January 9, 2008


What Hope for real Change in America?: With slogans promising Hope, Belief and Change, there is a surge of excitement around the US presidential primaries. But can anybody tell us what the Obama-Clinton contest is about? (Mick Hume, 1/09/08, Spiked)

[I] cannot quite join in with all the hype about this being the most exciting US election in decades. Because the nagging question remains, what are they voting for? ‘Change’ is the slogan of all candidates - reflecting the widespread recognition of the state of decay of politics in America.

But what sort of change do they mean, and what choices are on offer to the electorate? That, after all, is supposed to be the point of a democratic election.

Search high and low for the candidates’ clear political positions and principles, and if you find any do let the rest of the world know - because the candidates themselves seem unwilling to do so. There is less serious debate about substantive issues, less of a clear clash of competing visions of the future than ever before. Every line between them seems blurred, apart from their contrasting images in the photo wars - Clinton with her ex-president husband and his ageing advisers, Obama with his young family.

In fact, behind all of the whipped-up excitement about the close race and the titanic clash, it is possible to see that, in real political terms, this is shaping up to be the dullest US electoral contest in living memory.

The old labels left and right, which we know are pretty much redundant now when applied to mainstream politics in the UK or Europe, look frankly ridiculous when commentators try to pin them on Obama or a Republican candidate like John McCain.

With the Third Way working throughout the Anglosphere--to the point where we're headed towards a fourth decade of uninterrupted economic growth, unprecedented global liberalization, and declining social pathologies--why would a major party propose significant changes? Modern elections are and should be about who is most willing to continue on the Way. In America this time that would involve some privatization/personalization of Social Security and universalized health savings accounts. Whichever party stakes out that ground soonest will win.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 9, 2008 12:12 PM

Which raises the question: Why haven't they?

From a naked utilitarian viewpoint (even the Stupid want to survive on their own terms in elective office), the evidence screams "Do it now!"

And from a grounded conservative viewpoint the guidance is identical.

One can understand the aversion of the ideological left as TW policies shrink their constituencies, hence their power.

So again, why the hang up? It's a puzzlement.

Posted by: Luciferous at January 9, 2008 2:59 PM

I hate to be the old fogey here, but "declining social pathologies"? Which ones, and declining how fast and compared to what baseline? Violent crime and welfare dependency may be at 30-40 year lows, but 30 to 40 years ago was the decade between 1968 and 1978; pretty much the nadir of the twentieth century as far as America was concerned, give or take a couple of years. Illegitimacy is way up since then, sodomy and adultery are publicly accepted today in a way that was unimaginable even in 1978, the abortion industry is still going strong and the porn industry has grown exponentially, nobody learns Latin any more and don't even get me started about rap music. The Third Way is not intrinsically opposed to the ongoing collapse of western culture and civilization (see also Clinton, W. J.).

Posted by: Random Lawyer at January 9, 2008 5:34 PM

crime, drugs, alcohol, joblessness, savings rates, etc.

Posted by: oj at January 9, 2008 6:51 PM

You left out smoking.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at January 9, 2008 8:50 PM

Train riding

Posted by: Jorge Curioso at January 9, 2008 10:29 PM