Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Fourth American Republic

I have no idea what lies in wait for us on the other side of the The Great Collapse, but this article is a nice background piece on where we've been and where we may be going.

The Coming of the Fourth American Republic
By James V. DeLong
The United States has been called the oldest nation in the world, in the sense that it has operated the longest without a major upheaval in its basic institutional structure.

From one perspective, this characterization is fair. The nation still rests on the Constitution of 1787, and no other government can trace its current charter back so far. Since then, France has had a monarchy, two empires, and five republics. England fudges by never writing down its constitutional arrangements, but the polity of Gordon I is remote from that of George III. China’s political convolutions defy summary.

Shift the angle of vision and the continuity is less clear, because we have had two upheavals so sweeping that the institutional arrangements under which we now operate can fairly be classified as the Third American Republic. Furthermore, this Third Republic is teetering (these things seem to run in cycles of about 70 years) and is on the edge of giving way to a revised Fourth Republic with arrangements as yet murky to our present-bound perceptions...

hat tip Fabius Maximus


David said...

As you know, the current transition is presumed to be at the same degree of trend that attended the birth of the current (and largely dead-letter) U.S. constitution. This argues that GS IV will be a ping-pong match between those trying to preserve the old and those trying to tear it down and begin anew. Given the parallels of trend degree, one has to assume the latter will ultimately win, and the USA will BNM (be no more) as a political entity. Thus I question the entire premise of the Fourth Republic. There is unlikely to be any such thing. Three was the charm.

Flagg707 said...

@David: I fear you may be correct - I am just holding out whatever hope I can.

I still have a bad feeling that the French Revolution may wind up being a better model for the coming storm than say the New Deal era or even the Civil War.

As Jim Kunstler put it, we may have our future Napoleon somewhere near Kirkuk right now, learning to lead troops and gaining the confidence necessary for some future coup.

David said...

Michael, sadly I have lost what little hope I had. All that's left is dread, and a burden of trying desperately to map out a safe(r) path though the coming decade or two.

If it was just me, I'd just be resigned to endure what comes, but with a family (kids clustered around entry into adulthood) I feel compelled to peer into the darkness ahead.

Your use of the French Revolution as model parallels my thoughts. Few people realize just how horrific were collective actions in that period. It is amazing what people will do when social mood is plumbing low points.


I can think of no better reason to take an active role in sailing into this storm.

Flagg707 said...