Myrhaf offers some advice to the Democrats on how to proceed in the aftermath of the Scott Brown win: he says that they need a crisis.
I don’t expect them to actually precipitate one on purpose, but the basic premise — that the American Left is in a do-or-die position — is very likely correct.
Objectivists have been saying for years that the Left is at the end of its intellectual road, and that its position in control of the academy is slowly slipping away. I think the Left knows this as well. I believe that the core Left is afraid that if they don’t succeed in pushing America over the tipping point during this administration, they may never get this chance again.
What is this goal — this “tipping point” to which I refer?
I see it as that point where “tax eaters” — those dependent upon government handouts, in one form or another, and their enablers — permanently outnumber and outvote the tax payers and their allies. Europe is already past this point, and a few US states — California, for example — are as well.
The Left knows that tax-eater constituencies are permanently beholden to them, thanks to what the conservatives call the “liberal ratchet”. How many times have we heard the whine “but if they take away our handouts, we’ll have nothing”? Once a government program is ensconced in the economic structure of the country, it is well-nigh impossible to extract (given our current cultural climate), much like an inoperable tumor. The expectation is that once this voter base is sufficiently large, the trend will become irreversible, and liberty will be permanently removed from the mainstream.
This is the real motivation behind the push to install socialized medicine now. This was the point of the Left’s substitution of “democracy” for freedom over a hundred years ago: to set the country on a path towards the initial type of tyranny that bears the closest superficial resemblance to freedom: the tyranny of the majority.
Once this happens, The American Left can finally start down the same road towards permanent struggle and war that the Left has followed everywhere else in the world. The only way out for the producers will be to revolt — go on strike — or enact a literal revolution. These are extreme options, all but certainly entailing the loss of the comforts of modern society — the threat thereof which which all but the most James Taggart-ish of the core Left will count on to keep them under the yoke. “Oh, you’ll do something, Mr. Rearden.”
That’s the crossroads we are at right now. Down one road is Weimar… the other, America.
We were last here in the late ’60’s and ’70’s, when the Great Society was installed, the government was openly debasing the currency, and “malaise” was prevalent. It was, however, too soon. Ronald Reagan derailed the Left’s train in the 80’s with an unexpected resurgence of conservatism (due to the temporary migration of the not-sufficiently-dead Enlightenment ideas over to the Right).
Still in possession of the mantle of American liberalism, the Left in 1980 was confident in its ability to wait out the Reagan effect for a generation, and they did. As expected, the conservatives ran out of steam (thanks to the logically necessary rise of the religious wing of conservatism), and by 2008, the Left was ready to pick right up where they left off.
But something’s gone wrong. Those pesky Enlightenment ideals, mangled as they are by 40 years of identification with conservatism, still won’t die! They are still breathing, as the rise of the Tea Parties and Ayn Rand’s rising profile clearly signal.
And last but not least, the mask is falling off; American left-“liberalism” is past its expiry date. The left is now seen as what they are — socialists — by greater and greater numbers of Americans. Caught between the false alternative of socialist Left and theocratic Right, millions of Americans are finally smelling the left-right trap and declaring themselves as Independents.
These are all signals that the Left itself is in serious danger of being irretrievably marginalized, and I think they know it. The Left is reaching the end of its road faster than America is reaching that tipping point. This wasn’t supposed to happen!
So it should be no wonder that they are going for broke now. They fear what we hope — that they will run out of gas before America is brought down. They know that the time for a Hail Mary pass to get us over that tipping point, is now — and success in this regard outweighs the short-term political pain that will follow.
This is the root of the split on the Left regarding the current bill. Those core Leftists who support it have concluded that they won’t be able to achieve socialized medicine this go-around, and so are hoping that another Cloward-Piven round of mucking up the system with further regulations and mandates will induce the country to demand a full takeover out of frustration. Others, however, are afraid that this classic pattern may not occur — that the changes in America that I have noted here, will result in a completely different reaction against government control that will marginalize the socialist Left for good. This faction wants the public option back in *now*.
Which of them is right? I do not know. That’s the nature of a crossroads…. it could go either way. In either case, I don’t believe that times in America have ever been as interesting as they are now, in my lifetime.