February 15, 2016


Why Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders aren't as revolutionary as they appear (Adam Gopnik, 2/12/16, BBC Magazine)
I sometimes wonder if there is not more truth in a kind of Devil's Advocate Theory of social change. That would be a theory that proposes that in modern democracies, ideologies remain remarkably constant from decade to decade and even from year to year. The bearers of those ideas alter, and circumstances can sometimes alter enough to give those bearers access to the power that they lacked before. But contingency and chance work their way across a field of more or less fixed choices with less alteration in real numbers than the over-eager daily reporting will be inclined to suggest. The field on which modern politics takes place is more like a series of fixed magnetic poles of varying strengths, pulling people towards them and then repelling them.

Change does happen, of course, but the play of possibilities remains remarkably stable from decade to decade. This is not because the world is impervious to change, but because the political poles represent permanent features of modern life. The continuities and the contingencies - and, often, the stubborn resistance of voters to what would seem to be their own self-interest - are really more striking than the neat flow of economic cause and political effect.

They are the last defenders of the Second Way.  It is Jeb, on social programs, and Cruz/Rubio, on consumption taxes, who offer continuance of the Third Way revolution.

Posted by at February 15, 2016 4:43 PM