It’s a sexist meme but let’s look.
Interest in a book called “The Fourth Turning” arises from a general fascination with cycles. We happen to live in exciting times. As is the appetite for explanation of the Now, let’s play along.
The Nanny State takes care of its citizens. Wipes their noses. Examples in the United States abound. Social Security and Medicare. Workers Compensation. Section Eight housing. Title IX. Title X. Unemployment insurance. Public Assistance, aka Welfare and Food Stamps. Medicaid. Obamacare. School Lunch — some would argue public education in general. Public transportation.
Fringe conservatives, neocons, freedom caucusers, alt-rights, anarchists, libertarians, illiberals and other extreme thinkers opposed to state sponsorship of a caretaking society may name countless more such examples, but these are the commonest sore spots thus conspiring to undermine independence and individual initiative and purge self-reliance and reliance on God from human character. Make that American character, as in America first. These are the institutions of the state said to engender fatal dependence upon the state. People get accustomed to having their noses wiped and others object to paying for and enabling the snot rags.
Critics of the Nanny State, or Welfare State, argue the social inefficiency of liberal social engineering as failed strategy creating more problems than it has solved. Where such governments show actual success at achieving measurable social harmony along with maximum human rights, such as nations of Scandinavia, it is roundly pointed out the economic costs to each country’s GDP putting the average standard of living at beneath American middle class standards of aspiration, and cost a lot in taxes. It’s always the taxes. Sometimes it’s the social engineering’s fault but always it’s the taxes even where liberal policies work. The taxes and the national debt. It’s a matter of conservative principles.
Europe gets credit as incubator of nanny states. England gets most scrutiny, perhaps due to its constant democratic self-examination, but France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Spain all get faulted for providing too generous benefits to its citizens and residents. (One is not sure where Switzerland fits.) Not a failed state among them. None a perfect democracy. All one time world empires. If the common nanny state emerged here in Europe as a form of social contract responding to the aftermath of World War II, it certainly asserted a collection of ideals going forward, learned the hard way, how to form humane democratic states. Americans might like to think the Marshall Plan influenced this outcome. It’s this humanity now under attack for having open borders, resettling migrants, asylum seekers and refugees from inhumane conditions. A grand mass migration of people is occurring and it frightens people to see infiltrators in their space. Who can blame these migrants for seeking a good life? Blame the nanny state for generously subsidizing more vagrancy and the erosion of national culture.
In America the nanny is about to get fired. Sacked. Given the shoo.
The seminal importance of “The Fourth Turning” is like similar popular obsessions over the Book of Revelations (and its offshoots like the Left Behind series) and the writings of Nostradamus (Alas, Babylon) to divine prophecies that define or self-fulfill current events. The Heisenberg theory applied to history, it can be entertaining. And can stimulate serious discussion and evaluation of cycles and trends on the planet occurring before our very eyes.
The sociopolitical meme appears to be turning from Nanny State to Daddy State.
The archetypal strong man takes over to rule over the unruly disorganized overly democratic masses in order to bring stability and ostensibly prosperity and security to the nation — what people really want. The strong man promises ultimately to grant what best for the people.
This is hardly a new method of governing — as old as tribal humanity. See it in the animal kingdom. The empires of the ancients. Sovereigns of Europe. Popes. Genghis Khan. Kublai Khan. That Napoleon thing. Adolf Hitler. Lenin and Stalin. Chairman Mao and Uncle Ho. Chiang Kai-shek. Idi Amin and Moammar Khadafy. The Ayatollah. The Shah. Fidel. Pinochet. Hugo Chavez. Rodrigo Duterte. Abdel Fattah el-Sissi. Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Kim Jong Un. Bashar al Assad. Vladimir Putin.
A patriarchal pantheon. In addition one hesitates to classify emerging statespersons such as Marine Le Pen, but perhaps she will not matter. More difficult to classify Theresa May — maybe so, maybe not. Angela Merkel comes from the nanny school. One has an even harder task classifying the likes of Queen Victoria, Cleopatra, Indira Gandhi or Catherine the Great, so I’ll stick to focus on clear Daddy State regimes. What would the sands of Arabia be like without the Saudi monarchy, after all?
America’s classic strong man was FDR , and it is ironic FDR is credited for creating the American nanny state. Barack Obama, among other firsts, was perhaps history’s first male nanny.
The American fuhrer, Donald Trump, President Hump, is now more than 100 days embarked on his mission to remake the country in his own image and likeness. Fuhrer knows best. Don’t question him. Don’t doubt his authority. You can get disinherited.
He rants like a drunken abusive head of household come home from bar closing.
He never laughs, certainly not at himself. Can’t take a joke.
He brands the news media as the enemy of the people. Wants to manage the news, control information, invent facts, and subverts the common practice of issuing press releases through a press secretary by posting Tweets and tossing non-sequiturs like bon-bon bon mots at the tourists. When quoted he complains the news is fake. His press secretary has no credibility but no one else wants the job. Faker or fakir?
A recent ranking of countries by freedom of the press placed the United States somewhere in the 40s. Seems modest. Maybe we don’t wish to brag but America enjoys a delicious and generous quality of press freedom, how else a bumpkin like me gets a website much less President Hump himself uncensored license to spout gibberish and expect to be taken seriously. In another country he might be in jail or assassinated.
He skipped the White House Correspondents annual dinner, a traditional convivial roast fest which might have got ugly if he had shown up, if nothing else in memory of Don Rickles — remember, the fuhrer never laughs and can’t take a joke. Instead at that same moment in real time he hosted a rally in the capital city of Pennsylvania where he addressed a hippodrome worth of avid admirers for about an hour, denouncing the media, promising jobs and health care, thanking the armed forces, winking at China and vowing to build a border wall against Mexico, rousing his crowd all frothy and sublime until you can almost hear them chant, sig heil.
Witnessing this display for any liberal must have felt like being in the Moral Majority in the 1970s if Hugh Hefner were elected president. At least Hugh Hefner read books.
There’s a bunch out there who call themselves The Resistance. Who might they be?
Most opponents of the fuhrer can take heart knowing there is evidence of fair mindedness and reason across the land. The numbers of his fans are not increasing, despite what he thinks, and as he turns to his fans for another rally fix he’ll find it’s the same old mob, time and time again. That may be as well, it helps identify the grievous among us. He has no new ideas. He attracts no new converts. He will alienate the rest and bore the brightest. He’ll fib his way along.
There’s a card carrying GOP Hoosier Daddy named Mike Pence working in the wings, just in case.
Meanwhile there no ignoring the fuhrer and his inner circle deconstructing the administrative nanny state and reconstructing a daddy state in its place, regardless of unpopularity, under scrutiny of the free press, against all professional advice, contrary to science, in the face of academics, no matter what anybody says including boomers and millennials, or even Congress.
He doesn’t care if Congress passes a bad health care law as long as it fulfills his promise to repeal Obamacare. It’s a win for him. So now he objects to the ACHA (American Health Care Act) being dubbed Trumpcare, and rightly so, it’s fake, he is Trump but he does not care. Humpcare.
See how Trump admires dictators. He praised Putin during his campaign. He hosted El Sissi. Invited Duterte. Erdogen visits in May. Says Kim Jong Un is a “pretty smart cookie” he would be “honored” to meet. You almost wouldn’t be shocked to hear him say for all he knows Assad and Hitler weren’t such bad guys except for the poison gas, they just had a rough time trying to rule their countries under duress. When more truth comes out about Russian election meddling you can expect to hear him say the Russians have proven there is no such thing as democracy.
The Russians always lie, so no one on earth believes them, so they lie.
One thing a majority of citizens approve of is the fuhrer’s actions as civilian commander in chief of the armed forces, namely his missile blitz against Assad. One badass daddy licks one bad daddy. Well staged. He said in his campaign he had generals, and he has generals. (Mike Flynn was a general.) In a few weeks he will tour the Middle East, his first venture outside the USA since being president. Will he attract throngs? Will he simply meet heads of state beyond the view of the public eye? What kind of mischief can President Hump stir up outside our borders? Should we allow him back in?
I’ve been to Belgium, and it is not a hell hole.
He just said out loud it might be a good idea to have a shutdown of the federal government in September. Like it’s a cleansing exercise at his daughter Treblinka’s spa. Teach us all a good lesson. We’re all grounded until we shape up.
In his faux state of the union speech, which stands out as his most reasoned address to date, the fuhrer spoke of a new chapter for America. We should have known he meant Chapter 11.
He’s a real estate guy. His universe is built on leverage — borrowed money — mortgage loans secured by minimal collateral, sometimes unsecured or undersecured. Big debt. You know he won’t release his tax returns because he’s leveraged way over his ears, and the parties to whom he’s indebted would not surprise you and yet blow your mind. Nothing illegal but blatantly oligarchic for someone passing himself as a man of the people.
In the immortal words of Aretha Franklin, who’s zoomin’ who?
Show us your golf scores!
Did I hear right, he referred to Sen Elizabeth Warren as Pocahontas again at the NRA convention? He’s truly run out of material. Look back at the early days of the GOP candidate debates and you see Donald Trump emerge and set himself apart as a stand up comic, campaigning as a right wing Mort Sahl. Oh if it were funny…
The fuhrer’s chief of staff called the 9th Circuit Court “going bananas” for its rulings against Trump’s proclamations against immigration and withholding funds from cities. The court system is the administration’s opportunity to further slip on a peel. It would be justice if Gorsuch turns out to be a stricter constitutionalist than the fuhrer intended.
Can Hump really roll back Obamacare by proclamation? Rescind national monuments? Get away with licensing the pollution of air and water? Condemn the planet to antiscientific global disintegration? Force our children to eat coal?
If he were a smart daddy he would come up with new material, fresh angles, ideas he can pitch as ahead of the curve. So he promised to build a border wall coast to coast against Mexico. He could say, I’ve been thinking about the wall and I came up with this fabulous idea. It’s going to be an invisible virtual wall, this wonderful high tech border wall made of the most state of the art lasers and wi-fi and microwaves and drones and satellites, the most imaginative engineering and physics you can imagine. Why spend all that money on brick and mortar that can go to infrastructure projects? Why waste rebar? Why go through the hassles of aggravating land owners over eminent domain, or the blockage of the Rio Grande, the scenic blight, environmental pollution, the inevitable hassles in the courts, when we could build a virtual wall and achieve state of the art security with 21st Century technology at much less the cost, more quality for the money I tell you. And since the technology works both ways, maybe Mexico would offer to chip in! Believe me.
No, he won’t see it that way. He’ll go on conniving with his henchmen more ways to dupe the country. He’s no visionary, he’s a con man, pure and simple. His most telling metaphor is his tried and true rally staple recitation of the entire lyrics of the song “The Snake”, as he did again to close with huge fanfare his 100 days at Harrisburg, PA. He presents it as a parable of how kindness to immigrants will turn and bite us. In reality he is the snake. He never hid his true nature from us. We knew all along he was a snake.
The drama of the Hump presidency unfolds with absurd surreal majesty like a pageant of the Emperor’s New Clothes meets the Pied Piper of Hamlin. Salvador Dali, who had a green card, would be LOL. Call it the Dada State.
So where’s Mama?