Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"Are America’s Elites Post-American?" and Other Implied Questions of a Rambling Monologue

I admit that I'm throwing these thoughts at you, dear reader. Much can be more tightly defined and/or more broadly spun out. I'd love your feedback: What message do you discern from these expatiations?

The confrontation of non-democratic powers reinforces our belief that we need to dynamic, flexible, and largely unconstrained by governmental regulation. The self-interested reason that elites sometimes support social programs is that they believe in the strengthening of the nation-state, in this context.

The intermingling of elites, however, has undermined the sense that the future of elites is tied to the common person. At the same time, the common American supports the status quo because of a belief in the need to confront regimes that are less free, and potentially aggressive.

Peaceful accommodation among elites may eventually lead to the perception that aggressive confrontation is not strongly needed and the common person may decide that it is worthwhile to secure health and educational benefits for himself.

Trade agreements are one step in the direction of events such as these unfolding. More significant, however, would be (1) the democratization of China and (2a) the democratization of important parts of the Middle East or (2b) a dramatic decrease in our reliance on oil (NB: 2a and 2b do not both need to happen for the belief in a stable, wealthy world to take root much more firmly.). Such an occurrence (which would likely take decades to solidify itself) would convince common folks that the need to band behind their elite leadership is not so strong as it had earlier seemed.

Obama is an interesting phenomenon because he senses the potential for such a secure, wealthy world order to emerge. He simultaneously seems to support the passions of common folks to secure their part of an international system that does not fully consider them. This is a common liberal stance in American today. Obama is so successful because he presents it with so little acrimony. The image is understandably appealing.

The shortcoming is that, so long as challenges to the democratic world order are not taken seriously, the risks remain of (1) an ebb in the tide of democratic expansion and/or (2) a crisis in the relationship between Obama and American middle in the event of future challenges to that order.