Yesterday Men

The old right, which I would define as Anglo-Saxon traditionalism, was obliterated in America during the first years of the 20th century. When Wilson abandoned traditional American isolationism in favor of Teddy Roosevelt’s jingoistic internationalism, American conservatism was finished as a dominant political ideology. It could not exist in a world where America was an active participant in European intrigues. It staggered along after Wilson, until the Great Depression delivered the final blow.

What replaced it was the mild corporatism of FDR that was an adaptation of what we would come to understand as European fascism. In America this meant that the government would be the referee between business and labor, but sometimes marshaling both sides in support of national goals, while other times putting a thumb on the scale to help one side or the other. Mussolini would fit right in with the Democrats, even today.

The “conservatism” that emerged post-war was nothing like the old version. Instead, it was intended as a brake on the part of American corporatism that was always on the lookout for monsters to destroy. It’s why conservatism has such a terrific losing streak. You beat crusades with brute force or by de-legitimizing them, neither of which is in the modern conservative toolkit.

The New Deal coalition carried on brilliantly in the two decades after the war, mostly because the rest of the world was in rubble. It’s not hard to be the economic superpower when everyone else is rebuilding from the greatest civilizational catastrophe in human history. America was winning by default. Then the rest of the world got back on its feet and the party was over. The 70’s saw a decade of economic and cultural decay not seen in America since the Depression.

The mathematics of the New Deal coalition simply could not hold up in a competitive world where cheap labor and cheap land was still available in huge quantities. The Japanese could deliver better cheaper commodity products like economy cars and transistor radios. The Europeans could deliver better middle brow items popular with the middle class.

The solution was not a dismantling of the New Deal system of governance. Instead, what emerged was a politics of necessity. Both sides of the political class settled on new currency arrangements formalized in the Louvre Accords. Credit money controlled by the Federal Reserve would allow America to wage the Cold War, maintain the New Deal politics at home and provide the American middle class with a standard of living the political system required.

This looked like a winner. The 80’s saw a booming economy with only a small hiccup at the end. That was followed by another boom that lasted until the tech bubble burst. Even so, the recovery in the Bush years convinced everyone the party was still going. What they did not see is that the New Deal economic arrangements were being supplanted by the emerging global capitalism created by credit money.

The brewing revolt is due, in large part, to the fact that American politics has remained locked in amber. The one side dreams of new noble causes to which they endeavor to rally the masses. The other side wrings its hands and makes snarky comments about those crazy liberals. On the one side it is the politics of old women thinking they can still dine out on their looks. On the other side it is the politics of old men complaining about the kid’s music today.

Sanders and Trump are not leaders of new political movements. Both are where they are because they are willing to put a finger in the chest of their respective party leaders. Neither man makes a great case for himself, but like those Muslim men wandering into Germany, threatening to collapse Europe, they correctly see that the old guard is a collection of yesterday men, unable to defend their position.

The wailing and moaning coming from the Conservative Industrial Complex conceals the terrible truth at the core of their thing. That is, there’s nothing there. The “movement” they carry on about has nothing to show for itself since the 80’s and now it is being knocked out of the box by a guy they call a “witless ape.” Whatever it was or intended to be, it’s just an artifact of a bygone era now. It’s a museum piece.

The noise on the Right has drowned out what’s happening on the other side. Sanders is an unreconstructed Stalinist for goodness sake. That said, his arguments sound pretty good against a party that thinks the plight of men in sundresses is a great crusade. Sanders offering free tuition sounds sensible compared to offering free rubbers to coeds. Sanders may have his head up his ass, but the rest of his party has theirs in their vagina.

America is long overdue for an overhaul of its political system. The yesterday men of both parties are like guests who won’t leave. Eventually, they have to be made to leave. That’s what we’re seeing today. The wrecking ball is swinging, preparing the way for what comes next. If Trump and Sanders are a clue, the future of American politics may look more like the 19th century than the 20th. We shall see.

18 thoughts on “Yesterday Men

  1. If you squint, you can picture Bernie walking in the white house wearing a vest and underpants.
    Back in the day, there were plenty of communist countries which Americans could look to in order to know just how badly communism fails in each and every country. No one sane wanted communism. Now that they failed their way out of that system, idiots with short memories in the West (and youngsters who weren’t alive back in the day) think communism isn’t only “social justice” (groan), but economically viable.
    Sometimes I think even you, ZMan, thinks you can just stick it to the rich and the big corporations and the result would be a better economy.
    Also, given that the last economic crash was due to left-wing ‘social justice’ programs of leaning on banks to give mortgages to poor people unlikely to ever be able to pay it back, which was viewed as a way to get blacks to join the middle class, the criticism of capitalism (if that’s what you criticise) seems unfair. These bad loans weren’t small. They weren’t lending out $349.95, these were mortgages and when you give a lot of these massive loans to large numbers of people who won’t pay it back, you get trouble.

  2. All things considered, I would much prefer the political state of affairs in the Post-Bellum phase of the 19th century. In cultural and political terms, it was a far more refined time.

  3. The current global capitalist system of floating exchange rates was established in Bretton Woods in July 1944, when the outcome of WW2 was more or less a certainty. But even during the credit expansion brought on by the Marshall Plan, the dollar remained backed by gold. The era of fiat currencies really began in 1971, when Nixon took the dollar off the gold standard when it became clear that the US would run deficits in perpetuity because it couldn’t pay for both Vietnam and Johnson’s Great Society out of existing revenues. It was either that, or tax the middle class out of existence, and at the time neither party was keen on that idea.

    Fast forward half a century, and a limitless fiat currency has enabled the unending growth of the state and an unchecked capitalism and credit expansion that has bolstered a feckless elite that has less and less use for the nation they ostensibly rule, while a shrinking and endangered middle class has begun to assert itself against a system they rightly perceive as rigged against them. The difference between then and now is that the old guard that called itself “conservative” – the Nixons and the Buckleys and the Goldwaters and even the Moynihans – wanted to keep a social arrangement that protected middle class mores and livelihoods because it was understood that a prosperous middle class was the best guarantee of social stability and classically liberal government. It was axiomatic that those things went hand in hand. Our current elites, the products of our better schools, have no such understanding and would be flabbergasted if anyone attempted to explain it to them. To them, the white middle class are not the bulwarks of stability but an differentiated mass of bigots and racists destined for the ash heap of history as impediments to the dawning utopia of multicultural diversity.

    Someone is going to end up on the ash heap of history all right, but we’ll see who gets there first.

    • Fast forward half a century, (since the gold standard) and a limitless fiat currency has enabled the unending growth of the state….”
      Not to mention a current pile of IOUs valued at $19,000,000,000,000.
      I THINK the annual vig(orish) is currently $2,000,000,000
      I’m just NOT seeing how mandatory health “insurance”, lest there be “taxes”, jibes with the “medical privacy” argument of Roe v. Wade either.

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  6. Don’t forget that the decline of the west has come about because people had too much time on their hands.

    In Europe the emphasis for twenty years was clearing up the rubble and the next ten was making sure that what replaced it was not rubble. But then… job done or perhaps, job thought to be done. Either way, people suddenly had time to think not about rebuilding but about personal views such as fairness and caring, which involved a lot of staring into mirrors and deciding we could be fairer and nicer. This, in turn became a rallying cry for ‘hey, let’s be even more caring and nicer’ and the more recent ‘I care about being more nice and even more fair more than you do.’

    This process may have started slightly earlier in the States because Europe’s upheavals were, thankfully, out of a bomber’s range (though apparently the Germans were trying to build a bomber that would make a one-way trip to New York, which would have been interesting to say the least).

    While this polishing and use of mirrors was going on the rest of the world snickered at there west and said they would take over, because they didn’t give a damn about if they were fair or nice. Right now the west has not quite turned away from preening itself in the mirror, so they aren’t looking round as they might.

    So I do not fear the Yesterday Men: I fear the Tomorrow Men (if they dare call themselves men) who has no recollection of any part of yesterday and think only tomorrow counts without even knowing you have to get through today first.

    • I fully agree with your notion that “too much time on their hands” is the main cause of the idiocy on display today. When all and I do mean all people worked their collective or solitary asses off just to put food on the table there was no time for “ghey marriage”, trans-gender fantasy, micro aggressions, rayciss nonsense, “feminism” and “studies of any variety that did not yield positive concrete results. As the theme from All In The Family stated, “Didn’t need no welfare state, everybody pulled their weight…” With half of our population on the dole, “preening in front of Z”s metaphorical mirror, only hard times will cure the malaise.

  7. Am reading James Piereson’s “Shattered Consensus”. Thesis sounds spot on.
    Also reading Charles Murray’s “For the People” — well, a guy can dream, can’t he?

  8. The two big last gasp events were when Taft- Mr Conservative was shafted by the warmongering interventionists who’d made out in WWII and the rise of Buckley. a CIA tool whose purpose was the promotion of the idiot idea of “big government conservatism”.

    The political system, as currently constituted, has political parties who are merely the two wings of the same bird of prey.

  9. Great post, as usual. But …. (whine, wheeze) I was really hoping at the end that you’d be suggesting some possible new economic arrangements. Because not only are the globalists squeezing us to death, the banksters for a hundred years now have been continuously looting us, and soon we’ll have cheap-smart robots replacing our semi-skilled workers.

    So yes, we need new political rules, but we also *desperately* need major economic changes before we turn into Argentina-North. And we all know Smoot-Hawley II ain’t the answer.

    Perhaps some kind of a Social Credit system (to replace ALL existing entitlement programs), combined with an outlawing of fractional reserve banking and concurrently killing off the Fed, combined with some minor flavor of Japanese import rules and regs (NOT tariffs), might do the trick.

    Also we’d also have to pass a few laws regarding large business, perhaps: – 1) employee compensation for all corporations above a certain size must consist of at least 30% voting stock; 2) likewise all corporations above a certain size must pay substantially into a small business incubator/training system, and 3) all foreign-owned businesses operating in this country must similarly pay into to a technical worker training fund. Both of the above systems to be run privately and competitively.

    Maybe those aren’t the best ideas possible, but the intent is to a) kill the tyrannical government Leviathan which is bankrupting us; b) finally make banking an honest competitive business, made up of local banks who know their clientele personally, instead of a multinational license to steal; c) kill off war-for-profit as a result of the banking reforms and a stable dollar; and last but not least – d)grow and strengthen local citizens/workers, local ownership, and local companies .

    And I’d be most grateful for anybody who shared a better idea or two with me.

  10. Welcome to Weimar America. From the mid-1920s, German voters gave a plurality of their votes to two parties, the Communists and the Nazis, who clearly, loudly, and repeatedly promised to end representative government if they got voted in. Neither Trump nor Sanders knows his head from his ass, and doesn’t know the Constitution from the owner’s manual of a 1993 Geo Prizm, but absent some very shady shenanigans at their respective conventions, one of them is going to be President of the United States.

    • I think you do Trump a YUUGE injustice. He’s a master of a level of communication and persuasion that you clearly don’t comprehend, because you’re put off by his bombast, instead of embracing it as a tactic.. All you’re showing is that you’re thinking “checkers”, while the Donald is playing 3D chess. He’s a very smart guy, both intellectually and street smarts-wise. In a candid moment he’d tell you he doesn’t sh*t about a lot of things, but that’s what his money is for, to buy the best guys who do know sh*t about something. That’s how you make real money is his business: understanding what you don’t know, then going out and buying that knowledge from the best. In contrast, Jeb! is not a dumb guy either, but the Donald has now reduced him to yelling, “See my mommy and my bro think I’m great.” Hardly words to win with.

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  12. Sorry, I don’t want to comment on grammar, but maybe the title is fair game?

    Do you mean “Yesterday’s Men”, which I’m guessing is what you meant, or “Yesterday Man”?

      • I agree. Yesterday Men says it perfectly. The Beatles did not sing about “Nowhere’s Man”…

        The essay is brilliant. And its headline fits. In this context, each of the leading candidates is a Yesterday Man.

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