Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I'll Take That Bet (or, Owen Robinson has Gone Stark Raving Mad)

Owen Robinson is doubling down on his prediction that Health Care Reform will help bring about "violent revolution" by actually predicting a date for when this will happen:
So I stand by my statement that I expect to see violent revolution within my lifetime. If I had to pick a date, I think it’ll be around 2035 or 2040. That’s when the crushing weight of what we are doing will no longer be able to be sustained and it will only take a small spark to ignite a conflagration.
We'll take that bet. In fact, we'll give Robinson odds: there won't any kind of revolution, violent or otherwise, throughout the rest of the century. (Frankly, we don;t think we can hold out much longer than that, otherwise we'd go further.) So here's our bet: if Robinson's wrong, he has to live with the indignity of being yet another embarrassment who predicted the End of Times and was wrong; but if he's right, we'll furnish him and his family with a gold plated pitchfork and first class accommodations to wherever the last vestige of freedom on God's green Earth happens to be at the time of "the uprising."

Robinson calls himself a "student of history" but then goes on to cite Europe as example of "stagnation" even though the EU had a GDP over $2+ trillion over the US last year. Europe also has some of the most internally peaceful countries in the world. Even the former Soviet Bloc countries have developed strong democratic institutions in a relatively brief amount of time since the fall of the Berlin Wall. There has been no history of violent revolution in Western European countries with large welfare states since the end of WWII.

Robinson's defense of his claim is an incoherent mess that tries to amalgamate a bunch of issues (finally, a conservative who doesn't think there's enough immigration coming into this country!) into a unified theory of "We're All Gonna Die!" but just ends up creating little more than confused chaos. It's the future-tense equivalent of saying "9/11 was an inside job" since there's as much evidence pointing to both conclusions (i.e. none) and both theories come from deep-seated places of fear and paranoia within the claimant.

The United States has suffered through real constitutional and economic crises before -- not imagined ones like the fever dream Robinson's living through right now. We've gone through a Civil War, a Great Depression, too many recessions to count, the impeachment of several executives, and Presidential elections that have yielded two winners (twice). This is a country where when a neo-Nazi skinhead sneezes, the ACLU will be there to blow his nose and defend his right to suffer from allergies. It's a country where 80 million Evangelicals shit bricks when someone suggests removing the phrase "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance. The extra-governmental institutions and redundancies that watch over America are incredibly strong -- a change in health care policy will not ruin the Republic.

If conservatives are going to clutch desperately at an idealized vision of 1980s Reagan America like Gollum to his precious, then I guess we can all expect to see Republican fatalism start to find vogue shortly ... Robinson actually sounds like he's traded in the "shining city on a hill" for Mad Max's post-apocalyptic hellscape. Well, if that's how someone sees America these days, I guess warning of a "violent revolution" as a means of course correction might actually provide some solace, but it also means you're just batshit crazy.

I nearly forgot:



Ron said...

Nice Red Dawn reference, well placed. You know there is talk of a re-make, right?

Jb said...

I know ... China ... how predictable ...