The central debate in the old era was big government versus small government, the market versus the state. But now you’ve got millions of people growing up in social and cultural chaos and not getting the skills they need to thrive in a technological society. This is not a problem you can solve with tax cuts.Communists and anarchists have long maintained that the state and capitalism grew up together, so there's nothing new about the notion that they depend on each other. I take it for granted that we need both. But so far I don't see much sign that either anti-government or anti-market forces in America are changing their tunes. Most right-of-center ideologues hate the Ryan bill because it is too socialistic, and all the complaining about taking away health insurance from poor people has come from the left.
And if you don’t solve this problem, voters around the world have demonstrated that they’re quite willing to destroy market mechanisms to get the security they crave. They will trash free trade, cut legal skilled immigration, attack modern finance and choose state-run corporatism over dynamic free market capitalism.
The core of the new era is this: If you want to preserve the market, you have to have a strong state that enables people to thrive in it. If you are pro-market, you have to be pro-state. You can come up with innovative ways to deliver state services, like affordable health care, but you can’t just leave people on their own. The social fabric, the safety net and the human capital sources just aren’t strong enough.
New social crises transform party philosophies. We’re in the middle of a transformation. But to get there we’ve got to live through this final health care debacle first.
If we're having a realignment, I can't see it.