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Jul 01 2012

The New Revolution

I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
And I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again

The Who – from “Won’t Get Fooled Again”

Future tense, X: The fourth revolution

The United States has been shaped by three far-reaching political revolutions: Thomas Jefferson’s “revolution of 1800,” the Civil War, and the New Deal. Each of these upheavals concluded with lasting institutional and cultural adjustments that set the stage for new phases of political and economic development. Are we on the verge of a new upheaval, a “fourth revolution” that will reshape U.S. politics for decades to come? There are signs to suggest that we are. In fact, we may already be in the early stages of this twenty-first-century revolution.

This well thought out article in “New Criterion” describes times of change that have occurred in the past and suggests that we are heading into a new time of revolutionary change.

Notwithstanding its reputation for stability and continuity, the U.S. political system seems to resolve its deepest problems in relatively brief periods of intense and potentially destabilizing conflict. These events are what some historians have called our “surrogates for revolution” because, rather than overthrowing the constitutional order, they adjust it to developing circumstances.

The article goes on to describe the conditions that required change and the dramatic realignments that followed in each case. It then suggest that we are very near to the same kind of situation today.

The question today, then, is whether or not the party system formed in the 1930s and 1940s is about to exhaust itself in a new upheaval that will lead to some new political alignment around a new constellation of issues. There is little doubt that many of the political signs present in earlier upheavals are increasingly in play today.

This article has a prophetic ring to it.