Subforum posts this on the August 11th, 2007 The Long View blog:
*Even when no litigable entitlement was at issue, the Great Society fostered the development of the acrimonious niche-politics that we call multiculturalism. The niches by their nature could not recognize a common good; the closest they could come to that notion were agreements to try to plunder the public fisc at a sustainable rate. In reality, they killed the golden goose, which is why that mode of politics went out of fashion for many years.
Today, of course, it threatens to return. Unlike the Bourbons, the liberal-progressives have learned a few tricks in the intervening years, but they have forgotten nothing; certainly their list of scores to settle has in no way diminished. Libertarians will, of course, be horrified by this restoration, but their horror will be produced by their own reflection.*
This post is especially impressive testimony to the lucidity and foresight of John's perspective. He saw this all clearly in the summer of 2007 -- before the subprime crisis, before Obama's second term and scorched-earth wokeness, before Trump, before Bernie.
I haven't read Caldwell's book yet, but I'm looking forward to it. The failure of the Great Society is the dark matter of American political history: invisible in the popular narrative of "The Sixties" (born in the Eighties, I wouldn't know about any of this stuff if I didn't spend a lot of time reading contemporary primary sources), but explaining everything. Tom Wolfe left a literary document of the period (*Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers*), but the primary sources are full of equally bleak comedy. The respectable technocrats in the Johnson administration were as high-minded and as muddleheaded as anyone in the non-Stalinist wing of SDS, and the War on Poverty really did involve showering buckets of no-strings-attached taxpayer cash on self-appointed 'community leaders,' in ways which often left their actual constituents worse off than before. This complicates both the "liberal" and the "libertarian" Boomer narratives: the one in which real progressivism was thwarted by Nixon and Mayor Daley and has never been tried, and the one in which the Reagan Democrats were voting to scrap the federal government entirely.
Subforum nails why I do this. When John wasn’t distracted by the issues of the day, he managed to see things that others missed. Subforum ends with this call to action:
(Any other regular readers and would-be commenters, now would be the time to join in!)
I could pretty easily make a sub-Reddit for the Long View, but I haven’t bothered since we don’t have a critical mass of community. Although, of course one wonders whether a sub might attract a few with its dark energy.