Thursday, May 26, 2011

On Second Thought

I said yesterday that I would leave commentary about the "meaning" of the NY-26 election results to the pundits, but, after watching this interview of TIME's Joe Klein about those results, I think I need to weigh-in.

The telling line which, of course, Klein delivered with unrestrained glee is that "It was a victory for socialism."  I think he may well be right about that.

Those who read this blog know that I use quite often the phrase "The Great Reckoning" to describe the times we are living in.  What I mean by it, at least in the most immediate sense, is that the bill has finally come due, that we're broke, and that we cannot continue to spend and promise to spend at the rate we've been doing so and expect to survive as the country we know, or think we know.

But what I mean by the phrase in a larger sense is that we've finally reached an extreme decision point, the very definition of the word crisis.  We face now like few times before in our history a crisis in which we must decide definitively who and what we are as a nation.  Our current financial distress, a distress of our own making, has forced this upon us.

The decision we face is this:  Are we the liberty-first nation of our founding or are we now in fact socialists?  Will we embrace liberty and the risk that always attends it, risk that rewards success and punishes failure, or not?  Will we stand on our own two feet, erect like men, a posture in which undeniably some will be taller and others shorter, or will we fall corporately to our hands and knees, a safer, more stable position, a position in which everyone's stature is more or less the same, but one from which very little of genuine significance can ever be achieved?

Our election results are so very often frustrating in their indeterminacy because we have lived too long with an unhappy compromise, unhappy because we imagine that both positions, standing and kneeling, are possible at the same time.  So long as the moral and material capital we held in reserve lasted, we could indulge that illusion, we could afford to kick the can down the road, we could avoid a decision.  No longer.  Our wallets are empty, our accounts overdrawn, our credit bust.

Therefore, we, I should say, You!, both must and will decide.  Are we socialists or not?  At the end of this period, The Great Reckoning, we will know.       

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