More About the Obligation of the Electoral College as Voting is About to Start
The U.S. Electoral College: Kingdom-Killing Horseshoe Nail
or the Horse Lost Because of It
Donald Wright Patterson, Jr., December 17, 2016
The people in the U.S. nation and the world need to see something simple and fundamental right now: they need to see a national manifestation of basic humanitarian values. They need to see a repudiation by the Electoral College of the horrific behavior Donald Trump repeatedly and continuously used to win votes, and they also need to see repudiation of the corporatist myopia Hillary Clinton embraced to curry favor with the big money dominating the U.S political system and important to her ability to finance her presidential campaign. Both have compromised their ability to serve the needs of the people ahead of the interests of the plutocratic oligarchy.
The majority of the people want a political system that works to serve the public interest, but they have repeatedly chosen presidents of both major parties who will not give it to them even when change has been promised during the campaign. Every four years, the people have continued to invest faith in candidates who fail them in one way or another, sometimes by not explaining in advance the serious opposition they will face in fulfilling their promises. The last president who might have served the public need without also capitulating to plutocratic, corporate oligarchs was John Kennedy. Because he spoke about his ideals, and because he was hated in some places as much or more than Hillary Clinton, he was assassinated. Since then, other presidents and candidates have constrained their behavior whether or not they made promises they would or could not fulfill.
If people think Lee Harvey Oswald killed Kennedy, they have not investigated the evidence as every citizen should do. He was a convenient patsy who knew too much to be able to walk away from the conspiracy, and the Warren Commission orchestrated a cover-up for political reasons. The assassination of Robert Kennedy was more of the same, and it advertised again to future candidates what they could and could not do. Since then, the U.S. people have not been in control of their government, and if things continue as they have over the past half-century they likely never will be. Already, through his appointments, Donald Trump has shown they will not—at least not if the Electoral College allows him to become president. Trump has quickly shown he will not be president of all the people. He will do what he wants to do according to his own values, and he will impugn those who do not like it. He has shown he is not a democrat. Clinton would probably not be as bad, but she also probably would not be good enough either.
Both Trump and Clinton have shown in their own different ways they want to ally themselves with the interests of the plutocratic oligarchy ahead of the people. They both, in somewhat different ways, believe in the trickle-down ideal which serves the elite first and believes the people will be best served when the elite are able to deliver benefits to everyone else. For one example, Clinton’s defense of Obamacare shows her belief in an elite-centric healthcare system, and Trump has similarly shown his clear allegiance to fossil fuels. Both ideas are economically and socially regressive in putting the interests of the plutocratic oligarchy ahead of the people. Many other examples could be cited to show how progress will not be advanced.
Especially needed right now are 7% of the elected representatives to the Electoral College to stand up against the atrocious bigoted, violence-promoting, hateful, white nationalist behavior that allowed Donald Trump to win even one vote from the U.S. people. If 37 electors do stand up for basic standards of human decency and the rule of just and honorable law, then it might be possible for the United States to begin to redeem itself in the eyes of the world. If they do not do that, the United States will be seen around the world as part of the problem, not part of the solution.
Clinton will not be nearly good enough, but she would be better than Trump if the United States wants to retain its standing in the world. Even though she will make errors, she will not be as much of a loose cannon on the world stage. The Electoral College can choose anyone they want to be president and vice-president. They could choose Oprah Winfrey or Martin Sheen if they wanted to, but if they do their job as the Constitution intended, they are most likely to choose the candidate who won the popular vote. That would happen because they recognize the more democratic U.S. values now dominant in the United States and not yet ascendent when the Constitution was written. They do not get perfect candidates to choose from any more than the voters have, but it is important to figure out who is better and who is worse. That is the obligation of the Electoral College especially when voters fail at it and must be protected from their mistaken judgment.
Just because this protection has not been needed in the past or has been abused sometimes does not mean the Electoral College should not take their job seriously in 2016. Much more is at stake now than ever before. The risks from leadership failure by the United States would not have been imaginable even a few years ago. The world was completely different even when Bill Clinton was elected in 1992, but partly because he lacked the vision to rise to the challenge of his time, the situation is now much worse.
Many issues disqualifying Trump to be president have been widely discussed and illuminated by others, so they will not be stated again, but all the electors should do their homework on this subject. Nonetheless, to put it in a nutshell, he has undermined virtually everything essential to making democracy functional, and in that he shows disdain for it. His voters have joined him in this destructive enterprise without taking any civic or moral responsibility for making U.S. democracy work better for everyone.They prefer to see it blown up, and they have made that clear through behavior.
If the electors think they need more time to investigate and deliberate, they should postpone their vote, and they should be supported in doing that. The right decision is more important than a quick decision. President Obama can stay in office a bit longer if that is necessary. The abject anti-democratic failure by the Supreme Court in 2000 should not be repeated. Too much is at stake to risk a major error once again. The sophistry of that decision should have been seen as virtually treasonous the same as the non-stop behavior seen in 2016 from Donald Trump. Both have showed no respect for values that should be basic in the United States. Central to those values should be the basic importance of honorable and honest election integrity.
If the electors do not do everything required of them under the original constitutional intention (even though it was not clarified in the language of the Constitution as it should have been), dysfunction will be confirmed the same as it has been through the failings of the rest of the government over many recent years. Also likely to be confirmed by failure in 2016 is the money-subservience of the Electoral College. They could very likely be subject to the same money pressures as the rest of the government. Some reports have been heard about attempts to intimidate the electors by Trump supporters, and that adds to the threats likely to be felt even more if Trump is made president. Hopefully, the electors will not be intimidated. Instead, they must be supported as they deliberate to determine their duty.
The electors should also have time to investigate the allegations about the Russian hacking, the uncertain behavior by FBI director Comey in reopening the Clinton e-mail investigation right before the election, and all other issues surrounding the conduct of the election, including the failure of scanners to correctly read ballots, the voter suppression tactics observed in some states, the failure to count some ballots in some states, and any other issues believed important to knowing if the election was honorably conducted without partisan excesses by either side or by their supporters.
If the inauguration of the president-elect should be postponed to give the Electoral College more time, that should be requested before the vote is taken. Prudence is important, and especially so because it was not shown by the partisan majority of the Supreme Court in 2000. Beyond that, the electors should be able to share their thoughts with each other either by gathering in a central place or by being provided with a secure video conferencing connection to work together for as long as necessary before they vote. Nothing in the Constitution prevents them from taking the time they require to do their job carefully, and extraordinary realities do now require it. They should also be provided with research resources as needed.
If, in the end, the electors believe a new election should be held, they should say that even though the House of Representatives is the final decider of the election outcome. The constitutional duty of the electors is to protect the republic and to prevent the United States from becoming an international pariah and no longer a nation the world can look to for wise, responsible leadership. The Trump appointments, so far, reinforce the need for careful scrutiny of all the issues and a careful, thoughtful decision by the electors.
If the electors decide the president-elect and his appointees are aimed to take the nation backward or in any other wrong direction, they have an obligation to do something about it. That is the purpose for which the Electoral College was created. The electors should also recognize the sad truth that appointments made by Hillary Clinton might likely be only modestly better. Trump has shown he is beholden to retrograde forces adverse to the national interest while Clinton might be somewhat more willing to stand up against these forces. When he selected 17 cabinet members with a combined wealth reportedly equal to a third of the U.S. people, no one should be confident about the broad beneficial results.
The electors should be empowered to hold hearings if they feel that is needed. They should be able to hold discussions with any presidential or vice-presidential candidate they are considering. This would be necessary to the process of making a fully prudent and wise decision on behalf of the nation and the world. The people of other nations have a very large stake in the decision made by the United States; their interest should not be ignored just because the Constitution gives them no votes in the election. If U.S. leadership fails them, they might feel required to intervene against the U.S. through the United Nations or in some other way. Sovereignty would soon be found to have limits if the effects of it are powerful and dangerous on many people in many other nations. As it is between people, freedoms must have limits when they impair the rights and freedoms of others.
Just as some appointments and decisions made by President Obama served corporate interests ahead of broad national and international interests and failed to show bold, future-engaging leadership even when effort was made to provide incremental improvement (as was the case with Obamacare), the president chosen in 2016 must be a person committed to prudent and cautious wisdom in the broad public interest, not to flagrancy. All political leaders must be responsive to the power of money in politics, or they will see it used against them or their party in one way or another. This is a governing reality, and it cannot be wished out of existence. It can only be changed through organized political effort by millions of people.
President Obama hoped slow incremental progress would be enough to satisfy voters in 2016, enabling them to support the election of Hillary Clinton, but that did not happen sufficiently in all states, especially not among rural voters. Rightly or wrongly, the U.S. system gives power over the outcome of presidential elections to the states, not to the voters on the basis of one-man-one-vote. If the system should change, the people will need to become better organized to make it happen. Those with a stake in the current system will not do it, and a majority of the states do now have a strong vested interest in keeping the present system. The majority of the voters do not feel that way according to polling, but leaders, especially the Republican leaders, in the majority of the states clearly do.
Even with polls showing many people wanting the system to be changed, passive support from citizens will never be enough to change it. It must be actively demanded to the point change cannot be resisted. At the very least, if one-person-one vote is an important democratic principle to the U.S. people, they should require the elimination of the two at-large electors from each state because that skews the relative power of the small states in the Electoral College. For example, it gives voters in Wyoming 3.5 times the power of voters in California. If the at-large electors had been eliminated before 2016, Hillary Clinton would have won the Electoral College easily. She only lost because of the superior voting power of the rural states where she had less support, or where various manipulations lowered the Democratic vote count. (A report about this by Greg Palast is at: http://www.gregpalast.com)
Even this strongly democratic change in the system will not be easy given the way amendments to the Constitution must be ratified. Most states throughout the South and the Midwest will most likely want the status quo to persist. Changing that will take a groundswell of voters, much more than the 55% that reportedly turned out to vote in 2016. Probably, the percentage was higher than that, because of all the known uncounted ballots and other voting issues. The issues in Michigan and Wisconsin are now understood, but they are not likely to have been the only states were vote suppression occurred.
Nonetheless, a factor in the lower rural support for Hillary Clinton is likely to have been a result of a failure by President Obama to pay attention to the needs of rural people. Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack had raised the issue, but it did not get attention. The neglect resulted because more votes reside in the cities and the suburbs, but that voting power is not reflected in the Electoral College because the two at-large electors counter-balance it. At least, they can do that in close elections of the kind that a closely divided electorate have caused. More such elections are likely in the future. The Republicans have been able to figure out what they need to do to swing elections, but they must be fairly close elections. They have been refining the art at least since 2000 in Florida and 2004 Ohio, but some of the tactics go back a long time before that. Some recall the Jim Crow South.
In 2008 and 2012, the Obama wave was too strong for them to counter, but 2016 was close enough to allow their project to work again and in more than just one state. Maybe four states, but maybe also many more than that. More research is needed to fully know the full scope of the project. That will take both time and money, and some may want suppress the investigation just as they did when Palast’s research and reporting in Michigan was cancelled by the publication that originally wanted to cover the story. Maybe some powerful interest exercised intimidating leverage over the issues being raised by the election recount.
Despite relatively high approval ratings recently, President Obama did not do enough over eight years to meet the needs of rural people, and that helped to empower a rural rebellion against Hillary Clinton. She represented more of the same failure to address rural need, and she did not explain to voters how she would do differently. Farming and rural development issues were not her strength any more than they were a strength of President Obama, and they did not come up in any of the debates. They both require particular effort especially when the House of Representatives is tilted heavily toward the interests of cities and suburban areas. Add to that all of the partisan roadblocks imposed against President Obama, and that shows even more all the ways he was prevented from being effective at serving many marginalized constituencies.
The unemployment statistics do not show all the people who have left the workforce out of discouragement over their prospects, but rural people can see that impact in their communities. They know the real unemployment rate for them is greater than 5%. It varies by location, but some places would be as high as 20% or more. The over-all rosy picture painted by the White House hides these realities and the pockets where they are felt.
For partisan reasons, the Republicans wanted to do everything they could to prevent President Obama from providing effective national leadership, but even so, he could have done much more if he had the required vision and knowledge about the impending electoral perils 2016 delivered on the Democratic party in the presidential contest and in congressional races. That knowledge in advance would have caused an adjustment of priorities.
Because of his failures, and despite some valuable accomplishments, President Obama will be seen by history much like President James Buchanan. Neither could provide sufficient leadership to prevent division and impending national catastrophe caused largely as a result of it. Like Obama, Buchanan went with the political flow of his era without altering it in the ways that would have been needed to prevent the Civil War. That would have required much more vision than President Buchanan was able to provide. He was a Democratic Federalist just as is President Obama. That philosophical perspective is a source of the failure by both.
A shooting war is not likely in the 21st century, but the division existing in the nation is much like the division that existed before the Civil War, and partisans are still promoting it for their own advantage. That could be seen in the way Donald Trump conducted his campaign. He was divisive on purpose despite the impact it would have on the national ability to unify afterward. Partisans in the South before the Civil War were similarly divisive to try to protect their economic interests and the role of slavery in those interests.
The original Federalists in 1787 gathered in Philadelphia to write the U.S. Constitution because they wanted to propose a centralized, federal elite-managed government able to protect the established economic interests of their time against the destructive influences of too much allegedly unwise and divisive democracy. The Electoral College was one of the implements they put in place to help them achieve their objective. It was intended to protect against unwise and poorly informed voters electing the wrong president, and the founders would probably be amazed to know it has not been needed more often than it has. They would probably be less surprised to know that divergencies between the electoral vote and the popular vote have always been resolved in favor of the more Federalist of the two candidates. That would have been as they had intended or hoped.
Their system has worked modestly well over two centuries because the people and the plutocratic oligarchy have had many overriding interests in common, but it does not work any longer since those interests have become widely divergent and the interests of the oligarchy have become abusive against many people. The great tragedy now is that many voters imagined a candidate like Donald Trump would possibly be the one the fix the trouble. During the campaign, he made it seem as if he would. Many were persuaded by what he said, but the way he has filled his cabinet makes that prospect doubtful. Republicans have ideological answers to many needs, but just as many or more economists, including even conservative economists, have major doubts about his stated proposals.
Now, in 2016, if 37 electors would refuse to ratify the election of Donald Trump and shift their votes to Hillary Clinton, they would create a deadlock in the Electoral College. That would throw the election into the House of Representatives, and the same opportunity to do right or to do wrong would be put in front of that body. The decisions by both could determine whether the United States can move forward wisely into the future or retroactively into the past. They could decide whether the United States will remain as a world leader or move instead to remove itself from the world stage as other former leading nations have done in the past. The results of their process will either be in step with the rest of the world or out of step. If it was out of step, many others nations would no longer want to be led by the United States. U.S. world-wide prestige would suffer.
Similarly, various nations in Latin America have sometimes held out the promise of positive regional leadership only to regress into exploitation, chaos, and abuse of their own people for private gain. The United States has that same opportunity now. It must decide which way it is going to proceed and which kind of example it is going to set for many emergent democracies to follow. The difference is that the United States is on the world-wide stage, not just in a regional arena. In the past, under the Monroe Doctrine, the United States had a major regional leadership role, but that has been compromised by failed U.S. leadership over recent decades. Most Latin American countries no longer accept leadership from the United States. They do not view the United States as their respected big brother anymore.
The U.S. Electoral College decision will impact not just the United States but also the future of many other nations around the world. As part of deciding the values to favor on behalf of the U.S. people, the Electoral College will decide which nations the U.S. will ally with and which nations it will stand up against. Because of the Trump campaign rhetoric about Russia, one poll showed nearly 40% of Republicans favor building closer relations with Russia. The change probably does not result because voters became more thoroughly informed about Russia. Maybe unwittingly, the new preference will be either supported or rejected by the decision the electors make, and accordingly, many nations will decide how they want to relate with the U.S.
No doubt the preference of many Republicans emerged because they see the Russian leader as the same kind of strongman they have wanted to put in place as their leader in the United States, but decisions and preferences have consequences that are often unforeseen. That has been true in the past, and the basic principle will not be overruled now. The Trump administration seems likely to form a Washington-Moscow axis with the promotion of fossil fuel development at the heart of it. The electors should be able to see enough to decide if they want that or if they want a different energy policy more reliant on the now cheaper alternative resources and more beneficial in addressing global warming and increased climate chaos.
The 7% of the Electoral College can be viewed like the famous horse shoe nail or at least the horse that was lost because of it in the famous proverb of unknown, ancient origin. Either the electors will accept the responsibility the Constitution gives them, or they will take the easy and less responsible course, rubber stamping the state vote whether or not foreign intervention, voter purges, and other voter suppression tactics enabled it to result as it did. The outcome of the decision will also determine U.S. public perspective toward the Republican Party in the future. Because they possess a majority of the electoral votes, dominance in the federal government, and control over many states, the Republicans cannot escape the judgment made by future historians make about their behavior, ideals, policies, and values.
The vote for president in the House of Representatives would be viewed the same way as the vote by the Electoral College. Both could determine whether the United States is flushed down the rathole of history, maybe alongside the entire future of human civilization. That seems likely to be the result as long as the press, the media, and many others have been willing to normalize the election of Donald Trump without regard for multiple, extensive humanitarian and moral failings and still mostly verbal atrocities against non-white minorities, handicapped people, prisoners of war, members of the media, and even the U.S. intelligence services (over their assessment about Russian e-mail hacking).
At least, so far, the bigotry and abuse has been mostly only verbal, but soon, it could become more tangible with a strong sense of white entitlement. The behavior should embarrass every U.S. citizen much more than the private moral behavior and public denial of it by President Clinton nearly two decades earlier. As is commonly the case, the cover-up back then was worse than the behavior causing it, but the private part of the behavior was bad enough for the leader of a major world power to be widely embarrassed because of it. It also affected Hillary Clinton’s later standing with U.S. voters.
History might have unfolded much differently if President Clinton had resigned in humility instead of requiring the nation to withstand an embarrassing impeachment process. Hillary Clinton might have helped to influence that decision if she had wanted to. Even if they both thought Bill Clinton was right in everything he did, they could have foreseen the destructive impact for the nation if he continued in office and the impeachment process went forward as it did. Instead, the Clintons seemed only to care about preventing Republicans from driving them out of the White House after many years of continuous effort. Saving the nation from trauma was not the major issue for them, but a price was paid for the decision even if it was justified from the point of view of civil justice.
A price was also paid for the Republican behavior. The issue for them was entirely partisan because tactics were aimed at discrediting the Clintons and by extension the Democratic Party. The final victory gained by the Clintons was largely pyrrhic, but even in their loss, the Republicans made gains in the eyes of their own base, and that helped them win the Presidency in 2000. The nation would have been better off if Bill Clinton had resigned, and that might have made it easier for Hillary Clinton to be elected president in 2016. At least, she might not have been as strongly blamed for defending her husband, attacking his accusers, and the Clinton soap opera would not have rested so painfully in the public mind.
If Bill Clinton would have allowed Vice President Gore to accede to the presidency, Gore’s reelection could have been more likely in 2000. It could have also allowed him to gain the experience and the empathy to overcome his ultimately fatal weaknesses as a presidential candidate. That might have enabled victory in Tennessee or New Hampshire if not more states than that. If that was possible, he would not have needed Florida. If he could have been reelected, that could have helped the nation avoid the failings and international tragedies of the Bush-Cheney administration. The events of 9/11 might still have occurred at some point, but they would likely have been handled much differently. Many related matters would not have arisen as they did.
In the end, Clinton’s failure was a failure of moral judgment, and the projected likely failure of the Electoral College in 2016 to stop the election of Donald Trump could be understood as a similar moral failure of many more richly destructive dimensions than the Clinton moral failure. Part of the hypocritical reality is the willingness of those who were most harsh against Clinton’s behavior to show no concern about Trump’s much more richly shameful record. The same attitude caused greater harshness against Hillary Clinton, and from that everyone could know again that facts do not matter to those who are willing to throw anything up against the wall just to see what will stick—or to put the adversary defensively on their back foot.
If the Clinton behavior had been different in response to the exposed prosecutorial revelations and the Clinton court denial, then a similar failure by the Electoral College and even the voters two decades later would have been less likely. A better standard might have been established. The prior experience would have helped to establish a national political standard necessary to retain international respect in a globalized world, but the acquittal by Senate made that less likely. That prevented important lessons from being learned. Nonetheless, an even bigger legalistic issue exists at the core of the past failures and the immediately likely future failure by the political system and the Electoral College. This is a failure of the U.S. legal profession as well as others long laboring to sustain the rule of law.
A certain conceit, especially among lawyers, suggests the rule of law can take the place of the need for moral and humanitarian values and the interpersonal relationships that are unequivocally essential to functional democracy. This conceit overlooks the reality that much of the law has come to serve the interests of the plutocratic oligarchy at the expense of the people. That should have long been a national political embarrassment, but instead it reinforced the Clintons in doing as they did. Legal victory for them in the Senate was more important than the impact on domestic and international relationships or cultural values.
The same lawyerly attitude is also likely to reinforce the Electoral College in doing what they are most likely to do. They are likely to be similarly blind to the international moral implications of what they do. In that, they could be like the keystone car that causes urban gridlock except that they will cause world-wide political gridlock and a likely disruption of the world order.
The problem is: the legal conceit especially among lawyers is reinforced by law schools. It is part of teaching students to “think like lawyers,” and it happens at the expense of thinking like human beings with all the moral and humanitarian attitudes people must feel in a democratic culture no matter their professional responsibilities. Because lawyers are the most prominent profession in most legislatures, the Congress, and elsewhere in government, the same affliction that prevented the Clintons from being motivated by a moral imperative has also harmfully motivated many others.
The same lawyerly values motivated House Republicans to bring impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton even though other presidents before him, including John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, had been guilty of much worse philandering without having been forced to lie before a court about behavior long accepted as a private, personal prerogative. For example, President Kennedy is reported to have had prostitutes with him commonly when he traveled without his wife. He also has been widely reported to have pursued many extramarital relationships.
If the rules of the moral game were to have been changed, they should not have been changed as part of a partisan project to discredit a political adversary. They should have been a subject of legislation, so notices could have been posted about the change in the previously permitted values, and after the fact, in the absence of fair preliminary process, legislation should have been written affirm the new standards, but that did not happen either. That would have allowed future candidates to know what was to be expected of them. If everyone could have known the rules without ambiguity, that could have helped to make future hypocrisy impossible.
With clear guidelines for measuring the behavior of a candidate like Donald Trump, a formal yardstick for measuring his performance could have been inescapable, but needless to say that did not happen. Most hypocritically, many people would not want it to happen. If the Congress had been conscientious about the issue and lawyers had been serious about their need to set moral guidelines allowing everyone to understand the basic expectations of candidates, events would have happened differently. Even if the Congress did nothing, some other group, maybe even the Bar Association, would have written down the new guidelines. For lawyers, this could have been a step toward living up to the still hypocritical conceit suggesting law can abrogate the need for moral and humanitarian values in the essential human and community relationships democracy requires.
If such a process had been engaged, then the Electoral College would have clear written guidelines to help them know what they should do in the case of the behavior exhibited by both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as well as all other candidates. When nothing like that was advanced after the Clinton experience, the rules of the game were left unwritten and people were allowed to do as they wanted as long as they did not get caught at their failure to fulfill some unspoken standard no one seemed to want to clarify.
The intentional hypocrisy of the systemic failure was stunning in its omission, commission, and violation of principles set commonly by all religions. The failure impaired the quality and integrity of the U.S. international democratic example, and now the decision by the Electoral College is likely to make the set example much more shameful than it already is. If the Electoral College does as is widely expected, it will be yet another illustration of the long-standing U.S. democratic dysfunction.
The Congress and the entire political process should be blamed much more than the electors and especially so if the members of the Congress would want to point fingers at everyone except themselves. Ultimately, of course, in a nominally democratic nation, the people are to blame because they could have demanded much better from everyone. Everyone has been AWOL or MIA. As a result, the prospective failure by the Electoral College will also fall on all of the people without any reasonable reprieve for any of them, including, of course, the elected representatives, the appointed judges, the Bar Association, all law schools in the nation, and many other institutions. They all have an obligation to set standards and to also put national unity and policy consensus ahead of partisanship most of the time.
The electors also need to recognize that national values are more broadly democratic in 2016 than they were in 1787. Because of that, one-person-one vote is more important than it was when the Constitution was written. Back then, the only voters were a tiny minority made up of white male property owners. If white supremacy is as important to the Trump program as it has been presented to be, some may want to go back to that time, but if they succeed, they will be reversing the tide of history. Not only that, they will disconnect the United States from the aspirations and hopes of most of the world’s people.
They will prevent the nation from ever being great again except maybe in the grandiose partisan delusions of those who have only delivered U.S. moral self-isolation. They will be much the same as the regressive, fearful Brexiteers in Great Britain and in other defensive right-wing movements. They will be preferring withdrawal into brackish antiquarian backwaters. They will retreat from engaging with the central challenges of the future.