Sir Barken Hyena writes:
Yeah, I know they aren’t literally nomads, although I do bet RV ownership tracks well with Tea Party membership.
But first, I present the contortions of Frank Rich:
A few paragraphs will do it. I’m not interested in the article – it’s the usual failure-by-sainthood narrative – but in the growing agreement from the left that they’re basically over, and the tone of it all. The superiority and condescension fairly drips from the Rich column. And from a lot of talk from the left these days, when the Tea Party is the subject. It reminded me of the way the Persians regarded the Macedonian thugs who stole their country (I’m reading a biography of Alexander now).
Until the middle ages the basic story of history was: civilizations as islands in a sea of marauding nomads. The civilizations held up because they made the most stuff, until they got old, inflexible and fat. Then they got taken over by the agile lean nomads, and they in turn got old, inflexible and fat.
Read old histories and they love the virility moral of it all, even back to the Roman Tacitus, who praised the Germans as better than the degenerate Romans. But I think the problems civilizations run into have a lot to do with the increasing rigidity of their governing systems. Every action becomes captive to the system’s interference and so society as a whole is made mal-adaptive. The nomads have no such problems, so they alone are in the position to swoop in a snatch it up. Free from the local politics they can assassinate without fear and clean things up. It’s mental independence as much as superior aggression that wins the battle.
If you map this to culture instead of geography you can see that the Tea Party are cultural outliers in the U.S the way nomads were geographic outliers. With home schooling, church attendance, Christian music, blogs etc they have created their own cultural space in the U.S. that has few points of contact with pop culture. While the schools, courts and media are stepping on their own feet because of the impenetrable labyrinth of what it’s OK the say this week without losing your career, political correctness doesn’t matter to them. They’re already damned no matter what so what do they care? Mental independence.
So maybe our invading outsiders will from now on come from within. As the planet is increasingly settled with industrial humans the only other place is from space. Which would be cool.