The Left hates America and will destroy it

Summary: The media immerse us in a sea of trivia, unable to see the movements that reshape society. This is the biggest: at this moment in history, the Left hates America. The Right is owned by the 1%, and does not care. This presents an existential challenge to America.

“A society does not ever die ‘from natural causes’, but always dies from suicide or murder – and nearly always from the former….”
― Arnold Joseph Toynbee’s A Study of History.

A flag burning

The Democratic Party Is Working To Destroy The American Way Of Life

By Rachel Stoltzfoos at The Federalist, 1 November 2018.

“At this moment in history, the Democratic Party belongs to those who hate our institutions, hate the limits of our system of government, and hate America’s way of life.”

Stoltzfoos marshals evidence that by now should be familiar to everyone, although written in a partisan framework. While mostly accurate, she misrepresents the situation and ignores the vital big picture. The elites running the Democratic Party want to run America, not destroy it or “its way of life.” They deploy their activists as shock troops, just as do the elites of the Republican Party.

The big story in our politics is not driven by politics. The Left has mutated since the 1960s into a movement that hates America, its culture, and its society (the Right has also changed, see below). Hates it with white-hot intensity. Not parts of it. The whole. They are eager to fight and burn it all down. Their passion gives them great power. We have become weak in mind and soul, and might be unable to stop them.

America is just an idea. It can be burned away in a heartbeat.

Flames engulf a burning home and the American Flag.
ID 131274531 © Photovs | Dreamstime.

Today’s Left sees the Founding as dirty. America’s history is a catalog of evils. America today is a sexist, racist, imperialist dystopia. Comparisons with other nations, past and present are irrelevant. Their imaginary Leftist utopia is the only standard of comparison.

Their leaders – either academics or with advanced training in academia – understand our society and how to destroy it. Opening the borders to floods of people from cultures with different values, overwhelming our ability to assimilate them – and depressing wages for the less-educated. Multiculturalism, reducing the pressure to assimilate. Identity politics, disrupting the social cohesion that has been America’s greatest strength. De-legitimizing the political structure created by the Constitution – the only glue holding us together. Wrecking the family, the foundation of our society. An endless series of social crusades – e.g. for gays, for transgenders, and soon for something else – that divide us and divert attention from our more serious problems.

They have seen our greatest weaknesses: our lack of confidence in ourselves, as a nation, and our apathy.

They are winning. They have support of the news media, academia, the Democratic Party, and large parts of the vast and almost omnipotent government bureaucracy (e.g., family courts).

I intended to provide evidence. But it is like pointing to the rain. You see it if you look. Their hatred overflows from the daily newspapers  If you prefer not to see, close the curtains and deny it.

The Left has made great contributions to America. But it has metastasized and become an existential threat. Much more so than when the Right was infected with fascism and the Left when infected with communism. The only conflict of a similar magnitude in our history was about slavery, another clash between America’s values and those that hated them.

hate

What about America’s Right wing?

Two years of Trump and a GOP-run Congress shows that the leaders of today’s Right see us as sheep to be sheared, and their followers as easily-manipulated useful idiots. They are, of course, correct. This weakness on the Right makes the Left powerful.

Trump ran as a populist, promising to rebuilt America and scale back our mad foreign wars. Instead we got the standard GOP policy package. Tax cuts for the rich. Attacks on unions, to boost corporate profits. Reduced environmental and job safety regulation, to boost corporate profits. Reduced enforcement of antitrust regulations, allowing mega-mergers to build cartels that boost corporate profits. Massive expansion of military spending, irrelevant to actual threats we face, to boost corporate profits. Cuts to vital social spending, such as education.

Elites on far-right dream of drastic cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. They seek to roll back the New Deal. After all …

“What did that get us? A discontented, lazy rabble instead of a thrifty working class. And all because a few starry-eyed dreamers like FDR stir them up and fill their heads with a lot of impossible ideas.”

–- Henry F. Potter, leading banker and first citizen of Bedford Falls. From It’s A Wonderful Life. Slightly paraphrased.

Solutions

I have not the slightest hint as to how to resolve this, or prediction as to how this will end.

This is a follow-up to A new, dark picture of America’s future.

For More Information

Ideas! For shopping ideas see my recommended books and films at Amazon.

See all posts about ways to reform American politics, about the left-wing of US politics, especially these…

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about political violence, about immigration, about reforming America: steps to new politics, and especially these …

  1. ImportantA 4th of July reminder that America is ours to keep – or to lose!
  2. We have trouble coping with our present because we’ve lost our past,
  3. Fear the rise of political violence in America. We can still stop it.
  4. America abandons the ideals that made us great.
  5. America isn’t falling like the Roman Empire. It’s worse.

Useful books explaining what happened to America

I have not found a good book explaining what happened to the Left, causing its hatred of America. These are the best I have found, looking at our politics.

Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? by Thomas Frank.

The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted by Mike Lofgren.

"Listen, Liberal" by Thomas Frank
Available at Amazon.
"The Party is Over" by Mike Lofgren
Available at Amazon.

72 thoughts on “The Left hates America and will destroy it

  1. Your screed on how the left hates America is so full of bias, rage, fear and contradictions that, as described by the physicist Dr. Pauli, it is so not right that it isn’t even wrong. Trumpublicans are the ones trying to destroy faith in the following institutions: FBI, CIA, SDNY, NYT, WAPO, ABC/NBC/CBS/PBS news divisions, EPA, Dept.of Education, and more.

    The danger to every society happens when thugs take over and destroy the institutions that maintain a civil society. When the polity arms itself in its factions, that is the prelude to revolution. That explains why the Heller decision does not give citizens the right to artillery and other weapons of war. Therefore, the defenders of the Heller decision are the people who hate America. Defenders of a status quo that denied protection of law to children, ancients, labor, people of color/immigrants, the sick , the disabled, LGBQ, etc. are on the wrong side of history. We are not the only nation with a history of genocide and economic unfairness, but we lag behind nations like New Zealand, where across the political spectrum there is virtually unanimous consent to purge their society of privately owned assault rifles.

    Just relax and reap the many health/welfare/education/economic benefits brought to us by the left and opposed by the right.

    1. Michael,

      (1) “Trumpublicans are the ones trying to destroy faith in the following institutions: FBI, CIA, SDNY, NYT, WAPO, ABC/NBC/CBS/PBS news divisions, EPA, Dept.of Education, and more.”

      Read much American history? Looks like the answer is “no.” Both Left and Right have fought government agencies since the Whiskey Rebellion. The Left hated the police and intel agencies for most of the 20th century. The right has hated the mainstream news media since the 1960s. Similar conflicts have been fought throughout our history. It’s called politics.

      The history of the FBI and CIA is fantastically dirty. Hoover’s protection of the Mafia, his “black bag” operations against the Left and Commies (different entities), dirty tricks against the Civil Rights organizations. More recently, the deep corruption in the FBI crime lab. As for the CIA, only someone profoundly ignorant of US history would trust them (lots of good books about their sad history. I recommend Legacy of Ashes). To learn something, I suggest you start with findings of the Church Committee.

      The news media have never been highly respected institutions in America – or, before that, Britain. They were and are partisan instruments. Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels) fought the partisan wars of Britain in 1700. The Founders fought in the papers with no rules – the more scurrilously, the better.

      Believing that education is a state function is not “hating America.” It has been such for most of our history. There is little evidence that it has helped much since its creation in 1980.

      (2) “The danger to every society happens when thugs take over”

      An example? I can’t recall a major western state “taken over” by “thugs.” Unless you mean “thugs” in a child-like way, as “people I don’t like.” Nations are taken over by organized insurgents, usually leaders from middle or upper class. They employ thugs, just as our leaders do (putting them in uniforms).

      (3) “and destroy the institutions that maintain a civil society.”

      Yes, that’s an important step for revolutionaries (left or right). As Nikolay Chernyshevsky (1828-1889) said:

      “The worse, the better.”

      (4) “Therefore, the defenders of the Heller decision are the people who hate America.”

      You must realize that makes no sense whatsoever. Guns were widely owned in the past of the US, and we did just fine. That does not mean that this is good (i.e., look at effect on suicide and homicide rates). But it shows that widespread ownership of guns is not an existential threat, as you imply.

      (4) “We are not the only nation with a history of genocide and economic unfairness”

      Yes, that’s a mild way of stating the obvious.

      (5) “we lag behind nations like New Zealand, where across the political spectrum there is virtually unanimous consent to purge their society of privately owned assault rifles.”

      How does domestic gun ownership relate to “a history of genocide and economic unfairness”? Many nations had genocidal policies while forbidding gun ownership. Ditto about economic inequality.

    2. Michael –

      A second comment, distinct from my first reply.

      “Just relax and reap the many health/welfare/education/economic benefits brought to us by the left and opposed by the right.”

      Thanks for catching that. I did not state that today’s Left and Right are drastically different than in the past. I’ve changed the text to make that clear.

      See the books at the end, which describe this evolution in US politics.

  2. Larry, excellent analysis of the very tragic historical developments in the US over the past 60 years. Your thoughts have mirrored my own for some time now, and I thank you for all your work in keeping the Fabius Maximus blog page alive and well.

    Personally, I noticed that you relocated your family from the left coast (Marin County?) to a location in the Midwest. I certainly don’t want you to reveal the exact location, but was this to find a home in a place with a much more traditional and patriotic location, where you feel comfortable with the culture?

    Like yourself, I was extremely active in the Boy Scout movement for many years, and strongly considered choosing to become a professional scouter as my life career. I had a strong affinity and love for the Boy Scouts growing during the 1940’s and 1950’s. Although I am horrified at the vicious oppression of Gays in many nations, it saddens me to follow developments in the Boy Scouts today. I am strongly opposed to allowing gays, and other LGBTQ members and leaders in the Boy Scouts of America. I believe this will destroy the wonderful organization for developing strong, moral, young men of strong character.

    Of course this is part of the Left’s plan to destroy the united America I grew up in during the 2nd World War. and the 20 years that followed.

    Like you, I can not predict where we are going as a nation. I have felt for some time, that we are heading for tyranny of some kind, either Left or perhaps Right. Right now the Left seem to be in he driver’s seat to complete the destruction of this incredible country we grew up in. I believe that historians will look back on this in the future, as a tragedy far worse than the destruction of the Roman Republic.

  3. “Two years of Trump and a GOP-run Congress shows that the leaders of today’s Right see us as sheep to be sheared, and their followers as easily-manipulated useful idiots. They are, of course, correct. This weakness on the Right makes the Left powerful.”

    I could stand that last sentence on its head and say that the malice of the Left is the only thing that allows the GOP to get elected to anything. You can look at the actual accomplishments of the Republican Congress that came in with Trump and the accomplishments of Trump himself and conclude that the only reason they expect to get away with it is the knowledge, out there in Red State America, that whereas the Republicans chastise them with whips the Democrats would chastise them with scorpions.

    I don’t think this dodge can work indefinitely.

    1. The Man,

      “I could stand that last sentence on its head and say that the malice of the Left is the only thing that allows the GOP to get elected to anything.”

      True, but doesn’t that work equally well vice versa? How many people want the GOP’s agenda (the real one, not the lies on the campaign trail)?

      As I’ve said scores of times – as many others have said – we’ve let go the reins of America. Its institutions are controlled by people whose interests are inimical to ours. Prey attract predators. Being prey is a choice.

  4. Today’s Left sees the Founding as dirty. America’s history is a catalog of evils. America today is a sexist, racist, imperialist dystopia.

    If you consider the history and current circumstances of black people in America then this mostly correct. Their accusations are effective because they have the ring of truth.

    “Identity politics, disrupting the social cohesion that has been America’s greatest strength. De-legitimizing the political structure created by the Constitution – the only glue holding us together.”

    This strategy would not be nearly as effective if we’d actually righted our wrongs.

    1. JD,

      “This strategy would not be nearly as effective if we’d actually righted our wrongs.”

      What would that involve? Also, what is your standard of comparison – the other nations that have “righted their wrongs”?

  5. What a lovely situation Lefties despise America and Righties see us as bloodbags to suck from. We are stuck with Haters and Vampires.

    Regarding Immigration and “The National Question” I’ve come across some interesting links. One is a transcript of some Q&A about IdPol, nationalism, immigration, etc. with Eric Kaufman and Ashley Jardina: “IS WHITE IDENTITY CAUSING AN IMMIGRATION BACKLASH?” by NISKANEN CENTER.

    I’ve also come across an academic, Zach Goldberg, whose oeuvre is about what Social Psychologists call “Racial Resentment”. His twitter feed is pure unadulterated CrimeThink, check it out.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/ZachG932

    1. Hoyticus,

      Thank you, as always, for the links!

      “We are stuck with Haters and Vampires.”

      Prey attract predators. Being prey is a choice.

      America will be governed. If we choose not to do so, other will do so – in their own interest.

    2. Hoyticus,

      Follow-up note: about the interview with the experts at the Niskanen Center.

      They believe that American must accept any changes to its demographics inflicted on us by our ruling elites. The inevitable changes to the cultural are just life. “Bow Then Bend Over” is their command. Any other response is racism.

      Perhaps this work. Perhaps it will end badly. I’m confident that these smug bastards will feel no responsibility for the results of their social engineering.

      1. FM, I agree with you for what it’s worth. Kaufman and Jardina are more sanguine than I am with respect to demographic change, foolishly so. Zach Goldberg from what I’ve read of his feed hews much closer to our perspective. If you have the time give his Twitter feed a good read through. My intention was to link both so as to provide juxtaposition. Crudely out I’d have to peg Jardina on the Left, Kaufman Centerish, and Goldberg Right.

      2. Hoyticus,

        This is the reckless social experimentation that has characterized the Left for over a century. They just don’t care about possible ill effects, denounce those that urge caution, and have no interest in research before action. They appear to believe that everybody that comes will become like nice Americans, no matter what their current values and beliefs.

        But they are not insane, so there must be some reason for their indifference to the likely destructive effects – effects already being seen in Europe (although denied by their elites). The answer becomes obvious, imo, when put in context with their other beliefs and policy prescriptions. To them massive immigration shattering our society is a feature, not a bug.

  6. Does really just the “Left” (or Right or Low) hate America? Or is it that a great majority of decent people (around the world) is aware what America has become; and are rightfully worried where she’s going and what she may become?

    1. Jako,

      “is aware what America has become”

      What has America done that so upsets you? Are we building islands in the China sea to capture its mineral and fishing wealth? Running concentration camps to re-educate” Muslims in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region? Have we hearded vast numbers of migrants into giant ring cities around Paris, where they have frequent protests (brutally suppressed)? Are we stealing the Palestinians’ lands, making them peasants in their own territory?

      Perhaps it is the frequent civil wars in Africa, almost tribal wars, that bothers you? Russia’s pressure on the nations of its eastern borders? The widespread oppression of Christians in the Middle East, from Iran down thru East Africa? Perhaps it is the resurgence of slavery in East Africa (and peonage in rural Pakistan)? I could continue, but why bother?

      So many evils in the world. And you believe the “great majority of decent people” are worried about America? You are an avid reader of propaganda!

      1. I might be one of those evil Leftists who would not necessarily find displeasure to see the national government choke on its own vomit, so I’ll offer a different perspective.
        Looking around the world, we see many possible governments, as well as each of their various effects on people’s happiness, prosperity, and political freedom. Some of those effects are bad (as Larry Kummer points out above), whereas some are quite good. So while the USA may have once been a shining beacon on a hill according to those metrics, now it is looking more like just one lighthouse among many (albeit still a very large one).
        I’m not old enough to remember a time when America outshined its international peers in a way that would be meaningful for me personally, so I suppose it comes down to a simple question of ‘What have you done for me lately?’ (Janet Jackson reference).

      2. Todd,

        Thank you for the summary, but I don’t see its relevance to this post. Measures are being taken to destroy America by the Left – the movement, in that these policies have broad and deep support among Leftists and their organizations.

        Whether the US is some kind of beacon, or Heaven, or just another nation is irrelevant. Whatever, burning its culture and hoping that something better arises from the ashes is quite mad. But hatred impells people to do mad things.

    2. Jako,

      Suggestion: for a week, read only sources with political bias opposite to your own. To illustrate, this would be like switching from MSNBC to Fox News, from Naked Capitalism to National Review, etc.

  7. Larry,

    I don’t know the issue behind the Spratly Islands well enough to form an objective opinion, do you?
    Had US not “stirred” the Muslim world, from unequivocal support of Israel’s aggression, through arming and training jihadists to fight the Soviets up to the illegal and criminal wars in the Middle East, the Muslim province in Western China may not be an issue today, not for Muslims nor for Chinese.

    Since the end of the Cold War I, no other country has committed so much violence, killing hundreds of thousands (mostly civilians) and displacing millions throughout the Muslim world, leaving behind just rubble and “admiration for the Shining City on the Hill.”

    If I were an American, I would not try to rub the “migrant” catastrophe into EU face; the majority of these refugees are a direct consequence of the American and US led NATO aggression in the region.

    Would Russia pressure their western neighbors had NATO stayed within its 1990 borders, as promised by the war hero US president and had the NATO not instigated “color revolutions” in the region and even a coup in Ukraine? I don’t know, but I doubt it.

    We have had a few friends from Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria, some Christians, all educated and well traveled and now, Canadian citizens; none of them would point out an “anonymous evil in the world,” but a very specific “duo.”

    Can you support your claim that I am a victim of propaganda by pointing out an untainted alternative explanation of the few points I made?

    1. “If I were an American, I would not try to rub the “migrant” catastrophe into EU face; the majority of these refugees are a direct consequence of the American and US led NATO aggression in the region.”

      Of course, let us ignore the chronic lack of economic development coupled and high population growth in areas such as North Africa and blame everything on what, the Lybia campaign?

      The funny thing is I was living in Spain in 1999, before any of these interventions occurred and I remember clearly how migration was already a big issue and southern European states were already being taxed in terms of how to deal with increased flows of poor people looking for better opportunities.

      Also, did the US cause Assad to murder protesters and thus trigger a civil war in Syria that led to millions of refugees flooding into Europe?

      “Would Russia pressure their western neighbors had NATO stayed within its 1990 borders, as promised by the war hero US president and had the NATO not instigated “color revolutions” in the region and even a coup in Ukraine? I don’t know, but I doubt it.”

      Russia has sought a buffer zone around it’s territory since the goddamn Mongol invasions, this is basic Russian foreign policy pursued by everyone from Fredrick the Great to Stalin.

      The problem with your mentality is not that you are wrong about the screw ups of US foreign policy, its that you attribute everything bad in the world to them.

      That is the hate Larry is describing, something that goes beyond the sort of critical self-reflection that makes reform possible, and instead turns into divisive rhetoric that will only make things worse.

      1. Dave,

        Nicely said.

        I’ve given up attempting to reason with people so heavily indoctrinated by the Left and Right. It’s like talking to trees in the forest. Facts, logic – all run off them like rain off a duck.

  8. This is the reckless social experimentation that has characterized the Left for over a century. They just don’t care about possible ill effects, denounce those that urge caution, and have no interest in research before action.

    This is an accurate and concise summary of the history of left wing movements all over the world in the 20th and what has passed of the 21st centuries. If you look at any of it, from the great Soviet experiment through China to Venezuela, there is no advance research or assessment, no scorecard against which policies are evaluated for their effects. It is always full speed ahead with eyes closed, and the greater the disaster, the greater the enthusiasm and the greater the drive for more of the same.

    It is extraordinary, when you know the history, to behold the enthusiasm on the left for more of the same. You just have to list the episodes of mass murder which are the usual accompaniment of these drives to utopia. Soviet Union, probably something like 15-20 million. A great government made famine. China, we do not really know, but well north of 50 million. Another great government made famine. Pol Pot in Cambodia…. Its a huge list.

    The effort to produce socialism is not the only cause of organized mass murder among us, there are others, particularly one thinks of the African examples, and efforts to produce socialism do not always end in mass murder, the more moderate efforts in Europe have not. Though National Socialism of course did. But the association is strong and would give any rational person pause about the risk/reward ratio.

    Yet intelligent and well educated people in their hundreds of thousands in the West seem unable to see it.

  9. I miss the Old Left. One of my political heroes is Eugene V. Debs. The jailing of Debs for opposing WWI was a betrayal of American values.

    I was blessed with great professors and teachers from the Left. They challenged me and I challenged them. They all loved America. They were passionate and patriotic about America. They criticized things, but in an effort full of love.

    Multiculturalism is anti-American. The Melting Pot is American. I was born in a California that was 90% white, the shining example to the world of a successful society. We started to get a lot of immigrants while I was in school. My high school soccer team had members from dozens of countries. My AP Chem class had 1 student whose parents were born in America, me. But everyone was rushing to assimilate. It worked.

    This new crowd hates America. I first ran into them in grad school in the early 90s at a UC campus. The MECHA and La Raza folks, as well as the International Socialists. They disregarded civil norms, engaged in deplatforming and stole publications. I was surprised. I strongly believed in the American creed.

    When I first read Samuel Huntington’s Who Are We?, I thought he was wrong. Now I see him as prophetic.

    It is going to get ugly…..

  10. Thanks for your work FM.
    The differences between Left and Right are big in the political rhetoric but my take is that – among the middle class folks I know – there are not big divides in what we want. As data, it’s worth little, but makes me wonder, maybe this is just the political elite becoming more adept at control. The Demo/Repub power share is the core of our system, and this may be their clinging to power. There are issues between Left/Right but it seems stylized and not economic. When one side foresees major economic consequences or political disenfranchisement (or camps,…) it gets bad. Is there an obvious issue I just don’t see? Maybe we are just emerging from a long period of abnormally calm political weather.

    1. hh,

      “there are not big divides in what we want. ”

      Isn’t that a sign of a cohesive, well-functioning society? Switzerland, the Nordics, the US for much of its history.

      Representative governments don’t work well when the spectrum of political values grows to wide in a society. As in Italy and France, where governments fall every generation or so. At some point, ugly consequences are inevitable.

      Imagine a people consisting of communists and libertarians, with the legislature consisting of Lenin and Ayn Rand. How could politics be conducted? What would happen in a change of administration, when each side considers the other illegitimate?

      America and Swisserland have had extraordinary success in the past 150 years, in part due to their relatively narrow range of political opinions.

  11. Larry, about your thesis statement. When you write that the left hates America and wants to destroy it, could you expand on what you mean by “America?”

    I recall that shortly after John Boehner assumed the leadership in the US House, he opined that he hardly recognized the country he grew up in, and expressed a nostalgia for the America of his youth. Was he yearning for an America with stable and respected institutions, broadly accepted ideals, leadership of the free world, Technicolor musicals, chrome-laden cars, and relatively easy access to good-paying jobs? Or was he nostalgic for the Cold War, the looming possibility of nuclear annihilation, the draft, racial inequality, and 94 per cent marginal tax rates?

    Every era has its good and bad, and everyone has their own idea of America. There are some really lousy things about our country–endless overseas wars draining our treasury, a messed up healthcare system, the role of money in politics, income inequality, and diminishing economic opportunity for the average person–that should be destroyed. By destroyed, I mean changed for the better of the great number of citizens.

    There is a great longing in this country for something different and better. Obama tapped that feeling in 2008, Trump in 2016. Obama didn’t deliver, and Trump hasn’t really, either.

    1. Philip,

      “Technicolor musicals, chrome-laden cars, and relatively easy access to good-paying jobs? Or was he nostalgic for the Cold War, the looming possibility of nuclear annihilation, the draft, racial inequality, and 94 per cent marginal tax rates?”

      (1). I am puzzled by people who identify a nation by such trivial and ephemeral things. The Founders would be appalled. Perhaps that is an indication that America is over, that the Left’s long effort to discredit and delegitimize America has succeeded.

      (2). The “94% marginal tax rate” mean is bs. What matters is the effective tax rate, based on gross income and taxes paid. Before the 1980s changes, there were large shelters of income from taxation , with the high marginal rate applying only to the unsheltered income.

      The reforms broadened the base, destroying the expensive and arcane machinery to shelter income. The result was a fairer and more legitimate system.

      Of course, being Republicans, they combined it with mad cuts in the tax rates. The resulting fiscal deficits threatened to sink the govt, forcing Reagan to sign a series of large tax increases.

    2. Phillip, I was struck by your thoughtful comment, but I must disagree.

      “Or was he nostalgic for the Cold War, the looming possibility of nuclear annihilation, the draft, racial inequality, and 94 per cent marginal tax rates?” Surely this is a rhetorical device, and you are not serious that Boehner loved the idea of burning up in nuclear fire, etc.?

      “Every era has its good and bad, and everyone has their own idea of America.”

      Of course there are upside and downside to policies, and society evolves. But top-down regulation of every aspect of life for quite some time now has been trumping (pardon the pun) individual sovereignty and decentralization of political power. These appear, at least to me and many others, to be the foundation of the American political idea.

      When our “betters” lord over us and dictate from the top what to do and how to live, be they left or right, we have lost the American idea.

      1. Arms Merchant,

        I must dissent from your answer as well.

        The Founders saw America as a special people, distinguished by their willingness to bear the burdens of self-government (accepting its risks, required effort and self-discipline) – and by acceptance of the Constitution as a settlement or way of life. They were not under the delusion that America would be heaven, or that Americans would behave like angels.

        Generations of Americans were taught this as children. Philip shows that chain has been lost. All he sees are entertainment and government policies (that don’t meet his high standards, unlike those of Heaven). No nation, so constituted, can survive as a Republic.

        Never fear. Someone will come along and fit us for reins.

  12. Larry, You and others might find some modest food for thought about solutions at the following site: “The Next System Project is an ambitious multi-year initiative aimed at thinking boldly about what is required to deal with the systemic challenges the United States faces now and in coming decades. Responding to real hunger for a new way forward, and building on innovative thinking and practical experience with new economic institutions and approaches being developed in communities across the country and around the world, the goal is to put the central idea of system change, and that there can be a “next system,” on the map.

    “Working with a broad group of researchers, theorists and activists, we seek to launch a national debate on the nature of “the next system” using the best research, understanding and strategic thinking, on the one hand, and on-the-ground organizing and development experience, on the other, to refine and publicize comprehensive alternative political-economic system models that are different in fundamental ways from the failed systems of the past and capable of delivering superior social, economic and ecological outcomes.

    “By defining issues systemically, we believe we can begin to move the political conversation beyond current limits with the aim of catalyzing a substantive debate about the need for a radically different system and how we might go about its construction. Despite the scale of the difficulties, a cautious and paradoxical optimism is warranted. There are real alternatives. Arising from the unforgiving logic of dead ends, the steadily building array of promising new proposals and alternative institutions and experiments, together with an explosion of ideas and new activism, offer a powerful basis for hope.”

    https://democracycollaborative.org/content/next-system-project

    1. Thomas,

      Thank you for the pointer! I’ll take a look at it.

      I’m skeptical of anything even slightly related to academia and its far-left infestation. Perhaps this is different!

      1. This might also be of interest: DEEP CIVILISATION: This article is part of a new BBC Future series about the long view of humanity, which aims to stand back from the daily news cycle and widen the lens of our current place in time. Modern society is suffering from “temporal exhaustion”, the sociologist Elise Boulding once said. “If one is mentally out of breath all the time from dealing with the present, there is no energy left for imagining the future,” she wrote. That’s why the Deep Civilisation season will explore what really matters in the broader arc of human history and what it means for us and our descendants.

        http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190318-can-we-reinvent-democracy-for-the-long-term?

        INTRO: “The origin of civil government,” wrote David Hume in 1739, is that “men are not able radically to cure, either in themselves or others, that narrowness of soul, which makes them prefer the present to the remote.” The Scottish philosopher was convinced that the institutions of government – such as political representatives and parliamentary debates – would serve to temper our impulsive and selfish desires, and foster society’s long-term interests and welfare.

        “Today Hume’s view appears little more than wishful thinking, since it is so startlingly clear that our political systems have become a cause of rampant short-termism rather than a cure for it. Many politicians can barely see beyond the next election, and dance to the tune of the latest opinion poll or tweet. Governments typically prefer quick fixes, such as putting more criminals behind bars rather than dealing with the deeper social and economic causes of crime. Nations bicker around international conference tables, focused on their near-term interests, while the planet burns and species disappear.

        “Special interest groups – especially corporations – use the political system to secure near-term benefits for themselves while passing the longer-term costs onto the rest of society. Whether through the funding of electoral campaigns or big-budget lobbying, the corporate hacking of politics is a global phenomenon that pushes long-term policy making off the agenda.

        “As the 24/7 news media pumps out the latest twist in the Brexit negotiations or obsesses over a throwaway comment from the US president, the myopia of modern democratic politics is all too obvious. So is there an antidote to this political presentism that pushes the interests of future generations permanently beyond the horizon?”

      2. Thomas,

        I’m sure these people enjoyed their visit to Heaven, but it is a nutty basis for comparison with an Earthly government.

        ““Today Hume’s view appears little more than wishful thinking, since it is so startlingly clear that our political systems have become a cause of rampant short-termism rather than a cure for it.”

        The US government’s planning horizon is longer than that of almost any government in the history of the world.

        “Special interest groups – especially corporations – use the political system to secure near-term benefits for themselves while passing the longer-term costs onto the rest of society.”

        Just like every government, everywhere and always in history.

        ““As the 24/7 news media pumps out the latest twist in the Brexit negotiations or obsesses over a throwaway comment from the US president, the myopia of modern democratic politics is all too obvious.”

        Again, true always and everywhere. The newspapers in Heaven are different, but then nothing happens in an absolute and perpetual monarchy.

        “the myopia of modern democratic politics is all too obvious. So is there an antidote to this political presentism that pushes the interests of future generations permanently beyond the horizon?”

        They are confused, fallen into reification. Politics is not a thing, but the collective result of the individuals that comprise a people. If the people have short time horizons, then the political system will reflect this — and no institutional mechanisms, no fancy org charts, can change that.

      3. I generally agree with your skepticism in the sense that I think much more fundamental democratic reforms are necessary first, e.g. campaign finance refor and reducing gerrymandering of fed and state House district boundaries, among others.

      4. I also agree that there are examples of the US govt having a longer planning horizon, but I don’t agree that is true across the board and that other national govts don’t engage in more and sometimes better foresight than the US.

      5. But none of the above is meant to imply that I think foresight is always adequately incorporated in policy making, e.g. the DoD’s climate change scenarios.

      6. Thomas,

        Try it first with your doctor, attorney, or pilot.

        It’s fascinating how many Americans believe any schmo could perform well in high office in America. Most would not last the month.

      7. If the current system was routinely selecting the best and brightest–with no conflicts of interest–I would be inclined to agree. But if assisted by AI and expert systems, maybe selecting representatives by lottery for at least some elective offices on some levels– similar to jury selection– not ridiculous. Mainly just offering ideas to stimulate thought and discussion

      8. Thomas,

        “But if assisted by AI and expert systems …”

        The sci-fi solution! That’s a long ways off. When systems are that smart, then their direct rule might be far off.

      9. is-it-time-to-automate-politicians?

        EXCERPT: “We already cede decision-making responsibility on health and finances to algorithms, why not with voting? An automated democracy could replace both politicians and ballot boxes. That may be extreme. Yet comical though it sounds, parts of our politics has already been technified. Consider reach. Both India’s prime minister, and a French presidential candidate beamed holograms of themselves to speak to several groups of thousands of people in different locations–simultaneously!

        “Next, there’s the message. In America’s 2016 election, candidates used social-media advertising to target different voters with different messages. The growing automation of our government is no longer sci-fi. Instead, it’s a reality we are only beginning to grasp. So to the question, can we replace politicians with robots? The answer is a soft yes. ”
        Big data and artificial intelligence allow us to understand public issues better and faster. They may be able to identify the most effective approaches to solving problems, just as algorithms became world champions of chess and Go.

        “Predictive analytics is used to identify potential criminals or romantic partners. It can predict voting habits from Facebook likes (country music lovers in America are more likely to be Republican, while Bob Marley fans are more likely to lean Democrat, and so on).

        “This raises the issue of what we want from our politicians and government. As with all technology, we should consider the social implications of innovation rather than innovating for innovation’s sake. While a chatbot can be more efficient, and may help engage people who prefer online communication or have mobility problems, would this reduce real relationships between people and their representatives?

        “Yes, we can develop AI-enabled smart weaponry, but should we really? Yes, we can use machines to do things politicians are supposed to do, but should we really? These are not questions for futurists; these are questions for “now-ists.” Whatever one’s view, the debate affords us the opportunity to reflect on the true essence of politics and the humans doing it.”

        https://www.economist.com/open-future/2018/07/31/is-it-time-to-automate-politicians?

      10. Could Tech Make Government As We Know It Irrelevant?

        singularityhub.com

        “Governments are one of the last strongholds of an undigitized, linear sector of humanity, and they are falling behind fast. Apart from their struggle to keep up with private sector digitization, federal governments are in a crisis of trust. At almost a 60-year low, only 18% of Americans reported that they trust their government “always” or “most of the time” in a recent Pew survey. And the US is not alone. The Edelman Trust Barometer revealed last year that 41% of the world population distrust their nations’ governments.

        In many cases, the private sector—particularly tech—is driving greater progress in regulation-targeted issues like climate change than state leaders. And as decentralized systems, digital disruption, and private sector leadership take the world by storm, traditional forms of government are beginning to fear irrelevance. However, the fight for exponential governance is not a lost battle.

        Early visionaries like Estonia and the UAE are leading the way in digital governance, empowered by a host of converging technologies.

        In this article, we will cover three key trends:

        Digital governance divorced from land

        AI-driven service delivery and regulation

        Blockchain-enforced transparency

        Let’s dive in

        https://singularityhub.com/2018/10/12/could-tech-make-government-as-we-know-it-irrelevant/?

      11. Thomas,

        I’m not sure why you take this sophomoric stuff seriously. It’s not worth discussing, except as info-tainment. Most of these things have been discussed more deeply in sci fi during the past century.

      12. Re the Next System Project I cited above, I think several of the NSP initiatives could help to address your past concerns about technological unemployment. For example: “A social wealth fund is a publicly owned pool of money and other assets, such as stocks or land, that can be used for socially beneficial purposes.”

        https://thenextsystem.org/learn/stories/social-wealth-fund

        “The key ideas undergirding a social wealth fund are that 1) ownership of economic assets should be distributed more equitably throughout society; 2) the public, collectively, has the right to share in the benefits of owning such assets; and 3) certain goods and services in society should be provided without cost or without concern for people’s ability to pay (and that we should cover the cost of delivering those services without resorting to high rates of taxation on ordinary working families).

        “Most traditional sovereign wealth funds, while similar, have been capitalized through proceeds from fossil fuel or mineral extraction. Social wealth funds can use myriad funding alternatives, such as share levies on large profitable corporations, wealth and inheritance taxes on the super-wealthy, revenues from leasing public assets (such as the electromagnetic spectrum), carbon or financial transaction taxes, or simply through new money creation (as the Federal Reserve did with quantitative easing in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis).

        “Potential Impact: Fundamentally, a social wealth fund embraces the collective ownership of assets to provide services and democratically distribute resources within a society or community. These services can include a universal basic income; climate change mitigation projects; equitable community development in under-served communities; local and worker-owned business development; public services such as education, transportation, and healthcare; and the recapitalization of retirement funds and pensions. Social wealth funds create connections across the public and private spheres by asserting social benefits as the dividend of economic and financial success. …

      13. Thomas,

        “Re the Next System Project I cited above, I think several of the NSP initiatives could help to address your past concerns about technological unemployment”

        No, that does not address my concerns. It is the exact opposite of my concerns. I said that new tech boosts productivity and hence national income. The question is its distribution, since owners are reluctant to share. That’s shown by history – and the history of the US since ~1970. It’s a political problem about implementation – not one of dreaming up solutions.

        This focus on dreaming up solutions rather than devising ways to make them happen is one reason we’re in this increasingly ugly situation.

        I suggest reading some of my posts about automation in the next industrial revolution.

      14. I think I read them all at one time or another. So if your point is that political will is lacking, then that kicks us back to the prerequisite political reforms–e.g. campaign finance reform, ending partisan gerrymandering and voter suppression–to increase the odds for making the desired economic reforms–IF necessary, IMO.

      15. Thomas,

        “So if your point is that political will is lacking, then that kicks us back to the prerequisite political reforms–e.g. campaign finance reform, ending partisan gerrymandering and voter suppression–to increase the odds for making the desired economic reforms–”

        You have the persistent delusion that paper is what makes a government work. I suggest reading the Federalist Papers. It is people, their values and commitment to the political regime. Magic marks on paper don’t change the world. None of those things are likely to have much effect, any more than the thousands of similar schemes that have been tried by western governments in the past few generations.

      16. I think it is relevant at least to your subsequent comments, and also relevant to the post itself in the sense you concluded by stating you did not have any solutions. Since you seem stuck, I thought my comments might help you and others see the impasse you paint in possibly new ways.

      17. Thomas,

        Dreaming of sci-fi solutions do not move us toward solutions. We can dream all we want, and tomorrow the world will be the same. This is just the usual writings by Professor Pangloss – that all will work out for the best. Now we dream about technology and magic laws, instead of religious salvation. Different opiate, but same goal – avoiding work and risk: such as dedicating “our lives, fortune, and sacred honor.

      18. OK then, to what systemic changes do you think we should dedicate our “our lives, fortune, and sacred honor?”

      19. Thomas,

        “what systemic changes do you think we should dedicate our “our lives, fortune, and sacred honor?””

        The necessary step – goal for reformers – is the goal of the FM website project (top of the page): “to reignite the spirit of nation grown cold.” The Founders counted on our love of liberty and determination to govern ourselves. That has died, but can be reawakened. I don’t consider that a “systemic change.” The machinery bequeathed to us by the Founders remains rusty, but remains an irresistible engine if powered it with our spirit.

        How to do such things is a mystery, because the human heart and soul are mysteries. Here is a list of 129 suggestions: “Reforming America: steps to new politics.” See the comments to see our problem: almost all are variations on the theme that it’s not our fault, we’re clean little sheep preyed upon by bad wolves, we’re helpless and we need a winged savior to come.

      20. Is this example more like what you think is most necessary to begin converting spectators back into citizen participants?

        BETTER-ANGELS.ORG Let’s Reunite America!

        Better Angels is a national citizens’ movement to reduce political polarization in the United States by bringing liberals and conservatives together to understand each ot…

        “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature. ” – Abraham Lincoln, 1861

      21. Thomas,

        I don’t get it. Telling everybody to be friends? Is that possible? How would that help in any substantial way?

        Also, I’m skeptical that polarization is an analytically useful concept. As many political scientists have shown, the old political coalitions are breaking up. The Left-Right spectrum will eventually reform, but now people often have a mixture of views usually considered left and right. Such as the commonplace socially liberal and fiscal conservative people.

        There are two kinds of political polarization today. First, the parties reformed on ideological grounds. For a hundred years, they were based on the two sides in the civil war. Beginning with Johnson’s signing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, they evolved back into ideological coalitions. It’s a more rational form (the other was an aberration), although with many unpleasant side-effects.

        Second, we have a kind of emotional polarization because the policies of the two mainstream parties were so similar. If the parties have very different views, people argue about policy. If they are similar, then party leaders draw the lines on tribal grounds. In the former, we argue about tax policy. In the later, we call each other nasty names (note how Bush Jr, Obama, and Trump are all called “Hitler” by their foes). That is, imo, changing the parties’ positions diverge.

      22. Re Better Angels.org, that post was stimulated by this excerpt from your archives from 2011: “(5) Attend one political meeting every month, with a diverse group of people. Neighbors are great candidates. Not just people like you, so that all re-enforce and cheer each other’s beliefs (that way lies social strife and fanaticism). Best would be a small group meeting to discuss US domestic or foreign policy, ideally led by somebody acknowledged by both groups as some form of leader. Some precepts:

        Make your goal to listen and learn, not to preach.
        Search for common values, the starting point for politics.
        Focus on facts. A generation of intensive propaganda will make this difficult; these shackles are welded tight on us (breaking them is a task for our children). Debate is futile; looks for areas of agreement!
        Find common goals.
        Update (per Pluto’s comment): stay cool; whenever possible applaud those with whom you disagree. It’s about us winning, not you winning.
        Then and only then discuss policies.
        Avoid the search for enemies. To divide the people is the age-old tool of elites, and designating heretics and apostates is the first step.
        Expect no miracles or fast cures. We have sapped the foundation of the Republic. Rebuilding will take time and work.”

      23. Thomas,

        I was much more optimistic in 2011. Looking back, delusionally so. To paraphrase the immortal words of Emperor Hirohito: the political situation has developed not necessarily to America’s advantage.

        So while those things are desirable, they are almost irrelevant to the scale of the effort required. Worse, we’re drifting into a Weimar-like condition (“Weimerica”). The kind of people and movements that thrive in this are extremists. My fear is that nice reformers will face choices like those that greet new fish in prison. Over there are the White Biker Nationalist Nazis. There are the Black Muslim Brotherhood. There are the Puerto Rican gangsters. Etc. Staying alone is raising the “I’m a victim” flag. Choose one.

        Avoiding such choices requires some kind of drastic action, and the clock is our biggest foe. I have no idea what a solution might look like. I might not recognize it if showed up a my front door.

      24. Perhaps you might find this more substantive. This was published five years ago: “Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State” https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18492513-unstoppable

        “Ralph Nader, one of the most influential Americans of the 20th century, has fought for justice in America for over half a century. He strongly believes that—contrary to conventional political wisdom regarding extreme partisanship—significant change can be accomplished by focusing on issues that most Americans, regardless of political labels, agree are important and need to be addressed. This book is about the emerging political re-alignment that is combining the Left and the Right against corporate tyranny.

        “One of the most urgent issues of our time is the dominant corporate control of the United States economy and political process. Large segments from the progressive, conservative, and libertarian political camps find themselves aligned on a variety of issues, such as opposing the destruction of civil liberties, the draining corporate welfare state, the expansion of America’s aggressive wars, and the growing intensity of Wall Street crimes. All of these issues can be traced back to the growing influence of corporate goliaths and their ability to combine forces with indentured government against the interests of the broader public.

        “Nader urges Americans to fight back with unlikely allies. He draws on half a century of his own experience working at the grassroots and in Congress and tells of many surprising victories that have united progressive and conservative forces. As a participator and active observer of these budding alliances, he breaks new ground in showing how these coalitions can expand to achieve power on Capitol Hill, in the courts, and in the arena of public opinion. These examples provide a blueprint for how Americans on both sides of the aisle can fight against the corporate agenda, and reclaim their right to consume safe foods and drugs, breathe clean air, become fairly rewarded for their daily work, regain control of taxpayer assets, and obtain greater voice in the decisions that affect them.

        “This book shows how corporatist strategies of divide-and-rule can be overcome through a united front, in order to enact long overdue changes in our country. Far from espousing “let’s meet half-way” type compromises, Nader argues that it is in the interest of citizens of different political labels to join in the struggle against the corporate state that is ruining the Republic, trampling our constitution, and pushing the American people into the ground.”

      25. Thomas,

        I’m not a fan of Nadar, but he is obviously correct that only a “united front” can defeat the 1%. I’ve written scores of posts about this. Esp about the power of recreating a form of the progressive – populist alliance that created the New Deal.

        But we’re moving in the opposite direction today – fragmenting, losing a sense of national identity. This isn’t just happening. “Divide and rule.” It worked for the Romans, and works just as well for today’s leaders.

        Reversing this will require not just work, but many stages. We can’t do it now any more than a young girl can decide she’d like to marry Roger, then call the caterer. As always, dreaming is easy – but execution what makes things happen. I haven’t seeing anything like a plan to do so.

        I doubt the five years since Nadar wrote Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State have been kind to any forecast he made in it about “budding alliances.” Certainly the Left has moved in the opposite direction to what he has urged for six decades. Thomas Frank’s books describe this sad history in awful detail.

      26. I agree. Difficult not to feel that no matter how cynical I get. it is never enough to keep up. Nevertheless, I think the current fractures in the D and R parties could morph into some currently unlikely left-right populist/progressive cohesion in some plausible future scenarios. On the other hand, it could also result in a perpetually divided and conquered populous.

      27. Thomas,

        That is the point of “White Male Edgeman” by Jasun Horsley posted yesterday — “Liminality, Group Identities, and Authoritarianism Left & Right.”

        We live in an inflection point of history. Whether for good or ill is up to us.

      28. Similar to White Male Edgeman: “Return of the oppressed: From the Roman Empire to our own Gilded Age, inequality moves in cycles. The future looks like a rough ride.” by Peter Turchin

        https://aeon.co/essays/history-tells-us-where-the-wealth-gap-leads?

        CONCLUSION: “What, then, explains the rapid growth of top fortunes in the US over the past 30 years? Why did the wages of unskilled workers stagnate or decline? What accounts for the bitterness of election rhetoric in the US, the growing legislative gridlock, the rampant political polarisation? My answer is that all of these trends are part of a complex and interlocking system. I don’t just mean that everything affects everything else; that would be vacuous.

        “Rather, that cliodynamic theory can tell us specifically how demographic, economic and cultural variables relate to one another, and how their interactions generate social change. Cliodynamics also explains why historical reversals in such diverse areas as economics and culture happen at roughly similar times. The theory of secular cycles was developed using data from historical societies, but it looks like it can provide answers to questions about our own society.

        “Our society, like all previous complex societies, is on a rollercoaster. Impersonal social forces bring us to the top; then comes the inevitable plunge. But the descent is not inevitable. Ours is the first society that can perceive how those forces operate, even if dimly. This means that we can avoid the worst — perhaps by switching to a less harrowing track, perhaps by redesigning the rollercoaster altogether.

        “Three years ago I published a short article in the science journal Nature. I pointed out that several leading indicators of political instability look set to peak around 2020. In other words, we are rapidly approaching a historical cusp, at which the US will be particularly vulnerable to violent upheaval. This prediction is not a ‘prophecy’. I don’t believe that disaster is pre-ordained, no matter what we do. On the contrary, if we understand the causes, we have a chance to prevent it from happening. But the first thing we will have to do is reverse the trend of ever-growing inequality.”

      29. In the meantime, the following summarizes well my own current thinking on the best ways to prepare for the “futures” no matter what they hold in store, ranging from various versions of continued growth (including plenty of good jobs, not enough good jobs, and not enough jobs of any kind), to various types of soc/econ/pol/and/or enviro stagnation, decline, or collapse, while also more readily facilitating plausible restructuring/transformational scenarios, ranging from radical high tech abundance/end of scarcity to low and high-tech versions of voluntary simplicity, for example.

        On Future Tasks for Foresight and Anticipatory Democracy:

        https://t.e2ma.net/webview/f2zyfd/4734a8f8d7cbb16d54ec8ae6e7f6bbda (2017)

        “Societies and nations need foresight processes. Some of the national foresight efforts mentioned in Part 1 are ongoing, as are some global foresight efforts to identify challenges and opportunities and develop shared visions and goals. However, there are some trends in particular that foresight and anticipatory democracy must consider and contribute to:

        Work and the Economy Are Being Transformed – Job loss to automation is estimated to range from 14.5 to 47 percent of U.S. jobs by 2030. There will be new jobs created in the process, but probably far fewer than those lost.

        A/D needs to help ensure that economic and social transformations work for all. This includes having the opportunity, for all, to make meaningful contributions. That is a significant task going forward, particularly in the face of huge unemployment, and the establishment of a guaranteed basic income.

        Furthermore, distributed manufacturing or 3D printing will change many sectors, leading to a “zero marginal cost economy” where the marginal cost of producing something is nearly zero, and it sells at that price. AI will similarly lead many services to be made available at very low cost. This is expected to reduce the income and profit that can be generated in many sectors, and therefore drive high structural unemployment and increase the demands on safety net programs.

        “Abundance Advances” Need to Be Made a Reality – That is, the range of technologies for low-cost in-home and in-community energy production and storage; local manufacturing (3D printing) of home goods, home building components or whole homes; in-home and in-community food production (from community gardening to urban/vertical agriculture; from conventional growing to aeroponics, cultured meat, 3D printed food). These need to be developed and deployed in sustainable and equitable ways.

        Simultaneously, it will become more important that all, young and old, develop their own sense of personal meaning and that they are “contributing” throughout their life, whether through paid work, raising families, caring for older persons, or other volunteering.

        The intersection of job loss to automation, tax and finance reform, income and safety net systems, including housing, and optimizing abundance advances—all require significant foresight. How might each of us pursue opportunities and make our contributions?”

      30. PS – After publication of Unstoppable, Nader and conservative Grover Norquist made several joint appearances. One issue they felt could garner immediate bipartisan support was criminal justice reform and ending excessive incarceration. So I suspect they might be claiming some credit for the passage of related fed legislation last year, for better or worse.

      31. Thomas,

        Nader and Groven Norquist? They might as well claim credit for the sun rising tomorrow.

        Have I mentioned that my mental powers keep dragons from burning down the corn fields of Iowa? Nothing happened today. Another Success!

      32. My point was simply that they may have helped move the issue from the fringe to the mainstream, not they they authored or sheparded the legislation itself through congress, and that it is one example of possible left-right convergence.

      33. Thomas,

        “My point was simply that they may have helped move the issue from the fringe to the mainstream”

        Who can say? My guess is that nobody in the mainstream (i.e, the general public) knows who Nader and Grover Norquist are. Nader is 20+ years past his prime. Norquest is a tool of the 1%, and had his moment being taken seriously in 2010 – 2012 (his followers in Congress were decimated in the 2012 election).

        That’s the combo of inside baseball AND trivia pursuit.

      34. How many members of the “general public” know who they are seems irrelevant to the point I made. They are known in the policy making community, and their joint appearances inside the Beltway were covered by the mainstream media. But it really isn’t worth our time to litigate how much influence they did or did not have, IMO. Many factors influence if, when, and how fast issues migrate from fringe to mainstream. It was just a random thought that occurred to me after posting the comment about Nader’s book. The more salient point was to cite an actual example of left-right convergence, and that criminal justice reform was one of the issues they agreed upon.

      35. http://motherboard.vice.com/read/technology-will-replace-the-need-for-big-government?

        “In the near future, government might dramatically shrink—not due to spending cuts, but due to technology. Millions of government jobs will soon be replaced by artificial intelligence, computer software, and robotics. I welcome this future smaller government, and hope Americans will pay less in taxes as a result. I think it will be possible to offer more social services—including a Universal Basic Income—as a result of technology shrinking the administrative side. This would be a welcome arrangement, since the American government was founded to maximize the will and benefit of the people.

        “Consider the over 1 million firefighters, a staple part of American government that also represents the ideal of service and career to one’s country. Companies around the world are now building fireproof everything, including couches, furniture, and building materials that simply don’t burn well. And intelligent robots—which I think will be in 50 percent of American households within five years time—will all have fire and carbon monoxide detectors.

        “In fact, I’m certain many in-home robots will not only be loaded with numerous security alert systems (like intruder alarms, flood warnings, and the ability to detect snakes, scorpions, and spiders) but will also be able to fix problems that occur. It’s likely in just a few years time, in-home robots costing less than a $1,000 dollars will know how to put out a fire with an extinguisher, turn off a flooding bathtub, or squish a black widow. …

        Zoltan Istvan is a futurist, author of The Transhumanist Wager, and a 2016 US Presidential candidate. He writes an occasional column for Motherboard in which he ruminates on the future beyond human ability.

      36. Thomas,

        Please post only brief excerpts – not this thousand word bomb. First, it stops conversation in threads. Second, it is a copyright violation, unless you post evidence that it is OK to repost.

        Also, this “futurist” is just making stuff up. How fun to chatter on about matters about which he knows nothing except from watching TV.

  13. Excerpt from the TED talk above endorsing random selection of political representatives: “If you think democracy is broken, here’s an idea: let’s replace politicians with randomly selected people. Author and activist Brett Hennig presents a compelling case for sortition democracy, or random selection of government officials — a system with roots in ancient Athens that taps into the wisdom of the crowd and entrusts ordinary people with making balanced decisions for the greater good of everyone. Sound crazy? Learn more about how it could work to create a world free of partisan politics.

    Hennig: “Of course, I’m very aware that it’s going to be difficult to institute this. Try this — say to your friend, “I think we should populate our parliament with randomly selected people.” “Are you joking? What if my neighbor gets chosen? The fool can’t even separate his recycling.” But the perhaps surprising but overwhelming and compelling evidence from all these modern examples is that it does work. If you give people responsibility, they act responsibly. “

    1. Thomas,

      Jeepers. Please stop. None of this is remotely relevant to this post. If you want to post this much material, start a website.

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