FROM OUR PRINTED MARCH 1, 2023 EDITION
by Len Abram
Boston Broadside Columnist
The stock market uses leading or lagging indicators to understand the future. Among the many sayings is “the trend is your friend,” that is, the direction of a stock, up or down, predicts where it will end up. Increasing volume can also show that other investors agree with the buys or sells, the wisdom of the crowd – until the numbers take on a life of their own, momentum. Competing buys and sells indicate caution, or an opportunity, through another indicator, volatility.
Similarly, technical analysts use complicated charts to apply historical conditions to predict how a stock or markets will behave. Elaborate schemes of calls and puts, the right to buy or sell stocks without owning them, sound more like physics than economics. Then again, a few investors have thrown darts at the stock listings on the wall and have outpaced the experts.
Weather forecasting is also iffy. With satellites, weather stations, monitors, and gauges all over the country, the government website says a 7-day weather forecast is correct about 80 % of the time; a 5-day forecast about 90 %. However, a 10-day—or longer—forecast is only right about half the time. Fifty per cent.
What about a country, a society, a polity, a nation? Foretelling its future is not likely to beat weather forecasting. Too many variables, influences and unknowns. Who could predict events before they happen? Would people fly airplanes into buildings in New York? Sounds crazy. We spend billions in intelligence services to protect us (the actual number is secret). Yet they missed the danger of foreign nationals in Florida learning how to fly large jets, more interested in piloting them than landing them. Predicting the future of America, how appropriate the metaphor, is a shot in the dark.
The United States has entered a period, maybe an age, of reform. We have always had competing parties and philosophies in America, what Emerson called, the Party of Past and the Party of Hope. It’s the healthy competition that keeps the country vital and sharp. We talk about a pendulum of governance swinging too far in one direction and needs to be brought back to the center. It’s safe to say that the United States is a center right country, and that the present administration and its allies have brought us too far left, where the government directs its citizens, not the other way around.
A reform movement is bringing us back to the center and to the right. Conservative principles will reassert themselves in government and culture. As others have noted, politics is downstream from the culture. Conservatives must win the culture war to win the political war.
Progressives, the name adopted early in the last century, believe that they are on the side of evolutionary progress. Anyone who opposes their agenda must be regressive. Conservatives don’t want to return to the dial phone or women not allowed to vote; cell phones and the Internet are fine; and Republican women in Congress and in state governments have led the fight for conservativism.
Conservatives want to conserve those legacies from the past, represented by our Constitution, the basis for our freedoms. Without endorsing a religion, our Founding documents proclaim our rights come from a higher power than the state, and this premise or belief keeps our rights beyond the reach of secular power. Many of us thought this was settled. Not so. When Ronald Reagan warned that we are one generation away from losing our liberty, it was not hyperbole.
Here are three leading indicators for a conservative reformation.
MAGA. In 2009, the Tea Party came into prominence as a grass roots event, to catch the imagination of ordinary citizens to be engaged in politics. Hence, its populism. In Homeric epics, the warrior who steps forward from the ranks to challenge an opponent shows areté, excellence, or the act of living up to one’s full potential. When Rosa Parks refused to change her seat on that bus in Memphis, her courage inspired others and became part of the Civil Rights movement.
Many of the Tea Party issues are in the MAGA movement, with Donald Trump its leader. His example has inspired other leaders to join. In 2020, Trump received 74 million votes, ten million more than 2016, remarkable in that most presidents, such as Barack Obama, lose votes on a second run. The future also suggests more victories for the MAGA movement. NPR, no friend to conservatives, sees the growing trend toward the Republican Party in the “movement of nonwhite working-class voters away from Democrats … especially Hispanics.” The trend is our friend.
The Battle of the Locker Rooms. Transgenderism, that people can change their gender regardless of their biology at birth, is a new protected class. Recently, women must share locker rooms with biological men, who identify as women. Women are outraged and are speaking up. The fluidity of gender also means that women in sports must compete against biological men, an unfair advantage. That’s the Battle for Women Sports. Women complain to the government and the media about this injustice, for themselves and their daughters. Conservatives are on their side.
The Greg Gutfeld Show. This is a Freedom of Speech issue. Comedy depends on challenging orthodoxies and beliefs. Comedians complain that woke rhymes with no jokes, since leftists have no sense of humor. Jerry Seinfeld, among others, will not perform on college campuses because of hostility. So-called cancel culture is no fun. But the Greg Gutfeld Show is fun and viewers have voted with their attendance. Against his leftist, woke competitors on the other channels, Gutfeld’s show has taken over the lucrative 11 p.m. slot on national television. His success shows that conservatives can win the culture war, along with winning elections. ♦