The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Perhaps the political crisis which has turned our representative organs into playgrounds for endless debates, childish maneuvering, and endless factionalism, stems from the fact that the Progressive Left and the Conservative Right have disappeared in American Politics. Instead, what we have is a Conservative Left and a Reactionary Right. For those unfamiliar with these terms, this essay will explain how the terms Liberal and Conservative have drifted away from their original meaning, to the detriment of American Politics. The traditional typology of Right and Left, where Right means
those in politics who desire a turn towards the past and its institutions and traditions, while the
Left represents those in politics who advocate experimentation with new ideas, sometimes radical. The Left typically justifies his ideology upon helping the disadvantaged advance their lives into a better state and providing welfare to everyone. The Right typically justifies their ideology upon tradition, the past, and dogma; further, there is a particular emphasize upon the sanctity of the individual, which cannot be explained but by their strong affiliation towards a traditional interpretation of Christianity, which is also deeply rooted in both groups, though on the Left, there are many more of the Jewish faith as well. Without a strong balance of Progress and Conservatism, a society can be destined toward no other end then rapid self consumption. (Be forewarned, this article is about to make references to Nazis and Communists).
Consider countries with a similarly lopsided Left wing and Right wing in politics. Fascist Germany before Hitler's democratic election to the German Parliament was torn between far left Communist Elements, who in reality were not strong, the moderate left and the moderate right, with the Nazi Party representing the Reactionary Right. In reality, the 4 factions were biased toward the right, on the forces of fear and conservatism -- the impulse to hold on to and protect the little bit we have in life that we think we can really trust, regardless of the consequence to the larger society, as long as that consequence does not return to affect the individual as he perceives his situation at the present time. The communists were so threatening to the other political factions that the moderate left and right combined with Hitler and his far right reactionaries, swinging the country towards a compromise between a moderate right conservatism and a far right fascism with some centrist liberals involved as well, putting the center of gravity of political Germany to the right of the Moderate conservatives. Once the communists were eliminated, the center of gravity in German Politics shifted further toward to the right with the Conservatives and Fascists eventually standing as guardians of the weimar republic, that both groups hated. However, the liberals were not so much liberals who sought social progress, but were actually conservatives themselves, seeking to protect the delicate Weimar republic formed after WWI, Germany's first real democratic system. The conservatives wanted to return Germany to the pre-WWI Prussian imperial system of military rule over the society. Thus, in this sense, the conservatives in Germany were really moderate reactionaries. However, the Nazis were truly reaction in that they not only wanted to return Germany to its pre-WWI state, a state which actually was the first welfare state in the west. Instead, the Nazi party wanted to return Germans to the old state of the "volk." While this aspect is not well explored in most history books, it is a fact that the Nazi party actually started as a Pagan society which found its spiritual roots in ancient German folklore, actively practiced divination, and practiced other ancient occult rituals. So closely did Germany identify with the ancient Pagans, that they found the Japanese ready allies, even emulating the same ancient Shinto wooden arches of their comparatively backward, and still pagan, Japanese allies. The Nazis typified reactionary thought, with a return to their ancient mythology, a call towards superstition, and a rejection of modernism, and the concomitant degeneration.
The contrasting case is the Soviet Union, which considered their Left, those who were dedicated to progressing the revolution, while rightists were those who wanted to preserve some semblance of a market economy. In the Soviet Union, the difference between conservatives and liberals depended on how quickly one wanted to push forward the reengineering of man. Conservatives wanted to progress more slowly, recognizing the underdeveloped conditions of the Soviet Union for true communism to take root, while the liberals wanted radical and constant revolution. Perhaps Lenin and Trotsky (leftists) might be considered the progressives in early Soviet Society, both intellectuals, dedicated to pushing forward the revolution regardless of the cost to the people. While Stalin was a conservative (rightist), dedicated to maintaining the structure set up by the revolution, regardless of the cost to the people or the ideals of the revolution. With a heavy slant towards movement into the future, without regard for the traditions and daily experiences of the people, and without regard for common law, or even human nature, they sought to push the institutions of Soviet Russia towards reengineering man. They were so interested in reengineering man that they had scientists, educated in their best institutions, studying psychics. What they created was an ossified system of patronage which secured the support of just enough constituents to maintain the system, until one reformer, Michael Gorbechev, went against Conservatives and Liberals in his society. Unfortunately, this brought about the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of the Gangster State of contemporary Russia, with no small credit given to American economists who helped advise the transition. Their transition came too late to conserve any positive aspects of their system, which if you ask the old man on the street in Russia, were many.
The US has some analogous characteristics as Soviet Russia and Fascist Germany, but not nearly as extreme. This cases are being used simply to illustrate the character of a lopsided regime. Without familiarity with the character, a proper measurement of the severity of that character cannot be made. In the Non-Profit Sector, distribution of funds depends on both performance, and a list of names, organizations which are in line, so to speak, to receive public funds. These organizations further the aims of some faction of the public executive, and can fall into and out of favor based on their political affiliation and usefulness more than their economic efficiency. In my district, this trend seems particularly prominent. The same effect occurs in the private military sector, which accounts by some reports five times the total number of troops in the countries we have invaded. On the other end, large financial institutions gain free benefit from a central bank that provides virtually free credit in times of crisis, though ultimately, the American tax payer is responsible if the scheme fails. Which hopefully, it never will. However, what will cause it to fail is if the significant injustice of only providing institutions with essentially free capital, when institutions, are merely individuals, and possesses the same rights and privileges as a individual. Conversely, a individual should also possess the same rights to a public good as a corporation. Credit is a public good, and the private sector has demonstrate that to make it a private good, only involves significant distortion of the economy. If the American Public had not provided the capital, and bore the risk for these individuals, they would not be alive today. Nearly all of them, from American Express, to McDonald's, since they all rely upon the interconnect system of finance. These legally constituted persons did not carry health insurance. Thus, the bill will have to be paid in cash.
This brings the discussion back to the state of Politics in the United States today. Here, the extreme violence of bloodletting have not yet been unleashed, or rather, perhaps have been contained for some time, once after the Civil War, and another time after the Civil Rights movement. One article in the economist argues that America is one of the last countries which has not been affected by a modern revolution, which explains why we are one of the few modern, western countries which still has a strong nationalist agenda and dogmatic religious beliefs. A careful analysis of the influential factions in our political system would likely lead to the conclusion that conservatives are actually reactionaries, who want change more badly than the Liberal Left say they do, who really just want to make sure the reactionaries don't change what the Liberals worked so hard to set up -- which really is true. In truth, the liberal left has gotten most of the change they have wanted, after Slavery was abolished, Women got the vote, Roosevelt's New Deal, and Johnson's Civil Rights legislation. Multiculturalism has taken root, discrimination has been mostly uprooted, wages are relatively high, and the state provides a social safety net which dwarfs most of the so-called socialist and communist states, don't ask don't tell, healthcare (however flawed), the only thing left is war, which they expanded. Liberals, save for a few issues such as immigration and gay marriage, are actually conserving their gains over the last 60 years, while so-called conservatives do not want to conserve anything, but would rather tear down the public institutions built in the 20th century. Conservatives have also taken actions in geopolitics which are neither conservative nor reactionary, but rather radically progressive in its desire to remake the world into a democratic utopia.
However, this leaves us with two factions, both heavily invested in the past, whether it is in conserving their past progress (so-called liberals), or returning America to a state before progress was made. While everyone talks about making America a better place, securing America's future, and restoring America's greatness, no one is actually coming up with any new ideas, just rehashing and redebating old ones.
Progress towards something new and better? I haven't heard any new and better ideas since perhaps the 60s and 70s. Maybe the 80s. Environmental Protection can trace its origins to Teddy Roosevelt, and the "Progressive Party, though most were Republicans at that. Social Welfare traces its origins to FDR, and Civil Rights to Johnson, if we simply credit the sitting president for the achievements of the society. Unionization was new in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Yes, we do have the internet and computers. In technology, there has been massive progress, but in our political sphere, progress has slowed significantly.
Conservatives, haven't tried to conserve anything, not the wealth of America, not the blood, the land, or the governing institutions. Although, they have managed to prevent anything from getting done by the progressives who want to bring back or conserve the progressive ideals from a few generations back, which I guess is conservative. We also see a slide towards superstition by members of both parties, with many on the far left proclaiming eastern spirituality and paganism (though stripped of its history and symbols) as their religious ideology, while conservatives have reacted by sliding back towards fundamentalist Christianity which would make the Pope who condemned Copernicus, blush. Both have taken up alternative medicines which are uncannily similar: spiritual healing, and prayer healing.
Unfortunately, the center of gravity is heavily weighted towards the past, and a balance between past and future is tenuous at best in the center of the American Political Spectrum and quickly sliding off its hinge. While there is a wide spectrum of thought among people, most people do not vote, especially in the elections that count: the primaries. And those who do, have been voting in ever more radical representatives who have little interest in listening, and more interest in obstructing and demanding. Perhaps it is not the voters who are fools, as some distrait and alienated individuals lament, swinging between liberals conserving their gains, and conservatives, trying to progress us to the past. Until these two factions are eliminated and new ideas are allowed to take root in the minds of the people, through open minded debate based on empirical evidence, America will be destined to slide into an anarchy full of passionate intensity, but without much progress and without much to conserve.
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