A couple of days ago over on Facebook I posted a link to an essay by Sarah Hoyt entitled “We’re Not Going Back.” I strongly suggest you read the whole thing, as they say. Pertinent excerpt:
If you look at yourself and your opinions, in the last six years, you’ll see how much you’ve changed.
The biggest points in my change are:
A complete and utter distrust of the scientific establishment. I used to think that other than stupid cr*p like global warming, you could trust most of it. I was one of those people who would look up the official research and “the way things are done.” Not anymore. I’ve learned the limits of irreproducibility and also that most non-applied (and some applied like medicine) science is just “Shut up, they explained.”
A complete and utter distrust of our three letter agencies. Used to be that I looked at Heinlein saying that we had the worst intelligence services in the universe and go “well, I guess he’d seen some bad stuff.” Now? Now I look at it and go “You forgot self-serving, corrupt and partisan.”
A complete and utter distrust in centralized government. You know, it’s funny because I thought I already had that distrust. Turns out I was wrong. I still thought they had some sort of competence and ability to do things that benefited the country. Now? Now I think they’re as stupid and incompetent as they’re evil. Government should be as small and localized as possible. No. Smaller and more localized than that. No. Than that too.
A commenter at the FB post left this:
I read it. Every paragraph. Hoyt thesis that science is completely unreliable, that three letter agencies are our mortal enemy, and that centralized government is completely and utterly untrustworthy is total nonsense. It is short-sighted, selfish, and just plain dangerous.
People who think like Hoyt have very little understanding of the problems that we face as a nation or what the nation faces with the rest of the world.
Here is the person that I read: Nouriel Roubini. Pretty sobering stuff: I predicted the 2008 crash – these are the global ‘megathreats’ I can see now.
No need to read that, because I’m kinda gonna Fisk it.
So my interlocutor rejects Sarah’s position as “short-sighted, selfish, and just plain dangerous.” He is also a Champion of Democracy, or considers himself one based on his other posts and comments.
I don’t think so. Oh, I believe he thinks he is, but only because he hasn’t really considered his beliefs to their logical end, as I’ll explain using the op-ed he selected. Let us Fisk:
In the coming decades, the world faces megathreats that would imperil not just our global economy and financial assets, but also put at risk peace and prosperity.
Agreed. But as Agent K said in the original Men in Black, “There’s always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser, or a Corillian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable little planet….” Perhaps the dangers aren’t so interstellar, but we’ve been a couple of minutes from Nuclear Midnight my entire life, and most of the things we’ve been told to fear have been conquered or proven to be false. Even when they weren’t, humans overcame. It’s what we do. Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.
In our partisan political world, where we kick the can down the road – we are biased towards short-term planning and leave thinking about the future to others – these threats are something different. Left to grow, they will make life worse for people across the world. It is essential for the public good that these threats are not ignored by our leaders, but are acknowledged, taken seriously and countered – fast.
This is the “If we just had the right people in charge” appeal to authority. But we very seldom do.
Some of these megathreats are economic: the spectre of inflation and recession at the same time; the mother-of-all debt crises as private and public debt ratios hit historic highs; an ageing population that will crash our pension and healthcare systems, to name just three. In the years before the 2008 financial crisis, I correctly predicted that our virulent cycles of boom and bust would bring total economic meltdown. I fear we face that prospect once again.
And he’s hardly alone. Take, for example, this excerpt from George F. Will’s 2010 speach “Learned Feudalism” –
Calvin Coolidge, the last president with whom I fully agreed, once said that when you see a problem coming down the road at you, relax. Nine times out of ten it will go into the ditch before it gets to you. He was wrong about the one we now face. We are facing the most predictable financial crisis, most predictable social and political crisis of our time. And all the political class can do is practice what I call “the politics of assuming a ladder.” That’s an old famous story of two people walking down the road, one’s an economist the other’s a normal American, and they fall into a pit with very steep sides. The normal American at the bottom says “Good lord we can’t get out!” The economists said, “Not to worry, we’ll just assume a ladder.”
This seems to me what is the only approach they have to the Ponzi nature of our own welfare state. I think what it is time for us to understand, that the model that we share in a somewhat attenuated form so far with Europe simply cannot work. It is that on the one hand we should tax the rich, AKA the investing and job creating class, yet count on spending the revenues of investment and job creation. No one has explained to the political class that it is very dangerous to try to leap a chasm in two bounds.
You might want to read that one too while you’re at it. Our leaders aren’t ignoring the problem, they just aren’t taking any measures to correct it. They’ve got theirs. You’re on your own. As Teddy Kennedy was quoted as saying:
I’m glad I’m not going to be around when you guys are my age. … Because when you guys are my age, the whole thing is going to fall apart.
Back to Roubini:
Here is what economic crisis would look like this time. A global recession that will be severe – not short and shallow – as high debt ratios and rising interest rates cause a sharp increase in debt servicing problems. Defaults for zombie households, firms, financial institutions, governments and countries as central banks are forced to increase interest rates – not cut them as we have seen in recent decades – to fight inflation. Advanced economies such as the UK start to be priced like emerging markets after disastrous economic and fiscal policies, such as those from the short-lived Truss government. The bubbles of private equity, property, venture capital and cryptocurrencies will burst now that the era of cheap money is over.
Again, no disagreement here. It’s not like it hasn’t been predicted literally for decades. Ross Perot ran on a platform of stopping this in 1992 – and lost dramatically. More on this later, too. But the fact of the matter is, that which cannot go on, won’t.
But beyond these, our turbulent times present us with broader geopolitical megathreats to our way of being. The global backlash against liberal democracy and the rise of radical, authoritarian parties of the extreme right and left is in part driven by the sharp rise in income and wealth inequality. Workers feel left behind while elites gain wealth and power. This will worsen as jobs are lost, not because of trade and migration, but because AI, robotics and automation will lead to permanent technological unemployment. Left unchecked, this will surely see yet more dangerous, aggressive, populist regimes rise to power.
Now this paragraph I find interesting. He notes that there is a “global backlash against liberal democracy.” A backlash by whom? “Radical authoritarian parties of the extreme right and left”. Yeah, not so much. A whole bunch of us in the vast middle are pretty pissed off. From Angelo Codevilla’s “The Ruling Class: How They Corrupted America and What We Can Do About It” (also published in 2010):
As over-leveraged investment houses began to fail in September 2008, the leaders of the Republican and Democratic Parties, heads of major corporations, and opinion leaders stretching from the National Review and the Wall Street Journal on the right to The Nation on the left, agreed that spending some $700 billion to buy the investors’ “toxic assets” was the only alternative to the U.S. economy’s “systemic collapse.” In this, President George W. Bush and his would-be Republican successor John McCain agreed with the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama. Many, if not most, people around them also agreed upon the eventual commitment of some ten trillion nonexistent dollars in ways unprecedented in America. They explained neither the difference between the assets’ nominal and real values, nor precisely why letting the market find the latter would collapse America’s economy. In part because they deem the American people incapable of understanding such matters, in part because they do not understand them themselves, they failed to think these matters through for themselves. When dealing with the American people, as when dealing with children and animals, they promised rewards if their policies were implemented, and threatened doom if they were not. The public objected immediately, by margins of three or four to one. A January 2009 CNN poll found that 80 percent opposed the proposed measures.
When this majority discovered that virtually no one with a national voice or in a position of power in either party would take their objections seriously, that decisions about their money were being made in bipartisan backroom deals with interested parties, and that the laws on these matters were being voted on by people who had not read them, they realized that America’s rulers had become a self-contained, self-referential class. Then, after those in power changed their plans from buying toxic assets to buying up equity in banks and major industries but refused to explain why, when they reasserted their right to decide ad hoc on these and so many other matters, supposing them to be beyond the general public’s understanding, the American people started referring to those in and around the government as the Ruling Class.
It’s not “radical Authoritarians” on the Left and Right, it’s Joe and Jane Average who have discovered that the government doesn’t serve them, it services them in the animal husbandry meaning. That “sharp rise in income and wealth inequality” is primarily due to government regulations picking winners and losers. And the votes of Joe and Jane Average obviously don’t mean sh!t for the most part.
Also Codevilla (and I’m very fond of this quote):
The polls quantify what any observant person can see: the division between the Ruling Class and the Country Class has overwhelmed that between Republicans and Democrats. When pollsters ask the American people whether they are likely to vote Republican or Democrat in the next presidential election, Republicans win growing pluralities. But whenever pollsters add the preferences “undecided,” “none of the above,” or “Tea Party,” these win handily, the Democrats come in second, and the Republicans trail far behind. That’s because while most of the voters who call themselves Democrats say that Democratic officials represent them well, only a fourth of the voters who identify themselves as Republicans say the same about the Republican officeholders. Hence our rulers, both Democrats and Republicans, gladden the hearts of some one-third of the electorate—most Democratic voters, plus a few Republicans. This means that Democratic politicians are the Ruling Class’ prime legitimate representatives, and that because Republican politicians are supported by only a fourth of their voters while the rest vote for them reluctantly, most are aspirants for a junior role in the Ruling Class. In short, the Ruling Class has a party: the Democrats. But some two-thirds of Americans—a few Democratic voters, most Republican voters, and all Independents—lack a vehicle in electoral politics.
Sooner or later, well or badly, that majority’s demand for representation will be filled.
(Bold my emphasis.) Will it be filled by Authoritarians of the Left and Right? Roubini warns against “populist regimes.” Have you ever read the dictionary definition of “Populism”?
A political philosophy supporting the rights and power of the people in their struggle against the privileged elite.
Populism is what you get when your vote doesn’t mean anything anymore, when the “privileged elite” have manipulated the system until the populace has had enough. Could we devolve into an Authoritarian government? Could be, but it will be accomplished DEMOCRATICALLY.
You can vote your way into slavery, but you have to shoot your way out.
Back to Roubini, again:
More urgently, the conflict in Ukraine has increased the risk of a renewed cold war between the west and powers such as China, Russia or North Korea. The rising tensions between the US and China over Taiwan have peaked in recent months and could escalate further. The constant risk of conflict between Iran and Israel could yet destabilise us all.
Cold war? I’m worried about a hot one. If you owe another country billions of dollars, what better way to wipe that off the books than to go to war with them? The same Left that screamed that Trump was going to get us into nuclear war with North Korea, now pushes for nuclear war with Russia. Biden announces in a 60 Minutes interview that the U.S. will defend Taiwan.
And then there is the most pressing, most real megathreat of all: the global climate crisis, which will cause untold, irreversible economic and human disasters if it continues to be ignored.
And there it is: The Con$en$u$.™©® Let me quote again from that excerpt from Sarah’s piece:
A complete and utter distrust of the scientific establishment. I used to think that other than stupid cr*p like global warming, you could trust most of it.
For the Left, for the Ruling Class, Anthropogenic Global Warm… Climate Cha… Catastrophe is Gospel. It’s effectively a religion since Christianity has been eliminated. Yet a whole bunch of us aren’t worshipping at the altar, and though our reasons for that are pooh-poohed by the Warmists, they are valid questions. This is not the essay to delve into those arguments. I’ll just go with Glenn Reynolds’ observation:
When they start acting like it’s a crisis, I’ll start thinking it’s a crisis.
As an aside, this year’s United Nations Climate conference in Egypt is being attended by 400 private jets. Don’t talk to me about my carbon footprint.
Roubini once again:
It’s already at our door, of course. Natural disasters this year alone have resulted in millions of climate refugees. Droughts and heatwaves have swept across India and Pakistan, sub-Saharan Africa and the western United States. They are just a sign of things to come, yet the powerful are doing little to address it – most talk, and indeed most investment, is nothing more than green-washing, and green-wishing. It is not the urgent, tangible action we need.
Again: When they start acting like its a crisis… Get back to me when Martha’s Vineyard is submerged. Or they start building offshore wind farms there.
I’m going to skip the last three paragraph’s of Roubini’s piece except for this:
Here is one possible path for our future world: these threats materialise and feed on each other in a destructive loop, leading to economic chaos, instability, meltdowns and conflict worse than we already know. But there is another, less dystopian, future: one where domestic and international politicians cooperate on sound policies and solutions to ensure the continuation – however bumpy – of the half a century of peace and prosperity.
And there that is: World Government. He doesn’t use the words, but it’s strongly implied.
And for my interlocutor, Democracy will get us there! If only the Radical Authoritarians will let it! We will put the RIGHT PEOPLE IN CHARGE! We just have to get the gun hugging, bible-thumping, cousin-humping, knuckle-dragging, beer-swilling rednecks with IQ’s that match their number of teeth to vote like we tell them to!
Democracy would be wonderful if it weren’t for the voters.
From Steven Den Beste’s 2004 post Antipopulism:
Danish Liberal EU spokesperson Charlotte Antonsen questions the use of referenda as a useful way to build up European democracy.
The book – “Towards the European Constitution” warns that the EU could fall apart if the Danish practise of consulting the people in referenda over important EU treaties is copied by other member states.
“Referenda have a very conservative effect on development. If the other countries copy us, the EU will fall apart”, she writes.
Mrs Antonsen, a member of the Danish Parliament for the ruling Liberal party, argues that representative democracy is just as democratic as referenda.
“Referenda are in fact pure gambling. There is no guarantee of a positive outcome, unfortunately”.
Ms. Antonsen believes that “When people have the freedom to choose, they choose wrong. Every. Single. Time.”
And she is not alone. Time Magazine published a story after the 2020 election celebrating how the elites “fortified” and “saved” the election, preventing Donald Trump being elected again in another populist uprising.
How was this accomplished? “…a vast, cross-partisan campaign to protect the election–an extraordinary shadow effort….” – “Their work touched every aspect of the election. They got states to change voting systems and laws and helped secure hundreds of millions in public and private funding. They fended off voter-suppression lawsuits, recruited armies of poll workers and got millions of people to vote by mail for the first time. They successfully pressured social media companies to take a harder line against disinformation and used data-driven strategies to fight viral smears.”
They manipulated the law and propagandized the public, and while we cannot prove it in court, cranked up the fraud machine with corporate money behind it. Dr. Robert Epstein, Senior Research Psychologist, at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, has documented that Google algorithms shape public thought on political questions. He says “They can do it in any direction,” but they always do it towards the Left.
As Tom MacDonald said in his song “The System,”
Our democracy exists so that you think that you could choose
But our algorithms make you do what we want you to do
I had as a header to this blog back at Blogger this quote from Sultan Knish:
The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been “liberated” to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it’s because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it’s because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem.
“Democracy! Democracy! Democracy!” they cry. The election of The Wrong People will bring about the End Of Democracy!
No, the people decrying the Death of Democracy don’t want democracy. They want that Authoritarian government, but it won’t be radical because they will be in charge, and they are the Tolerant, Caring, and Inclusive people who know best. Now just climb into your capsule apartment, eat your cricket paste and take public transport to your assigned job tomorrow.
I’ve said it before, starting in about the 1960’s the Left became more and more convinced that the Right wasn’t merely wrong, mislead, ignorant. No, the Right was EVIL.
You don’t debate with Evil. You don’t negotiate with Evil. You don’t compromise with Evil. You placate Evil until you have the power to obliterate it. Anything and everything in the service of that path is, by definition, justified.
Seen at FB today:
In a Democracy, the majority rules. If the majority decided they wanted your bike, they could take it.
In a Republic, your bike is your property and you do not owe it to anyone. It cannot be taken against your will, by law.
America is a Constitutional Republic.
Therefore, the Constitution is the law under which we are supposed to be protected.
In a Republic, the individual is protected FROM the majority, by Constitutional law.
A Constitutional Republic is what we were given.
The story goes that when Benjamin Franklin left the Constitutional Convention at its conclusion he was asked, “Mr. Franklin, what kind of government have you given us?” He replied, “A Republic, if we can keep it.”
We failed. And we’re not going to get a Democracy. Algorithm by algorithm, ZuckBuck, BezosDollar, the DNC, the Corporate Media (but I repeat myself) – the entire (to paraphrase Hillary Clinton) Vast Leftwing Conspiracy as exposed in that Time article – is going to make sure that one of two things happens:
- We get a Rightwing populist uprising, or
- We get a Radical Leftwing Authoritarian government
Either way, it sure as hell won’t be a Democracy OR a Republic.
They don’t want Democracy, they want to be in exclusive control – for our own good. Because when people have the freedom to choose, they choose wrong. Every. Single. Time.
And we can’t have THAT!