Newt Gingrich, former House Speaker and architect of the 'Contract ON America', delivered a rousing eulogy at Rev. Falwell's funeral. Newt admonished the Liberty Uni's student body that they are the vanguard against radical secularism and paganism in America and should continue to push for 'Judea-Christian Values'. Onward Christian soldiers!
Mr. Gingrich is obviously spoiling for a comeback in the political realm. Why not use the old trick he pulled before of getting the Bible Beater-theocrats onboard his economic-predator/imperialist program? It is humorous that Newt champions the Christian ethic, having delivered divorce papers to his wife on her deathbed, neglected his children, and confessed to carrying on an affair with an intern himself.
Let's take a look at 'Christian America' here. Western Europe is secular and dubbed 'post-Christian', but these godless folks have a lower divorce rate than the gawd-fearin' USofA does. Europeans are judged by Ami Fundys of having a overly tolerant, amoral society, yet drug abuse and crime is much lower there(especially violent crime). 'Old Europe' might have regulations that some Americans may think is overly restrictive, yet you don't have to fret going to your job,school or visiting a shopping mall in Brussels, Berlin, Rome and wonder if some psycho is going to gun you down in mass murder mayhem. As for career endeavours, there are more people who are 'self-employed' in Europe than there is in the alleged mecca of de-regulated opportunity, the United States.
The Euro- bashers never reflect that if the EU is supposed to be so bad, how come Europeans aren't flocking to emigrate across the Pond? The USA used to be the place to be for Europa's poor and disenfranchised class, but that is no longer the case.
As for comparable elites, European political elites are primarily from their educated middle-class. The ruling American elite is the One Percenter economic OverClass. Full circle has manifested: the USA, excluding the institution of slavery, was born a middle-class society when Europe was ruled by the titled hereditary nobility. It was the shot heard around the world when we tossed the worthless parasitical nobility/European colonialism from North America, and it's something to be proud of. Now, Europe is much more democratic than the USA is and certainly has less gaps between rich and poor. Many have public funded elections where $$$ is not the overriding way and means for a candidate to get elected to a political office. In America, you either have to be wealthy yourself to get into a high federal or state office; if not, the candidate had better have wealthy contributors. Our politicians are bought -and- paid for by Mammon in Christian America. We are actually 'One Nation Under Mammon' and not a nation blessed by the Judea-Christian 'God'. The values that Gingrich and his Religious Right minions speak of are the very ones in contrast of those in the New Testament. Give me the secular, godless, amoral Euroweenies any old day!
So, where did we go wrong? Firstly, even Marxist oriented cultural historians such as Morris Berman reflect that the USA began well with the Federalist principles of the nation's founding in the 1780s, 1790s. The Federalists, though they sanctioned private property as much as the Anti-Federalists, kept some of the organic, Old European memes intact with supporting dirgist methods in the nation's economy; the 'Few' had some responsibility to the 'Many', or the Commons. If there is anything good about medieval feudalism it was at least there was the very idea of social responsibility between the classes/castes, though it was hardly practiced. The Jeffersonians were more nativist and coupled the nativism with a Jacobin leveling of all institutions. Federalists didn't want to toss the tub out with the dirty water. The Federalists, the top dogs, served with distinction in the Revolutionary Army whilst many of Jefferson's boys(including Big Tom) had a large percentage of chickenhawks in their midst.
Many historians point to the Administration of Andrew Jackson - who was supposed to be the "People's President" - in the 1830s as when Middle Class America began its unraveling into the gulf of uber-wealthy versus poor. Jackson's first item of business was destruction of the 2nd Bank of the United States. This action turned the very speculators that Jackson hated free and loose from any public oversight and they commenced busting privately owned banks everywhere. Though Jackson was the only President to have paid off the National Debt, he also ruined America's credit rating with other nations.
Jackson's one saving grace is that he believed in tariff- based trade, and threatened to hang all the ringleaders of the South Carolinian 'Nullification Crises' until Whigs such as Henry Clay engineered a compromise regarding the tariff rate. As much as I admire Clay, sometimes I judge that he often compromised too much. Perhaps if he would had let Old Hickory hang a few traitors it would had been a wake-up call to the Southern slaveocracy/Free Traders that they needed to change their ways. Even if Jackson's actions would had led to civil war, it would had been better to have the civil war in that decade than in the 1860s.
The Federalists had a revival with Abe Lincoln's Republican Party where the American School of Economics was pushed with gusto as opposed to the British-Manchester one of laissez-faire - the school that the Southern slaveocracy favored. Lincoln also acknowledged that Capital was dependent on Labor, and Labor should take the top role over Capital. Lincoln, the son of 'yeoman-farmers', knew that the United States had to industrialize asap, but he was obviously not in the pocket of financiers with his championing of the knights of Labor who made the wealth of the manufactures possible. Again, this is the meme of the European concept of responsibility of the elites to the Commons. It is very likely that if Lincoln wasn't murdered by a pro-Confederate chickenhawk actor(John Wilkes Booth), the Gilded Age and the Robber Barons of the later nineteenth century would had been at least more tame. The Populist movement of agrarian America in the 1880s and 1890s had a slogan regarding the Robber Barons - 'This is not what Lincoln would had allowed'. The Populists were correct. It goes to show that anyone who assaulted their respective slaveocracies (coupled with laissez-faire) throughout history from Julius Caesar to Tsar Alexander and Lincoln - paid the price with their blood and lives.
Theodore Roosevelt, though an imperialist, tried to take on the Economic Predators and get the Republican Party back to its Lincolnesque/Federalist roots with just a token measure of success. His populist/progressive model was Alexander Hamilton. In 1912 Roosevelt tried for a third presidential term under the Progressive/Bull Moose Party, yet many of his progressive principles were hijacked by Woodrow Wilson as themes for his own campaign. As we know, President Wilson set the progressive movement back, and he actually employed some of the most reactionary policies( a true-blue Jeffersonian) that was contradictory to the Progressive Movement of the early 20th Century. Wilson was the most racist President we had in the last century, and he outdid the imperialism of McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt in practicing gun-boat diplomacy in Latin America. Wilson was a bigger hypocrite than his poster-child, Thomas Jefferson, and the USA- and the world - would had been better off if Taft won in 1912.
The 1920s was a return to the 'normalcy' of the 1890s where the rich dominated everything, and 'the business of America was Business', to echo Calvin Coolidge. New Technology spawned GNP growth, yet it was a bad decade for the industrial working class and the farmers. The Roaring Twenties had a high tariff trade policy , but because that international trade was dead in that decade because of the Great War 1914-18, little revenue was made of it. A huge speculative Credit Bubble was created in the Twenties(does that sound familiar??) in lieu of the Versailles Treaty provisions that had Peter to borrow from Paul to pay Peter&Paul; de-regulated private banks would give sub-prime loans for stock speculations and it all roared to a huge crash in 1929. Then American history was graced with the appearance of Franklin Delano Roosevelt as President in 1933...
FDR was a fifth cousin of Teddy Roosevelt, a old -monied WASP patrician who never worked a day in his life. Unlike other patricians like Thomas Jefferson, Franklin actually cared about the Commons. Undoubtedly when FDR was crippled by Polio he learned the lesson of being powerless, helpless, and being a circumstantial victim of the Tragic Sense of Life. FDR tapped into the old Federalist tradition offering a 'New Deal' for the American people, a social contract where both the private and public economic sphere could work together. FDR was no limp-wristed weenie liberal either. He took on the 'economic royalists' with energy and he welcomed their hatred of him of being a 'traitor to his class'. In hindsight, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the Baddest Ass who ever sat in the White House: FDR smoked three packs of cigarettes, drank five martinis per diem; guided the USA through the Great Depression then through a major two-front World War and he had post-War aspirations of European de-colonialism, the respect of sovereign nation-states to live their lives as they saw fit to do so in a spirit of international peace. Neither George Washington nor Abraham Lincoln had so much morass heaped on their laps as President than what FDR had to contend with under his Watch.
The social contract of the New Deal, in tune with the Federalist Tradition of America, lasted in both parties, Democratic and Republican, through the 40's, 50's and most of the 60's. A good friend of mine claims it all unraveled with the election of Richard Nixon in 1968. Nixon was actually on the bubble, in my opinion. Nixon inherited civil war conditions and had to constantly play the centrist role between left and right factions. People tend to forget that Nixon pissed-off the right wingers as much as he did the liberals. He made attempts to perfect the social-market by reaching out to Labor as well as Business, and Affirmative Action was Nixon's plan. With good reason even the iconoclast libertarian-socialist, Noam Chomsky, declared Tricky Dick Nixon as our last liberal President. The end of the New Deal was actually in 1973 coinciding with the Watergate Scandal that brought Nixon down. Without Watergate and its results, I firmly believe that such idiots like Carter and later Reagan would had never been elected President and the social-market, American style, would had continued to be better, more efficient. We would had been more ingrained in the organic European genesis, and the NeoCons would be at best a cranky, marginal, spare think-tank of ex-Trotskyites where they belong.