Tuesday, February 08, 2005

One Small Step For Man, Backwards?

It has been some number of years since William F. Buckley stood astride history and told it to stop.

As we can see, he hasn't been very successful in his pleadings. That isn't through a lack of trying, however, on the part of any number of people. Creationists prove that the fear of the future is pluripotent, capable of spawning not just the likes of William Jennings Bryan, who, among other things that I am sure I will return to in a future posting, spent his last breaths howling at the moon in defense of ignorance in Tennessee, but also the likes of intelligent design witch-Doctor Michael J. Behe, who landed with a sulfurous stench on the op-ed page of the New York Times yesterday morning (and more, dear non-existent reader, on that will come later).

Perhaps the most succesful individual is the now near-absolute ruler of Nepal, King Gyanendra. One is quick to say near-absolute at the least for the presence of Maoist insurgents who dominate much of the Nepalese countryside. The Maoists themselves—I like to imagine the warmth of the reception they might receive from the twenty-first-century people's republicans holding sway in the Middle Kingdom these days—have managed to achieve a certain amount of politico-economic atavism that would be amusing if it weren't so deadly. (Nevertheless, I'll be making jokes about it, at some point.)

Buckley's Marxism, however, is funny. Surely Marx's view of history was what he was thinking of, all those years ago. Fortunately for all of us, history did not stop, although to hear some of my liberal friends talk about it, one might be tempted to think that Buckley's plea was the correct one. Equally fortunately for all of us, history did not stop where Marx thought it would, either. It remains to be seen if history stops where Francis Fukuyama thought it would, but, if I were a betting man I would bet no.

At any rate, like Buckely, my liberal friends suffer from conservatism—obviously not Conservatism or Liberalism (in the European sense) or Small-Government Republicanism (presumed dead, although confounding the coroner's investigation is a certain uncertainty as to whether it ever existed) but just a fear of the future. "I want to get off," they cry, "and I'd like to take my Social Security check with me. Also, I would prefer it if we could restore the Standard Social Sciences Model to its former glory in psychology departments across the United States."

I am not sure where that leaves me. But I am pleased that history has not stopped, even if, like my watch, it needs to be wound up sometimes.

5 Comments:

Blogger toddsgirl said...

Our opposition to social security reform does not come from a view that wants to stop history's clock but rather from an ideology opposed to the ideology behind privatization of social security and the "ownership society." We support social security as a mild (one might say, too little, too late) form of wealth redistribution. Bush touts his program by pointing out that payroll taxes paid into the system and saved in private accounts will now be left to heirs should a beneficiary die at, say, age 66. His "you should keep your money" message has a tattoo on its dark underbelly that reads "let's screw the poor."

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