|Liberal isolationists||They will love us if we are nice to them||They will never love us|
|Liberal interventionists||They will love us if we kill their enemies||They will never love us|
|Neoconservatives||They will be grateful if we kill their enemies||They will never be grateful|
|Conservative isolationists||They will leave us alone if we leave them alone||They want what we have|
|The Pentagon||Total war is finished, so we’ll just hit them with drones||Limited wars can never be won|
|Obama||We can’t beat them, so let’s join them||Strong enemies are worse than weak ones|
|Tea Party||Israel is our friend through thick and thin||States do not have friends|
The persistent mantra of the call for limiting the size and power of government that has so captured the imagination of a certain segment of the American body politic sounds very well to those of us who would do what we will in our own personal and economic spheres, but no amount of suasion is very likely to have significant effect, aside from the occasional lip service when the country’s mood requires it, to the actual trajectory of growth of governmental power.
The sad fact is that the law of government is that it must grow, not less than it is the nature of rabbits and of entropy to increase. The simple reason for the growth is the natural reluctance of those in authority to relinquish it but rather always to increase the power they hold. What bureaucrat, after all, has ever volunteered to reduce his budget or his reach?
If we are to examine the trajectories of governmental institutions throughout history, we likewise find that once a governmental system has emerged from the infighting, it promptly will commence to establish and shore up its power position. We see this pattern, for example, in the emergence of strong monarchy in Europe in the Middle Ages, just as we do in the rise of empires of the East and of the ancients.
Only when a governmental power is overthrown, by war, disaster or even revolution does it give up the growth of its reach, only to be replaced by the next emerging government which next begins its own power-agglomeration cycle.
Just because radicals rarely win sufficient power to implement their agendas does not mean that they labor in vain, for it is without a doubt that — when widely heard — their voices serve to move the mainstream center in their direction. Thus, for example, it has been in the United States that leftist radicals have moved consensus ever leftward from their violent beginnings in the strikes and bombings of the early 1900s and beyond. This also is today’s right wing is trying reverse this pattern. It would be unwise to discount heir influence, despite their recent losses. After all, left-radicals skated quite a long time to see their views affect the mainstream and its choices.
Having strayed far from their origins, both of the major parties of the American political landscape have now broadly represent two broad sectors of society.
The GOP, despite the favored leftist narrative, now represents a coalition of the wrongly classes and a broad segment of the managerial elite. Together they form what can properly be termed the Producing Class, brig that they are responsible for the backbone of the mon-information economy.
The Democrats, by contrast, have formed a coalition of the intellectual elites, minorities, elite women, union leaderships and the poor. Together, perhaps more controversially, they can be grouped as the Non-productive Class.
The irony here is, of course, that they are precisely the people whom Marx — whose ghost still haunts the ideology of the party, given the backgrounds of much of its activist base — counts among the social parasites.
The electorate of the nation had become more or less equally divided between these emergent classes, but that is an unstable situation, and for effective governance to emerge in time it will have to be resolved. Lacking a peaceful resolution, 1930s Spain serves as a the truly frightening example of the results of an ever-more radicalized population that forms two armed camps.
It is a curious feature of the trajectory of American political discourse that the more permissive the society becomes the more both ends of the spectrum pine for authoritarianism — naturally, on their own respective terms — as if sensing the increasing centripetal effect of small-l liberalism upon continued vitality of the Union.
Each year, the Independence Day prompts optimistic, if rather forced, renditions of developments in the increasingly democratic American polity. This optimism, it seems, may be misplaced, as both sides in our ever-more polarized society are locked into self-destructive courses. Continue reading