Joe Biden and his vocal lieutenant, Cedric Richmond, could not have sent a clearer signal last week. Their proclamations proved that the prime conflict of the previous era – left versus right – has now become a secondary concern. In its place, a more urgent question – top versus bottom – has taken center stage.
Biden’s boastful vaccine mandate, followed by Richmond’s prediction that any opposing governors will be ”run over”, leaves little doubt that the Democratic Party now seeks to rule by decree. The goal is to concentrate power in a very few hands. The constitutional construct of States Rights has become just another barrier to overcome. And the executive order …… a mechanism that was hardly countenanced during the 1787 convention …… has become the tool of choice for enforcing the party elites’ will.
Adherents to an outdated model of the political spectrum might think, “The DNC is a creature of the left. Therefore, Biden’s mandates are liberal initiatives.” They wouldn’t be alone in this flawed assessment. Many intelligent analysts suffer from a similar blind spot as they conflate power grabs with assertions of values.
The values of Democrat elites do lean left. But liberalism is no longer the prime goal of that Party. Its current leaders have committed themselves to the transformation of American society into a top-down system. Maneuvers over the past decade have left no doubt about this goal of centralized, siloed control.
In retrospect, it was inevitable that America would come to this moment. As I explained in The Great Conflation, the dominant economic and social trend …… from Alexander Hamilton, through Lincoln, Rockefeller, Wilson, FDR, and beyond …… has been a gradual and inexorable increase in the centralization of political power. Eventually, this process was bound to reach a critical mass. There would be a point in time where those at the top felt that the brass ring was now within reach. A final authoritarian grab would commence.
The woke movement did not just coincidentally arrive on the national stage at the same moment as this authoritarian overreach. Wokedom is a stalking horse. It isn’t a prime impetus of party politics, as they would have us think, but instead the means to an end. It is power hiding behind values. Just beyond the rhetoric about justice and equity lies an effort to concentrate more control within a few specific institutions.
Climate change, affordable housing, Covid19 controls, and other party initiatives are similar. Like the social justice movement, these issues do stand up to scrutiny on their own merits. They address important questions that require serious debate and decision-making. But discourse has been hijacked. The elites have used the seriousness of these topics to grant themselves greater control over the nation.
The Republicans have lately been posturing as an alternative to the authoritarian impetus. But to the Citizen, that party has become an example of “fool me twice, shame on me.” Experience has shown GOP party policies to be a confidence game.
When the Republicans are out of power, as they are now, they pander …… representing themselves as the final firewall between the Average American and Big Brother. It’s a message that often brings them back into the majority. Then the wars, executive orders, and draconian values legislation resume …… the Texas anti-abortion bill being one small example.
The GOP does lean conservative. In this it has been consistent. But a national party will, by definition, be oriented toward national control. While the GOP now markets itself as a defender of “the people”, its elites respond to the Power Question with bi-polar, erratic, hypocritical, and undependable answers. A few of them do seem to support citizen empowerment, while most remain mired in alliance with the Deep State.
Unfortunately, there exists no large-scale political alternative for the growing number of American citizens who seek an egalitarian approach to the exercise of power. On the other hand, however, the vacuum has not gone unnoticed. Intellectually sincere members of the lower left quadrant have recently begun to comment on this deficiency. For example, Matt Taibbi here, and Jonathan Turley here.
But even the most astute minds are still failing to discern the question that begs to be confronted at this point in our country’s history. Turley addresses America’s traditional reliance on “federalism” while choosing not to clearly define the core term in his argument: therefore, he fails to make a direct assessment of today’s bold effort to fully centralize social and economic power. For his part, Taibbi laments the lack of an alternative political party, and the sad ramifications of its absence, while glossing over the difficult work that must be done on the ground to give birth to a viable alternative. The first step in this groundwork is for those with common interests to get on the same page …… to adopt an accurate common model of the political spectrum …… and to use it as a basis for their vocabulary.
These gifted thinkers are held hostage by their own talent. Yes …… there are many times in which a sophisticated and detailed assessment is necessary to develop a full understanding of some problem. But a once-in-four-generations conflict must be distilled to its most basic elements. The elegant simplicity of a core construct – that any doofus can understand – must be established before the more complex analysis can commence. This is the nature of a societal paradigm shift. As Neil Howe and William Strauss observed, Fourth Turnings boil down to a single succinct Question.
The shift to a two-dimensional political spectrum is the first step toward framing that Question …… and its answer. Citizens on the right and left can only come together to cooperate in this framing when they rely on a model that shows how their commonalities outweigh their differences. Occupants of the lower quadrants will need to no longer self-label primarily as “left” or “right.” Those terms must be superseded by self-identification as “citizens first”. Only then can effective alliances be pursued.
The two corrupt political parties will remain in power until this difficult work is undertaken.