I alluded yesterday to a time (partly mythical, but bear with me) before we were so conscious of some of the political faultlines that are now so visible on (or about) the right -- such as neoconservatives fighting libertarians in the Republican Party over Obama’s potential war in Syria (something of a paleo/non-paleo libertarian split will be on display as I moderate this coming Monday’s 8pm immigration debate at Muchmore’s, so please be there, 2 Havemeyer St. near the Bedford Ave. L stop).
I’ve been in periodic contact with the folks at Reason for twenty-one years now and have seen how the shifting ideological ground has affected the way some of my associates thought of them during that time: at first sort of like Republicans...then too self-consciously “hip” to be Republicans...then “anti-war”...then “not anti-war enough”...then even “phony libertarians” (from some young upstarts)...and now occasionally “the sane ones” (as befits the name).
Reason hasn’t changed all that much, but the world has changed its favorite political topics around them (remember “communitarianism” anyone? or even something as big as “neoliberalism,” for that matter? and then there’s Ron Paul...and the Tea Party...and Occupy...).
Looking back to (my experience of) 1992, then, is as psycho-temporally-jarring as seven minutes of unbroken, unedited footage of San Francisco shot just a few months before the 1906 earthquake. Peaceful. Yet made eerie by knowing it’s the calm before the storm, so to speak.