Pragmatism is dead.

No mix. No pragmatism.

That is, it shouldn’t be, it’s well alive among many, it’s our only hope in the long run – but it’s lost in America in terms of power and governance at the moment.

The whole founding of America was based on “Yes, Both”. Both citizens of a Union and a State, both work hard and have a good life, both dream of the future and be realistic in practical matters. It was supposed to be the pragmatic attitude that a little of this and a little of that is what probably works best. The “right mix”, “about right”, this for now and we’ll adjust a bit as we go along. Very seldom either – or, but usually some of this, that and that. All happy – all well.

But now, the prevailing mentality seems to be shifting towards hard ideology and a widening belief in purity and all-or-nothing approaches to practical problems in society. Which very seldom works, and only in brief moments when the context by coincidence fits. But the context is constantly changing – which is why the mix has to change accordingly and continuously.

And the problem of mass ideologies – is that when it doesn’t fit anymore – most people just apply more and more of the same. Right-wingers running the errands of private money is nothing new, it will never go away, it is containable in certain amounts, but it is massively destructive on a larger and dominant scale.

Which brings us back to the theatre of the summer.

When taxes were very high, cutting made sense. When they are very low, raising makes sense. But already you can hear the ultra-ideologues screaming.

Let’s be pragmatic. Let’s raise some taxes, and cut some spending.

And stop this devolving tendency into belief and ideology. Pragmatism works better.


2 thoughts on “Pragmatism is dead.

  1. I think the 00s might increasingly emerge as more of a low-point and anomaly in terms of loss of pragmatism, yes.

    You have the competing narratives of “thirty consistent years” of bad trajectory, inequality, transfer of wealth, corporate grip over government, all of that, but then you also have this “sunshine 90s” thing that many are starting to talk about these days. 23 million new jobs, higher taxes and more growth, good days for America. And then things went bad after that.

    And if this legacy of the 00s could be partly explained as an effect of hubris after the collapse of the Cold War and the Soviet Union, we could hope it’s about to pass. But if the notion of US history as two centuries of aggresion and expansion has some merit, things might be a little more rocky for a while.

    But I still firmly believe in the Constitution and the Founding Fathers. There’s a strength in these origins that folks rediscover every single day. And I also believe that moderates and pragmatists will rebuild America, soon.

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