The Challenge of Our Disruptive Era by Ben Sasse at National Review

I am a historian, and that usually means I’m a killjoy. When people say we’re at a unique moment in history, the historian’s job is to put things in perspective by pointing out that there is more continuity than discontinuity, that we are not special, that we think our moment is unique because we are narcissists and we’re at this moment. But what we are going through now—the past 20 or 30 years, and the next 20 or 30 years—really is historically unique. It is arguably the largest economic disruption in recorded human history. And our politics are not yet up to the challenge.

There have been four kinds of economies: hunter-gatherers, agriculture (settled agrarian farmers in their villages), industry (mass urbanization and immigration), and whatever we’re entering now. Sometimes we call it the information-technology economy, the knowledge economy, the service economy, the digital economy. Sociologists call it the “postindustrial” economy, which is another way of saying “we don’t have anything to call it.”

With the magnitude of the challenges we face in this moment of disruption, it isn’t the case that one side is right and the other side is standing in the way, or that one side is enlightened and the other side is retrograde. It’s that we don’t have any of the right policy conversations. Most of the really big challenges of this moment are not easily reducible to core Republican or Democratic platform positions.


Ben makes a great point. Perhaps our political conflict is not about opposing ideologies, but it is about an economic shift that is so profound that neither party is up to the challenge…. yet.

This is as much of a problem for the progressives who believe the government always has the answer as it is for the conservatives who rely on past solutions that may no longer work. The solution is included in the properly stated problem; and we do not know how to state the problem yet.

It is difficult to address the problem politically without circumventing the evolution of much better solutions.

Sasse is the brightest star of the GOP. Read the whole article.