A look at the future of America, unlike the expectations of conservatives and liberals

Summary:  Conservatives expect to see long-sought social changes from their coming electoral victories.  Liberals expect insane policy changes that wreck America, based on lies about history and irrational beliefs about the world.  Both are wrong, IMO.  Here we speculate about the future, extrapolating current trends.

Contents

  1. The Right takes power the traditional way, by effective propaganda
  2. The good news
  3. The result:  fixed citizens in a different America
  4. For more information

(1)  The Right takes power the traditional way, by effective propaganda

The Right has come to dominate US public policy in party by firmly repeating simple but emotionally appealing lies.  To name just a few about history:

  • The Civil War was about States Rights, not slavery (the participants themselves were mistaken).
  • The Vietnam War could have been won (most wars, if re-fought by one-side with a God-like knowledge of future events)
  • The Reagan Miracle (although invisible in US economic statistics)
  • Tax cuts increase revenue, working in both booms and busts (even though they don’t, except from stratospheric levels)
  • Saddam Husein was an ally of al Qaeda and had WMDs.
  • AQ’s Afghanistan bases played a significant role in the 9-11 attacks (planned in Germany, training in Miami)

Plus other sets of interlocking lies about basic economics, the cost and efficacy of the US health care system vs. those in Europe, the operation of the Long War, the nature of domestic terrorism in the US and Europe, and a dozen other subjects.  We have reached the point, IMO, where a critical mass of citizens believe this interlocking set of misinformation.  They treat almost any statement from the Right, however absurd, like gospel.

This shows that our OODA loop (observation, orientation, decision, action) is broken.  We can no longer as a people discriminate between simple facts and fiction.  We have become a weak and foolish people.

Republicans will work to weaken America, for which we will blame Obama and the Democrats and elect Republicans.

(2)  The good news

“You can always count on Americans to do the right thing, after they have tried everything else.”
— attributed to Winston Churchill

Fortunately there is good news  about what happens next.  America will be run as Republicans make the necessary reforms.  But it will not be run in our interests.

(a)  Sheep have shepherds.

Inevitably for a weak and foolish people, we will have little say in the running of American after electing our plutocratic overlords.   They will continue and accelerate the policies concentrating wealth, income, and political power, executing the last stages of an open-sourced political movement like this nation has never before seen, decades of patient investment by far-seeing conservatives.

(b)  Fixing America

“Therefore, mankind always sets itself only such tasks as it can solve; since, looking at the matter more closely, we will always find that the task itself arises only when the material conditions necessary for its solution already exist or are at least in the process of formation.”
— Preface to ‘A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy’ (1859)

Since our problems are relatively simple to fix, Republicans will produce rapid and impressive results.  After all, they were the major factor preventing corrective action.  Once in power, Republicans will make the relatively easy reforms:  cut spending, raise taxes, and adopt an European-like health care system (a mixed public-private system like that of France and Germany).

This has been the pattern of Presidents for generations.  When changes must be made, it’s often the party opposed to them which makes the change.  Hoover turned interventionist at the end of his term.  FDR ran on a balanced budget platform in 1932 and to keep us out of the war in 194o.   Peacenik and pro-regulatorty Carter initiated deregulation and the support for the Afghanistan insurgents.  Nixon instituted many liberal reforms (see this list).  Reagan and Bush repeatedly raised taxes.  Bush Sr signed the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, one of the largest expansions of government authority since Nixon.   In 2003 Bush Jr. signed the Medicare Prescription Drug Act (an almost trillion-dollar expansion of the government’s liabilities).  {text revised from original post}

(3)  The result:  fixed citizens in a different America

Only Nixon could go to China.
— Ancient Vulcan proverb

(a)  Becoming a Christian nation, not.

A common motif in mid-21st C Churches

“It’s all about power and the unassailable might of money.”
— E. P. Arnold Royalton, the great 21st century industrialist and philanthropist

Many Republican voters dream of making America a Christian nation, returning to traditional values.  However frequently disappointed by the past four Republican Presidents, they respond like trained dogs to a whistle to Republican campaign promises.

Disappointment awaits them.  The rich that run America worship money and power.  Profits require social stability, and they have no interest in the moral life of peons.  Gay marriage, gays in the military, abortion — these reduce social strife — and hence are sound conservative policies.  This accounts for many of the “liberal” policies implemented by Republican Presidents (examples here and here).

(b)  Rolling back the New Deal, destroying the middle class

“What does that get us?  A discontented, lazy rabble instead of a thrifty working class.  And all because a few starry-eyed dreamers like Peter Bailey stir them up and fill their heads with a lot of impossible ideas.”
— Mr. Henry F. Potter, leading banker and first citizen of Potterville

No need to say much about this after decades of deliberate government policy to crush the middle class.  Those that can see, see.  Those that will not see, do not see.

For details see this article in the latest issue of The Atlantic by Don Peck:  “Can the Middle Class Be Saved?” — “The Great Recession has accelerated the hollowing-out of the American middle class. And it has illuminated the widening divide between most of America and the super-rich. Both developments herald grave consequences. Here is how we can bridge the gap between us.”  Of course the author does not mention the government policies that helps drive increasing inequality of wealth and income, and his solutions are mostly bogus.  But it’s progress to even recognise the problem.

For more posts about rising inequality and the death of the middle class click here.

(c)  A concluding song

Let us join with Congressman John Rutledge of Pennsylvania in singing this slightly edited song from the musical 1776, looking forward to the Congress of 2026.

Oh say do you see what I see?
Congress sitting here in sweet serenity
Come ye cool cool conservative men
The likes of which may never be seen again
We have land, cash in hand
Self-command, future planned
Fortune flies, society survives
In neatly ordered lives with well-endowered wives
Come ye cool cool considerate set
We’ll dance together to the same minuet
To the right, ever to the right
Never to the left, forever to the right
May our creed be never to exceed
Regulated speed, no matter what the need

(4)  For more information

(a)  Other articles

For a broader explanation of this dynamic see Destruction  and Creation by John Boyd (America’s greatest military theorist since  WWII).  The world changes, and so the way we see it changes.  “All that lives, dies”  also applies to paradigms, theologies, and political doctrines.  It’s the  way the world progresses.  Boyd gives an improved variant of the “thesis, antithesis, synthesis” triad  attributed to Hegel (see Wikipedia).

(b)  Other posts looking at the future of America

See the full list at the FM Reference Page Guessing about possible futures for America.  Here are a few of special interest:

  1. Forecast: Death of the American Constitution, 4 July 2006
  2. Is America’s decline inevitable? No., 21 January 2008
  3. Good news about the 21st century, a counterbalance to the doomsters, 9 May 2008
  4. COIN – a perspective from 23rd century textbooks, 10 June 2008
  5. Some thoughts about the economy of mid-21st century America, 12 January 2009 — Thoughts about future from one of the 20th century’s greatest minds
  6. A look at our history – from the 23rd century, 13 April 2009
  7. A look at the future of the world’s political and economic order, 4 June 2010
  8. A look back at our time from the 2100 A.D. edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, 24 June 2010

4 thoughts on “A look at the future of America, unlike the expectations of conservatives and liberals

  1. FM offers: “Those that can see, see. Those that will not, do not.”
    ………………………….
    Well said. A fine summary and to the points. This situation is sadly, the result of years and years of willful refusal to LOOK and consider and question. And of course “other things” but the Mirror is up for reflection.

    Too busy? Unininterested? …a Citizen? Fascinating to witness. A decent, unpretentious people who have been misled for many, many years —and it never occurred to them.

  2. I was with you until this point: “(b) Fixing America”

    There’s nothing wrong with your analysis from the historical point, if the Republicans really were in control of themselves you’d be dead accurate. But the Tea Party is a game-changer, at least in the short run, and they won’t allow the changes you’ve mentioned.

    They will cut spending again and again and be completely puzzled as the economy continues to shrink. They will put out increasingly fanciful theories to explain their failure until eventually they decide that somebody (probably the Democrats) secretly hate this country and have been secretly sabotaging the Tea Party efforts. The witch hunt that follows will eventually stir memories of Krystallnacht and fizzle out but will not help our economy.

    I cannot see what will happen beyond that point but I still have hope that this lesson in self-torture will have an impact on the American people and they will choose slightly better after that.

    Greg: “A decent, unpretentious people who have been misled for many, many years”

    Sad to say, but the people who have misled us is ourselves. We’ve not been that decent or unpretentious and been too fond of the easy solution, even if the facts suggest it won’t work. Remember Voodoo economics? They didn’t work in Reagan’s time or either Bush’s administration but the Tea Party in particular loves them all to death. And that’s what’s going to happen to one small degree or another.
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    FM reply: You might be right, as we can only guess about the future. I agree with you that the Tea Party is popular and powerful within the Republican Party; indeed it may be the Party’s heart today (see this recent CNN Poll). But my guess is that the level of responsiveness of our elected officials to popular opinion is low, AND that when Republican leaders state the reason for these things their followers will follow (left and right, we’re sheep). Remember the Vulcan proverb: only Nixon could go to China.

  3. Thanks for the response, FM. You ALWAYS have the best information at your fingertips!
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    FM reply: Thank you for the feedback. Please pass on the link to your friends.

  4. Hopefully there are enough policymakers with functioning OODA loops and holistic mindsets to keep this country from going off the rails. Hopefully we also have policymakers with a sense of noblesse oblige and commonwealth who can institute much-needed but entirely manageable reforms: shrinking our metastatic prison state, establishing an effective public health system, reining in the military-industrial complex, reestablishing shelter rather than financial speculation as the purpose of housing, etc.

    This presumes a degree of empathy, scrupulosity and public-spiritedness absent in our current rulers, so I’m probably expecting too much. It also goes against our entrenched national traditions of con artistry and market manipulation, so it would produce a huge backlash from politically connected factions that are currently coopting a critical mass of the citizenry.

    Much of this citizenry lives in self-referential worlds barely penetrable by the reality-based community. The officially sanctioned self-referential worlds are managed by the mainstream media, including Fox News, which cannot legitimately claim outsider or underdog status. The other major self-referential world is that of the self-proclaimed “Christian” community, which tailors its own politically correct versions of disciplines including history, jurisprudence, epidemiology and geology to conform to its interpretation of the Bible. I’m ambivalent as to whether the Bible-thumpers can legitimately claim underdog status.
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    FM reply: Pleas allow me to put your fears to rest. America is in better shape than Europe and Japan, with sound fundamentals and relatively easily solved problems. Our elites are arousing panic as a tactic to mobilize public support, and the necessary policy changes will be implemented during the next five years. Of course, relying on elites (in this case, wealth-based elites) to run the country has a cost — they take a large share of the income. But that’s how sheep are governed.

    Explaining this is a major theme of the FM website, hopefully as accurate as the forecasts of the previous eight years. For an introduction see A look at the future of America, unlike the expectations of conservatives and liberals.

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