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April 10, 2019

Obama, Biden, Yoga Pants and the Ratchet Effect (EP.120)

Obama, Biden, Yoga Pants and the Ratchet Effect (EP.120)
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A ratchet is a device that allows something like a nut or bolt to be turned in one direction–but not in reverse. It allows movement in one direction only; it does allow for the object to remain stationary, but no reverse–no “going back.”

Isn’t that exactly what is happening almost all around us; in politics, religion, fashion, behavior and “what’s acceptable”, and in technology? In politics we are moving steadily to the left, in fashion and behavior ever more libertine, and technology continues to change our lives–for better and for worse. On the other hand, is education an area where the ratchet effect has us going backwards–not going forward?

For the next 10 minutes, we will talk about the ratchet effect in America.


Beginning with two-term Democratic PresidentWoodrow Wilson, 1913-1921, the Democratic party has been moving ever to the left, emphasizing more government responsibilities and fewer individual responsibilities. Democratic PresidentFranklin Roosevelt, FDR, 1933-1945, continued that trend. There were moments when the ratchet stopped moving to the left, but, I argue, it never reversed. Democratic Presidents, John Kennedy, JFK, 1961-1963, and Bill Clinton, 1993-2001, created short pauses, e. g., Kennedy’s tax cut and Clinton’s workfare. Republican President Ronald Reagan, 1981-1989, created something like a two-term pause–but no reversal. The most recent Democratic President, Barack Obama, 2009-2017, pushed the country leftward.

No Democratic Presidential primary candidate today would have any chance of being their party’s nominee if they advocated the then-winning policies of either FDR or JFK. And we are already seeing signs that Joe Biden, Obama’s two-term VP, might have an uphill struggle in his apparent effort to be the 2020 Democratic nominee. Why? I argue that the Democratic party has gone past wanting an “Obama Third Term” because the party has taken another leap to the left in just the past few years. Bernie Sanders ran to Hillary Clinton’s left for the 2016 nomination–and lost. Today his party is forcing even him further to the left, adding things like reparations to his platform to be competitive.

First-term Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) says former President Barack Obama’s promise of “hope and change” was just a mirage. She went further in her criticism by pointing out the “caging of kids” at the U.S.-Mexico border under the Obama administration. (Obama was called the “deporter-in-chief” by immigrant rights advocates for the record number of undocumented immigrants deported during his presidency.) As a capper, at least for now, Rep. Omar called out the “droning of countries around the world” under Obama. A 2015 report claimed that nearly 90% of people killed in recent drone strikes in the Middle East “were not the intended targets.”

There is a sudden appearance of women from Biden’s past, seemingly timed to coincide with his impending announcement that he will run for the presidency. They are coming forward with complaints about his having made them uncomfortable with his actions. These women represent the first round of  attacks Biden can expect if he runs for the nomination as expected. Yes, he is old, white, male and heterosexual; all the wrong things to be in today Democratic party politics of identity politics and intersectionality. But the big issue is that his politics are not at all sufficiently left. Sanders is also old, white, male and heterosexual, but his politics are acceptable to those who object to Biden’s.

Today’s Key Point: Politics are rapidly ratcheting left. Is that what you want? If so, then you need do nothing. If it is not okay with you, then you need to get moving and make a difference. And no more holding the line, no moreHoratius at the Bridgefighting a defensive battle; it is time to reverse the trend.

Are you in? What do you intend to do? I’d love to hear from you.

Okay, Will, what’s this business about yoga pants? This subject is brought forward to illustrate the point that the ratchet effect is operative in our lifestyles as well as in our politics. In the area of fashion, what’s acceptable in public, is it necessary to wear clothing that might have been put on with a butter knife in order to be comfortable and express personal freedom in clothing choices? In politics, is it necessary to make things like college, food, healthcare and housing free to individuals by arguing that those things are human rights in order to take care of those who well and truly need assistance?

Now it’s your turn; tell me; which direction–forward or backward–do you think we are headed in religion and education?

Segueing from the specifics of today’s topic to overall principles, the core, driving principles at Revolution 2.0, are:

  1. Personal Responsibility; take it, teach it and,
  2. Be YourBrother’s Keeper. The answer to the biblical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a ringing, unequivocal “Yes.” There is no other answer.

And do it all in love; without love, these are empty gestures, destined to go nowhere and mean nothing.

If we apply those two core principles, personal responsibility and brother’s keepers, simultaneously, never only one or the other, we will always be on the right path. Depending upon what we face, one principle or the other may appropriately be given more emphasis, but they are always acted upon together.

The Founders, Revolution 1.0, were declared traitors by the British Crown, and their lives were forfeit if caught. We risk very little by stepping up and participating in Revolution 2.0™. In fact, we risk our futures if we don’t. I am inviting you, recruiting you, to join Revolution 2.0™ today. Join with me in using what we know how to do–what we know we must do–to everyone’s advantage. Let’s practice thinking well of others as we seek common goals, research the facts that apply to those goals, and use non agenda-based reasoning to achieve those goals together. Practice personal responsibility and be your brother’s keeper.

Let’s continue to build on the revolutionary vision that we inherited. Read the blog, listen to the podcast, subscribe, recruit, act. Here’s what I mean by “acting.”

  • Read the blogs and/or listen to the podcasts.
  • Comment in the blogs. Let others know that you are thinking.
  • Subscribe and recommend that others subscribe as well.
  • Attach links from blogs into your social media feeds. Share your thoughts about the link.
  • From time-to-time, attach links to blogs in emails that mention related subjects. Or just send the links to family and friends.

Revolution 1.0 in 1776 was built by people talking to other people, agreeing and disagreeing, but always finding ways to stay united and going forward. Revolution 2.0 will be built the same way.

Join me. Join the others. Think about what we are talking about and share these thoughts and principles with others. Subscribe, encourage others to subscribe. Act. Let’s grow this together.

And visit the store. Fun stuff, including hats, mugs and t-shirts. Recommend other items that you’d like to see.

Links and References

Ratchet Effect (EP. 29)
Horatius at the Bridge


As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the blog with comments or questions about this podcast or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me onTwitter,Facebook, andLinkedIn. And you can subscribe to the podcast on your favorite device throughApple Podcasts,Google, orStitcher.

Now it is time for our usual parting thought. It is not enough to be informed. It is not enough to be a well informed voter. We need to act. And if we, you and I, don’t do something, then the others who are doing something, will continue to run the show.

Know your stuff, then act on it. Knowing your stuff without acting is empty; acting without knowing is dangerous.

Will Luden, writing to you from my home office at 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.