Politics is often understood by analogy to mechanical equilibrium. The two sides are like opposing forces. Their strength depends on the republic’s current policy set, which set can be roughly mapped to a one-dimensional line from “Right” to “Left”. For one policy location, the forces balance and equilibrium can be maintained. The equilibrium is assumed to be stable; making policy too intolerable for one side will energize that side and lead to a push back toward equilibrium. Averaged over election cycles, policy remains close to equilibrium, while drift in the equilibrium point itself due to culture change is assumed to happen but on a timescale long compared to electoral timescales. Even though equilibrium may drift one way or the other, neither side is able to push all the way to its ideal policy set (the Right or Left terminus). It is understood in this model that it is as important for a candidate not to mobilize moderates leaning toward the other side as it is for him to mobilize his own side. Hence, senatorial and presidential candidates will feign moderation before a general election.
This analogy is no longer valid. I realized this when, defying the usual electoral logic, President Obama endorsed gay marriage while seeking re-election. As I recall, the President made no feigns to the middle. He correctly realized he didn’t have to anymore. Energizing the Right is no longer a danger for a politician. The age of the no-limits Left had begun. Once the Left realized this, a host of previously unthinkable things happened overnight. For a hundred years, “Southern pride” was a fact of life whether one liked it or not. Then the Left snapped its fingers and removed the Confederate flag from the public. In an America with a Right strong enough to seriously challenge the Left, liberals would themselves be the biggest proponents of “religious freedom” bills. Allowing individuals and small businesses to abstain from endorsing gay marriage costs the Democrats’ gay clients very little, and it would be a cheap and effective way to de-energize the Right, to convince conservatives that while the public sphere is definitely lost to them, they will be allowed to retreat to private life unmolested. In the age of the no-limits Left, such calculations do not arise. It doesn’t matter how upset or angry one makes people who identify positively with orthodox Christianity or the white race. These people are powerless, so there’s no need to make allowances so that life remains tolerable to them.
In the new age of the no-limits Left, physical analogies should be not mechanical but thermodynamical. There is no serious organized resistance to the Left, but we will never achieve the state of total Leftist purity simply because of uncontrolled random variables at the microscopic (individual) scale. Certain individuals may not be properly indoctrinated because they are stupid or crazy or because of local glitches in the educational system. (In the late Roman Empire, there were Christians and there were pagans, but when organized paganism was sufficiently vanquished, the categories became educated Christian and uneducated Christian.) Individuals or small groups might act out in politically incorrect ways simply because, for various psychological or group-dynamical reasons, they wish to violate social propriety. (The Nazis were once a political party that attracted some of Germany’s finest minds; now they’re an American prison gang.) A few will accidentally encounter fragments of prior ideological systems and pick them up for reasons good or bad.
A system immersed in a thermal bath will not find all particles in the ground state, even though it is the state of lowest energy. For such a system, not the energy U but the free energy U – TS will be minimized. We are no longer a rival force. We are entropy in the system.
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