Bill Whittle usually does excellent stuff, but this piece is one of his best. It’s a step back to the big picture – the really big picture – in describing the civilizational nature of the Tea Party and the fight in Wisconsin and elsewhere over public employee unions.
I can’t really find anything wrong with his thesis; namely, that the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence were largely a response to the initial order of human society – specifically, agricultural, horizontal, dispersed and local. And the Progressive movement came along as a response to the industrialization and urbanization of that society, which created a need for, according to the Progressives, increasingly vertical, concentrated and federalized governmental power. But Whittle says, and he’s right to say it, that with the dawning of the information age society is returning to the initial model – more localized, horizontal and dispersed. When you can reach into your pocket and order goods and services from anywhere in the world to be delivered in a matter of days or even hours, and when you can produce value for anyone anywhere in the world from a laptop computer or even an iPhone, the concept of giant bureaus or centralized factories starts to become outdated very quickly. And so the Progressive infrastructure built up as a response to the Industrial Revolution is breaking down – which is what we’re seeing in Wisconsin and everywhere else where overbuilt, wasteful and often unionized governments are reaching the end of their existential models.
But as Whittle notes, it’s really amazing that the Constitution – as originally written – is such an excellent fit for this new Information Age society.