Sunday, 24 July 2016

mo(u)rning in america

Via Marginal Revolution’s curated links, we are invited to check our punditry-meter when considering—or privileging—the current political landscape in America and abroad. Rhetoric is certainly spun-up to a fevered-pitch but the other thing about persuasive or sophistical speech is that is also serviceably modular and forgettable. While there is certainly cause for alarm and precedence for danger and intrigue and an awful redux of some things we’d thought we had dispatched, maybe there’s little novel in the present situation to bemoan.
Looking at these melodramatic instances from recent campaigns and critiques, I am reminded of far older politicking that conceived the polarising two-party system of the US: like the Tea-Partiers of the last election cycle, there was in the mid-1850s a movement called the Know Nothings—being a quasi-secret society whose membership and activities they’d never divulge to outsiders, owning up to no knowledge of whatever accusations. Even more anachronistically, they called their political caucus the Native American Party in order to balance out the political vacuum with the collapse of the of the Whig constituency and existed exclusively to warn-off the decent suffragans of the country about the dangers of immigration—especially of the Catholic persuasion with marching orders from the Pope to subvert the country. Unsuccessfully, they campaigned to reinstate former president Millard Fillmore and in the wake of the US Civil War, sublimated themselves into the grandees of the GOP. Fillmore had the first bathtub put in the White House, among other things. Even compared to contemporary events, the politics of America seem almost abruptly passé, given that BREXIT has effectively already built that border-wall, Theresa May has been installed as an unelected Prime Minister (though a Bremain-supporter, is quite a boon to an Anglo-Saxon named Status Quo) and dotty former London mayor Boris Johnson has been elevated in the caretaker cabinet to the office of Foreign Minister. America, for once, might have an uphill battle for lunacy.