Tuesday, November 15, 2016

1% Less Panic

OK. It took a week, but back to something at least resembling 1% of normal. Great and terrible predictions - which will inevitably be wrong. I'm still wholly pessimistic about the future of freedom and security (the two can only go together) in our sick country. I just think it's not going to break down just yet. The American system is stable enough that this is just the pre-echo of a true seizmic collapse, and I think the alt-right will be working towards undermining liberal institutions for the rest of our lives until they smash, and the moment they smash will be a magnified version of what we just experienced. Not to make light of it (though what else can we do...) but it's like Seinfeld says: "Breaking up is like knocking over a coke machine. You can't do it in one push. You gotta rock it back and forth a few times and then it goes over." To read the current mood of the country, think of 1890's. Every major country in the world was rocked by internal conflict and radicalism, every state clamped down on the rights of its citizens, every state exploited workers still more mercilessly, all of which reinforces each other and sets the stage for the grand finale of an age. It's still horrible, but it's not 100 million people thrown into a meat processor.
But to move these historical comparisons around a bit... We had one rock with the Bush administration, a McKinley like figure who plutocratized government and bullied smaller countries into wars. The country was traumatized enough by it that they skipped over a Teddy Roosevelt-like figure (someone who keeps the bellicosity but reforms the plutocracy - McCain?) to elect Obama - who is very much a Woodrow Wilson-like figure (odd how Wilson becomes persona non grata to left-of-center people at the very moment his true successor appears) - an acme of progressivism for his time, a fervent believer in soft power and negotiation, the creator of a rough draft what eventually has to, and will, be adopted, if only for a time. No World War I under Obama though. The second rock, still more dramatic, will be Trump - a man of Harding's incompetence and Coolidge's unwillingness to govern. Fortunately, eight years, let us hope only four, of Trump will not bring us a permanent dictatorship, but it will probably bring us a depression in which the economy must be utterly restructured, which, thanks to automation, was probably coming anyway. Hopefully, the environment will hold out until some administration and legislature can restructure everything the way government did in the days of Lincoln and Roosevelt, but the only way you can truly restructure the world is when there's a disaster to precipitate the restructuring. On the other hand, if there's an environmental disaster after government is restructured. or if the debt ceiling collapses, or if just a moderate portion of the debt itself is recalled, in a more progressive, socialist, fashion, the entire system of government we have could collapse right as it starts to work as liberals and people left of us always hoped it would. Or, perhaps it's the luck of the draw and an economic depression will give us something still worse than Trump - a competent Trump.
The Twenty-First Century just began, and it'll be a ride like any other historical period folks. It will get worse, but I still think it will get worse gradually and only explode when our children are our age. We all may be able to enjoy ourselves on the way down..., and for those who make it to the other side, they'll know what it is like to experience hope again. We salute you.
Of course, I could be wrong. Most of this probably is: "If it be now, ’tis not to come. If it be not to come, it will be now. If it be not now, yet it will come—the readiness is all."

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