La Plus Ça Change

Hendrick Hertzberg pulls out an anti-Lincoln cartoon from the 1862 midterms at which the Republicans got a bit of a shellacking. I’ve just pulled a small sample of the image and posted it at right.

I think the evident similarities between aspects of political rhetoric today and 150 years ago highlights the extent to which the values-and-temperament debate between conservative nationalism and progressive cosmopolitanism is ultimately much more fundamental than the passing controversies over tax rates economic regulation. The basic anxieties provoked by threats to existing status hierarchies haven’t changed, nor have the rhetorical tools of countermobilization.