"Restore(s) a little sanity into current political debate" - Kenneth Minogue, TLS "Projects a more expansive and optimistic future for Americans than (the analysis of) Huntington" - James R. Kurth, National Interest "One of (the) most important books I have read in recent years" - Lexington Green
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I usually have a post on Bastille day which is the one day a year I let my Francophilia run wild, and I write a love letter to France. But I have a second Bastille day post in 2014 because things are not so good in France. And is so often the case, the problem is self inflicted.
Our sister republic, France, is in trouble.
The EU is a failure, the French political class is the architect of the disaster, and they dare not admit how bad it is, so the French are paralyzed.
Emmanuel Todd, above left, whose work Jim Bennett and I used in America 3.0 has been vocal about this problem. I had a post up the other day with a lengthy discussion by Todd in English on this topic.
France is our sister country: a brilliant, beautiful, eccentric, difficult and troublesome sister, but still our blood, and our lives are bound up together, and we could not do without her. And when a real threat to the family emerges, we end up on the same side. The Anglosphere is interwoven with France in countless ways, despite everything that has brought us into conflict. The West would not be the West without France. Much that is great and beautiful and cultured and pleasant and delightful and inspiring in the world would not exist but for France.
I love my country, and the English speaking world, 365 days a year. But one day a year I admit my love for France as well.
Todd applies his family structure analytic model to explain why the Euro is doomed to fail. He notes that the French and the Germans, for example, have little in common. He expressly says that the French individualism is much closer to the Anglo-American individualistic culture, distinct from the German authoritarian style. He says that the French elite caused the problem and they cannot admit their mistake or the entire foundation of the French political structure would collapse.
The European idea of a union of free and equal states has been destroyed by the Euro, and it is now an economic hierarchy, with the Germans at the top. Further, democracy itself is incompatible with the Euro.
Todd notes that the very low birth rates in Europe have a positive benefit: There will be no open or violent conflict to resolve the current political conflicts. Rather, contentious issues are kicked up to the “European level” — which means nothing whatsoever will happen.
He sympathizes with the British position. Britain is dependent on a dying content, Europe. “It is committing suicide under German leadership.” But Britain is part of a much larger Anglo-American world, which in ten years, on current trends, will have more people than all of Europe.
Of course, America 3.0 is based in large part on a “Toddean” understanding of American culture, and this talk is consistent with our understanding.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
The Declaration of Independence is not only an American document. It follows on the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights as the third great title-deed on which the liberties of the English-speaking peoples are founded…. The political conceptions embodied in the Declaration of Independence are the same as those expressed at that time by Lord Chatham and Mr. Burke and handed down to them by John Hampden and Algernon Sidney. They spring from the same source; they come from the same well of practical truth….
[T]o fully understand the meaning of the American Founding, and of our Declaration and Constitution, we need to go back even farther, to see where they came from. The Founders were not writing on a blank page. Far from it. They made a Revolution because the American people already held strongly to certain principles that they saw coming under increasing threat. And they wrote our Founding documents as a conscious attempt to preserve a valued way of life, at least as much as to make something entirely new.
American Patriots didn’t just propose ideas that were inspired by the philosophy of Magna Carta. They saw that document itself as a part of their inheritance. When, as they perceived it, George III violated their patrimony, they too up arms to defend it.
We rightly celebrate our independence, and the Declaration that proclaimed it.
And we are right to recognize that the freedom our Founders fought for was ancient and the Declaration was the embodiment of something very old.
[A]s some smart-aleck said, we must change or perish. And who should break our long postwar consensual slumber — not with a snog but with a short sharp smack around the head with a handbag and a cry of “Look smart!” — but the Iron Lady herself.
Mrs Thatcher meant, and still means, many things — some of which she is not yet aware of herself, as we are not. Only death brings proper perspective to the triumphs and failures of a political career; it is only with the blank look and full stop of death that that old truism “all political careers end in failure” stops being true. Only a terminally smug liberal would still write her off as an uptight bundle of Little Englandisms, seeking to preserve the old order, however hard she worked that look at first; voting for her was something akin to buying what one thought was a Vera Lynn record, getting it home and finding a Sex Pistols single inside.
She was just as much about revolution as reaction, and part of any revolution is destruction. Some of the things she destroyed seemed like a shame at the time, such as the old industries — though on balance, isn’t there anything good about the fact that thousands of young men who once simply because of who their fathers were would have been condemned to a life spent underground in the darkness, and an early death coughing up bits of lung, now won’t be?
I hope he gives the book to Rand Paul when he is finished with it. Chapter 9 in particular will help him transcend the misleading and fruitless neocon versus isolationist terminology on foreign policy. Anyone who disputes the type of engagement typified by the protracted engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan should not be subject to the dismissive label “isolationist.”
It is baffling that my progressive friends lament the influence of so-called big money on government while at the same time proposing to expand the very scope and scale of that government that makes influencing it such a good investment. Where government means constables, soldiers, judges, and precious little else, it is not much worth capturing. Where government means somebody whose permission must be sought before you can even begin to earn a living, when it determines the prices of products, the terms of competition, and the interest rates on your competitors’ financing, then it is worth capturing. That much is obvious. Progressives refuse to see the inherent corruption in the new ruling class — and, make no mistake, we now have a ruling class — because it is largely made up of them, their colleagues, and people who are socially and culturally like them and their colleagues.
UPDATE: When I initially posted this, America 3.0 had 39 five star (★★★★★) reviews, and we needed 11 more to get to the critical number of fifty. Since then America 3.0 has gotten eight new five star (★★★★★) reviews, so we only need THREE MORE.
If you liked America 3.0 but hove not yet posted a review on Amazon, see below, and, I hereby request that you do so!
The always interesting and often brilliant Walter Russell Mead has a post titled The Right Wrestles with the Inequality Debate. It is mainly an analysis of the disparate views within the political right about income equality. First, he correctly notes that people on the conservative and libertarian side generally don’t object to inequality, to the extent it is earned by people who create value.
by giving free rein to the talents and ambitions of the strongest, we are setting in motion a process which over the long run will make everyone better off. The talented will invent new technologies, discover new drugs, make compelling art and otherwise enhance the general human storehouse through their own unfettered pursuit of happiness. Any heavy handed government efforts to keep the talented from becoming too successful will slow down the pace of innovation and change that historically has seen living standards for average people skyrocket over the last three hundred years. This idea isn’t going away anytime soon and the reality that three hundred years of capitalist development has in fact raised living standards to unprecedented levels in much of the world suggests that there may even be some truth in it.
Mead does not focus on the question of resentment against unearned wealth. Where political connections are the source of wealth, that wealth does not benefit the public or create value. It is zero sum, parasitic.
I had the great good fortune to attend the U.S. Army War College 2014 National Security Strategy Seminar, which ran from June 2-6, 2014.
The War College runs an annual course for colonels and lieutenant colonels, personnel from the other branches, as well as officers from foreign armies. According to the Army War College website the resident class of 2014 included 385 students including: (1) 216 Army officers: Active, Reserve, Guard, (2) 64 Navy, Marine, Air Force and Coast Guard officers, all components, (3) 77 international officers/ fellows, and (4) 28 senior national security civilian professionals.
The final week of the year, civilians are invited to attend the National Security Strategy Seminar, which consists of lectures and participation in seminar discussions. The NSS is very well organized and professionally run.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I recently had the great good fortune to make a presentation in Paris to the AFEA (The French Association for American Studies, Association Française d’Études Américaines, at the invitation of Jérôme Noirot, of the Ecole Centrale, Lyon. My presentation was entitled “America 3.0, Decentralization and the Tenth Amendment.” I have just learned paper of that title, coauthored by myself and James C. Bennett, will be included (in English) in a book to be published later this year. There may also be opportunities for future travel to France, which would be excellent.
While I was in Paris, I had the opportunity to meet with Emmanuel Todd, whose work was fundamental to the analysis we applied to American life, past present and future, in America 3.0. Our entire discussion in the book is highly “Toddean” as we understood it. (Our other major influence is the work of Alan Macfarlane.) Specifically, we base our understanding of American culture in large measure on Todd’s description of the Absolute Nuclear Family (ANF), which is the main Anglo-American family type.
I wrote to Todd last Fall, to ask him if he wanted a copy of the America 3.0. He told me he already had it, and planned to read it. However, over six months had gone by and I had heard nothing. Of course, my worry was that we had in some way misapplied or misunderstood his methodology. When I confirmed that I would be traveling to Paris, I contacted him again and asked if we could meet in person, and he agreed.
When we met, at a cafe near where I was staying, Todd stood up, shook my hand, said “bon jour”, sat down and immediately launched into a rapid fire conversation with no preliminary chit chat. (When the waiter asked us what we wanted, I asked for a café crème, and Todd without looking at him, with a dismissive wave said, “deux café crème!” — as if he was saying: Coffee is not important, we have important matters to discuss!) It was clear that Todd is a man of intense intellectual seriousness. It was as if we had been in the midst of a conversation already and were picking it up in the middle, which in a sense we had been, via our books. This reminded me, in a good way, of the intellectually intense atmosphere at the University of Chicago, where I was an undergraduate.
I attended at the invitation of Prof. Jérôme Noirot, of the Ecole Centrale, Lyon. I was initiated due to my coauthorship of America 3.0. My coauthor Jim Bennett was initially invited, but he had a conflict. Fortunately, I was able to attend in his place.
Heartfelt thanks to Prof. Noirot for the opportunity to participate in the conference.
I am told by a reliable source that, as soon as a book sold on Amazon reaches 50 five star (★★★★) reviews, Amazon starts touting that book to its customers by pointing out that Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought this five star (★★★★★) rated book.
Today, America 3.0 has 39 five star (★★★★★) reviews. That’s tantalizingly close to 50 five star (★★★★★) reviews.
I know several readers who have told me they liked the book very much, but have not yet posted a review on Amazon. So, I hereby request that anyone who likes the book enough to give it five stars (★★★★★) on Amazon to please post a five star (★★★★★) review.
Note: your five star (★★★★★) review can be whatever length you want, including the minimal length. You can edit your five star (★★★★★) review later if you want to heap on more praise.
Government of course remains the problem, but the nature of that problem has evolved dramatically since Reagan’s first inaugural. If Republicans want to grow their party into a national majority, we must begin, as Reagan did in 1981, by confronting our present crisis: America’s large and growing Opportunity Deficit, namely, immobility among the poor and insecurity in the middle class.
Compounding the shortage of opportunities among the poor and middle class is an unholy union of big government, big business, and big special interests that twists public policy to benefit Washington insiders unfairly at the expense of everyone else.
This is America’s growing crisis of crony capitalism, corporate welfare, and policy privilege, and it represents a uniquely malignant threat to American exceptionalism.
This was my first talk as an authorized speaker for the Federalist Society. It was also the first time I gave a talk which discussed the future of lawyers and the legal profession and how they will help us to make the transition to America 3.0. I will be making tweaks and doing further research for future presentations.
Please note: If you are associated with a student or lawyer chapter of the Federalist Society, please contact me. I would like to speak to your group.
I will participate in a panel entitled “American Politics: What future model for political America: manifestly gridlocked destiny or reinvented union?” The panel will be at 8:15 to 11:45 a.m. on May 23, 2014. The venue is Université Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle (13 rue Santeuil).
The panel will consist of Jérôme Noirot, of the Ecole Centrale, Lyon, the organizer of the panel, myself, and the following distinguished persons, speaking on the following subjects:
Ashley Byock (Edgewood College), « The Bonded/Resistant Slave Body and The Emergence of Neoliberalism in the U.S. Context ».
Jérôme Viala-Gaudefroy (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3), «American Mythology in Presidential Discourse : National Shared Values or Political Partisanship ?». François Vergniollle de Chantal (Université Paris Diderot), «Polarized politics under President Obama».
I will speak on “America 3.0, Decentralization and the Tenth Amendment.”
(Don’t tell anyone, but I am currently mugging up on the Tenth Amendment!)
Immense thanks to Jérôme Noirot for this invitation. Initially Jim Bennett was the invitee, but Jim could not make it. So I am pinch hitting for the maestro!
I also offer my heartfelt thanks to two very good friends whose financial support helped to make this trip possible, and two a third old friend who kindly offered to let me stay at his home in Paris.
In our essay we discuss the anthropological underpinnings of modern societies, and reference the work of Alan Macfarlane and the family system analysis of Emmanuel Todd. We note the extremely long lasting character of culture, and describe thinkers who are aware of this, and build it into their analysis, as the “Continuity Model.” We suggest that European countries need to find a path toward liberal democracy that is consistent with their underlying cultures. We note the damage done by Marxist and Marxisant thinking. We condemn the European Union as a serious misstep for Europe, and suggest that it be dismantled or cut back massively.
I spoke about America 3.0 at the Oak Park Public Library last night.
The event went very well. We had about thirty people attending, including blog pals onparkstreet and Bruno Behrend. That’s considered a good turnout for one of these things, apparently. I spoke for about 40 minutes and we had at least 45 minutes of lively Q&A, with lots of further face to face discussions after I left the stage. OPPL has rating sheets they pass out after these author events, and all the ones that were handed in gave me 5 out of 5 stars. Nice.
After the event a bunch of us adjourned to the Friendly Tap, whose motto is: “You are a stranger here but once.” They had an open mic night going on. One of the musicians played a very nice version of Wichita Lineman. Another fellow told me he played Neil Young covers, but he did not know my favorite Neil Young song, Barstool Blues. I told him I expected him to know it next time!
Q: Why do you believe we are entering into a third phase of American life?
A: The United States went through a massive economic transition once already. We transformed ourselves from a primarily rural, agricultural country into an industrial country, in fact an industrial colossus. We call the America of the Founding Era, America 1.0. We call the Industrial Era, which is ending, America 2.0.
The new technology, of which the Internet is just the first step, will lead to economic change of even greater magnitude. We call the coming political and economic order America 3.0, to emphasize how massive this change really will be, at least as big as the biggest change we have previously experienced.
The interview is a nice, short synopsis of the book.
Finally, big thanks to Augie (pictured above) from the excellent Centuries and Sleuths bookstore for having copies of America 3.0 available for sale and autographing. I was happy to see he sold every copy he brought to the event. He’s on Madison in Forest Park. Check out his store if you are in the neighborhood.