Quote of the Day – Democracy’s Gyroscope

 

There’s something amazing about America’s democracy, it’s got a gyroscope and just when you think it’s going to go off the cliff, it rights itself.  – Albert Einstein

Einstein made this observation in a private letter to his son in the 1950s. He was being urged to leave the United States because the son feared the US was about to turn into a fascist state in reaction to the Cold War. Einstein did not think that would happen.

I bring up this quote, because nearly three-quarters of a century after Einstein put these thoughts to paper it appears we are again heading for a political cliff. We are closer to a fascist state today than ever before in our history. Yet I am not yet ready to despair. I believe Einstein was right about this. The United States is more likely to right itself than to go over the cliff.

Straws in the wind indicate hope may be more appropriate than despair.  The Democrats’ lawfare offensive against Trump is collapsing  – not just collapsing but backfiring, like a bullet ricocheting back on the shooter. The vast body of the American people are rejecting the pro-terrorist “protests” that support genocidal Hamas. Again, these are backfiring on the Democrats. “Trans” has peaked, and is beginning to slide into being mocked. People are weary of high crime rates and of criminals (including illegal aliens) being coddled. Ron DeSantis has turned Florida into a conservative stronghold. Despite all efforts, Texas remains stubbornly Red.

There is no guarantee that the 2024 election will be the political equivalent of Midway, with the Republicans routing the favored Democrats – but it could turn into that. At worst it will be a political Coral Sea, a draw providing strategic advantage to the Republicans. (I do not see how the Democrats hold the Senate.)

Everything is inevitable until somehow it isn’t. No one predicted the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Warsaw Pact in 1989 (yes, it still existed until 1991, but it collapsed prior to that) or the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Both seemed inevitable and eternal. Just ten years before the fall of the Wall, folks in the US were seriously discussing the most painless way to surrender to the Soviets, because their victory was inevitable.  Then Ronald Reagan came along and proved them wrong.

The top that is America’s democracy righted itself then – just as it seemed about to tumble off a cliff. Substitute determination for despair. Turn to action on the local level to elect those who will actually represent you. Once elected, hold them to their promises.  It may be hard. But hard work pays off more often than simply giving up.

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  1. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    A welcome bit of hope and optimism.

    From your keyboard to God’s ears (and our fellow Americans).

    • #1
  2. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    “God has a special providence for fools, drunkards, and the United States of America.”

    ― Otto von Bismarck

    • #2
  3. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    “God has a special providence for fools, drunkards, and the United States of America.”

    ― Otto von Bismarck

    When a man is right, he is right.

    • #3
  4. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    It works every time until it doesn’t. As you say, I can hope that the republic will right itself again. Maybe it will even turn itself back into a federal republic. (Yes, probably a hope too far.)

    • #4
  5. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Arahant (View Comment):

    It works every time until it doesn’t. As you say, I can hope that the republic will right itself again. Maybe it will even turn itself back into a federal republic. (Yes, probably a hope too far.)

    We cannot just hope it will right itself.  We have to work at it.  But America has tremendous inertia towards representative government and decentralized government. 

    • #5
  6. Nathanael Ferguson Contributor
    Nathanael Ferguson
    @NathanaelFerguson

    I love your optimism!

    • #6
  7. Nathanael Ferguson Contributor
    Nathanael Ferguson
    @NathanaelFerguson

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    It works every time until it doesn’t. As you say, I can hope that the republic will right itself again. Maybe it will even turn itself back into a federal republic. (Yes, probably a hope too far.)

    We cannot just hope it will right itself. We have to work at it. But America has tremendous inertia towards representative government and decentralized government.

    I want to say Amen to this, but I have a hard time choking it out. It seems to me that American voters generally trend leftward with occasional corrections to the right. The general trend is toward larger, more costly, and more pervasive government even if there are temporary pauses and even occasional reverses of the trend. The baseline though, seems very Wilsonian. Government grows. Taxpayers take it in the shorts. Government blames taxpayers for not taking it in the shorts hard enough.

    • #7
  8. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Nathanael Ferguson (View Comment):
    I want to say Amen to this, but I have a hard time choking it out. It seems to me that American voters generally trend leftward with occasional corrections to the right. The general trend is toward larger, more costly, and more pervasive government even if there are temporary pauses and even occasional reverses of the trend. The baseline though, seems very Wilsonian. Government grows. Taxpayers take it in the shorts. Government blames taxpayers for not taking it in the shorts hard enough.

    I lived through the late 1970s as an adult starting a career and family. Like I said in the post, back then we were being told to accept surrender to the Soviets.  Inflation was out of control (worse than it is today at points), energy was short, and everyone was pessimistic.  It all changed on January 1981, culminating in the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and domination of the world by the US for the next two decades. 

    It can turn around and quickly. I saw it happen.

    • #8
  9. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    I love the optimism of your post!  I get tired of the Ricochetti that are constantly claiming defeat and surrender, or the nonsense that not a single Republican will ever become president again.  When I look back at history I often see worse things that have happened, such as people being thrown into jail for protesting our involvement in the Great war under Wilson, or retail store owners prosecuted by the Justice Department for the crime of “lowering their prices against the wishes of the Fedral Gubmint,” by Franklin Roosevelt.  Or Syphilis experiments on unawares Americans.  Granted, the lawfare against Trump is new, but it is crumbling rather quickly before our eyes.

    There are some insidious permanent changes though, as Nate Ferguson points out, like the trend toward bigger government which involves more spending and higher taxes.  I would add that the imperative to work for one’s wages has long ago disappeared.  Welfare, even for able-bodied young people has become acceptable, even to most republicans and people who call themselves conservatives.  Of course all of this will automatically reverse when the big economic default comes!  (And there I go, portending doom and gloom!  Except that things will straighten themselves out after the pain of the big collapse.)

    • #9
  10. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    (And there I go, portending doom and gloom!  Except that things will straighten themselves out after the pain of the big collapse.)

    Ben Stein’s Law states that something that cannot go on forever, won’t. The welfare state will eventually collapse under its own weight.  When it does it will fail suddenly and catastrophically, in the same manner as the Soviet Union. When that happens it will be those who still have traditional American values who keep things from devolving into chaos. 

    • #10
  11. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Nathanael Ferguson (View Comment):
    I want to say Amen to this, but I have a hard time choking it out. It seems to me that American voters generally trend leftward with occasional corrections to the right. The general trend is toward larger, more costly, and more pervasive government even if there are temporary pauses and even occasional reverses of the trend. The baseline though, seems very Wilsonian. Government grows. Taxpayers take it in the shorts. Government blames taxpayers for not taking it in the shorts hard enough.

    I lived through the late 1970s as an adult starting a career and family. Like I said in the post, back then we were being told to accept surrender to the Soviets. Inflation was out of control (worse than it is today at points), energy was short, and everyone was pessimistic. It all changed on January 1981, culminating in the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and domination of the world by the US for the next two decades.

    It can turn around and quickly. I saw it happen.

    Yes, it did happen; I was there too.

    However, since the days of Reagan I believe there has been a number of events that will make a turnabout much harder.

    For me, I believe the Bork hearings were the beginning of the destructive brand of politics that have poisoned polite discourse.  Of course we haven’t degenerated to the days of Preston Brooks beating the h*ll out of Charles Sumner but gone (perhaps forever) are the days when Democrats and Republicans would vote together on the really big issues.

    Now, today, the Democrats are feverishly importing millions from South and Central America in an attempt to gain an unassailable advantage for future elections.  In the meantime, they will stoop to any level to win an election (does everyone remember all those ballots being miraculously “found” in Atlanta and other locations?).

    I’m still hopeful that the Republicans will somehow develop into the ruthless machine that the Democrats are but I’m not hopeful.

    • #11
  12. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    The Quitter

    Robert Service When you’re lost in the Wild, and you’re scared as a child,
        And Death looks you bang in the eye,
    And you’re sore as a boil, it’s according to Hoyle
        To cock your revolver and . . . die.
    But the Code of a Man says: “Fight all you can,”
        And self-dissolution is barred.
    In hunger and woe, oh, it’s easy to blow . . .
        It’s the hell-served-for-breakfast that’s hard.

    “You’re sick of the game!” Well, now, that’s a shame.
        You’re young and you’re brave and you’re bright.
    “You’ve had a raw deal!” I know — but don’t squeal,
        Buck up, do your damnedest, and fight.
    It’s the plugging away that will win you the day,
        So don’t be a piker, old pard!
    Just draw on your grit; it’s so easy to quit:
        It’s the keeping-your-chin-up that’s hard.

    It’s easy to cry that you’re beaten — and die;
        It’s easy to crawfish and crawl;
    But to fight and to fight when hope’s out of sight —
        Why, that’s the best game of them all!
    And though you come out of each gruelling bout,
        All broken and beaten and scarred,
    Just have one more try — it’s dead easy to die,
        It’s the keeping-on-living that’s hard.

    • #12
  13. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    The Quitter

    Robert Service When you’re lost in the Wild, and you’re scared as a child,
    And Death looks you bang in the eye,
    And you’re sore as a boil, it’s according to Hoyle
    To cock your revolver and . . . die.
    But the Code of a Man says: “Fight all you can,”
    And self-dissolution is barred.
    In hunger and woe, oh, it’s easy to blow . . .
    It’s the hell-served-for-breakfast that’s hard.

    “You’re sick of the game!” Well, now, that’s a shame.
    You’re young and you’re brave and you’re bright.
    “You’ve had a raw deal!” I know — but don’t squeal,
    Buck up, do your damnedest, and fight.
    It’s the plugging away that will win you the day,
    So don’t be a piker, old pard!
    Just draw on your grit; it’s so easy to quit:
    It’s the keeping-your-chin-up that’s hard.

    It’s easy to cry that you’re beaten — and die;
    It’s easy to crawfish and crawl;
    But to fight and to fight when hope’s out of sight —
    Why, that’s the best game of them all!
    And though you come out of each gruelling bout,
    All broken and beaten and scarred,
    Just have one more try — it’s dead easy to die,
    It’s the keeping-on-living that’s hard.

    That’s a nice poem and it’s quite easy to call someone a quitter.  

    It’s quite another to recognize your enemies and stand up to them.

    • #13
  14. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    That’s a nice poem and it’s quite easy to call someone a quitter.

    It’s quite another to recognize your enemies and stand up to them.

    I’ve done it for 68 years. I did it when they told me to get the clot shot or get fired. I told them to feel free to do it. They backed down.

    Yes it’s easy to call someone a quitter. It’s even easier to sneer at someone who does. It’s easier still to moan about the odds against you and I’m tired of hearing it. I’m with William the Silent, who when told about the odds against the  Netherlands when the Spanish came calling, simply stated, “We can always die in the last ditch.”

    My Greek ancestors used to say, it’s better to die on your feet than live on your knees.  A lot of them did die on their feet before finally kicking the Turks out and regaining a homeland. But, yeah. That’s the blood that runs in me.

    I would invite those who wish to counsel despair ands defeat to start their own threads.

    • #14
  15. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    (And there I go, portending doom and gloom! Except that things will straighten themselves out after the pain of the big collapse.)

    Ben Stein’s Law states that something that cannot go on forever, won’t. The welfare state will eventually collapse under its own weight. When it does it will fail suddenly and catastrophically, in the same manner as the Soviet Union. When that happens it will be those who still have traditional American values who keep things from devolving into chaos.

    That’s Herb Stein’s Law. Herb, Ben’s dad, was a real economist who served as the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors in the early 1970s. Herb Stein’s Law is equally applicable to the American Empire, which, if the history of empires is any guide, will not go on forever.

    • #15
  16. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    As for Einstein, he could be remarkably stupid on certain topics, especially the political. A striking example is his essay entitled Why Socialism? It makes amusing reading.

    • #16
  17. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Very good post.  There are way too many people projecting despair, and a lot of them actually look forward to collapse, believing naively that something better will come out of it.

    One thing that gives me hope is that there are many people demonstrating considerable courage.  JK Rowling has almost singlehandedly saved the possibility of free speech in Scotland.  Elon Musk has stood up against the censors at Twitter.  Former Georgia Tech professor Judith Curry has chosen to pursue scientific truth rather than politicized career advantage re Climate.  Former Levi Strauss executive Jennifer Sey walked away from her job and the likely next CEO-ship of the company in order to speak her mind on school Lockdowns.

    As the word “former” in two of the above examples demonstrated, the costs can be significant.  Jennifer Sey posted just yesterday:

    I was called every name you can imagine — murderer, racist, eugenicist — for advocating for open public schools. I lost my city. My friends. My community.

    But very fortunately, there are people who remain willing to face those costs.

     

     

    • #17
  18. OkieSailor Member
    OkieSailor
    @OkieSailor

    Thanks we can all use a bucking up. 

    • #18
  19. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    For the skinny on the Cold War, one needs to reference the work of another Herb: Herb Meyer. While working as a special assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence, Bill Casey, Meyer wrote a memo entitled “Why Is the World So Dangerous?”  It predicted that the Soviet Union had twenty years left, best case.

    The memo was leaked to syndicated columnists Evans & Novak, who devoted a
    column to it. There was subsequent uproar throughout Washington, which made
    Meyer very nervous. He was summoned to his boss’s office.

    “Herb, right now you’ve got the smallest fan club in Washington,” Bill Casey
    told him grimly. As Meyer turned pale, Casey laughed: “Relax. It’s me and the
    president.”

    • #19
  20. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    The Quitter

    Robert Service When you’re lost in the Wild, and you’re scared as a child,
    And Death looks you bang in the eye,
    And you’re sore as a boil, it’s according to Hoyle
    To cock your revolver and . . . die.
    But the Code of a Man says: “Fight all you can,”
    And self-dissolution is barred.
    In hunger and woe, oh, it’s easy to blow . . .
    It’s the hell-served-for-breakfast that’s hard.

    “You’re sick of the game!” Well, now, that’s a shame.
    You’re young and you’re brave and you’re bright.
    “You’ve had a raw deal!” I know — but don’t squeal,
    Buck up, do your damnedest, and fight.
    It’s the plugging away that will win you the day,
    So don’t be a piker, old pard!
    Just draw on your grit; it’s so easy to quit:
    It’s the keeping-your-chin-up that’s hard.

    It’s easy to cry that you’re beaten — and die;
    It’s easy to crawfish and crawl;
    But to fight and to fight when hope’s out of sight —
    Why, that’s the best game of them all!
    And though you come out of each gruelling bout,
    All broken and beaten and scarred,
    Just have one more try — it’s dead easy to die,
    It’s the keeping-on-living that’s hard.

    Nice

    • #20
  21. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    One way to help fight against political catastrophe:  there are several worthwhile organizations doing good work that could use volunteers and/or contributions.  For instance:

    TrueTheVote is a nonprofit dedicated to fighting election fraud.

    Scott Presler is focused on voter registration.

    Judicial Watch does litigation to help ensure fair elections, as does the Legal Insurrection Foundation.

     

     

     

     

    • #21
  22. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    As for Einstein, he could be remarkably stupid on certain topics, especially the political. A striking example is his essay entitled Why Socialism? It makes amusing reading.

    I read the Einstein article, and you are right.  It starts out with some fairly reasonable assumptions and observations (and some not so reasonable), but devolves into total ignorance on what goes on under capitalism.  For instance, this quote:

    “The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil. We see before us a huge community of producers the members of which are unceasingly striving to deprive each other of the fruits of their collective labor – not by force, but on the whole in faithful compliance with legally established rules.”

    Other than working at the Swiss Patent Office for a few years, which is itself a government job, Einstein never once worked in private industry, but only in academia and colleges for his entire life.  It is possible that he simply had never learned what it is like to produce material goods for civilization, and the practical and cultural issues involved.

    • #22
  23. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    That’s a nice poem and it’s quite easy to call someone a quitter.

    It’s quite another to recognize your enemies and stand up to them.

    I’ve done it for 68 years. I did it when they told me to get the clot shot or get fired. I told them to feel free to do it. They backed down.

    Yes it’s easy to call someone a quitter. It’s even easier to sneer at someone who does. It’s easier still to moan about the odds against you and I’m tired of hearing it. I’m with William the Silent, who when told about the odds against the Netherlands when the Spanish came calling, simply stated, “We can always die in the last ditch.”

    My Greek ancestors used to say, it’s better to die on your feet than live on your knees. A lot of them did die on their feet before finally kicking the Turks out and regaining a homeland. But, yeah. That’s the blood that runs in me.

    I would invite those who wish to counsel despair ands defeat to start their own threads.

    Oh Good Heavens.  Just how many enemies have you made in your 68 year career as a software developer and tech writer?  (The occupations that you listed in your profile.)  Those fields must be more conflict-driven than I thought.  You stood up against a shot demand?  Mercy, I suppose my 13 months of being under fire (in Nam) didn’t count for much compared to heroism such as yours.

    Of course I should learn to back off from a hot-blood from Greece who quotes William the Silent.  (But I won’t)

    So, let’s go back and read what I wrote; the verbiage that was met with the grade school poem.  Nowhere in it did I counsel “despair and defeat”.  If anything, I was pointing out the hill(s)  that Republicans/Conservatives will have to climb in order to regain power.

    Power, against a foe such as the Dims, will not be easy to attain.  To claim that it will be, is pollyannaish and leads to debacles such as the Congressional elections of 2022.

    I will be working, and voting for Trump this year (as I did in 2016 and 2020).  If I lived in a competitive district, I would be working as a poll watcher but my district has been faithfully Republican for the last 40 years.  By the way, what will you be doing?

    • #23
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