The Election's Done; What Now?

The statist ideology of Progressivism first shaped federal law in 1890 and has moved forward for 120 years, reshaping the states and cities along the way. Progressive education reshaped the public schools in the 1930s, proceeding since uninterrupted; it has produced generations of journalists who have evolved from professionals into political pimps for Progressivism. Progressive politicians of both parties have provided generations of Progressive judges. Governments at every level have fattened themselves with hordes of highly rewarded bureaucrats employed on Progressive programs while tax-funded nonprofits employing many more have sprouted. That's a large and very committed interest group. 

Most of the U.S. electorate comfortably accepted it all as time passed until Obamacrat overreaching outraged its sensibilities, resulting in the Tea Parties. That awakening would likely not have happened but for the widespread unemployment accompanying the 2008 bank collapse. Tea Parties are not National Review conservatives, standing before the Progressives yelling stop! Their general thrust is radical; they want Progressivism extirpated, gone; they want to restore the Constitution the Founders had in mind. Many of them maybe haven't thought about the details. You know details can be a bitch.

One big detail is the economic fiasco unfolding -- the real-world cost of Progressivism. The Progressives finally understood the economic poverty of their statist policies; all it took was the economic collapses of the Soviet Union, China, and the European Union for it to dawn on them. In response, they have given up promising prosperity and offer genteel poverty instead -- less is more --- painted green so it looks nicer. The electorate is still figuring out that one, but the missing jobs are clear.

Neither party can make the unemployment go away or restore the economy to previous levels. Both parties will continue deficits; stopping them will drop the economic roof on voters' heads. It will also unemploy too many members of those interest groups we mentioned, plus unions. Continuing the deficits until...later...will also drop the roof and add a hailstorm, but not now.

An even bigger detail is the two interest groups whose opposition will have to be cleared away to wipe out residual Progressivism. The first is all those people who live off it, mentioned above: everybody with anything much to do with government. That's the smaller problem. The larger problem will be all the voters collecting or expecting to collect benefits -- the ones whose benefits can't be financed but who don't really accept that yet. A lot of those attend Tea Party rallies.

A final detail, though not the only one left: even if there were no entrenched opposition, consider the sheer inertia that will have to be overcome if the entire thrust of the last hundred years of laws, careers, educations, books, and attitudes, and the beliefs of voters, politicians, bureaucrats, and activists, is to be shifted. Sisyphus had it easy!

Of course, the longest journey begins with a single step. But it's hard to step through a closed door; it could take a lot of very disturbed folk to open this one. The sort of disturbance you might get, say, if the dollar collapsed or the benefits shut off. Even then, stepping through a door doesn't guarantee a journey's destination.

So some politicians have been replaced, and Tea Parties are out warning every Middlesex village and farm that the red ink is attacking. That seems likely to produce more posturing than real change, at least until that roof caves. No bets, then.

What there is now is only one of those green shoots of hope that this multi-generational undertaking is underway enough to carry through. It can grow into a full-fledged tree of prosperous liberty only with the devoted care of a lot of people for a long time.
The statist ideology of Progressivism first shaped federal law in 1890 and has moved forward for 120 years, reshaping the states and cities along the way. Progressive education reshaped the public schools in the 1930s, proceeding since uninterrupted; it has produced generations of journalists who have evolved from professionals into political pimps for Progressivism. Progressive politicians of both parties have provided generations of Progressive judges. Governments at every level have fattened themselves with hordes of highly rewarded bureaucrats employed on Progressive programs while tax-funded nonprofits employing many more have sprouted. That's a large and very committed interest group. 

Most of the U.S. electorate comfortably accepted it all as time passed until Obamacrat overreaching outraged its sensibilities, resulting in the Tea Parties. That awakening would likely not have happened but for the widespread unemployment accompanying the 2008 bank collapse. Tea Parties are not National Review conservatives, standing before the Progressives yelling stop! Their general thrust is radical; they want Progressivism extirpated, gone; they want to restore the Constitution the Founders had in mind. Many of them maybe haven't thought about the details. You know details can be a bitch.

One big detail is the economic fiasco unfolding -- the real-world cost of Progressivism. The Progressives finally understood the economic poverty of their statist policies; all it took was the economic collapses of the Soviet Union, China, and the European Union for it to dawn on them. In response, they have given up promising prosperity and offer genteel poverty instead -- less is more --- painted green so it looks nicer. The electorate is still figuring out that one, but the missing jobs are clear.

Neither party can make the unemployment go away or restore the economy to previous levels. Both parties will continue deficits; stopping them will drop the economic roof on voters' heads. It will also unemploy too many members of those interest groups we mentioned, plus unions. Continuing the deficits until...later...will also drop the roof and add a hailstorm, but not now.

An even bigger detail is the two interest groups whose opposition will have to be cleared away to wipe out residual Progressivism. The first is all those people who live off it, mentioned above: everybody with anything much to do with government. That's the smaller problem. The larger problem will be all the voters collecting or expecting to collect benefits -- the ones whose benefits can't be financed but who don't really accept that yet. A lot of those attend Tea Party rallies.

A final detail, though not the only one left: even if there were no entrenched opposition, consider the sheer inertia that will have to be overcome if the entire thrust of the last hundred years of laws, careers, educations, books, and attitudes, and the beliefs of voters, politicians, bureaucrats, and activists, is to be shifted. Sisyphus had it easy!

Of course, the longest journey begins with a single step. But it's hard to step through a closed door; it could take a lot of very disturbed folk to open this one. The sort of disturbance you might get, say, if the dollar collapsed or the benefits shut off. Even then, stepping through a door doesn't guarantee a journey's destination.

So some politicians have been replaced, and Tea Parties are out warning every Middlesex village and farm that the red ink is attacking. That seems likely to produce more posturing than real change, at least until that roof caves. No bets, then.

What there is now is only one of those green shoots of hope that this multi-generational undertaking is underway enough to carry through. It can grow into a full-fledged tree of prosperous liberty only with the devoted care of a lot of people for a long time.