 AM
Maimon, you're too pessimistic, there are the beginnings of change in Britain France and other European countries and there will be changer here as well. The bottom line is that the statist ideology is not really persuasive any more. It rebounds in a crisis (sometimes) but cannot sustain itself beyond that.
Posted by: mike livingston | Nov 9, 2010 6:34:12 PM
To begin with, we should recall that the House flipped, and not the Senate, because of how the Miracle at Philadelphia set up Comgress. Staggered terms are only one of the many brakes on "change" written into the Constitution to apare us the baneful effects of both temporary enthusiasm and of faction, even majority faction. Only a liar or a fool would dwell on the near miss to take the Senate when only one-third of the Senate was standing for election as a sign of the continue vitslity of the left. Keep your rubashka on, tovarish. we'll get around to it nest time.
Likewise the generation gap issue is overblown by the so-called, self-proclaimed "progressives." Young people grow up, their interests change. We used to say that a conservative was a liberal who has been mugged. There's a better way to put that. A suburban-dwelling, SUV-driving conservative is a liberal whose children have been terrorized by critter hooligans in a critter school.
Now the quota-monger race-baiting wing of the Left Left would want to play the race card, and pin their hopes on the importation of enough minorities to take over the whole water-park. Wrong again. The story of immigration is one wave of immigrants after another "beoming white," as the sociologists put it. People do not come here to make America like the places they have fled. Just watch how this goes down in the coming decades.
Posted by: Lou Gots | Nov 7, 2010 3:54:04 AM