Yours is an optimistic viewpoint. It’s reassuring in a sense. I hope you are right and it works out that way and we shake off what didn’t work and reinforce what has. I think both you and I realize that wholesale change is required to do that. What form that takes I don’t know.
One thing I do know is that until that time comes a lot of people, including folks on our side are going to be looking for solutions wherever they might present themselves and probably some very weird ideas and alliances will emerge. So I wouldn’t judge “putinista’s” too harshly. These are people who’ve been lied to and marginzalized for a while now: “Oh next election...etc” or whatever political dynamic you ascribe that puts them at the back of the bus.
When you couple that with the political rhetoric of today: “I won, you lost”, “law of the land” and other pronouncements made with finality aimed in one direction then its easy to understand a person’s predilection for courses of action that’ll trump such rhetoric. People want a leader and they don’t have it right now. Ted Cruz is the closest they’ve got but even he’s marginalized.
There is a tendency to equate “putinista’s” with the useful idiots employed by the Soviets in the Cold War era but its a different dynamic. In a very real sense the system they believed in has abandoned them. They win at the ballot box, and its overturned by an oligarchical judiciary. With such lawlessness and judicial activism is it any wonder that there are those who align themselves with someone who says screw all that and just punches people in the face?
The Marquess of Queensberry rules observed on the floor of the Congress and in the courthouses are used to advance one agenda and it’s not ours. The sooner we abandon them the better off we’ll be. 51 (R)’s in the Senate? Maybe we block a SC judicial nominee? Another piece of legislation? To what end? Tactical moves dressed up as strategic.
If we’re going to get to that place you’re talking about where we can effect the kind of change to extend the life of our Republic then we had better move off of the, “my talking head zinger was better than yours” mindset. There is nobody left to convince. We tell our story, they tell theirs. Everybody else in the middle is either stupid or a potential foe.
Yes, in this we agree. No doubt. I've also pointed out that I am not optimistic in the near term. We really might not make it too much longer without some kind of implosion. The problem with things like this that lead to revolutions is you never know what will follow, so you are correct to point that out as well.
My quibble here is only that there is something sitting out there that is better than what we have. Just because our system eventually rots, doesn't mean it wasn't the best thing going. Putin is no savior for the Russians. He may leave a legacy, but then so do most leaders that hang around awhile. The reality is Putin is grinding to a halt any chance the Russians had to move past totalitarianism and towards individual liberty. There is no good future in that. State/national socialism we know fails. It just doesn't work, so that isn't a realistic option either. A Judeo-Christian strongman might get you a few years, but what happens when he/she dies? With no working democratic institutions in place, what follows will probably be some family member or a person from the ruling elite. With no outlet for the people to make change, they will eventually revolt. And what then? The only answer is what we've seen before, governments led by strongmen, no matter how well intentioned, simply repress their people (even less individual liberty) to quell dissent.
We have a flawed, but amazing Constitution that has served us well. The entire system is fraying and may not last too much longer. But the answer is to build upon what worked and craft/amend the document in such a way to avoid the things that caused the rot from happening again. As I've expressed, in my view a simple start is to specifically write out any role the federal government can have in administering a social welfare state. I'd also reinforce the idea of state sovereignty, among other things. To buy into this though, you have to accept that the process takes time. There is no magic bullet here or great leader that will come along and fix everything.
Coming back to socialism and the social welfare state, I will leave you with this as food for thought. Even a strongman like Chavez will probably NOT be remembered for the mess he made of Venezuela's economy, he will most likely be remembered as the guy who reminded all of central and south America's wanna-be politicians that you simply can't leave a majority (50%+1), non driven/low productive folks though they may be, of people feeling like the society favors "the rich". No matter how fair and reasonable a system you create, only a minority of people seem to take advantage and become the entrepreneurs and business owners. With that in mind, and taking into account human nature, a pure free market system may always result in a disparity that causes the "masses" to revolt, overthrow it, and put in place destructive populist left policies. This is why, though social welfare policies need to be blocked at the federal level, it is important to leave states and localities the ability to enact safety net type policies. Though inefficient, they are the kinds of things that essentially buy off enough of the non producers and prevent the whole system from being destroyed due to envy tied with a lack of ambition of the majority.
Anyway, thanks for the thought provoking posts. Enjoyable discussion indeed.