I’m so sick of waiting for shit to hit the fan. Yes, I want war. We NEED war to correct this degenerate shit. I’m ready when the rest of you get your head together. If we keep doing this same shit time after time, then there is no reason to fight at all.— Nicole (@NicoleRimmel) July 22, 2023
We seem to be passing a new point of no return every day.— PiedmontFugitive (@PiedmontFugitiv) July 22, 2023
Everyone calls for action, but no one is sure what to do. And the action that most needs to be taken is, as a practical matter, unimaginable by even the most dedicated. https://t.co/iwOZSWwF5o— PiedmontFugitive (@PiedmontFugitiv) July 22, 2023
This is a very good summary of our present moment from Michael Anton. I’m sure pretty much everyone here would cosign it. This has been the radical view for at least twenty years.
“Recently, I was asked to make the “pessimistic case for the future.” I present instead more of a “pessimistic take on the present.” The future, while imminent, is obscure. The present, by contrast, is knowable. This is also not so much a “case” replete with exhaustive evidence—there isn’t space for that, nor is there a need—as a quick tour through our present hell. No one who thinks “everything is fine” will be persuaded otherwise. Those who see the seriousness of our problems hardly need proof. Nor have I made any attempt to be evenhanded, much less philosophically detached. My account is perforce one-sided. I hope it is wrong. … ”
The remarkable thing here isn’t what Anton is saying in his new book. It is that he is saying it. Conservative elites have been radicalized. Millions of ordinary people have been radicalized. It has also all happened in the span of about eight years. It has rapidly accelerated under Joe Biden.
According to Neil Howe, the United States entered a Crisis era around 2008 which will last until the mid-2030s. The country should be focused on fixing the long neglected problems of the “outer world.” Contrast the substance and tone of Anton’s article with what passed for the mainstream conservatism that you might remember from National Review or The Weekly Standard circa 2005. At some point between 2005 and 2023, we crossed into a new era. The political rhetoric has become far more strident, apocalyptic and revolutionary on the Right. The Obama presidency feels like a distant memory.
If this is the view that the mainstream Right now holds of the Left, how does it not eventually end in conflict? How might looming events like Donald Trump being incarcerated or losing the 2024 election be interpreted in this paradigm? How does the temperature of our politics cool down? How does one side start arresting their opposition and maintain much less restore trust in the system?
I’m just asking questions. Who aside from Abraham Lincoln in the Civil War has arrested and jailed his political opponents? Woodrow Wilson and Eugene Debs? Debs was a minor party candidate who didn’t have the support of over a third of the country. Americans also had a common culture at the time in spite of all the riots and immigration. It was the Age of Innocence.
“This, then, is the pessimistic case for our present and future. Assuming present trends continue is said to be a logical fallacy. But assuming they won’t, especially when they’ve been worsening for two generations, is wishful thinking. … ”
Two generations isn’t a long time.
The present trends of cultural disintegration, polarization and political instability can’t continue in the long term. Once it reaches a certain threshold, instability devolves into conflict. Conflict resolves polarization by vanquishing one side or the other and establishing a new normal.
Note: I have noticed a lot of people are brooding about the future lately.