The End of Things

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After the American Civil War, the big issues, with regards to politics in the country, were decided. The vanquished portions of the nation would have a say in the running of the country, but only within the constraints of the settled upon political system. America would be a country with a strong central government that would dominate the federal system conceived by the Founders. The debate would be about how much it controls and how quickly.

The idea, for example, that the restraints on the national government listed in the Bill of Rights should now apply to state and local government would have seemed odd to the Founders. States, for example, had official religions. As late as the 1830s Massachusetts provided tax money to local Congregational churches. The 14th Amendment applied the Bill of Rights to states, thus altering the fundamental relationship between the states and the Federal government.

From the Civil War forward, politics in America was largely a domestic dispute between the factions within the victorious coalition. You see this in the choice of presidents. The First “southerner” to win on his own after the Civil War was Wilson in 1912 and he remains the greatest of outliers in American politics. Both Johnsons and Truman got there by virtue of death. The next true southerner to win was Carter and again we see very strange conditions.

You can probably argue that the post-Civil War arrangements would have collapsed in the 20th century except for the great wars of Europe and then the Cold War. The crisis in global capitalism leading up to The Great War and then the war itself, placed enormous power in the hands of the federal government. The rise of America as global hegemon after the Second War made Washington DC the capital of the world throughout the Cold War.

Then something happened, something no one seems to discuss much these days. That is, the collapse of the Soviet Union and along with it the end of ideological socialism. Up until the 1990, the world was defined as capitalism on one side and Marxism on the other. Suddenly, one end of the scale collapsed, at least in terms of economics and morality. In the blink of an eye, being a Marxist went from avant-garde to ridiculous.

The 1992 election was cast at the time as the point where the Baby Boomers took over and that was true to a point. It was also the point where the Democrats threw in the towel on socialism. They embraced global capitalism with the enthusiasm of a convert. It’s not an accident that the great banking “reforms” happened in the Clinton years, embraced by both parties.

The trouble for both parties is they lost their reason to exist when ideological Marxism collapsed. It is always argued that this has been worse for the GOP than for the Democrats, but the opposite is true. In the Clinton years the Democrats went from being the majority party to the minority party. From 1994 onward, the party was in a steady retreat politically and ideologically.

The 2000 presidential election felt like a pivotal one because you had a vestigial Southern Democrat versus a Yankee heretic. The main source of hatred toward Bush from the Cult was his apparent rejection of the culture of Yankeedom for the culture of Hooterville. The venomous hatred of Bush was what you see from the betrayed. The Left was the shrewish ex-wife and Bush was the philandering husband.

That anger was put to good use. By 2006 the New New Left had a sales pitch, even if they had nothing to pitch. Voters will pick energy over lethargy and the Democrats in the mid-2000’s had plenty of energy. Then they found Black Jesus and could run as moral crusaders, even though they could not articulate the point of the crusade. They had to search around the fringes for victims to champion and wrongs to be righted.

Homosexual marriage, tranny rights, ghetto rage, micro-aggressions and faux rape culture are all the result of grasping around at the edges of life looking for something, anything, which can be made into a banner. Each grasp deeper into the darkness returns something even more preposterous. Liberalism,  and by extension the Democratic Party, has become a road side freak of self-beclownment.

So-called serious progressivism today is mostly just nostalgia. Lefty plutocrats like Rahm Emmanuel, a man who made millions in a no-show job on Wall Street, vacations in Cuba while Chicago descends into a race war. George Soros, the great benefactor of modern progressivism, is a billionaire global capitalist.

The Left and by extension the Democrats, now embrace the same economics as the so-called Right. Both sides lust after riches in the financial markets. Both sides embrace global corporatism. The Left champions the liquidation of labor rights through advocacy of open borders. Think about that. There’s a reason it is hard to see the difference between the parties. There isn’t one.

Much is made of the circus going on in the GOP primary, but look at the Democratic side. The party that used to brag about its youth and creativity is offering a worn out old grifter and a ridiculous commie that looks like he strolled out of a 1940’s movie on communism. The two of them are out campaigning in mobility scooters. The one young guy in the race can’t draw flies.

The great reordering that is under way is due to the collapse of the raison d’être of the American ruling class. What animated politics in America for the last several generations has been the interplay between Progressives and the defenders of the status quo, played out in the shadow of the Cold War.

The Left collapsed as an intellectual movement when the Cold War ended, but the Right collapsed as a pragmatic alternative. You can’t have one without the other. In a single generation, the Left has adopted the economics of the Right and the Right has adopted the politics of the Left. Neither side has a reason to exist outside of naked greed.

 

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Peltast
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Peltast
7 months 25 days ago

What is next? Are Trump and Sanders the future of their parties? Or something worse?

With the thoughts you'd be thinkin
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With the thoughts you'd be thinkin
7 months 25 days ago

Trump could be if the trends in Europe are indications of the future, but Sanders like Webb is a relic of a previous democratic party. Perhaps the future is the PRI era of Mexico, party men presiding over term limited bouts of looting.

UKer
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UKer
7 months 25 days ago
You talk of banners, Z, and it is an interesting phenomena that people are more willing than ever before to display their feelings. It has emerged, in my lifetime thus far, people are considerably less likely to be content in living within themselves. There is no inner journey, other than as a jumping off stage to get one’s opinion out there and on show in public. The banner, like tattoos or face piercings or infantile clothes or large earphones (so everyone can see you are listening to music rather than being aware of the world around you) is an outward… Read more »
Kathleen
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Kathleen
7 months 24 days ago
Progressivism is in its death throes as an ideology because it has no where else to go. There are no new ideas with which to hoodwink the ignorant and/or gullible. Leftism Jumped the Shark, although I’d be hard pressed to say when exactly it happened. I disagree that ideological Marxism collapsed in the 1990s. Maybe state-sponsored Marxism did, but the Marxists won on so many levels in the US that your average person doesn’t see it because it’s become part of the “accepted thought”. The “long march” of the Left through every public institution, and many private ones, is complete.… Read more »
trutherator
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7 months 23 days ago

The West, most specifically USA, became POST-capitalist after the Fed was established with the law passed in stealth mode on Christmas Eve when the smart ones were gone. It became a serfdom of central bankers with Nixon’s breaking of the Bretton Woods agreement.

So now there is no pure capitalist society in the world. It is now immersed in CRONY capitalism.

CaptDMO
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CaptDMO
7 months 24 days ago

Wait, wait, don’t tell me…..
Bootleggers and Baptists!
Sorry, just wanted to flaunt my exposure to diversity in economic theory.
Apparently that makes me an “elite” amongst current elected, and appointed, Rent Seekers in public service as WELL as “popular” media.

Severian
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7 months 24 days ago

Neither side has a reason to exist outside of naked greed.

Caesarism, baby! It’s the new hotness of the twenty-teens. It looks like constitutional government; it’s actually organized plunder by warlords and their retinues. Our bread and circuses are much better though.

Anon.
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Anon.
7 months 24 days ago
Give the politically correct enough power and they will bring on full blown communism, bringing the house down on everyone, including on their wealthy benefactors. This would be unavoidable. There’s no need to be overly struck by the extent to which the left appears to have the same economic principles as the right. Just like freedom of speech, it’s just the tracks they move on until it’s no longer needed. Then the tracks are blown up. They talked up free speech when they needed it. Now free speech is considered a hate-crime. Capitalism will go the way of free speech… Read more »
james wilson
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james wilson
7 months 24 days ago
It is a mistake to think communism ever died, or could die. It’s host will die because the virus is deadly, but the virus will find new life in a healthy host. “Socialism” is instinctive. The extended order of civilization is entirely anti-instinctual. The extended order is guided by an invisible hand, not easily explained; instinct requires no explanation. The hand had a long run, surprisingly long. Garet Garret The shivering ghost that now inhabits the words laissez faire was once an unconquerable fighting spirit. It did not belong to capitalism. It belonged to liberty; and to this day its… Read more »
UKer
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UKer
7 months 24 days ago

Communism: I am oft-reminded of the fact that when eastern European communism collapsed, the people who were the party faithful and its loyal servants went to bed the night it all fell down and the next morning got up, put on a different tie and went to work as usual.

Nothing for them changed other than the colour of the tie they were wearing, so it is indeed foolish to think Communism ended.

trutherator
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7 months 23 days ago

American academia refuses to give up its neo-marxism.

Doug
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Doug
7 months 24 days ago
Administrative tyranny baby! A police state as illusion resistance is futile. A human extinction movement aka cultural marxists running things, ( who have strip mined our nation of its wealth while bankrupting us and have devolved into eating our seed corn ). SJW crybullies to keep the narrative alive. A puritanical 5th column media to carry the koolaid and point at squirrels. Bend over and like it or your a racists or terrorist or white supremist …or something. Good times! And now at the stroke of a pen and a phone call I’m supposed to give up my rifle to… Read more »
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[…] The Z Man attempts an explanation of what the holy hell is going on here: […]

trutherator
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7 months 23 days ago
There is too much talk of “capitalism” when the term should be “CRONY capitalism”. This is also a stage in the plans and goals of “Fabian socialism”. National and international socialism are the same thing: a cloak of sheep’s clothing that covers the wolf. The wolf is the global dictatorship that the very topmost one-tenth of one-percenters are planning. They consider themselves a “natural” ruling class and their eventual goal is serfdom for us, lordship for themselves. There must be varying degrees of awareness among them of this end-game. George Soros is the most visible example of the contradiction between… Read more »
trackback
7 months 23 days ago

[…] The Left collapsed as an intellectual movement when the Cold War ended, but the Right collapsed as a pragmatic alternative. You can’t have one without the other. In a single generation, the Left has adopted the economics of the Right and the Right has adopted the politics of the Left. Neither side has a reason to exist outside of naked greed.    Keep Reading…. […]

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[…] Here is an excerpt from post called the End of Things: […]

Buckaroo Banzai
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Buckaroo Banzai
7 months 16 days ago
“In the Clinton years the Democrats went from being the majority party to the minority party. From 1994 onward, the party was in a steady retreat politically and ideologically.” I’d say that’s true only in the most limited sense. The Democratic Party was in retreat because it had thoroughly co-opted the Republican Party leadership, culminating a process that had begun with FDR’s vanquishing of Herbert Hoover. Ever since the depression, the Republicans have simply been the Democrats on a 30-year time delay. By 1994 the transformation of the Republican Party was pretty much complete and the Democrats, having essentially gotten… Read more »
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