Friday, July 3, 2015

Wake Me When It's Over

We've seen this all before. It was back in the 1960s that the Democrats got a big presidential win and passed a bunch of big-government programs. And the left figured that they were going to take over. There were the hippies and the New Left and Cloward-Piven. The hippies were going to make love, not war. The New Left, inspired by Frankfurt School acolyte and One Dimensional Man Herbert Marcuse were going to transform politics, and Profs Cloward and Piven were going to overthrow the establishment with street action.

Well, they got their Medicare and Medicaid forever, and hippiedom too. And they successfully moved the center of gravity of left-wing politics from class to identity. But Cloward and Piven failed to crash the system.

And most of all the average American just wanted to live a middle-class life in peace. This was symbolized by Ben Wattenberg's 47-year-old housewife from Dayton, Ohio in his book The Real Majority. The theme was taken up by Richard Nixon and his Vice-President Agnew who talked about the "silent majority" that hadn't been yelling its head off during the Sixties.

And so we got a conservative revolution and Ronald Reagan and a 20 year economic boom.

Evidently liberals have interpreted the Obama victory of 2008 as a call for a new Sixties and a new lurch to the left, even though the result has been the most Republican Congress in almost a century.

Of course, after the Supreme Court decisions on Obamacare and gay marriage it looks like the liberals were right. But I have a feeling that they are going to be radically, embarrassingly wrong.

The thing is that we don't know, we can't know, because liberals have forbidden anyone to disagree with them.

But the question is: can we roll back the Obamacare entitlement? Everyone knows that once you give people an entitlement they will resist reform until the place goes Greece. But we must remember that Obamacare was not like Medicare and Social Security which gave the broad middle class something they had never had before. The average American already has health insurance and the average American is pretty upset that Obamacare has messed with their health insurance. Also, I suspect that the folks getting the Obamacare subsidies are pretty upset and confused right now.

As for the social issues like gay marriage: In my view the decisive demographic in all social issues is women: middle-aged women, just like Ben Wattenberg discovered in the 1960s. That's because things like abortion and marriage are central to women's lives. In the end it doesn't matter what the ruling class -- or men -- wants on social issues. What matters is what women want.

It turned out, after Roe v. Wade, that women do not want unrestricted abortion as the high-class feminists wanted. That's because for the average woman, child-bearing is central to her life. Not so much for elite women. There's a similar aspect to gay marriage. Lots of elite people are gay or know someone who is gay. Down in the trenches, not so much. And marriage is central to the life of a middle-class woman.

As you know, I look at the world through the filter of my three peoples model: people of the creative self, people of the responsible self, and people of the subordinate self. Because of the influence of the people of the creative self we all get the impression that everyone agrees with their current enthusiasm. In all the fuss and feathers of elite-class enthusiasm it takes a long time for the influence of the people of the responsible self to be heard.

I was out to dinner last night with Lady Marjorie and her mother and her niece at Ray's Boathouse in Seattle: the last night before the Fourth of July holiday weekend. We were at a table for five, but nearby were several middle-aged middle-class couples out on date night sitting together in booths that looked out on a sun-drenched Puget Sound. It was touching to see the satisfaction of the wives to be out to dinner with their husbands. They looked, from moment to moment, at their husbands with gentle married love. From time to time they would gently put an arm around their husbands.

What do people like that think about things in Obama's America? That's what I want to know.

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