In the context of the standard model, I got the impression that gauge field theories are considered fundamental, and effective field theories can be derived from them for certain energy scales.
But could it also be the other way around, that sometime in the future we find a non-gauge theory that has a set of apparent tuning parameters, of which the masses and the coupling strengths of the current standard model derive (at least around some operating point)?
As a visual example: fluid dynamics is an effective field theory when the fluid is viewed as being composed of atoms and molecules. But could it be that we once find out that elementary particles can be described more fundamentally by a kind of "fancy" generalization of fluid dynamics?
As a further motivation: think of the dual superconductor model of QCD or Gamow's liquid drop model of the nucleus . What if nuclear physics had stopped there? And who can say when it's time to stop looking for more fundamental theories?
Is there some compelling argument against such kind of speculation?