Tag Archive for Overton Window of Political Possibility

Ad Hoc Ad Interim

As badly as we need this done, do we care why he’s doing it, or even whether he gets the credit?

“If Hitler invaded Hell, I would at least make a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.” (Winston Churchill, to his private secretary, Jock Colville, on June 21st, 1941, the evening before Operation Barbarossa)

Churchill was well known for being a consistent and vociferous opponent of communism, and had often spoken quite unfavorably about the Soviet Union, and particularly of Joseph Stalin (who was well-known even then as the brutal monster that honest history records). However, in seeking to stop the menace of Hitler’s Nazi Germany, Churchill was willing to adopt an ad hoc “enemy of my enemy” approach, and initiated the Anglo-Soviet Agreement for joint action against Germany.

Given much of the recent hullabaloo regarding a badly-needed grassroots initiative having been likely co-opted, by a moderate opportunist apparently seeking a means to advance his political ambitions, and given that I have personally stood directly in the path of those ambitions at least twice in the past seven years, what I’m about to say is going to sound exceedingly strange, but I’m going to say it anyway.

You Betcha! (20)Nuh Uh.(0)

Neither Austerity Nor Rebuilding Are Guaranteed

How do the current crisis period and the current presidential election impact each other?

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” (attributed to Margaret Mead)

Insofar as I have been able to research, historical consensus is that the American Revolution began with the Stamp Act Congress (October 1765), and ended with the ratification of the Bill of Rights (December 1791). This twenty-six year effort to secure independence from the British Crown, and establish a free and independent republic (America’s original “crisis period”), was unique in the entirety of human history. By this I mean that, rather than simply swapping one set of rules for another, or one set of political leaders for another, the patriots of America’s founding generations created, from scratch, a nation dedicated to and based upon the proposition that every man and woman stands equal before the law, and has a God-given and inalienable right to a life of Liberty and Justice. Yet, the sum total of soldiers, sailors, statesmen, sages, and shopkeepers who pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to the cause that established the freest and most prosperous nation ever known – made most of the sacrifices, did most of the work, and made nearly all of the major decisions – amounted to merely three percent of the total American population of the time . . . evidence for the credibility of what historians refer to as “The Law of The Vital Few.”

In contemporary America, every economic, social, and political trend seems to indicate that the United States are already in the fourth crisis period of our national history. Given this, the question seems fair to ask: Where now are the sages, statesmen, investors, entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs . . . and even leaders . . . who will guide us through not only this crisis, but also the austerity and rebuilding that will surely be needed once the crisis has passed? More importantly, would we know how to recognize such producers and leaders when they arrive?

You Betcha! (12)Nuh Uh.(1)

Patton and Rommel Agree

The current battle is to simply stop the inertia of decline, but we need to follow through.

“Don’t fight a battle if you don’t gain anything by winning.” There seems to be some dispute as to whether this was actually said by either General George Patton or Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, but everyone seems to agree that one of them said it. Whether we’re discussing a military battlefield or a political one, it’s pretty sound advice either way, often more commonly worded as, “be selective about the fights you pick.” A logical corollary of this maxim is that if you’re going to accomplish anything, then (a) you should have a realistic expectation of what can be accomplished, and (b) know why winning this particular battle will advance the larger goal. And, as any strategist or tactician worth the title will advise, the smart thing to do is to already have a plan for follow-up in place . . . because you’re going to need one should you actually win.

This is where Michigan’s constitutionalist insurgency has done a marvelous job of dropping the ball post-2010, and as a result now has a task that’s four times harder than it needed to be. The upside is that this fight is still winnable, if we stay focused on a realistic expectation of what we’ll actually accomplish by winning it.

You Betcha! (23)Nuh Uh.(1)