Stimulation After (Economic) Climax

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Chris Dierkes

Chris Dierkes (aka CJ Smith). 29 years old, happily married, adroit purveyor and voracious student of all kinds of information, theories, methods of inquiry, and forms of practice. Studying to be a priest in the Anglican Church in Canada. Main interests: military theory, diplomacy, foreign affairs, medieval history, religion & politics (esp. Islam and Christianity), and political grand bargains of all shapes and sizes.

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5 Responses

  1. Avatar Freddie
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    says:

    Who, me? I don’t do wrath.Report

  2. Avatar Dave
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    says:

    Another one of these? I’m just finishing up the Bloggingheads episode with Jeff Madrick (which was quite good). I can’t keep up. 🙂Report

  3. Avatar Bob
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    says:

    This possible populist “backlash” you mention I find very interesting. To refresh memories you wrote, “Pigging backing on ED’s point about the loss of the middle class which leaves the country more open to a populist anti-elite backlash (very serious possibility right now)….”

    In a similar passing glance, Frank Rich wrote, in his 2/08/09 column Slumdogs Unite! “The tsunami of populist rage coursing through America is bigger than Daschle’s overdue tax bill, bigger than John Thain’s trash can, bigger than any bailed-out C.E.O.’s bonus. It’s even bigger than the Obama phenomenon itself. It could maim the president’s best-laid plans and what remains of our economy if he doesn’t get in front of the mounting public anger.” Rich later tars John Edwards as a “faux populist.” (A comment I will not dispute.)

    E.D. and I had a few exchanges on this populist question a few day back. To shorten my already short comments I took a look at the populist movement of the late 19th century and the progressive movement of the early 20th century and found that they had positive effects. I see the populist morphing into the progressives in as much as they were both anti-big business. For populists it was railroads and banking, for the progressives it was the social squalor created by industry. (Yes, I know oversimplifying.)

    But the point I want to make, America does not have a history of populist revolts in a negative sense. Even during the darkest day of The Great Depression the population did not embrace radical extra constitutional methods to deal with their problems. There were occasional riots but even those events were not aimed at the overthrow of government. America rejected demagogues. Sure you can point to demagogues such as Father Coughlin and a few others but even though they had large followings they did not determine policy. The Communist Party did experience growth but nothing like what might have been expected given the conditions.

    Sure, I can imagine a populist revolt that would not be to my liking, say a Sara Palin christian theocracy type of populism.

    I try to avoid predictions especially when they involve the future, Yogi Berra, but America’s history does not point in that direction.Report

  4. Avatar Chris Dierkes
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    says:

    Bob,

    Nice comment. Yeah reading back on it, serious is too strong a word. There’s potential I suppose but that makes it sound more likely than it probably is.Report

  5. Avatar Chris Dierkes
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    says:

    Freddie,

    I was half-joking. I was thinking of ur legendary comment threads over at McArdle’s.Report

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