Francis Fukuyama has apparently now decided that history didn’t end after all, but that its brakes are merely locked. At least in the US.
The institutions of American government, which they told me in school were the best-designed ever anywhere because exceptionalism, we now learn have more checks than balance and we’re stuck. The good doctor has no prescription though. I do.
I happen to think that democracy isn’t all about the institutions. A cursory look around the world through history (and cursory is about all a cartoonist can muster, even on a day when he isn’t entirely befogged by a headcold) suggests that democracy works well when there is a rough national consensus and starts breaking down when there isn’t any consensus. Hello us! Consensus was easier here when the economy was slathering dollars into every pay envelope. Now when you put your ear to your pay envelope you can hear the ocean. The economy is generating lots of wealth, but you don’t get any. You are told to get smarter, and work smarter (more) and settle for what I guess will eventually be called ‘smart wages’ (less).
Today I think it’s time to force the issue of how we deal with this. A portion of the country wants to use government to facilitate decent lives for people, and another portion wants to dismantle government to facilitate decent lives for people. There is simply no point in continuing to have an argument where there are zero points of agreement. And there is some clear geographic division here. I say we start seriously talking partition, to either solve the impasse, or, more likely call the anti-government bluff. I am weary of people who think it’s a ‘position’ to tell the government to keep its hands off their Medicare. I think a movement to divide the United States might also get the wealthy to think a little more seriously about their level of responsibility to the American society, one way or the other. Especially when they contemplate the way the government shutdown whacked the GDP. Sitting on the sidelines and demanding nothing but more tax cuts and less regulation has been an altogether too comfortable and unsustainably disengaged barcalounger for the rich to recline in. Time to make them think about some things too.
Friday the 13th seems an apt day to suggest a crazy idea.