BY J.R. PARKER
TURNING and turning in the widening gyreThe falcon cannot hear the falconer;Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhereThe ceremony of innocence is drowned;The best lack all conviction, while the worstAre full of passionate intensity.–W.B. Yeats, from “The Second Coming”
While Mr. Min is using his space in the RECORD this week to bemoan the failure of the Left to maintain its identity and resist a creeping drift to a more “conservative” ideology, I’m taking a different tack. I’m fully convinced of the prescience of Yeats’s apocalyptic vision of the 20th Century and believe things are certainly not getting any better in the 21st. Although the center may not hold in “The Second Coming,” it has triumphed over any trace of a meaningful conservative movement in the United States.
By 1870, the Republican Party had no reason to exist. Reconstruction was over and the Southern states had been reabsorbed into Lincoln’s radical vision of Unionist state-worship. Nevertheless, this redundant entity remained and has always lacked a consistent vision of its own destiny since it accomplished that which it had been conceived to effect. It had the opportunity to combat FDR’s Constitution-shredding imposition of the New Deal’s managerial administrative state, but it failed. It had the opportunity to make sure that the Cold War wouldn’t force an already bloated military-industry-government agency complex into unprecedented expansion, but it failed. Today it would have the opportunity to call out the utterly retarded “War on Terrorism