In 2008, we have an election forthcoming which could determine a difference in our future. If we keep our partisan identities, the you-Democrat me-Republican egofest that prohibits us from ever seeing the actual issues much less finding anything other than a mutually dissatisfying compromise, we will determine nothing. However, when one realizes that the people in politics are not as brick-stupid as they appear, and that there are some natural needs and impulses behind their desires which cannot be compromised, it's possible to look toward a new beginning.
We can take our values, but not the form in which they've lain dormant, and start a new chapter in American politics. Our old allegiances are rotted, because when we have only two "sides" and even they have become so similar as to be irrelevant, the choices are almost purely aesthetic. Democrats don't know how to end the war in Iraq; Republicans had trouble figuring out how to start it. Neither side is going to implement any aggressive pro-environmental policy. Both sides want to naturalize more immigrants. Neither side has said anything about lessening the time spent commuting or dealing with bureaucracy so we can get back to family, friends, and spiritual growth.
In short, they're actors, playing up to the largely ignorant audience which democracy creates by putting zero challenge into getting the vote. You sign up, show 'em you're over 18 and live around the polling place, and you're as equal as anyone else to the vote counters. They tell you what pleasant things can be had for minimal effort, and then rapidly spin the conversation into big ideals like "freedom" and "opportunity" that ultimately have zero effect on you and usually take away a little of both. They will divide you up into token special-interest groups - Christians, gays, video gamers, minorities - and then play you off one another. Their speeches say they want lots of good things for little of our effort; the reality is that they want power, with a lot of our effort, and they don't give a damn at all how things turn out.
The good thing about this sickening process is that like most scams, its enemy is time. Fool me once, the saying goes, shame on you. But fool me again? Shame on me. The subtlest scams take years to be recognized, but like a virus, that recognition spreads as rapidly as it took long for initial notice to be taken. Such is the case in America, where increasingly our voters are realizing:
This coming election season - and you've got three (3/tres) years to prepare - think about undoing the situation we're in, instead of trying to carve up power between two sides who really don't have any interest or profit in changing the way things work around here. Thanks to our democracy, you'll be voting against millions of morons, but they tend to back down whenever a clear idea presents itself or, conveniently, try to make it taboo. If the smart people put their weight behind a better idea, they can stand out from the horde and present an actual solution, which even many morons will find hard to resist. The rest of this article details how some of our political parties could change themselves to get ready for the future.
The problem with environmentalists is that there are two types: ecoterrorists, who understand the problem accurately but have ineffective methods, and ecoliberals, who fail to understand the problem and have ineffective but politically acceptable methods. The former want to blow up SUVs, and the latter think that if we all purchase hybrid cars, use low-power toasters and blow our noses on recyclable muslin somehow it'll all work out just fine. Clearly the former are the more realistic of the group, in terms of action, while the latter are mostly there to hear themselves talk. Yet neither has grasped the duality of the problem.
The crisis of environmentalism is that (1) it must recognize the actual factor of our environmental disaster, instead of pointing to dripping faucets and luxury sedans; and (2) that it must find a solution that incorporates the whole of our socioeconomic system, instead of suggesting extremist revolution or ineffective strategies like unplugging appliances at night, as the ecoterrorists and ecoliberals do, respectively. (1) requires that it face a truth that neither division wants to talk about, and (2) requires that it cease being a political flavor and instead becomes a comprehensive political platform.
Ecoliberals are the biggest impediment here, because they will not want to recognize the truth. These are ineffective people who want to make some token changes, buy organic free trade coffee and otherwise do nothing to address the problem; their solutions are ludicrous, from hunting down drippy faucets to using low-energy bulbs, and if everyone on earth did exactly as they suggest, the overall impact would be negligible. I call these people ecoliberals because they are basically Democrats with an environmentalist flavor, and by occupying the position of "environmentalist," they block out any significant discussion of it. Ecoterrorists are more developed but by their extremist nature are essentially a protest movement that will not gain large numbers among the general population.
What ecoliberals are afraid to face, and even ecoterrorists shirk from discussing, is that to mention the real issue behind our environmental problem is a taboo, because it says that all of us cannot have it all, cannot have it our way, and in fact, some will have to make large sacrifices. What is at stake here is ecocide, or a smashing of the delicate balance of species and weather conditions and nutrients and transfer of energy gleaned from sunlight that is our global ecosystem. Destroy it, and lots of things we come to see as just part of the scenery suddenly will not be there, or will be in such weakened forms as to be useless. Global warming is a smokescreen, in that some degree of it was natural, and that its consequences are far secondary to those of land overuse, depletion of natural populations, and of course pollution. Global warming will change our climate, and we're not sure we can blame industry for it, so let's set that aside - ecocide will destroy life as we know it, and it is a clear end result of all of us going out and having houses and cars and kids who each do the same.
Humanity grows exponentially, even if some populations (Europe, American Europeans) have stabilized their populations at roughly 1.8 children per family, below replacement rate. Overpopulation is our great enemy. It does not make sense to back away from the innovations that modern society offers us, but we cannot give that lifestyle to anyone, nor can we continue to give it to future generations. A few hundred million people living first-world lifestyles will not present a problem, but seven billion, soon to be nine billion, will deplete our land and leave our earth a polluted wreck. Why do we keep breeding recklessly? Our manufacturers and services need new markets, and new labor to work old scams, so any time someone speaks up about overpopulation, a chorus screams about human rights, but what they're really talking about is stock prices, specifically for stock they own.
Greens have to get over this taboo. People respect honesty. Say up front that we have to limit our population, in part by allowing AIDS and H5N1 to do their work, and in part by not giving foreign aid to anyone no matter how cute their starving kids are. Is it inhumane? -- maybe. More inhumane than dooming all of us to death along with our ecosystem? -- definitely not. For that reason it should be supported, yet Greens refuse to mention it, fearing they'll be seen as extremists. Instead they're seen as people ducking the real problem, who in lieu of an actual plan come up with unrealistic "solutions," just like the other groups of politicized liars we're all learning to distrust.
By emphasizing green solutions that complement business, Greens can demonstrate how there will not be a loss of jobs or of lifestyle so long as we take care of the essentials, namely preventing further development, population growth, or unfiltered pollution. Even if the only statement the Green party has is that it will tax businesses 50% with wide deductions for environmental spending, they stand a better chance of election than they do now, because most people see them as both ineffective and poised toward radicalism. In the 2004 election, the Greens committed suicide because they were afraid that John Kerry would not win if the Greens ran a successful candidate. They not only lost that election, but would have done so for a man with zero interest in effective green legislation. Perhaps the ecoliberals have taken over, since the ecoterrorists are already hiding in tents outside SUV dealerships and new suburbs?
A party with even less of a clue is the GOP and its conservative allies. Still in shock from the effect the counterculture had on Baby Boomer voting patterns, the conservatives have relied on finding whole voting blocs they can transform into allies. In 2004, it was the radical evangelist Christians and big business, whereas in 2008 they're planning to seduce minorities and gun owners. This is a mistake as instead they could have the largest section of voters in America.
Most people, even if of fairly liberal views, are generally open to conservative politicians because they recognize the stability of conservatism, and the importance of traditional values. Both are attributes needed for a smoothly functioning society. The average hard-working, sensible person will vote conservative unless driven away from it by conservative parties doing the exact opposite - such as appealing to religious nutcases, Israel, illegal aliens and the like. The GOP and Republicans are about to cut their own throats through a series of ill-advised ventures into trying to capture bizarro voting blocs when they would be best served by simply capturing the biggest bloc of all, which is the sensible average people who make up the middle class and small business owners in America.
Your average person might be a gun owner, but also might not be; they may or may not be Christian, but are too pragmatic to get all wishy-washy about some evangelical mission to save the world by hastening the final apocalypse and thus shortening the time until we're all in the arms of Jesus (note to Europeans: apparently, many Americans including most of our new Hispanic population believe this). The motto of a sensible conservative party would be: do not cater to special interests; provide for traditional values! There is no way to group into a handy package the average hardworking sensible folk out there, because they don't go in for special interests. They go in for stability that gives a nudge to traditional values because this is how people raise their kids if they want their kids to go far. Traditional values like hard work, respecting your culture and elders, heroism and thinking for the long term (chastity, respect for nature, sobriety) are how you live if you want to be successful in any genre.
Conservatives have almost entirely abandoned these people in their pursuit of the special voting blocs. This is a dire mistake, and explains in part why liberals triumph over the beady-eyed nutcases like Bob Dole. Average people want stability, not power hungry and not mystically included toward group suicide. They've waken up having seen George W. run into Washington, slot his cronies into power and then start a series of disastrous long-term wars. They want people who put the citizens first, before spacy issues that are done for symbolic allegiance to voting blocks, but in fact endanger, impede and marginalize the responsible, hard-working people of traditional values among us. The conservatives are no longer a traditional values party. Either they change that, or they will perish, because they will not be able to out-populist the liberals.
A trend that would worry the Democrats, were they savvy enough to have a consciousness between elections, is a worldwide slippage of Democratic parties that has been going on for many years. The reason is simple: if you promise better societies through the revolutionary logic of liberalism, you'd better deliver. Clinton was popular in the USA mainly because his civil rights program promised to reduce ethnic tensions. It didn't, and many believe, especially after Hurricane Katrina, that nothing will (they're right). FDR was popular because his liberal programs promised jobs for those destroyed by rampant speculation and the inevitable recession that followed. Liberals who address a real need and have a real plan can be quite successful; however, Democratic parties worldwide have been coasting on the same rhetoric of empowerment, subsidy and pluralism for a long time, and the results are increasingly not impressive. In fact, liberal parties have not only failed to change many of the problems they identify, but have made them worse.
Part of this is the fundamental schizophrenia of Democratic parties. As liberals preaching revolutionary rhetoric dolled up as common sense, they have to either deliver a revolution or dilute their message to fit into the normal transactions of everyday life. Most people fear the revolutions, remembering how in France and in Russia leftist revolt led to a slaughter of, among the privileged, many of the nation's smartest and best people, effectively ending its long-term prospects as a world power. America's revolution was fortunate because, although liberal in appearance, it was in fact conservative, being a land-grab by local landowners who recognized that living as a colony was not only bad for business but would prevent the development of traditional values in their new nation. Ever since that time, the phrase "leftist revolution" (or class war, or race war) conjures up images of intellectuals bending over trenches, waiting for proletarian bullets. Veering away from that extreme, Democrats become milktoast conservatives who believe in pacification while preaching grand ideals, and the increasing visibility of the failure of those grand ideals to either manifest themselves or fix problems has voters wary.
If liberals want to really triumph in 2008, they should grab ahold of one of the best ideas that came out of liberal think tanks: localization. Instead of advocating, like their conservative brethren, that we all join together and do things about the big issues, they should encourage a fragmentation of government so different localities can have different standards and manage themselves. After all, not everyone is going to be a liberal, and liberals either have to dominate those people and reveal themselves as revolutionaries, or compromise with them and raise suggestions that Democrats are Republicans on estrogen. If Democrats were to come to the election promising that communities like Alief, TX would be freed from levels of red tape so it could rule itself, they'd gain the vote of many conservatives.
The grand secret of conservatives, and most successful liberals, is that people are not the same. Please don't turn this into a racial issue - whether or not that applies, it's not what I'm speaking of here. I refer simply to the difference between communities and people within them. If Alief, TX wants to remain a semi-rural community, and put into place its own conservative rules, no harm is really done to those surrounding, and it can become a magnet for people who think the same way. This leaves other communities to do as they will, even if it is radically incompatible with Alief; local communities have to collaborate on a handful of issues and otherwise can be fully independent of one another. Did we really expect that the same rules that apply in Brooklyn, NY would apply in Alief, TX? Of course not. Agree to disagree, and move on.
Liberals have spent too long behind their class-war, racial-equality, women's empowerment type of issue. Such things are, with the exception of a vocal few who almost never have succeeded in anything or even held day jobs recently, entirely inconsequential to most people, even though you can brainwash them into thinking such things are important for their younger years. Most normal, non-neurotic people want a fair shot at a decent working wage and safe places to raise their families. They don't necessarily care if they are universally "empowered" or "equal" so long as they can have a job and a place within a community. Not everyone wants to live in New York or Dallas, and if they have a decent life, they care more about that then political equality or other token symbols that ultimately have little effect on their fortunes. Most of the people in the ghetto are there because they don't have their act together at all - more rules and subsidies won't change that. Change must come from within.
Finally, Democrats should do more than lip service for the environmental issue. Kyoto is great, but wider change is needed. Just as with the greens, Democrats should not be apologetic about this stance so long as they provide for a smooth transition to this state; radical change without a backing plan for keeping people in jobs results in failure every time. More people than ever before are aware of this issue and will support those who have practical means for implementing it, including a foreign policy that for the first time since WWII does not encourage growth in developing nations or anywhere else in the world. Just as Republicans should back down from some of their nutty foreign policy ideas, Democrats must too, if they want want to survive as a political entity.
For the first time in a long time, in 2008 America will most probably have either a Nationalist or extreme Conservative candidate running for office. Why? -- well, while the Democrats and Republicans have been duking it out for many years, out of sight of the figures we maintain on such topics our quality of life has been slipping. Crime may be down, incrementally, but most of us still live in constant fear of our violent cities. Racial antagonism may be tempered, this year, but it's still high with no sign of abaiting or sensible solution offered. Further, traditional values have never earned anyone a vast profit, so there is a constant assault from industry and entertainment on the values by which conservatives live and which they want to teach their kids. This results in more good stable families getting the call that their offspring, being taught that open-mindedness is the path to heaven, tried drugs and lost that battle of roulette or got murdered in a city alley. They're sick of it. They want a 1920s America back, a place that knows its own culture and isn't afraid to tell some people NO so that the rest of us can live according to what traditionalists see as sensible values.
(Nationalists should note: while part of nationalism is the knowledge that each organic nation is a group joined by heritage, culture and language, it is imperative that you not translate this into bigotry, because bigotry removes the onus from yourselves to fix your own nation. The nations I know of at this point have rotted from within, glutted on fiscal luxury and technological opulence and drama of the individual, and that must be fixed, or all the separation in the world cannot save you. I can tell which nationalist groups are going to succeed by how quickly I cannot find racial data, crime stats, etc. on their web sites! Loving your own race doesn't translate into hating others; it translates into separating from them, which precludes a lot of hateful, bigoted, linear, one-dimensional politics.)
Nationalists are also, among the major political persuasions, the only ones to adopt a sensible attitude toward ethnicity, which is that if each ethnicity wants to keep itself healthy it will separate from all others and agitate for autonomy including self-rule. Your standard neo-Nazi is saying nothing different from what your average Rabbi or Nation of Islam bootboy says: we need to rule ourselves so we don't get assimilated. As America invites in people from all over the world, often under the guise of helping them out, those who make up the traditional backbone of America are agitating for the defense of their own way of life, and Nationalists provide the only workable plan, which is separation and self-rule. Is this unpopular? Well, everyone's been taught to call them "racists," but it's not really racism. It's more like... Nationalism. Ethnic-cultural self rule. And in countries of European descent worldwide, it's gaining in popularity, especially with those who now that they're past 30 are forced to consider practical solutions instead of emotionally goodfeeling ones.
We have a chance in this election. The Bush conservatives, or neo-conservatives, have shot their wad. The public is equally sick of mincing liars like John Kerry and his rich man condescension to the poor and minorities. This dissatisfaction isn't unreasonable; in the fifty years since WWII, conservatives have lobbied for more enforcement and war and liberals have lobbied for more internal dissent and class war, and together, they've taken a prosperous nation and turned it into a conflicted, neurotic, pointless existence. The solution to this dilemma is to divide up, rather than try to find a single rule for disparate folks, and let nature judge the outcome of each possible way of approaching the question of survival. Conservatives and liberals cannot be reconciled. However, if each group drifts more closely toward its core principles, we can see where the nation must separate and thus let each group enjoy its own preferred mode of existence. Not only is that the only true form of tolerance we will find, but it's the only possible future for a nation that no longer agrees on even the most basic values.