Wednesday, May 1, 2019

thoughts on politics today vs. 25-30 years ago

I've read things here and there about the end of the Cold War as a primary contributor on this. Without an apocalyptic threat from the Ruskies, we've had a reduction in American Civil Religion (and correlated cultural Christianity) and the political parties have lost key touchstones.
I'd throw in 9/11 and the govt's response to the 2007 crisis and its creation of the Great Recession. 9/11 gave us terrorism but it doesn't seem to have the pull of nuclear weapons, the Space Race, and the (now-hilarious) belief that the Russian economy would surpass us. 9/11 was a gut punch to concern about civil liberties. And unfortunately. Bush, Obama (and now Trump) and Congress saw tons of spending as fine generally-- and then the best approach to the GR in particular. So who cares about deficits, debt, and "entitlement programs" anymore?
Remember when we had a ton of liberals who used to be adamantly pro-civil liberties and pro-peace / anti-interventionism? Remember when most conservatives were either fiscally or socially conservative-- and strongly so? These concerns have mostly been replaced with economic anxiety about trade/immigration, various permutations on identity politics, and battles to defend one sort of judicial activism or another.
Maybe I'm just some old guy clamoring for the good old days. But it seems to me that politics were more principled back then. Now, it's mostly about grasping for power and using people and issues as tools. Not surprising I guess: when there's so much at stake given the size of government and people have mostly exhausted the set of practically useful and politically viable policy options.
Between this, the concerns enunciated by Charles Murray in Coming Apart, and the inevitable train wreck on fiscal matters, it's difficult to imagine anything other than economic crisis at some point and deepening social degradation for the working poor and middle class.

2 Comments:

At May 2, 2019 at 8:43 AM , Blogger Tom Keefe said...

For me, answers are to be found in drivers of thought & philosophy rather than sequence of events.My current view is that western progressive thought is in melt down. For insights about where society and the dialogue is headed, in a constructive sense, read & listen to some in the Dark Web like Jordan Peterson, Johnathan Haidt or Dave Rubin on You tube. The all stress free speech and personal responsibility as positive drivers.

 
At May 2, 2019 at 8:46 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks Tom! I've read, heard, and blogged/reviewed Peterson and Haidt (both are excellent)-- and I've heard of Rubin, but not heard/read him at all.

 

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