The Greek philosopher Heraclitus spoke of the universal truth that change is inevitable. "You cannot step into the same river twice" and other famous quotes highlight that the here and now of today will not be the same in the future.
Too often, however, many of us fail to appreciate this truism. For instance - take political parties. You will see those, on either side of the aisle, tarring one party with that party from the past. But neither the Republicans nor the Democrats of 2012 are the same party as they were a century ago - nor 20 years ago. Their members come and go. Their priorities and even underlying principles can change. What they fight for - and against - does not remain constant.
Michael Ledeen, fellow philosophy student at the University of Wisconsin and fellow bridge competitor is one who does indeed recognize this change. And, he believes that changes in the Democratic party may herald its death - as we currently know it.
The world changed, and in the modern postindustrial societies, the working class vanished. There aren’t working-class parties any more, since there aren’t enough voters who think of themselves that way. And honest politicians like my Italian friend gave it up, updated their thinking, and tried to cope with today’s problems.
In this process, there are plenty of people who can’t update their thinking. They’re easy to recognize, because they write and talk about a world that no longer exists. The easiest places to find them in contemporary America are Hollywood, college campuses, and the Obama administration with its attendant satellites, the dead tree media and the Democrat Party. Their common bond is anger and frustration; frustration because they can’t understand what’s going on, and anger because their remedies for contemporary problems do not come to grips with the essence of the problems.
Hegel would have well understood one of the most interesting contemporary developments: the old liberal establishment is shrinking, both in numbers and in confidence, and their political/ideological opponents are growing. Several smart people have noticed the extraordinary depth of the conservative political team, many of whose members were on display in Tampa this week. The Ryans and the Romneys, the Christies and the Haleys, the Loves and the Rubios, the Brewers and the Walkers, on and on. They have a much clearer vision of the real world, and they accordingly have more realistic political approaches than those on the left, who are trapped in a world that no longer exists.
Once upon a time, the left was able to lay claim to intellectual and moral superiority, and to look at the conservatives with imperious disdain. No more. Their heroes are fading to the point where a cultural icon, from Hollywood of all places, sees that the seat of authority is entirely empty, and that it’s time to just let its nominal occupant go. Away.