After the Revolution

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I remember the excitement of Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative’s party election in 1979. Britain had just elected someone that talked about Friedrich von Hayek.

I remember excitedly following the election returns in 1980 as the Reagan landslide became clear. America too was going to dump the welfare state.

While Thatcher and Reagan did bring some changes to their respective countries, both revolutions essentially fizzled. We had lower tax rates and slightly smaller bureaucracies but the bulk of the welfare state was impressively intact (the resilience of the warfare state was never in doubt).

In 1989, it was hard not be excited as the people took heed of Reagan’s admonition to “tear down this wall.” The end of the cold war meant that the right could concentrate on the home front. The fight with the Russian commies, we were told, was business; the fight with homegrown lefties was personal. Freed from the cold war need to compromise we could get to work on the home front. What we actually got was George Bush Senior; a thousand points of light; the Americans with Disabilities; the Immigration Act of 1990; and despite reading his lips, a tax increase. We also got a war in the Middle East, but were at least spared the “nation building.”

Then, in November of 1994, we awoke to the howls of anguish from our news reporters (NPR seemed particularly shell shocked). It seems that the country had “thrown a temper tantrum” and passed control of congress to the Republicans. Now, at last, real change was possible. What we got was impeachment, a second Clinton term and (perhaps even worse) the Compassionate Conservative George W. Bush.

Now we have the Tea Party. Maybe things will be different this time, or maybe not. Thanks to 24 news the revolution will be televised, I just don’t expect it to make compelling viewing.

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6 Responses to “After the Revolution”

  1. Gorbachev Says:

    Nothing will change.

    the reps are as married to the welfare state as the dems. Get used to it.

    In fact, they use the welfare state to control and manipulate the population.

    It’s the Bread in Bread and Circuses.

    The only issue is who pays and profits from it.

    [DU: Agreed. Too many confuse pro-freedom or pro-market with pro-business. I should point out that I was using "welfare state" as a shorthand for large all encompassing government.]

  2. Hail Says:

    If all those “revolutions” fizzled, what would a real revolution look like?
    [DU: Probably no better. PS: Your blog looks interesting.]

  3. chic noir Says:

    default remember the excitement of Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative’s party election in 1979

    *chic noir chokes on drink*

    chic noir: ” default how old are you again???”
    [DU: ...but I look young (and was late teens in 1979).]

    *default puffs on cigar, with a a smug smile*

    chic noir *blink blink*

  4. chic noir Says:

    The tea party are all for Medicare ,Social Security and those things. So don’t waste your breath hoping for real change. The Tea Party are a high breed of the democrats and republicans and nothing more.
    [DU: Yup!]

  5. chicnoir Says:

    default DU: …but I look young (and was late teens in 1979).]

    default ” besides chic look at it this way… default Jr and defaulta will inherit my good genes”

    *chic noir thinks for minute and decides she likes defaults explanation*
    [DU: I guess that default Jr and defaulta will be fashion conscious nerds, or geeks of style.]

  6. Hail Says:

    what would a real revolution look like?
    Probably no better

    Are you saying real change for the better is impossible? That we are on a downward slide toward oblivion, the pieces of which will have to picked up by some distant generation not yet born? I think the Hindus call that “Kali-Yuga”.
    [DU: Any change will be difficult. To use an overworked cliché, the ship of state is like a super-tanker, it takes a long time to change direction. Most likely is a lean period that will seem bad because it follows such a boom. We may also suffer more infighting and disruption but I am not sure total collapse is likely. As they say: "prediction is difficult, especially regarding the future. Just as it is easy to fall into the "flying cars" magical view of the future, it is easy to fall into "we are all going to die" mentality as well. I suppose you could describe my current outlook as dour not pessimistic; it is not so much that I see bad things, I just find it hard to see good things.]

    I think you are in good company, if that is your mindset. I’ve been interested to peruse the writings of certain intellectuals of generations past. As early as the 1910s many were predicting irreversible western decline had already set in. One of the more intriguing of these doomsayers was Spengler.
    [DU: I would not consider myself a doomster but, perhaps after a decade of techno-optimism a little balance is in order.]

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