Friday, May 12, 2017

Gaius Publius — Trump – A Nation in Crisis, Again

One last thought. This country has had a constitutional crisis every 70 years, after which the government restructured itself. In effect, we have been ruled by three Constitutions, not just one, each producing, in practice, very different governments and societies. We’re rapidly producing a crisis that will produce a fourth.
In order, our constitutional crises are:
  •  1789, the Revolutionary War and transition from colony to slave-holding republic.
  • 1865, the Civil War and transition from divided slave-holding nation with two competing economies to united freed-slave state. This change took down the Southern agricultural aristocracy (by depriving it of the nearly free labor it depended on); made the Northern industrial economy nationally ascendant; and put us firmly on the path to first-world industrial powerhouse.
  • 1933, the Great Depression and transition from a light-handed pro-business government to a heavy-handed regulatory state.
  • And now, this.
What will the next American Constitution look like? Turkey’s and Hungary’s, with their dictators and single-party governments wrapped in the old constitutional forms? A naked kleptocracy, where constitutional forms are simply ignored, like those in many third-world countries? A state in which forms are observed but the hand with real power belongs mainly to the “security” apparatus? In many countries, coups by segments of the elite, blatant or covert, are welcomed as correctives and tacitly approved (another way constitutions are revised without being rewritten).
If Trump is not successfully impeached, and it looks for now like he won’t be, our government as practiced will once more dramatically change, as it did when Bush’s crimes were not addressed, and Obama’s after him (never forget that targeted assassination is an innovation Obama made lawful).
But whatever happens next, whether Trump is impeached or not, I think we’ve already been changed as a nation forever by what’s already led to this moment. After all, in 2016 the nation wanted someone like Sanders to be president, wanted an agent of change, and look what it got. This is in fact our second failed attempt this century at change that makes our lives better.
I don’t think that point’s been lost on anyone. We’re in transition no matter what happens to Trump. Transition to what, we’ll have to find out later.
And something else to consider. The last three times the government fundamentally changed, we got lucky. We found leaders — Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt — up to the task, in chaotic and troubling times, of steering an altered ship to calmer water and a safer port.
Will we get lucky once more? We can only hope.
Leaving the details aside, I think that the hypothesis that America is now in another of its recurrent phase traditions is likely correct.

I would also say that like the transition from a British colony to an independent constitutional republic, and the Great Depression, but unlike the Civil War, this phase transition is part of a global realignment.

I expect this to take at least a decade to work out globally and perhaps a generation or more if one takes the onset to be 9/11, or the financial crisis and Great Recession.

A new world is being born, and America will also look quite different after the dust finally settles some time in the future.

This is only marginally about the people and events involved in the various countries. It is a transition of moments in the dialectical progression of history.

The force the previous moment is waning and a new moment is gather force, but it is difficult to make out its outlines at present other than to speculate that Western dominance is waning.

Perhaps the Great Divergence that began at the beginning of the 16th century is transforming into the Great Convergence. This would be my guess.

Naked Capitalism
Gaius Publius: Trump – A Nation in Crisis, Again
Yves Smith


snowball1205 said...

We are not having a constitutional crisis. We are having a political crisis. If we were having a constitutional crisis, gold would be going through the roof but it has hardly budged.

Detroit Dan said...

I like your comments, Tom. The big picture is more interesting and meaningful than the various individuals, although these are also interesting and meaningful.

MRW said...

Gaius Publius: clutching his pearls again. Meh.

Bob said...

Not everything is about you, America.

Ryan Harris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MRW said...

Nassim Nicholas Taleb WIPES THE FLOOR with this asshole in his brilliant book Antifragile.

MRW said...

Amazon access to Taleb's Prologue would convince you of that.