Happy Dependence Day!

Mark Steyn writes:

If Barack Obama does nothing else in his term in office, this will make him one of the most consequential presidents in history. It's a huge transformative event in Americans' view of themselves and of the role of government. You can say, oh, well, the polls show most people opposed to it, but, if that mattered, the Dems wouldn't be doing what they're doing. Their bet is that it can't be undone, and that over time, as I've been saying for years now, governmentalized health care not only changes the relationship of the citizen to the state but the very character of the people. As I wrote in NR recently, there's plenty of evidence to support that from Britain, Canada and elsewhere.

There is a qualitative difference between living in a country with mountains of private capital chasing new ideas and a country where every spare dollar is sucked up to pay for increasingly expensive government benefits. In our lifetime, it is likely that we will experience that difference.

Progressivism, with its short-term rewards and long-term consequences, is an ideology that is difficult to beat back at the ballot box. America is home to the Western world's only effective anti-progressive movement. And it is currently in retreat.

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America is home to the

America is home to the Western world's only effective anti-progressive movement. And it is currently in retreat.

I'd say America is the only democracy in history with an effective anti-progressive movement. All other anti-progressive movements have been from authoritarians govts. When the govt offers free goodies to Americans, we see through it and say, "Hell no". It makes me proud to be an American.

However, I disagree that it's in retreat. Since the 1960s, it's on the rise and only getting stronger. The problem is that politics is lagging.

I think the anti-progressive

The anti-progressive movement was on the rise from the 60s to the beginning of the Bush presidency. The Bush years killed its momentum by taking its energy and giving it garbage policy in return.

The long term trend might still be positive for the anti-progressives. But the last ten years or so has seen the anti-progressives stall and the progressives surge.

Every trend takes a breather

The anti-progressive movement was on the rise from the 60s to the beginning of the Bush presidency. The Bush years killed its momentum by taking its energy and giving it garbage policy in return.

Not every function changes monotonically. There will be some eddies along the way.

The long term trend might still be positive for the anti-progressives. But the last ten years or so has seen the anti-progressives stall and the progressives surge.

The Tea Party is the resurgence of the anti-progressive movement. Here's how I see the pattern of the big anti-progressive events of the last 50 years:

1964 (Goldwater runs for prez)
1980 (Reagan wins prez)
1994 (Newt & friends neuter Clinton)
2010? It's time, and the Tea Party is the place.

I'll be interested to see how it evolves. When The Second American Republic is created (after the first one defaults), it will need to play a vital role.

Or, alternatively, you might

Or, alternatively, you might say that the Republican party used the anti-progressive movement as an engine to achieve its real agenda of controlling the State. During the Bush years, the anti-progs began to wise up and are breaking away from the Republican party. The chief thrust of the Republican party today is to try and get the grassroots back under control.

I'm hoping that in the next few years, we can s/Republican/Democrat/g and s/progressive/authoritarian/g and s/Bush/Obama/g in that paragraph. Will grassroots supporters of civil rights, peace, and anti-corporatism realize that government is not achieving their goals?

Good point

My list of events was not meant to imply the actual politicians and policies that resulted were anti-progressive or pro-freedom. Rather, the populist drive that put those people into power is what I was charting, and that same drive is behind the Tea Party. Let's hope the results are different this time (though I'm not optimistic based on past results.)

Default position

When The Second American Republic is created (after the first one defaults)....

Yeah, like anyone believes that could ever happen....

The anti-progressive

The anti-progressive movement is on the rise? Dunno, but as for the effect - government is on the rise, and the rate of increase in government appears to be on the rise. Even the rate of increase in the rate of increase in government appears to be sharply on the rise over the past couple of years.

Even the rate of increase in

Even the rate of increase in the rate of increase in government

Isn't that called a jerk?

Yes! You know physics. It's

Yes! You know physics. It's position, velocity, acceleration, jerk. I don't know what comes next, though of course the derivatives go down indefinitely.

Double jerk? Jerky jerk?

Double jerk? Jerky jerk? Circle jerk?

More seriously, In the case

More seriously,

In the case of the Hubble space telescope, the engineers are said to have even gone as far as specifying limits on the magnitude of the fourth derivative. There is no universally accepted name for the fourth derivative, i.e. the rate of change of jerk, The term jounce has been used but it has the drawback of using the same initial letter as jerk so it is not clear which symbol to use. Another less serious suggestion is snap (symbol s), crackle (symbol c) and pop (symbol p) for the 4th, 5th and 6th derivatives respectively. Higher derivatives do not yet have names because they do not come up very often.

Freedom, determinism, and derivatives

If we live in a mechanistic universe of physical laws, how could human will, or God's will, have any bearing on anything? One theory suggests that quantum phenomena are not random but "tilt" toward desired outcomes. Another theory suggests that the universe is not so mechanistic as it seems because human (or divine) will influences the rate of change of the rate of change of the ..... of some variable, but the influence is sufficiently gradual as to go undetected.

Yet, as I recall, no one suggested a mechanism by which these changes might occur.

I'm a free will

I'm a free will compatibilist. The main objection to compatibilism is that it mis-defines free will, but I don't find the objection persuasive.