The logic of revolution

Peter Grant directs us to an interesting essay on the logic of revolutions, and how it applies to the current US situation, by Angelo Codevilla:

The primary objective of any people who find themselves in the throes of a revolution is to find ways of diverting its logic from its worst conclusions.

Prior to the 2016 election I explained how America had already “stepped over the threshold of a revolution,” that it was “difficult to imagine how we might step back, and futile to speculate how it might end.” Regardless of who won the election, its sentiments’ growing “volume and intensity” would empower politicians on all sides sure to make us nostalgic for Donald Trump’s and Hilary Clinton’s moderation. Having begun, this revolution would follow its own logic.

What follows dissects that logic. It has unfolded faster than foreseen. Its sentiments’ spiraling volume and intensity have eliminated any possibility of “stepping back.”

The Democratic Party and the millions it represents having refused to accept 2016’s results; having used their positions of power in government and society to prevent the winners from exercising the powers earned by election; declaring in vehement words and violent deeds the illegitimacy, morbidity, even criminality, of persons and ideas contrary to themselves; bet that this “resistance” would so energize their constituencies, and so depress their opponents’, that subsequent elections would prove 2016 to have been an anomaly and further confirm their primacy in America. The 2018 Congressional elections are that strategy’s first major test.

Regardless of these elections’ outcome, however, this “resistance” has strengthened and accelerated the existing revolutionary spiral. We begin with a primer on such spirals, on the logic of mutual hate that drives them, and on their consequences; move to a general description of our evolution’s driving logic, describe the 2016 elections as the revolutionary spiral’s first turn and the “resistance” thereto as the second. Then we examine how the “resistance” affects the other side, and how this logic might drive our revolution’s subsequent turns.

Codevilla turns back to Thucydides, naturally, in explicating the revolutionary pattern, then rather convincingly points to the 2008 financial crisis as the point at which the US political system was broken and the logic of revolution began to take hold:

The 2008 financial crisis sparked an incipient revolution. Previously, Americans dissatisfied with their Progressive rulers had imagined that voting for Republicans might counter them. But then, as three-fourths of Americans opposed bailing out big banks with nearly a trillion dollars, the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates joined; most Republican legislators joined all Democrats; The Wall Street Journal joined The New York Times, and National Review joined The Nation; in telling Americans that doing this was essential, and that their disapproval counted for nothing. And then, just as high-handedly, all these bipartisan rulers dropped that bailout scheme, and adopted another—just as unaccountably. They showed “government by the people, for the people” to be a fable.

This forced the recognition that there exists a remarkably uniform, bipartisan, Progressive ruling class; that it includes, most of the bureaucracies of federal and state governments, the judiciary, the educational establishment, the media, as well as major corporate officials; that it had separated itself socially, morally, and politically from the rest of society, whose commanding heights it monopolized; above all that it has contempt for the rest of America, and that ordinary Americans have no means of persuading this class of anything, because they don’t count.

As the majority of Americans have become conscious of the differences between this class and themselves they have sought ever more passionately to shake it off. That is the ground of our revolution.

While most observers, including me, were primarily focused on the economic aspects of the situation, Codevilla is correct to point out that the more significant element was the bipartisan response of the elite to completely ignore the clearly expressed will of the electorate. Essentially, what they accomplished in ramming through their rescue of the financial elite was to break the faith of the American and the Fake American peoples in democracy in general and the US political system in particular.

There is no fixing this, any more than one can fix a Christian by repeatedly telling him that God does not exist and Jesus Christ did not die on a cross. One either possesses faith or one does not, and the greater part of the US electorate no longer believes in the political charade performed by both political parties. Therefore, the system will fail and something else, the precise nature of which we do not, and cannot, know, will take its place.


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