Of all the serious oddities this year above and untouched by the day-to-day banalities of our media and alleged intellectual class (has anyone else been amused and appalled by the plaintive emails for our ‘leading specialists’ ‘ desperate for eyeballs and attention?), one issue is conspicuously absent. Why and how the Warlord’s Christian Socialist Authoritarian regime collapsed so completely, silently and vaporously. What happened to the Counter Enlightenment’s offensive of just 2 years ago? Does a mere election cycle mean ‘change’?
The Warlord’s regime is a historical phenomenon; it is sui generis and not of the tapestry of politics as usual. Its rise, destructive reign and diaphanous dissolution stands out among the histories of modern authoritarian regimes. Yet it remains similar to them in their internal morphologies and external dynamics. Indeed, all of the regime’s power centers in society remain intact. They are in fact relatively healthy; none have suffered significant socio-economic damage. For example, plutocratic wealth remains concentrated on an unprecedented scale; exposure to the various bubbles by storied institutions and executives aside, this sector remains largely immune to the travails descending on the rest of the nation.
The collective religious strands known as ‘evangelicals’ in the mass media remain committed to their values and the subordination of reason to the irrational. Indeed, its political power is shown daily by McCain’s requirement to pay obeisance to those whom he just a few years earlier called agents of intolerance. We see similarly traditional conservatives heartened by the Supreme Court’s continuing lurch to the right. Untold millions of illegals continue to flow into the U.S. despite the housing bubble’s collapse; the Hispanic enclaves encroach upon even the toniest Imperial City’s non-gated but very gates communities. All of these charged batteries that electrified the regime’s dynamos are intact — as are spineless and feckless Democrats that stand a 50-50 chance of grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory.
We all know the ‘Republican brand has been damaged yada yada yada’ as every talking head intones nightly. We know the Warlord is at 31%. Yet Congress remains lower. What really happened? Why did the regime collapse? Was it Katrina, Iraq, and drum beat of incompetence? Did the cadres lose faith in The Leader per se, but not the cause? How did the quietest whispers of rationality intrude upon American commodification of thought?
We remain unconvinced that the American demos became progressives, etc. overnight the past few years. A further post will be coming on this — our view is that the authoritarianism we witnessed of the past few years — with a public either ignorantly embracing it or indifferent — is not gone, but dormant. A truly droll comment by History would be that American devotion to authoritarianism bowed before bloated infatuation with land dinosaur SUVs and $3.00 gas. Recessionary — or worse — times can indeed be the flower bed for dynamic action and Movement. “Yes We Can” is opaque enough to encompass just about every aspiration under the sun. Yet the Warlord’s Movement understands. Theirs is the radicalism of exclusion, the Other a needed projection. Their moment is not and cannot be about inclusion.
They naturally wait for their next radicalizing moment — ala Charlie Black and another attack on CONUS. Or the Crowned One carrying the day — and the Pretender McCain destroyed as an example.
Nonetheless, one should savor this brief respite. This regime’s eclipse was not a foregone conclusion. True, it may be only an interregnum. But it does open the door to hope. And possibility. At least for a little while.