There are lots of ways to organize a world, and many of them work, at least in the short run:
- There can be such a thing as a benevolent dictator. But they usually don’t last: they either get corrupted by power, or their successors have other plans.
- When I traveled to Chile a few years ago, I had the sense of it as a country that had gone through the wrenching transformations we are facing now, and come out the other end. But Chile had been under a military dictatorship for over two decades.
- Soviet Communism had a pretty good run: for a time, they were our only real rival on the world stage. But Soviet Communism carried the seeds of its own destruction, in their belief in educating—really educating—the populace. After a couple of generations, people realized that they didn’t want to be Communists any more.
But all of that is beside the point now: our leadership knows the one, the only, and the proper and correct way forward. They’ve been to college, studied real hard, and unearthed the Awesome Nugget of Eternal Truth. The news media knows and understands the Awesome Nugget as well, but knowing which side their bread is buttered on, won’t explain it out loud.
And so, whether Democratic or Republican, our leaders subscribe to the same basic tenets:
- Big government: Since the United States is the world’s most powerful nation, it stands to reason that we should have the most powerful government.
- Big surveillance: And our big government has its first responsibility to protect us from the evil terrorists.
- America the global hegemon: And of course, we have the absolute right, if not duty, to throw our weight around the world. All in the name of freedom, of course, and protecting ourselves from the terrorists.
- Entitlements forever: It isn’t just that Social Security is the third rail of American politics: contemplating cuts to entitlements would be an admission that we aren’t the nation we used to be.
- Free trade: The market works most efficiently when it is unconstrained by artificial rules like borders. So let’s not have any.
- Open borders: And while we’re having open borders for things, why not people too? Immigrants do wonderful things for our country: we should be glad to have as many as want to arrive here. (Having not studied the Awesome Nugget myself, I’m not sure how that’s supposed to work, but I’m sure that’s my own shortcoming.)
- Fiat money: Money is an abstraction, and deficits don’t matter, if we have a big enough rug under which they can be swept. Fiscal responsibility is a quaint virtue from another time, like waiting until you get married to move in together. Tying ourselves to a known scarce commodity (like gold or silver) is a relic of the past, and unnecessarily limits our ability to implement our plans.
- Too big to fail: Our big government lives in symbiosis with big business. Just as it would be disastrous if government itself were to fail, it would be almost as bad for a Citibank or a General Motors to fail. The effects would not be confined to that one firm, and would spread through the economy, to catastrophic effect. So we won’t let that happen.
- The Constitution as a dead letter: We can’t say this one out loud: after all, the President’s oath of office still calls for him to ‘preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.’ But the Constitution is really a quaint anachronism, not suitable for a modern superpower.
- Climate Change: Whether it’s real or not doesn’t matter: without an overarching ‘emergency,’ how else could we advance the rest of our agenda?
Now an individual politician, running for office, might rail against a couple of these points: whatever works to get him elected. Once in office, however, he will follow the program.
This, then, is the Demican party platform. You may think of other elements, but I think I’ve covered the basics.
Now, in fact, the two ‘radical’ candidates for President, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, have in fact accepted most of these tenets as gospel. Each has only really challenged a couple of them.
What makes them dangerous is that, having amassed a following by challenging the Demicans, they might actually follow through if elected.