An overly-long excerpt from Sultan Knish's excellent A Land Without History:
For the blank youth in a land without history, there is no past except as a scrambled mess of tropes, images and symbols to be combined and recombined in the way that amuses them best. There is only the wide open future. A future that is at once hopeful and hopeless. Ahead revolutions beckon. Each revolution excites them, and then fails, hardening them. They are told over and over again that the future belongs to them. But at some point they are forced to realize that in truth nothing belongs to them. Not the past. Not the present. And most certainly not the future.
"Maybe nothing is really bad, since I am convinced that we will win the future."
Historical inevitability. The conviction that WE WILL WIN THE FUTURE. It makes the difference between victory and defeat. An advancing army is worth far more than a retreating army of twice its size. The difference is in morale. In expectation. A retreating army expects to be beaten. An advancing army expects to win.
Map that analogy onto countries and ideologies. Consider how conservative political parties act in almost every country. As if they expect to be beaten. They expect it because they lost that sense of historical inevitability. The Goldwater campaign challenged Democratic voting blocs with, "In your heart you know he's right". Today most conservative parties 'know' in their hearts that the left is right. They quibble with their tactics and nitpick the implementation, but they have come to agree on the basic ideas.
In the US and the UK, the Republicans and the Tories are willing to agree to every one of the left's cultural agendas, as long as they're allowed to make some cuts in the budget. In Israel, Netanyahu is doing a fantastic job on the economy, while arguing that he should be allowed to carve up Israel on the installment plan, not in one lump sum. Imagine if after the Battle of Saratoga, the American colonies had agreed to go back under King George III's rule, as long as George Washington was made Finance Minister with the authority to review the books. We won't need to worry about the cultural war or restoring some sense of purpose to the nation, once we've trimmed 11 percent off the expendables budget.
This is the species of absurd madness we are dealing with here-- because even when they win elections, conservative parties act like losers, determined to prove that they aren't the bad guys. That they are tolerant, decent and generous. Good losers in short.
Tracked: Aug 07, 11:24