The Eras of Good Feelings and Their Inevitable End


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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11 Responses

  1. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    I think we should now and then pause to consider just what a difficult proposition it is for any given leadership class to maintain competent governance over extended periods, especially across geopolitical eras. To be farsighted enough to understand how governance will have to change when the current era changes to the next one, and then to execute that shift, while having maintained proper functioning throughout the length of the old order, is just almost prohibitively difficult. And it doesn’t make it particularly more manageable to change leadership classes as the switch happens, either.

    Sometimes we need to just cut ourselves some slack and remember that at the end of the day we are a country like any other, not masters of the world (and nor is any other country).Report

  2. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    I do not think the close of the Cold War had as much impact on US politics as he seems to think. I think our current situation is due far more to two other factors: The Reagan Coalition is running out of gas, and the Internet is changing, well, everything.

    We are in a phase change, which means it is turbulent and chaotic. We will settle down to a new equilibrium. I’m not sure what that is, exactly, but it will be different. I mark the last phase change as the 70’s.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe says:

      Though the end of the Cold war, and the GWOT being a poor substitute in every dimension, is a major part of why the Reagan Coalition is out of gas.Report

  3. Avatar Kolohe says:

    I was expecting one thing from the excerpt (the ongoing search for a coherent vision in geopolitics in the post Cold War era, now over a quarter century long) but got mostly a different thing from the full essay (let’s get rid of nukes).

    I wish there was more of the thing I was expecting.

    It’s not that getting rid of nukes is undesirable or unimportant – it’s just that it’s uninteresting.Report

  4. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    I’m doubtful that the Cold War was an era of good feelings. The Democratic and Republicans Parties might have roughly agreed on an anti-Communist foreign policy. There were still substantial differences. Conservative activists had no problem denouncing every liberal political goal from civil rights and integration to a European style welfare state/New Deal economic regulations as nothing more than Communism. J. Edgar Hoover explicitly saw the Civil Rights movement as nothing but Communist agitation against the natural social order of the United States. Many white Southerners believed that African-Americans wouldn’t be protesting for civil rights if commie Jews like me didn’t egg them on for it.

    In the foreign policy realm, conservative activists accused the Democratic Party of being soft on communism, of losing China and South Vietnam for not being gun ho enough. Red Dawn was taken seriously in what we know call red areas while blue areas rolled their eyes. Democratic voters were concerned about nuclear armageddon in ways Republicans voters were not. There weren’t many good feelings in the Cold War era despite a shared Communist containment foreign policy.Report

    • Avatar James K says:


      I think the author is marking the 1990s as an era of good feelings, not the cold war.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        I don’t remember the 1990s as being an era of good feelings. I remember the 1990s as being the rise of the Gingrich object to everything right and when the careers of professional trolls like Coulter, Ingraham, and D’Souza really took off.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Seconding @saul-degraw. The 90s stopped being an era of good feelings in 1992 or 1994. There were lots of little culture war issues that were just starting.Report

  5. Avatar z says:

    I didn’t die this weekend.
    Life is good.

    Situation in Syria not yet World War 3.Report