Friday, April 17, 2009

Obama's Politics


I need to write about Obama's tactics with regard to evolving to a Utopia. I have already written about his inaugural address, and how that matches the Utopia I envision fairly well; but he does things that aren't obvious in that context. On the other hand Obama is in a position in which he has to do practical things--things that work reasonably well. And he seems to realize that. I have to assume that he is doing the right thing, either because he has figured it out but he doesn't want to explain, or because he has intuited it and couldn't explain it himself if he wanted to.

Assuming Obama is right isn't too bad a tactic, because if he isn't our civilization will collapse (maybe along with a nuclear war) and we'll have a chance to do it over again. That would remove the necessity for explaing the transition between the present infrastructure and a Utopian one.

To review our evolutionary history to date, we had a paleolithic gatherer-hunter culture from roughly 100,000 BCE to 10,000 BCE. That operated on a basis of mutual conformity. Then we invented agriculture and civilization and religion and that laster from 10,000 BCE to 1500 CE. That operated on a basis of a hierarchical infrastructure supported by a popular ideology.

From 1500 to 1950 CE we were in a transitional period in which a section of the middle class gained upward mobility by exploiting some kind of tecnology. It started when the Roman Empire crumbled and there was no longer a Civil Service to bring status symbols to the elite. Independent traders filled that gap and accumulated riches, but they were still common.

That problem was solved by Calvin who invented a new elite: the "Elect". They were promoted to the elite by God's Grace, with the sign of grace being prosperity. The net result was that members of the middle class got upward mobility to the elite by accumulating money.

The next layer were the colonial planters who used slaves to operate single crop plantations. In America they had a revolution to break from the London bankers. They were replaced as the elite by the industrialists who broke the planter economy by freeing the slaves. When the industrialists became decadent their clerks and mechanics took over the corporations. Between the two world wars and the depression their "managerial revolution" made the corporate and government bureaucrats the new elite. By 1950 the society stabilized and there was no significant upward mobility.

Between 1950 and the present the ruling elite was either the government or corporate bureaucracy. After WW2 the "G. I. Bill" created a bureaucratic middle class and because their parents were used to a Farmer-Labor party the Democrats (the government party) stayed in power for a generation, i.e. until 1980. Then the Republicans took over by promising the "Reagan Democrats" that they could share if the Corporate elite made money. They stayed in power until the economy collapsed in 2008 and Barack Hussein Obama was elected.

Now, in 2009, we have something of a political standoff. There are five power groups: The Left-wing government bureaucrats (Democrats) who have nominal control, the Right-wing Corporate bureaucrats (Republicans) who blew the economic system but still remain in control of it, the non-elite who are temporarily united behind Obama because of his charisma (we'll use Toynbee's term "internal proletariat"), Obama himself, who is trying to put together a political force that is neither up nor down, right nor left, and that will let him use the votes of the non-elite to overpower the partisan squabbles between the two sides of the decadent elite, and the rest of the world (the "external proletariat"). Obama intends that his political force will satisfy everybody by making balancing compromises that will solve the economic, military and ecological conflicts; on the basis that we are all human beings with the same needs.

It isn't obvious that we are ready for that.

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