At long last, we are entering the season where most Americans who do take interest in the November election actually take that interest. I find this botheresome but inevitable. Back in the spring I sat on a school Superintendent Selection Advisory Committee, and even with all of the rancour we had experiened over the years on the subject of public education, things didn’t really blow up until we had made our decision, and by then it was too late.
There’s a lot more on the table now than one school superintendent. Our political system is so polarised now–and has been since the late 1960’s–that a significant shift in control in Washington can change the complexion of the nation. Unfortunately most Americans have not grasped this truth, and the result of this is our low voter turnout and the virtual control of the system by a relatively small group of “independents” in the middle, who all to often rely on our news media for their ideas (a dangerous thing at best.)
We’ve said before that we are surprised that the Democrats didn’t bag this political system a long time ago. Now they are within striking distance of taking control of one or more houses of Congress (which would really make it the opposite of progress) and take a major step forward towards recapturing the White House in 2008. But why is there doubt about the outcome? The inequities in our wealth distribution become more pronounced. The level of debt grows as the housing market–which collateralised that debt–softens. The Republicans have fudged on the principles which gave them that control in 1994. All of this should make this election a cakewalk for the Democrats.
It hasn’t. Bush’s popularity levels, starting in the cellar, are rising. So are the polls for the Republicans in general. Why is this? Along with falling petrol prices, the answer is simple: in spite of difficulties with the Iraq war, people as a whole believe that the Republicans are stronger on national security. The Democrats have passed up many opportunities to change people’s minds on this with everything from stalling the Patriot Act to constantly attacking just about every administration effort to deal with terrorists, from Gitmo onward.
Shifting one’s position to improve public standing is a part of political success. Bill Clinton proved that; his party should have gotten the message. But Clinton–who is very defensive on this issue–finds it easier to throw a fit on Fox News rather than to have dealt with it effectively when he was in office. He found it easier to eventually throw an important Democrat constituency to the wolves in welfare reform rather than to implement effective national security through a combination of police, military, and diplomatic action. Democrats waiting in the wings to pick up where he left off are, if anything, “softer” on this issue. Why?
To understand this, we must first realise that the Democrat party today is the party of the 60’s radical. That includes just about every major player in the party. At the heart of sixties radicalism is rebellion against authority, especially the military and the police. When they’re not worried about what authority can do to them at the present, they worry what it might do to them in the future. That’s why the ACLU constantly attempts to undermine anti-terror efforts by the government.
As a practical matter, one would think that they would realise that, if they ever did gain power, the police and military would be essential elements in their ability to maintain it. And sometimes they do know this; the Clintons have never been shy about using the power of law to protect them personally and to advance their own proper interests. But in general the Democrats are reflexively unable to empower the military and police to protect us out of a fear they will repress us, even in the face of Islamicists who would wipe out their way of life more surely than anything else.
To draw a contrast, consider another revolution, namely the Russian. Lenin had no illusions about what he was aiming for: the dictatorship of the proletariat. Left-wing communism was an “infantile disorder,” to be set aside for the good of the cause. Moreover Lenin didn’t have the luxury of a legal system such as ours: he had armed resistance to his revolution, and so, although a major objective was to get out of World War I (which he did through capitulation,) he had no qualms about forming a military and brutally defeating his “White” enemies.
His handling of police matters was no different; he had the Pole Feliks Dzerzhinskii to head up the NKVD, which became the KGB, to take care of internal dissidents through imprisonment and execution. His strategy worked; by the time he died the Communist Party was in control of what became the Soviet Union and would remain so for the next sixty-five years.
Unfortunately the security apparatus that he had set up turned on many of its creators. Under Stalin, many of Lenin’s comrades (Leon Trotsky being the most famous) ended up perishing in the purges, and the likes of Lysenko took centre stage. This is a historical memory not even the left can shake; it is one more reason why the flower children that dominate the Democrat party have an aversion to strenghtening the military and intelligence apparatus of the government. They know better than anyone that, in a modern society, today’s norms are tomorrow’s crimes.
So the Democrats are stuck. They simply cannot bring themselves to allow our military and intelligence services to do what they have to do. So the vote to keep them weak in the face of public opinion to the contrary. The Democrat Party and the American left is trapped in Dzershinskii’s Dilemma, where if they neglect national security we lose and if they beef it up they get wiped out. They never will find a way out. We vote for such people at our own peril.