Canada's Fourth Revolution?

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Homeownertoo
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Canada's Fourth Revolution?

Post by Homeownertoo »

An excellent article, linked below, posits that the US is on the cusp of a 'fourth revolution'. Without going into the other three, this upheaval is described as a shift away from the failing New Deal/Great Society model that has held sway for nearly 80 years. As I read the article, it became clear that the analysis speaks to more than just the US experience, and that such a shift may also be underway in Canada.

To clarify a little (but only a little), the author describes the current paradigm as one "with its emphasis upon national regulation of the economy, social insurance, expanding personal consumption, and public debt." It was clearly identified with the Democratic party ("the public sector party") and policies; where Republicans held power, they did so only after accepting the legitimacy of the basic political themes established by the regime party and never managed to reverse the flow of power to Washington.

The author sees that system unwinding for several reasons, not least because the American economy can no longer underwrite the debt and public promises that have piled up over the decades. The Democrats "built their coalition around public spending, public debt, and publicly guaranteed credit, all sources of funds that appear to be reaching their limits. The end game for the New Deal system ... will arrive when those limits are reached or passed."

If this all sounds familiar, it's because we have our own parallels in Canada. It is easy to identify the "public sector party" -- the Liberals, or the natural governing party, now apparently ceding place to the junior public sector party, the NDP. And the Tories as the private sector party. And we see the same parallels in how the Tories governed as Red Tories during the times they held power through this period. Finally, we see that public sector consensus breaking down in how the Harper Tories are trying to challenge that consensus in the face of never-ending public sector debt and unfunded entitlements. Perhaps it is even being played out provincially with the BC Liberal - BCTF standoff, similar to what just happened in Wisconsin, a particularly acute (and very welcome) manifestation of the breakdown the author describes.

Anyway, I'd be interested in a discussion of how this may play out in Canada. I think it mandatory, however, for anyone interested in this discussion to first read the piece linked below, partly to provide adequate background for relevant debate, partly to help ensure the discussion remains on-topic. It's a great piece, well worth the read anyway.

http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/Future-tense--X--The-fourth-revolution-7395
“Certain things cannot be said, certain ideas cannot be expressed, certain policies cannot be proposed.” -- Leftist icon Herbert Marcuse
“Don’t let anybody tell you it’s corporations and businesses create jobs.” -- Hillary Clinton, 25/10/2014
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Re: Canada's Fourth Revolution?

Post by occasional thoughts »

If one takes away the victims of mental illness and drug addiction in our society, but only for purposes of this discussion, what are we left with? We're left with a population that, even at its lower range of economic possibilities, is housed if it wants to be, educated if it wants to be, employed if it wants to be, etc. There are exceptions, anomalies, to be sure, and those have to be addressed on a continual basis by any society I'd want to live in. And that is the probably non-orthodox view in a nutshell of a centre-left leaning person, myself. I have long understood that "reform" is not something that only happens to right-wing institutions and governments.

The role of privilege has to be always examined and re-examined in my preferred society. Is it the privilege of being able to select a 5-star hotel or travel in business class? No problem. Is it the privilege of having special standing before the law in a legal matter or of achieving nefarious ends in corporate governance or land use for private gain or avoiding all tax (forget the notion of fair share of tax)? Big problem.

Correct me if I'm wrong of course, but what I see happening in the United States is not so much a 4th revolution but a counter-revolution. Against equity, against race, against women. Time will tell on that. But, however distorted in the short term, people everywhere are pretty much inclined to want fairness and equity. If the 4th revolution is what it seems, and if it goes anywhere, it will plant the seeds of its own destruction.
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Homeownertoo
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Re: Canada's Fourth Revolution?

Post by Homeownertoo »

I agree with your initial characterization of current society ("We're left with a population that, even at its lower range of economic possibilities, is housed if it wants to be, educated if it wants to be, employed if it wants to be, etc."), and that such is a non-orthodox view for a left-leaning person, especially when a right-wing extremist like myself subscribes to it. Where we part ways is your assertion that the so-called fourth revolution is in fact a counter-revolution against women and non-whites. In other words, you say it is at heart a cultural shift, not an economic shift.

I see no such assault. Indeed, the conservative home of this revolution has no problem attracting female and non-white followers (though they do tire of having to fend off the inevitable and intellectually hollow smears that they are betraying their race, gender, etc.). The attraction the Left holds for such groups remains, as it always was, economic, not cultural.

You mention equity as if it exists in a vacuum, buttressed by your view that "people everywhere are pretty much inclined to want fairness and equity". Perhaps so, but equity does not exist in a vacuum. It often, and especially over the past 80 years, exists at odds with liberty. Those people you allude to are also sometimes inclined to want liberty, the liberty that underpinned the original American revolution and, going further back, was the impetus for much of the pre-revolution immigration from Britain into the colonies. It should be added that a good part of that desire for liberty entailed a desire to improve their economic situation unburdened by the strictures and inequities of life in Britain.

Until the Left re-learns how to respond to the challenges and truths of contemporary conservatism, rather than regurgitating mouldy old caricatures of it, it will remain the intellectual wasteland it has descended into since at least the 1970s, where its main ideas have withered from the intellectually and emotionally robust challenges of a Martin Luther King to the depravity of reverse discrimination and the vacuousness of Obama's "yes we can".

By reframing the issue as one of counter-revolution (without evidence, I might add), you ignore the main issues the author makes regarding the fiscal bankruptcy of the model that has prevailed for much of the past 80 years. This is a very typical "left-leaning" response to the conservative position, and its intellectual shortcomings helps explain why it today finds itself in so much trouble, not just in North America but even more so in Europe. That doesn't mean the Left is about to 'lose' its grip on the zeitgeist; there is no iron law of history that ensures our cultural and economic revitalization.
“Certain things cannot be said, certain ideas cannot be expressed, certain policies cannot be proposed.” -- Leftist icon Herbert Marcuse
“Don’t let anybody tell you it’s corporations and businesses create jobs.” -- Hillary Clinton, 25/10/2014

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