Friday, February 15, 2013

Two Things I Heard ...

Frequently, repeatedly, without ceasing during my 14 active years in the Libertarian Party:
  • "If we agree on 98% of the issues, why sweat the other 2%?"
  • "America is a center-right country."
As to the first part, it seemed to make a certain amount of sense ... but for some reason it always seemed like that 2% that I wasn't very happy about was always the pig that got poured into a formal gown and trotted out onto the floor for a couple of turns of the macarena with crimson lipstick smeared around its snout.

So, vis a vis electoral politics, I've been thinking lately: Why not come at things from the other end? If one agrees with a bunch of people on 2% of the issues, and that bunch of people is willing to put that 2% out front, why sweat the other 98%?

As to America being a center-right country, I agree 100%. America is a center-right country. It hasn't elected a president from so much as a millimeter to the left of center since FDR (who ran the first time as a slightly-right-of-center-right-rightist, but then did a 180 and co-opted what remained of the formerly energetic US left), nor has any major party even nominated a candidate whose platform and program ran noticeably to the left of Richard M. Nixon's since, oh, 1972.

The successful and would-be permanent managerial revolution -- yes, I still think Burnham got it pretty close to right back in 1940 -- pulls politics toward the center when things are going okay (and the LP has fallen into that gravity well).

When things are not going well and it has to leap rather than creep, it pulls them to the hard (and authoritarian) right.

If any kind of substantial directional change can be achieved via electoral politics (I'm more than skeptical of the idea) the energy for that change will have to be generated on the third party left because that's the only place left where it plausibly could be generated. Electoral politics outside the left amounts to, and only can amount to, riding America's uni-directional wave of decline until the riptide grabs us and drags us under.

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