The Star Spangled Revolution
This weekend, Channel 4 broadcast 'Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King'.
There's a line in that movie that perfectly encapsulates what seems to be the spirit of affairs this weekend. As Pippin and Gandalf review the state of the war before The Battle of Pelennor Fields, Gandalf remarks, "It's the deep breath before the plunge".
This weekend, taking a deep breath before the plunge, the world waits to see just what the world's stock markets will do when the opening bells ring tomorrow. For ring they must. The ultimate irony of a financial metacrisis brought on by the rabid pursuit of individual financial gain might just be that the whole system will come tumbling down for no reason other than that, like all good small shopkeepers, the stockbrokers felt compelled to open the store.
For once in their lives, couldn't they take a day off?
While I applaud Andrew Sullivan's call for the re-assertion of conservatism, and cheer Simon Jenkins's acknowledgment that Americans refused to suffer "the evisceration of constitutional liberty" in the face of the financial metacrisis, once the dust has settled and the house of cards has collapsed, it will be hard to say what shape the philosophy known as 'conservatism' will be in.
Four years ago, I wrote an article for 'The Washington Dispatch' entitled 'How The Neocons Will Kill The GOP', a prediction that came true at the 2006 Congressional elections. It was the relentless pursuit of ideology that did for them.
Yet the same economic ideology endured for another two years, with catastrophic consequences. The time for mourning fiscal conservatism has passed, sadly just when we will be seeing the proof of its wisdom. As I've noted a couple of times in recent weeks, it doesn't matter what deal gets cut this weekend - the very fact that a government bailout of the financial markets has been proposed by otherwise red-in-tooth-and-claw free marketeers means that ideology, the reason for seeking power, has been defeated by power itself. It doesn't matter who wins the election - the nature of the powers it is being proposed that Hank Paulson and his successors assume means that the nature of American government has just changed, and not for the better. At a time when the Spirit of 1776 should be stalking the land, everyone's hunkered down to see whether or not they'll be able to pay their mortgage tomorrow. This might just be the end of one America - it is to be hoped that a rather more conservative one takes its place.
In the not too distant future, I can foresee a mass uprising of the American people, akin to those seen in Europe's Rose and Velvet Revolutions, peacefully marching on Washington and demanding change. It will be apolitical, monoglot, unisex and colourblind, the greatest single assertion of 'American-ness' that The Great Republic will have ever seen. The historic American nation, and all those with an iota of understanding of just what American history is and was, and who place a value on values, will be there. For the last five years They, the People, have had to suffer horrible, unnecessary war. For the last eight, they have had to suffer a president whose domestic policies have focussed solely on the enrichment of his own caste. For the past 20, they have had to suffer economic displacement. For the last 40, they have had to suffer cultural Marxism, and the teaching of state-sponsored hatred of everything that America is and of what being an American means. Depending on what happens when the bell tolls on Wall Street tomorrow morning, this might just be the point where Dwight, Tyrone, Jubal and Clayton Lee say 'Hell No', lay their forks and TV remotes down and put on their boots. The Star Spangled Revolution will demand a more morally hygienic media, and it will get it. It will demand an economically fair America - and it will get it. It will demand an America that is respectful to Americans - and it will get it. It will demand government not motivated by ideology but by the good of the nation - and it will get it.
What they will demand is that most curious of beasts, a conservative revolution - and they will get it.