Monday, November 19, 2012

Wind in dry grass

This is not the end of Reflecting Light, only a metamorphosis.

When I de-accessioned political consciousness last February, it was sincere. If I have since backslid, it was because in the run-up to the recent election there seemed to be a miniature chance that at least Barack Obama could be ushered out of the flight deck, giving constitutionalists, traditionalists, and assorted reactionaries a little breathing space.

It seemed that anything I could do, even tossing electrons on a computer monitor, in aid of changing the direction of the U.S., should be done.

That temptation is finished. We are in deep waters indeed, two (or more) countries in the same geographical space. In a way it's even worse than 1860: then there was really only one issue, slavery and its extension into new states, that made us a house divided. Now we can't agree on basic principles, on what constitutes facts.

Suddenly the "s" word -- secession -- is being openly spoken. I've written several postings over at least five years suggesting that we need a constitutional amendment stating how legal and peaceful secession could take place. I'm inclined now to think that's a fantasy. For one thing, there's that geographical mash-up -- how finely can the secessionist impulse grind? States? Cities? Counties? Streets? Despite some general regional differences, people of opposite political ideologies are now often neighbors or family members.

Besides, to pass a constitutional amendment 38 states would need to ratify it. It would be asking three-quarters of the states to agree to a divorce. Impossible.

Nullification of federal overreach by individual states is slightly more realistic, but the president can order the National Guard or, I suppose if he's power-mad enough, the armed forces to crush a state.

But -- barring some circumstance I can't even imagine now -- I'm giving over political commentary on this blog, not because it's become useless (although for me it has) but because it has started to make me queasy. The U.S. political landscape is a bleached and ghastly void, a heart of darkness. It puts me in mind of T.S. Eliot's "The Hollow Men" (which of course was partly inspired by Conrad's "Heart of Darkness"):

We whisper together
    Are quiet and meaningless
    As wind in dry grass
    Or rats' feet over broken glass
    In our dry cellar
    Shape without form, shade without colour,
    Paralysed force, gesture without motion ...

So Reflecting Light takes on a new shape. But, I trust, it will have form, color, force, and motion.


Anonymous said...

Secession is totally wrong, it is defeatist. Secession will lead to the Balkanisation of America. The coastal ares will be held by Lefties, and they will bottle up the conservative states. Even if they lose a war, they can call on help from China, which will gladly come to their aid.

In The Thinking Housewife blog, the general tone of the discussion is secession, or a long march to reeducate the people. This they believe, will necessarily be a long process, in the order of 50 years or so.

However, it is worth looking at history when nations have have become mired in debt. Germany comes to mind first. Prior to WWII, Germany was a liberal state unlike any other in the West. But it was mired in debt by the Versailles treaty. This led to the collapse of the DM, and the rise of the Right.

A similar process is occurring in Europe right now. Ireland, the Celtic tiger just a few years ago, spent and spent like no tomorrow. Spain and Greece, thought they had booming economies, all fueled by cheap credit. They had salaries comparable to the Germans, in the same currency as the Germans. What could go wrong? But all work was just paper work and real wealth creation. There was no real hard manufacturing of wealth as in Germany. When the credit dried up, the creditors came calling, Austerity was imposed, riots are now everyday occurrence, and the people turned to the Right. All in the space of a few years.

America is in virtually the same position as Greece or Spain. It has a deficit that can only be measured in astronomic units, or parsecs. It has also off-shored its manufacturing to China. With nothing but Quantitative Easing, and raiding the remaining wealth producing industries, a crash is absolutely certain.

The traditional Right should prepare for the crash by offering a sane alternative. If they do not, then America will turn to a more frightening leader, which, unlike Greece, will be catastrophic for the rest of the world.

This scenario is not in some distant future, but quite likely before the next presidential election. Obama's re-election can thus be seen as the best of things that could have happened to restore America. In fact, I don't see anything else that will restore America, other then a crash, and for that Obama is just the right vehicle.


Stephen Hopewell said...

Happy Thanksgiving wishes. I remain a loyal reader of RL, though I rarely comment.
The main thing is not to deprive the world of your distinctive voice. As a reader, I didn't feel any discontinuity with your last (intended) switch away from politics. Maybe the political/nonpolitical distinction is irrelevant. I certainly share your feeling about American politics. We mustn't let it poison our souls.

Rick Darby said...


Thank you so much, and a very happy Thanksgiving to you. I'm glad you're still following this site -- why don't you comment now and again?

I understand what you mean, I think. Life is a whole. We don't have "political selves" and "non-political selves," although at different times one or the other aspect of the whole might be more urgent. Right now I can't feel any energy around politics because we've lost.

There is a romanticism around a Lost Cause, but I'm not going to hang any dreams on it. Meanwhile we still have lives. Life is politics by other means.