Sunday, September 29, 2013

Last Note for Tonight: This is What I was Afraid of

I have been obsessed for some time with how democracies fail.  So far as I can tell, it happens when they become so polarized that rival factions lose respect for democratic norms and only want to prevail, through fair means or foul.  I became obsessed with this subject because I did not like the direction of our democracy and feared for its future.  For some time, I asked myself what I feared.  Traditionally, democracies fall one of four ways -- fascist subversion by elective leaders, military coup, civil war, or conquest by a foreign power made easier by internal division.  None of these seemed in the cards for us, so I kept asking myself what did I fear.

My conclusion was that I feared us becoming like California, with a government so dysfunctional as to be non-functional.  During the 2011 debt ceiling crisis, I believed we had finally hit it.  But now -- well, let us just say I no longer wonder what it is I fear.  It has happened.

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