Minority Rule: A Culturally Transmitted Political Skill?

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    ( – promoted by lowkell)

    Putting a couple of things together.

    Thing One: We observe how in Republican World these days, a rabid minority is often dominating the majority. Most Republicans, polls show, are in favor of a variety of measures — universal background checks, some immigration reform, raising the minimum wage, etc. — that the Republicans continually block from being enacted.

    We see how even the Establishment Republicans will speak and act like Teapublicans, because they are afraid of being primaried from the right. The problem, of course, is that it is the Tea Party people who disproportionately show up for primaries — even more so for conventions — and thus a minority can dominate the majority.

    With the Republicans controlling the House of Representatives, and with the Republicans intimidated by their activist fringe, it turns out that this minority not only controls the Party, but exercises veto power over the whole American legislative process. A minority of one Party — which is somewhat of a minority party to begin with — thus dominates the rest of the nation.

    Thing Two: I have been developing the idea that the spirit that’s taken over the Republican Party represents the re-emergence of the spirit that took hold of the South in the decade leading up to the American Civil War. In several pieces, I’ve been outlining some of the interesting parallels that suggest that the patterns have been transmitted through the generations, maintaining rather intact the same basic destructive force, which has now — once again, in our times — gained the power to do great damage to the nation.

    See for example these:

    >This Evil Force Can Be Seen Moving Through Time– Introduction

    This Evil Force Can Be Seen Moving Through Time- II: The Spirit of Domination

    This Evil Force Can Be Seen Moving Through Time– III: The Spirit of the Lie

    This Evil Force Can Be Seen Moving Through Time– III: The Spirit of War

    >

    Putting Thing One and Thing Two together: I recall a major theme in the fascinating book The Road to Disunion, Volume II: Secessionists Triumphant 1854-1861, by William H. Frehling, was that in the 1850s, and in particular in the final push toward secession, it was a minority of Southerners who showed great political skill and strategic acumen in prevailing over the majority of their fellow Southerners to maneuver the entire region toward disunion and the war that prompted.

    Frehling also showed how the Southern region as a whole was able to dominate the national majority in one political showdown after another concerning the slavery issue:

    They had always utilized classic nonconspiratorial tactics. Through pressure politics up front and behind the scenes, a determined minority had insisted that a less determined majority must yield concessions. Southern Democrats had squeezed gag rules, Texas annexation, the Fugitive Slave law, and the Kansas-Nebraska Act out of Northern Democrats. (p. 327)

    Which all leads me to wonder: is there some component in the political arsenal wielded by this destructive force that involves the means by which a minority can prevail, in political struggle, over a majority, even within a presumably democratic framework?

    Is this yet another illustration of how this force has transmitted through the generations the patterns that bolster its power to wreak havoc?

    • ir003436

      The answer to your questions is “Yes, that’s the way they work.”

      HOWEVER — the critical question is:  What do we do about it?

    • Jim B

      Back in pre civil war days I guess money helped get the message out and today we have the Koch bros and others supplying the money. As individuals it doesn’t seem like we can make a difference. If I contributed to every request from liberal politicians or groups I would be broke in minutes.