Meta-coalitions as a Cultural Tendency

posted Jan 25, 2005

From The Anglosphere Challenge to the Political Left:

On the Right, I believe that it is still possible to discern the tensions and compromises that one would expect in an alliance-building environment. The loose coalition includes libertarians and moral conservatives, deficit hawks and tax-cutters, immigration supporters and immigration opponents.

What has emerged on the Left is a core of rigid, dogmatic, conformity enforcers. Its organizations, such as, the Howard Dean campaign, or the movement to resist Social Security reform, are self-marginalizing. They can achieve a high level of intensity, and with the Internet they can be successful at co-ordination and fundraising. However, they lack the flexibility in forming alliances that politics in the Anglosphere has traditionally required.

It hadn't occurred to me that our meta-coalition system in the US should be understood not just structurally, but culturally. I find myself in agreement with the article:

After reading Bennett on the importance of fluid relationships in the social, economic, and political sphere, one might be more skeptical about the nation-building project in Iraq. That country strikes me as one where loyalty to a clan or religious group is likely to supercede the ability to form a political coalition or a business relationship. If so, then democratic institutions will be difficult to establish.

This does seem the best reason to be rationally concerned about Iraq's ability to form a democracy. The people themselves are certainly capable individually (there is no special "Democracy" brain structure that evolved in Britain), but is the culture? Do democracies create democratic cultures, or do democratic cultures create democracies? Since the answer is most likely "Both, to some extent", which direction is more important?

Only one way to find out, I guess. Regardless of the outcome, this will probably be referred to as a Grand Experiment by future historians.


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