[This is the submitted form of my November column published in the 10nov12 print and (pay-walled) online editions of The Union.]
Last year Germany’s Angela Merkel made an audacious pronouncement – she said that ‘multikulti’ or multi-culturalism was not working to keep her country a cohesive nation-state with shared values that support needed public policies. Other EU countries like Britain and France hold the same views but were then too timid to give them voice.
Here in America the election and then re-election of President Obama has highlighted our prominent cultural divides. Many people diagnosed Mitt Romney’s problem as not being able to attract the black and Hispanic votes. And as we saw last Tuesday, Americans voted strongly along ethnic and racial lines.
In this election, as in no other in our history, Americans were offered a robust choice of diametrically opposing directions society should take to organize and govern itself. And splitting down the middle, we attempted to take Yogi Berra’s fork-in-the-road advice. Instead, what we got was four more years of a forced march toward a kind of trans-European socialism.
Today we are way past the tipping point of being able to recover our Republic as inherited from our Founders, or even as modified by Presidents Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Johnson. We now have huge schisms that divide us on national sovereignty, wealth distribution, and the scope of government in our lives. The only cultural aspect that we all seem to agree on is the broad-based promotion of an ignorance that fosters compliance. Our public schools have institutionalized this as can be demonstrated on any street corner in the land.
Another large tranche of us don’t have a clue on how an economy works, and are convinced that all shortfalls in government revenues and their own personal pocketbooks can be remedied by taking more from the currently defined ‘rich’. These Americans experience no cognitive dissonance when told that all social problems will yield to ever more government spending.
And proceeding on that line of argument, it is a short distance to the conclusion that there is and should be no limits on the government’s share of the national fisc. In the last four years our historic rate of government involvement has surged from 18% to 24% of GDP. Under the practised ideology of the ongoing administration, that percentage is going to increase further and without any known bound. And a large fraction, of those few who even know what GDP is, see no problem with such an increase – their education draws another blank as to the historical experience with such forms of governance.
We could go on to illustrate the divisions about impacts of public debt and deficits, and decay of property rights and individual liberties that continue to assault the nation. But I think you understand the landscape, and the conclusion about the tipping point receding in the rear view mirror.
Knowing this, we must also accept that there is no turning back. In order to keep the peace, what we must instead seek is a new political structure that can serve these multiple cultures, ethnicities, along with their social goals and levels of understanding. Attempting to jam such strongly nuanced belief systems into only two political buckets satisfies fewer constituencies with every passing year.
As an alternative way forward, it looks like what America now needs is a new model, one with four on the floor - on the floor of the House and the Senate, that is. On the Right the Republicans can divide into a so-called moderate center-right party, and a more strongly constitutionalist conservative party. The Democrats on the Left would form a center-left party offering a tempered form of progressivism, and then form a more strongly collectivist left wing that would, say, openly promote globalist policies such as the UN’s Agenda 21.
Voters could then be attracted to more focused and understandable social objectives. To govern in Congress, the parties would have to form coalitions negotiated by elected representatives who have more expertise in the nation’s issues. Our alternative today is a metastasizing wholesale democracy that promises to consume what is left of our Republic.
George Rebane is an entrepreneur and a retired systems scientist in Nevada County who regularly expands these and other themes on KVMR and Rebane’s Ruminations (www.georgerebane.com).