Thursday, September 23, 2010

Even social democracy is changing

Change is inevitable, even in politics it seems.  As the US braces for a big Tea Party in November, other democracies have seen traditional centrist, parties of ordained power for life, suffer significant losses.  This year, it has happened in Britain and in Australia. Now even the social democratic haven of Sweden has seen a massive change in its prevailing political landscape.

As Nathalie Rothschild discusses:
  • ...the problem is that the Social Democrats, along with their opposition in the centre-right alliance, have lost any real connection with the electorate and increasingly treat politics as a technocratic, managerial job.
  • ...all of the major mainstream parties demonstrated their belief that debate about big ideas should be erased from the political process.
When Fidel Castro finally admits what has been evident to everyone, especially Cubans, for several decades, that the socialist economic model of Cuba is not a sustainable economic system, people everywhere look at their politics and ask, when are they going to change?  Realization is beginning to set in for the majority, that big spending only produces bigger government.  Moreover, not only does government spend inefficiently, it does so ineffectively.

One result is voter anger and the rise of Tea Party protest style movements.  As Codevilla's seminal article discusses, there is widespread push back to the "ruling class"  in every democracy, fueled by a growing resentment to perceived entitlement, intellectual snobbery, imposed green moralism and the imposition of patently unsustainable "sustainable" programs, which reflect the poverty of political thought and moral imperative within those same detached, political elites.

Another reaction is the broader abandonment of politics itself -- as voters look at their choices, they see a plethora of political taupe -- bland, easy to look at, passive, innocuous, not offend anyone, meaningless,background.  No foreground leadership. No bold statement of intent, of policy, of originality.  Just oceans of taupe.

And the political establishment's response when the intellectual poverty of their politics is revealed?  Add a bit of lipstick and trot the same stuff back out there again.

As discussed here on many occasions, sustainability is not precluded by, nor a function of, science.  Sustainability is entirely a question of political implementation.  Slowly, inexorably, the change is going to come. 

Sing it Otis.