“History doesn’t repeat itself – at best, it sometimes rhymes.”
I’m not certain what Mark Twain was thinking of when he wrote those words, but I’ve found something that reminds me of that quote. It’s the editorial by John Campbell in the November 1964 issue of Analog.
The editorial is titled, “The Extremist,” and there are a number of places where it seems almost as though Mr. Campbell was writing about the current political situation. The overall point is how little a two-party system does for you if you don’t have a two-philosophy system.
And we don’t, anymore, not really. Most Republicans in office today have positions to the left of many of the Democrats who were in office when I was younger. The default philosophy these days has become “statist” rather than “individualist.” There are still differences between the parties – social issues in many cases, but Democrats don’t trust capitalism much (they tend to sabotage it and then claim the failure as inherent in the system, rather than caused by their actions), and there’s more acrimony and polarization on these issues than what I remember growing up, but, by and large, both parties are proponents of growing and centralizing the influence of government.
The mass media is an accomplice in this because they are left-leaning almost to the point of exclusivity, making them effectively a one-philosophy environment when compared to the American public at large.
Anyway, prefatory remarks dispensed with, the editorial is after the fold. I found that it resonates with the situation in this election, and many other things I’ve read and seen in the past several years, besides. I made mention of some political behavior and the monoculture of the media a couple paragraphs back. Keep that in mind while you read what Mr. Campbell wrote over forty years ago.