Piereson: Potential Long-Term Troubles for Democrats

by Ryan on June 13, 2012

in Anything Else,History,Politics

Yesterday, I read an article called “Future Tense X:  The Fourth Revolution” by James Piereson, which articulates a theory that I’ve heard multiple times from historians, professors, and political analysts — that we’ve had three major political revolutions in our history and may be on the verge of a fourth:  the Revolution of 1800, the Civil War, the New Deal/World War II, and perhaps some new gate on the horizon.  He doesn’t delve into prophesy, but does offer us all some lessons from history.

It prints out to a 15-page article so I’ll summarize:  Piereson speaks of three American political revolutions taking place after an old system has failed to work, requiring a fresh view after 60-80 years of institutional detritus has built up.  Those who can fix the system do with the people’s consent over time.  Those in power are rewarded with political mandates which last generations, corroding over time.  Eventually the new regime becomes the old.  When that old system is plainly seen to have failed, the opposing faction has an opportunity to supplant it, try something new and move on with the consent of the people.  This is clearly what happened during and after both the Civil War and World War II.

Today, the regime created by the New Deal and World War II (a period of a domestic and foreign redefinition of America) is old, worn out, and does not have any solutions to the problems facing modern America.  Hence, Piereson argues that we may be entering a period like the 1790s, 1850s and 1930s — tumultuous, but necessary to get America working by deciding what works and tossing aside what doesn’t.  In our current alignment, this means long-term troubles for the Democrats, since they are the ones tied to the old ways of government largesse which are not helping our problems.

While I can poke holes in some of Piereson’s historical assumptions, he definitely lays out a decent argument for changing the broken system, and for hope that those causing the problems will one day be pushed aside by the people.  It’s worth a read if you have the time.


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