NEXTnin The Kockford PapersnSurveying the American politicalnlandscape after the 1980 elections,none finds a decimated DemocraticnParty, internally dominated by its liberalnwing, yet incapable of recapturingnnational majorities with thatnagenda. On the Republicannside one finds a party dominatednby conservatives, yetnuncertain of its heritage andnunwilling to articulate a unifyingntheme that would explainnthe purpose behind itsnpursuit of political office. Evennas President Reagan attemptsnto articulate a new guiding theme, hisnefforts are denigrated by praising hisnmedia skills rather than his politicalnvision. While he speaks of a broad reconsiderationnof the purpose of Americannpolitics, his key advisors seek tonjettison the social issues of the 1980nRepublican platform. Nonetheless, thenparty manages to win Presidentialnmajorities, and is likely to continue tondo so as long as the Democrats remainnin disarray.nBetween the two major parties onenfinds a substantial number of Americansnwho are genuinely perplexed.nThey recognize the collapse of thenDemocratic Party’s political purpose:nits policies have been tried with uniformlyncounterproductive results. PresidentnCarter tried hard to defend thisnrecord, but the evidence of failure surroundednthe people who went to thenpolls in November 1980. As federalninvolvement has failed in our schools,nour cities and our families, federal noninvolvementnhas failed as a foreignnpolicy. When Reagan challenged thenAmerican people to ask themselves ifnthey were better off than they werenfour years ago, few could endorse thenstewardship of the Democrats undernJimmy Carter. The tone of the cam­npaign, however, attested to the weightnof the dead liberal dream. Americansnstill defined their degree of well-beingnin terms of New Deal-Great Societynnotions of progress, and very few appearnready to ask: “Progress towardnwhat?”nIn the face of this manifest failure,nthe Republican realignment cannonly start by capitalizing on the dissatisfactionnwith the opposition. Or-nFirst-place award winner in the NorthernnIllinois Advertising Council’s 1981 “RaddienAwards,” “Public Service/Public Relations”ncategory.nTo subscribe to The Rockford Papers, fill out and mail the attached business reply card.nnnganizing that dissatisfaction into annew dominant coalition will requirenovercoming several obstacles to a newnmajority.nThe most formidable obstacle to annew realignment is the privatizationnof the politicalnuniverse that has coincidednwith our decline into ethicalnrelativism. Within our legalnsystem, principles of naturalnlaw have been replaced bynthe processes of positive law.nThe moral inversion of thisnsubstitution results in a questioningnof all authority; power becomesnmerely a fleeting phenomenonnsubject to the fluctuation of dailynevents. People deny any standard ofnright conduct, and even majority influencenfails. Citizens are united onlynin their denial of any common moralnstandard, adopting a “Do your ownnthing” stance as a means to avoid thenquestions of what happens to a societynthat appears open to every aberration.nOne doubts that a great nationncan long endure in a condition ofnpolitical drift, that is, without a notionnof public purpose that involves anvision of the public good. A Reagannrealignment will have to give somennew direction to the common understandingnof “progress.”n-Edward J. Lynchn”Political Realignmentnof a Privatized Populace?”nThe Rockford Papers,nJuly 1981n