The Realignment of the (Perpetual) Future
I’m reluctant to riff on such a small bit from Lisa’s truly excellent post on political realignments. Still, there’s a brief speculation about the future realignment that I can’t help but note. She writes that “any future realignment … is usually assumed to be along pro-government/anti-government lines.”
Sadly for my side, I doubt this future realignment will ever happen. To get elected, a political party almost always has to hand out goodies of some type to someone. But rarely will a party go whole hog and offer the entire goodies package to everyone — health care, education, wars, corporate welfare — because doing so makes that party look authoritarian or even fascist. A lesson lately re-learned.
So instead, most parties propose half of the menu of direct, forcible transfers that the state can offer, and they call the remainder freedom. That is, they give either the social welfare basket or the military/industrial one. Campaigns tend to focus on which basket is better or worse.
Almost never does a party say to the voters “our platform won’t give you anything up front. In fact, our policies kind of hurt in the short term. But they are just, and they set the foundations for a better long-term future. This long-term future is one that we personally can’t envision, because American society does better without a central planner. Under my administration, the future belongs to you alone. Now quit watching this silly party convention and go get a job. Politics matters less than you think, and when I’m president, it will matter even less than that.”
That’s the campaign I’d love to run, but it’s also a guaranteed loser. People want goodies and freedom. Splitting the difference wins.