The Ghost Dance (Caddo: Nanissáanah, also called the Ghost Dance of 1890) was a new religious movement incorporated into numerous American Indian belief systems. According to the teachings of the Northern Paiute spiritual leader Wovoka (renamed Jack Wilson), proper practice of the dance would reunite the living with spirits of the dead, bring the spirits of the dead to fight on their behalf, make the white colonists leave, and bring peace, prosperity, and unity to Indian peoples throughout the region.There is a lot of ghost-dancing going on these days.
The basis for the Ghost Dance, the circle dance, is a traditional form that has been used by many Indian peoples since prehistoric times, but this new ceremony was first practiced among the Nevada Paiute in 1889. The practice swept throughout much of the Western United States, quickly reaching areas of California and Oklahoma. As the Ghost Dance spread from its original source, Indian tribes synthesized selective aspects of the ritual with their own beliefs.
The Ghost Dance was associated with Wilson's (Wovoka's) prophecy of an end to white expansion while preaching goals of clean living, an honest life, and cross-cultural cooperation by Indians. Practice of the Ghost Dance movement was believed to have contributed to Lakota resistance to assimilation under the Dawes Act. In the Wounded Knee Massacre in December 1890, United States Army forces killed at least 153 Miniconjou and Hunkpapa from the Lakota people. The Lakota variation on the Ghost Dance tended towards millenarianism, an innovation that distinguished the Lakota interpretation from Jack Wilson's original teachings.
Conservatives chant the old mantras of limited government, low taxes, and THE CONSTITUTION (their ghost-shirt) to resurrect Ronald Reagan and drive the godless heathens into the sea. Liberals screech about “Nazism” and “fascism” (neither of which survived World War 2) and pine for a newer, darker Franklin Roosevelt to confiscate all the guns and turn us into a Scandinavian social democracy. Both are hilariously backward-looking and inapt. A government with over 300 million people to tax is not going to be limited, and I don't care what you write into its charter. Low taxes mean nothing when the government just prints all the money it needs. Social democracy only works, assuming it ever works, so long as you have more net producers than net consumers and everyone puts their shoulder to the wheel. We no longer have the demographics, the mean IQ, or the cultural consensus for either ideal.
The world has changed but the hunter-gatherers don’t have a lot of attractive options when the farmers show up. So in the face of irrevocable change the conventional thinkers double down on their invocations and dance frantically to exorcise the demons polluting the land. The fly-over people, God bless them, saw that things had changed and voted for a coarse 70-year old billionaire who's never held public office.
Conservatives are an easier target for this critique since "conservatism" is, one might say, backward-looking by definition. But above all else one must be a realist; to be realist is to embrace truth. The Old Calendarists are an example of extreme conservatism, dutifully following a calendar which no longer reflects the actual movements of the God-created celestial bodies. Or Orthodox following an ecclesiology based on the administrative structure of an extinct Empire. But I digress.
It is noteworthy too how in the current political debates the liberals rely less on their traditional Year Zero rhetoric and more on a rehash of 1965, or 1933, or 1860, or even 1789, retconning Alexander Hamilton as America's First Black President. Of all things, it is now the nominal conservatives arguing for Year Zero, in the firm conviction that history has ended.
This is a titanic shift, and only myself and a few others are remarking on it. Here's the always excellent Z-man's contribution. (You'll have to click through, because he's disabled copy-pasta.)