Way back in the golden times, when Barack Obama was president, it became obvious that Team Obama had no affirmative reason for his administration. Everything they did was tied to some past grievance. It was like they were working form a long list of boo-boos the Left had suffered going back to Reagan. Every initiative seemed to be linked in some way to what the Left perceived to be a failure. It was as if they had a secret list of grudges that they were determined to avenge.
For example, the Iran policy never made much sense on its own. The so-called conservatives tried to scream “communism” at it for a while, but that did not make it any more rational. Then they claimed that one of Obama’s controllers had personal ties to Iran, so she must be an anti-Semite. In reality, the Iran policy was about the old wound from the Carter years. The old lefties around Obama blamed that for Reagan winning in 1980 and sending their world into a tailspin.
The Russia policy was another example of how an ouchie from the 1980’s still haunted the minds of Team Obama. Given how the Left has made Russia the universal bogeyman it is easy to forget that Team Obama was determined to make Putin a trusted ally in 2008. They had Clinton present Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with a red button with the English word “reset” on it. You see, they were going to do relations withy Russia as they always should have been done.
The entire first term of the Obama administration was built around settling old scores like this from the last quarter century. Even his signature issue, health care, was overwhelmed by the need to address the slight from 1993. The final bill was rooted in two objectives. Getting something passed, thus avenging the 1993 failure, and spiting the people they believed were responsible for the original failure. The final bill looked nothing like what the party promised for decades.
It has long been a left-wing slur that all opposition to them is reactionary. Their opponents are not trying to solve problems or address some truth, but instead they just want to rollback reforms and return to some imaginary past. The more cynical want to rollback reform so they can continue to exploit the masses. The Left has always used the word reactionary as a way to dismiss opponents. By dismissing the person, they felt they could dismiss their objections.
What has happened over the last several decades is that the American Left has become completely reactionary. It has no purpose for holding power other than to hold power and prevent change. You see this with Team Biden. They have party media organs run stories like this one about Russia. You see, Biden does not have to be in control of his faculties when dealing with Putin. He just hates the man and that is all that is needed when dealing with Russia.
The Left is the moral center of our democracy, so as they have grown increasingly reactionary, everything orbiting around them has followed. So-called conservatism has not had a new idea since the Contract with America. Instead, they just rhetorically oppose whatever the Left is saying at the moment. Of course, that is always limited to economics and war mongering. Conservatism stopped being a cultural force in the 1980’s, so it has nothing to say on those matters.
In fact, you can probably look at the bizarre cultural fads whipsawing American society as a reaction to the collapse of conservatism. Into the 1980’s, the Right actually opposed the Left on cultural matters. They never won, but they did fight. The conservatives quit on their stool in the 1990’s and ever since the Left has been poking them with one more bizarre fad after another. “Seymour, try poking them with the tranny stick. Maybe that will get them to fight back.”
The only thing that matters to the so-called conservatives is making sure their racket keeps them in the lifestyle they feel they deserve. That is why they never muster a discouraging word about anything. To question the status quo is risk their position, so they are intolerant of any dissent. Both the official Left and official Right are now in a defensive crouch. The razor wire fencing, which remains in place, and the soldiers guarding it, has become a symbol of our reactionary ruling class.
American liberal democracy has reached an end point. It was built around a Hegelian struggle between two sides that believed in the same promised land. One side was always straining at the leash, trying to rush forward. The other side was on the other end of the leash, being pulled forward by the enthusiasm of the other. In Buckley’s formulation, one side was the train, and the other side was standing in front of the train yelling stop, but never really meaning it.
That struggle ended at the end of the Cold War. With the end of the long twilight struggle with communism came an end to the long struggle within the dynamic of the American ruling class. Now they are literally just a collection of old men haggling over old slights. The one thing they agree upon is nothing can dare threaten their status atop the system, even the collapse of the system itself. Otherwise, they are now defined by what they oppose and what they used to oppose.
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