December 4, 2019

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: Millennialism’s Rebels Without a Cause.

Change everything to save the world. Millennialism rests on the assumption that some kind of apocalyptic battle — capitalism vs. communism, jihad vs. infidel, climate warriors vs. deniers. etc. — is at hand. Naturally, a struggle of such importance had to be won by any means necessary. A select vanguard, party, or movement were the people to do the job. Sacrifices would have to be made, collateral damage endured, but no matter; victory would bring a millennial kingdom into being where the masses or even the planet would live happily ever after.

For decades this kind of thinking ruled progressive politics. But the problem was that the vision proved a mirage. Improvement, when it came, was the result of the creativity of millions, not the state planner.

That’s hard to accept, for people whose ambition is to be the state planner.

Plus: “Not just the 2008 economic effects, but the information balance, which affects the relationship between the elites and the government, has changed. One can look at the Democratic primary as the story of a party trying to redefine itself after the disaster of 2016 and deciding not to — a challenge that in its own way mirrors the problem of the Republican Party. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the most interesting candidates in the Democratic Party are the younger ones who feel in their bones that the future is no longer what it used to be. It has eluded the capacity of old-time apparatchiks to conceive and is potentially more dangerous and wonderful than we can imagine.”

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