Irretrievably Broken

It doesn’t really matter in the long term whether Trump or Clinton wins the 2016 Presidential election. Both Left and Right are now screaming at their computer screen and tearing their hair. Just hear me out.

Americans think short-term.  So do Western Europeans.  This is why Europe lost 100% of its colonial wars.  This is why the United States spent 10+ years in Vietnam with nothing to show for it except 57,000 dead Americans.  This is most certainly why the Islamic State exists today, when less than 10 years ago, Iraq was a pacified country.  There is something in the Western/Christian mindset that just won’t easily allow for long-term thinking.  I will leave it to historians and sociologists to explore the reasons for that.  In West vs. West conflicts (WWI, WWII European Theater, etc.), things play out with some predictability because mindsets are similar on both sides.  In East vs. West conflicts, such as the Korean War, Indonesian Independence War, the long struggle for Indian independence, and most visibly the Vietnamese “conflict’, the forces of the West were continually baffled and out-thought by their Eastern counterparts.  But that is really a subject for a different time.

I said earlier that the Western/Christian mindset does not easily adapt to long-term thinking, not that it can’t adapt.  It has occasionally done so with great effect at various times in history.  At the turn of the 20th Century, educational and social “reformer” John Dewey and other budding socialists/communists decided that a workers revolution could never actually take place in America, but through influencing education, especially public education, eventually the population would cry out for socialism.  They knew that this would take generations.  They knew that if they gained a firm control over public education, it could not fail.  For the most part, they succeeded.

We are currently living through the final results of Dewey’s experiment.  In the United States, as in most nations with coastlines, the majority of the population lives on or near the coasts in crowded urban zones.  In the US, we often refer to the ACELA Corridor – the Atlantic coast between Washington, DC and Boston, and the “Left Coast” of California, Oregon, and Washington, as the prime territory of the Democratic Party.  In between, or fly-over country, as the beltway pundits named it in the 1980s, we have a majority of Republican/conservative voters.  The various representatives of these two populations, while seeing America’s problems and possibilities from different angles, were always able to work together to solve the problems and advance the possibilities.  Neither side got everything, but each got something.  At some point in the last 20 years, this broke down.  While there were several factors contributing to this, the force driving the wedge was economic.

As Margaret Thatcher said; “Socialism is great until you run out of other people’s money”.  When you have a large majority of producers, and a small number of takers, the welfare state can be supported indefinitely.  When the number of takers reaches 20% or so, you’ve got problems.  When it reaches 47%, the problems have you.  Don’t let anyone tell you differently – this is all about power.  They (Democrats, SJW’s, the poverty-industrial complex) want you to see the “poor” as unable to survive “with dignity” without the overarching reach of Big Government.  But they don’t want you to see Big Government, they want you to see concern.  This is how they retain political power.  This is a constitutional republic.  There is no delineated right to “dignity” in the United States Constitution.  That may sound brutal to those educated to believe everyone should get a trophy, but it is a fact that cannot be avoided.  If you want dignity, you create it for yourself.  It is not bestowed upon you.

So at one end we have producers, who are not only the engine of the economy, but the funders of the welfare state.  At the other end we have an interesting coalition of takers and the über rich, who are, in the first case living off the labor and sweat of the producers, and in the second case absorbing the power given to them by the takers at the polls and relieving their “White guilt”.  There is resentment where there was once community.  There is hostility where there was once a bond.  Happy talk is just that.  There is no cement, no adhesive, that can return these two populations to unity.  Where there was a crack, there is now a gulf.  Our republic is irretrievably broken.

There are a number of ways this cycle can end, from a massively destructive civil war to divorce in which groups of states go their own way, both economically and politically.  The only sure outcome is that no realistic outcome will see this nation as united as it once was.

May you live in interesting times.

 

 

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