Political turmoil: It is nothing new
Considering the almost boundless opportunities offered by America’s free-market system, it is difficult to be sympathetic with the rioters out in the streets of the Democrat-run big cities. If their main issue is police brutality, statistics show that the police, white or black, try very hard to deal in an appropriate manner with everyone. Exceptions are rare. But if you are going to burn down businesses and kill people, seems like you ought to have a lot more justification.
Have we seen actually justified political turmoil before? Yes. Early in the 20th Century, there was well-justified political turmoil as the leadership of both Great Britain and the United States were compelled to face up to the legitimate concerns of the Working Class.
Just before World War I the British electorate realized their Ruling Class, who send their sons to Eton and Harrow and on to Oxford and Cambridge cared little for those who mined the coal, fished the oceans, and soldiered across the Empire.
The British Isles and the United States were shifting from agricultural economies and into the Industrial Revolution. As the landed gentry and the barons of industry grew rich (think Downton Abbey) conditions in the factories and the mines were wretched. In America, the Trusts and the railroads had an iron grip on the U.S. economy. All to the detriment of the farmers and others who worked with their hands.
The British election of 1906 "appeared" to take the control of the British government out of the hands of the uncaring Tories (Conservatives) and place the government in the hands of the Liberals. That, however, was an illusion because, with a few exceptions, the leading liberals were also the sons of Eton and Harrow, Oxford and Cambridge. Same Ruling Class. Just a bit kinder and gentler.
But the Liberals got a kick in the derrière when Mr. Winston Churchill left the Tories to join the Liberals. Churchill, the grandson of a duke, teamed up with the Welsh commoner, David Lloyd George, to enact legislation to improve wages and working conditions, and to create old-age pensions.
In America, President Teddy Roosevelt responded to the legitimate concerns of America’s Working Class by enacting his "Square Deal" to bust the Trusts, to control the railroad barons, to clean up the unsanitary and unsafe food and drug industries and to rescue public lands from exploitation.
Fast forward to post World War II America where the government passed back and forth between Republicans and Democrats who, like their British cousins, turned out to be just another Ruling Class called: the East Coast Establishment or Deep State. The very people who shipped American jobs to Red China and supplied the Military-Industrial Complex with unending wars, some of them not in the vital interest of the United States.
But, with the election of 2016, all that changed in America when a tough-talking, all-too-human New Yorker became President of the United States. So now, in 2020, what does America do? Press forward for four more years or resuscitate the Deep State? Maybe Confucius provides a clue: "Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without."
Suggested reading: The Proud Tower : Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914. Barbara W. Tuchman (1962).
©2020. William Hamilton.
William Hamilton is a laureate of the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, and the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame. Dr. Hamilton’s latest book: Formula for Failure in Vietnam: The Folly of Limited Warfare can be ordered toll free at: (800) 253-2187 Or, go to Amazon.com.