Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Fourth Revolution

Roger Kimball on the fourth revolution in American politics.

[I]n trying to emulate FDR and his other predecessors, who were operating under far different circumstances, President Obama made all of our current problems worse. His stimulus and budget packages added to the national debt without doing anything to stimulate economic growth. He spent his first two years passing an expensive health-care bill instead of focusing on steps to promote recovery and growth. By ramming all of these measures through on narrowly partisan votes, he destroyed the comity between the parties. On the health-care bill, he broke the longstanding agreement between the parties that important pieces of social legislation should be passed on a bipartisan basis. He has thus managed to divide the public without doing much to solve the problems he was elected to address. 
Many analysts expect President Obama to be reelected this November. Perhaps the odds favor him. After all, it is difficult to unseat an incumbent. Yet, the economy is still weak, his policies have not succeeded in turning it around, and he is not widely popular. No matter how it turns out, this year’s presidential election is likely to sharpen, rather than to resolve, political divisions in the United States. Despite all this, President Obama is unshaken in his presumption that he is a herald of a new era, a revolutionary on the models of Jefferson, Lincoln, and FDR. But is it possible that he will instead turn out to be something much different, a modern day Adams, Buchanan, or Hoover—that is, the last representative of a disintegrating order? Such a denouement is not only possible but, in view of our situation, more and more likely.

I do sense that there are radical political winds blowing. The left is nasty and criminal as always, and there is a rage and defiance on the right-- most of it justified-- that I have not seen in my lifetime. The left-- the elites in our society-- have controlled government and media and academia for generations, certainly since FDR.

The internet has changed the game for the right. We can now circumvent elites and get our message out directly.

It's a game-changer. With the greed and criminality of leftist statism becoming painfully clear in socialist utopias in Europe, people are increasingly realizing that we are heading into the abyss and that there are ways to avoid it.

Hence the Tea Party. If there is to be a right-wing fourth revolution, the Tea Party movement will be at its heart. Think of it: constitutionally limited government that pays its bills.

Kind of like the first American Revolution. 


  1. How criminal of the left to want affordable health care for everyone! They should certainly be put in jail, or lined up and shot.


    1. NA,

      I agree that the evil leftists should be shot. Fancy trying to do something about the Great Recession precipitated by George W Bush. At least W had the good sense to cut taxes while fighting two expensive wars, both of which are lost, adding to the stimulus.

      Fortunately, the Republicans prevented Obama from balancing the books by allowing taxes to increase to pre-W levels.

    2. Raising tax rates to pre-W levels would result in LESS revenue. But I guess you agree with Obama that it would be more FAIR.

      Wanting to have affordable health care which can be used by everyone is a good goal. Pursuing it with the blunt instrument of statist intervention won't get us there. Obama's model will result in less production of health care. That means rationing, long lines, long waits, and (drum roll) DEATH PANELS.

    3. I don't want 'leftists' shot. I want them silenced. Preferably by mocking their idiocy.

    4. David,

      If you think that increasing tax rates will reduce revenue, then presumably you thought that decreasing tax rates previously increased revenue. If so, how?

      Australia has a healthcare system more radical than anything Obama has proposed for at least 40 years. The central federal government funds most of healthcare through taxation. The states run the public hospitals. Most doctors aren't employed by the state. There's private hospitals funded by generally private individual insurance (a recent conservative government decided that if you're a high income earner, then you should also take out private insurance, otherwise you have to pay a penalty 'levy' - actually an extra tax).

      And guess what? It works. Healthcare costs 9.1% of GDP, instead of America's 16%. We have better outcomes and no death panels. If you rely on the public system, and need an emergency treatment, such as cancer surgery, coronary artery bypass surgery, etc, you'll get it promptly. If its non-urgent, for example a total hip replacement, then you'll wait perhaps for years.

    5. Bachfiend. I don't think decreasing tax rates will increase tax revenues. I know. We have historical experience with it here. How does it work? Lower tax rates result in more business which results in higher revenues. Kind of like the trick Henry Ford pulled with the model T. Lower prices and make your money on the volume.

      Your system sounds internally coherent. Though I do not like the thought of having the government's sticky beak poking into my personal affairs. Our system is a misbegotten hybrid involving too many parties: Patients. Doctors. Insurance Companies. The Government. Lawyers. I would prefer to pay market rates for routine procedures and have insurance do what insurance is supposed to do and that is to pay for unlikely events.

    6. David: Bachfiend. I don't think decreasing tax rates will increase tax revenues. I know. We have historical experience with it here.

      Huh, another fan of the Laffer curve. Nothing wrong with it, of course, except the numbers tell that we are on the left half of the curve*. Every serious economist accepts that, including Bruce Bartlett, a supply-sider who served in the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations.

      *The one on which a marginal decrease in tax rates decreases tax revenues.

  2. During the first American revolution almost a third of the population moved North and helped found my nation. They were conservatives and dispossessed Loyalists and enriched our nation greatly. Some of them are heroes in our culture to this day (ie Laura Secord - our version of Paul Revere 'The Yanks are coming').
    I have a distinct feeling the exodus THIS time would be very different. Could you PLEASE make sure the new Government sends them EAST this time, as I am positive the Mexicans wont want them either and we have enough globalist minded pinkos to sink a ship (literally) already. Europe or China would be ideal.

    1. CrusadeRex,

      Just when I was thinking that Michael was going crazy, crazier, craziest ... you come up with something that's even crazier.

      Even I, as an Australian, know that the 1812 war was at least partially caused by Britain impressing American seamen into the Royal Navy (a form of slavery), even kidnapping them on the streets of New York. There were other causes, such as free trade with France being impeded by Britain's war with Napoleon and British support for Indian tribes impeding American expansion westwards.

      Most historians think that America was using Canada as a bargaining chip.

      I don't know how you can consider anyone concerned with the gross inequality of American society as being 'globalist minded pinkos'. It's a fact, that societies with more equal distributions of income are happier. Having hedge fund managers, who don't produce anything, earning tens of millions of dollars per year, and paying very little tax on it, and setting up conditions for another GFC, if not regulated as Michael wants under his libertarian ideals, is a recipe for disaster.

    2. Bach,

      Get a calculator. Do a bit of subtraction. The American revolution and the war of 1812 are not the same thing. It's easy 1776 is BEFORE 1812.
      Get it? The American loyalists who helped found our nation had NOTHING to do with press gangs in NYC or the intercepting of slave ships, or deliveries of supplies to Bonaparte or a genocidal war against natives in the region in which I live.
      Think about it, Bach. If they were 30 years old at the time of the revolt, they would have been 66 by 1812.
      How many 66 year old gentlemen farmers or natives ran press gangs or captained Royal Naval vessels in 1812-15?

      Some of their children and grandchildren helped defend Upper and Lower Canada and the Maritimes, sure...but that was their HOME.
      As for the globalist pinkos, I don't really care that you cannot understand that. Be perplexed by it...or alternately learn the history.
      Nor do I care that you don't get the JOKE I was making with Mike. I don't suspect there will be any mass expulsions this time around. Mike is talking about a shift in politics, not Doctor Tar and Professor Feather.
      Think it's (not sure what) crazy?
      You have mistaken me for someone who gives a damn.
      I think your math sucks.

      Canada and the USA buried the hatchet in the 1860's and we get along fine these days. That does not mean we view these old conflicts in the same light, just that we agree to disagree.
      BOTH systems worked and our people have more in common that not. They got sick of killing their own kin over ideological bullshit and decided to work together. We now have the biggest trade zone in the world and two of the richest economies.
      We are also steadfast military allies.

    3. CrusadeRex,

      I realize that the American War of Independence and the War of 1812 were different wars. You brought up Laura Second, who was taken by her parents to Canada when she was about 4 years old. She is aid to have warned the British of an American attack. Perhaps she did. Nothing much was made of it at the time. An Indian scout was supposed to have warned the British before she could have. The publicity only happened decades later when she told the story to a visiting member of the British royalty. Perhaps Canada needed its heroes then?

      Tell you what. When you tell a joke, perhaps you should put in brackets 'this is a joke'? There's no telling with you. I read in a previous thread where you went ballistic, almost postal, at Mulder for using the word 'co-workers' in response to a previous comment of yours. You'd used the word 'colleagues', probably as a weak synonym for 'brothers in arms' or 'fellow soldiers'. Your reaction would have been reasonable if he'd gone from 'brothers in arms' to 'co-workers', but he didn't. Co-workers and colleagues are very close synonyms.

    4. To the rest of you:
      Wishing you a Happy Canada day from the 'True North Strong and Free', and a very happy 4th to all the Americans celebrating on Wednesday. May you all have a great holiday and summer.
      Enjoy the festivities and the fireworks folks.
      See you on the flip side.

      Yeah. Okay. Whatever you say.
      Now your an expert on Canadian history too, courtesy of google and whatever scripts your on.
      Maybe read a book on the conflict?
      Spend five minutes in the Niagara region? Nah.
      Hike the trail she took? Visit their home and the site of the events? Read the letters she took to Colonel Fitzgibbon (yes with help from allied tribes) ... or even Fitzgibbon's account of events?
      Nah just talk shit on the internet and bash a Canadian folk heroine ON CANADA DAY...suites a shallow minded contrarian idiot like you.
      What's next? Insulting the founders on the 4th?
      The only thing you demystify is your own lack of humour, tact, and grace. You're a violation of Australian carbon laws.
      Go jump in a river... and do us all a favour (most of all your countrymen): Make sure it's infested with crocks first.
      Crocks with a taste for BULLSHIT that is ;)

  3. Interesting take. During George W. Bush's 'presidency', the current GOP leaders voted 19 times to increase the debt limit by $4 Trillion. And during his reign, how much corruption and cronyism went on within his ranks and the right? Quite a bit.

    You cant just blindly paint this picture of the evil Leftist movement as the single most corrupt entity around and not look at your own side of the fence.

    1. 'Leftist' and 'Rightist' have become increasingly useless as political descriptions. Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia had far more in common with each other than they did with the United States. Both had a political economy with the state at the helm. Both killed millions of people. How is one 'right wing' and the other 'left wing'?

    2. @Mulder:

      I agree. There's plenty of evil on both sides. Bush is not innocent of fiscal irresponsibility, by any means.

      But the Dems are professionally evil. The whole strategy of Democrats is th manufacture government dependence and class and racial hate to buy voter blocks. Republicans can do a bit of it too, but they are amateurs.

      It's like the difference between the Mafia and the police. There are corrupt cops, sure, but the Mafia is pure corruption, devoted entirely to corruption. The police are a mixture, and generally stand for good.

    3. @David:

      I agree that applying left and right to communists and fascists is misleading. Both are socialists, international (communist) and national (fascists). They are often very similar-- Hitler was a fanatic socialist.

      The real dichotomy is between socialism and small-government libertarianism. Commies and Nazis are radical socialists. Liberals/progressives are less radical socialists. Conservatives are small-government libertarians, more or less.

    4. Mulder,

      Bush did it too!

      How did I know that was coming?

      All right, for starters, Bush was fiscally irresponsible and so was the Congress. Not as fiscally irresponsible at the Democrats wanted them to be, but fiscally irresponsible.

      But while Bush was fiscally irresponsible, he wasn't fiscally irresponsible to the degree that has Obama has been. No one has ever been this fiscally irresponsible. Bush was bad, Obama is far worse.

      And Bush was wrong.

      Your argument is the whole hypocrite argument. It would by hypocritical now to oppose irresponsible spending because we supported it during Bush.

      News flash: I didn't support it during Bush. Even if I had, it would be wiser to learn our lesson and get spending under control. Let's keep supporting bad policy because we supported bad policy in the past.


  4. Hence the Tea Party. If there is to be a right-wing fourth revolution, the Tea Party movement will be at its heart. Think of it: constitutionally limited government that pays its bills.
    So what's the Tea Party going to do when they win and they discover the Ryan plan pays it's Medicare bills by passing them on (that is, over a certain amount) to the Tea Partiers (while not attempting to control the greater costs, except that achieved by the hated Obama "cuts", which the Ryan plan keeps most of), offers unnamed "reforms" to Social Security and cuts Medicaid and converts it to block grants, all to finance tax cuts benefiting primarily those at the top and while continuing massive deficit spending, with the virtually utopian future results based on imaginary numbers (example here)?