Freeimages.com / Julia Borysewicz
Recently a friend asked me, “What do you think life and economics will be like in 100 and 200 years, if no catastrophe derails the progress of civilization and technological development?” To this question about the American Future, I replied,
As you might expect from what I have written in the past, I think your premise about civilization avoiding catastrophe to be problematic. Nevertheless, if I accept your premise, I would have to say I have very little clue. However, whatever its shape, the economy should be largely independent of government management and control. The reason why I expect this is that this is the only way your premise could be true. Without a free-market economy, government-induced catastrophe would inevitably hit us. Witness the economic stagnation of most of Western Europe and the United States over the past several decades, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, modern day Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, etc., etc.
Nevertheless, one can think of various possible trends for the American Future of differing plausibilities. Let us take a look at what I think are the more probable possibilities. Before we do that, however, let us think of the binding constraints reality puts on these thought experiments, and how we should go about conducting them.
The labyrinth connections of persuasion
(c) Can Stock Photo / focalpoint
The more things change, the more they stay the same. — Translation of a French epigram by Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr: “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”
Despite the kernel of truth in this famous epigram, the long sweep of history teaches us it is fundamentally false. About a millennium ago, the timescale on which human world views (weltanshauungen, religions, ideologies) were fundamentally changed was measured in centuries. In our time, however, with increasing connections between human minds offered by the internet and televised news, and with accelerating advances in science, this timescale has shortened to decades. It would be extremely expedient and opportune for us now to find yet another revolution in Western world views. The modern challenges the Western world faces are truly existential in nature. Neoliberal and progressive minds will have to adjust if we are to survive.
A 1795 view of political debates that could pass for today!
Wikimedia Commons / Issac Cruikshank (1756-1811)
This essay is a cri de coeur from yours truly about what I see as progressives’ unyielding idiocy about the nature of the world. I do appreciate that progressives would generally respond in similar fashion to people of my ilk, and that since the election of Donald Trump they have been giving ever greater vent to their own frustrations. Indeed, those of us who are neoliberals have been dumbfounded with amazement by progressives’ evident loss of sanity resulting from Trump’s election. Continue Reading…
Two faces of American populism
Left: Sen. Bernie Sanders(I-VT) during campaign event in Phoenix, Az. Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore
Right: Donald Trump during 2016 presidential campaign event. Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore
American elites appear to remain both stunned and bewildered by the results of last year’s elections, even after more than a year later. It is unthinkable, as they see it, that so many people should reject the obvious truths the elites proclaim. These are the intelligentsia, and the nation’s leaders in academia, entertainment, news media, business, and politics. How can such a large number of American voters repudiate them?
Hitler and Hermann Göring saluting at a 1928 Nazi Party rally in Nuremberg. This is the current progressive view of present day Republicans and “Conservatives”.
Source: National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized, Heinrich Hoffmann collection
What constitutes acceptable conversation for progressives appears to be moving continuously toward only that speech assuming the inhumanity of the Right. Unlike in the past, progressives assume not only are neoliberals (often mistakenly called “conservatives”) completely and woefully wrong, their views are so morally reprehensible, they should not even be discussed in a serious way publicly. With much of the “mainstream” media (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, etc., etc.) adopting this point of view, those on the political Right can expect a vigorous progressive campaign to shame them into submission.
Antifa combatants fighting with Trump supporters at Berkeley, California on August 27, 2017.
Youtube screenshot / The Red Elephants
The United States of America is unraveling as a society, in much the same way that the European Union is beginning to fall apart. Throughout the West, conflict is building between those who believe government is the answer to all social problems and those who believe government creates most of those problems. In the U.S. that conflict is becoming ever more violent. Those who believe in government, generally called “progressives”, are demonstrating increasing hatred toward those who do not, who are most accurately called “neoliberals” but often referred to as “conservatives.” Many neoliberals seem to mirror that hate.
An 1846 painting by George Caleb Bingham showing a collection of voters before a polling place. A polling judge is administering an oath to a voter.
Wikimedia Commons / George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879)
In my last two posts, the dysfunctional nature and enormous political problems of both the Republican and Democratic parties were examined. With division and discord in the Republican party, and a rush toward the political Left by the Democratic that alienates a growing fraction of the American people, how can legislative progress be made towards solving our increasingly serious problems? How can the electorate respond?
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), together with Democratic Senate and House leaders, announcing their “Better Deal” at Berryville, VA on July 24, 2017.
Screenshot from Newsy coverage.
Having taken a quick look at the Republican Party’s seemingly insurmountable problems in my last post, we should now consider the Democratic Party’s even more destructive, long-term problems. These difficulties are made all the worse by the fact most in the Democratic elites are unwilling even to acknowledge them.
Cumulative net migration to and from California to other states from 2004 to 2013.
The Sacramento Bee
An even greater disaster for American progressivism than the state of Illinois is the not-so-golden state of California.
The red state – blue state division of the United States as revealed by the presidential results of the past four presidential elections.
Wikimedia Commons / Angr
This week The Sacramento Bee reported additional evidence for the ideological balkanization of the United States. The newspaper of California’s capitol reported the state government is now banning publicly funded travel to four more states because the California government views those states’ laws or policies as discriminatory to gay and transgender people. The four new states on the list are Texas, Alabama, Kentucky, and South Dakota, all of which are red states according to the map above, i.e. Republican and neoliberal (aka “conservative”). Those four new states join Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee, similarly red states. As of now, I am unaware of any similar bans by red states against blue, i.e. predominantly Democratic and progressive states.
Union dead on the battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, photographed July 5 or July 6, 1863, by Timothy H. O’Sullivan
Wikimedia Commons / T. H. O’Sullivan
Essays speculating on the imminent beginning of a second American civil war are proliferating with the rising political violence by American Leftists and the recent assassination attempts on Republican lawmakers. All you have to do to find them is to do a Google search with the search phrase, “second american civil war 2017.” Could these posts be just hysterical overreaction, or is there a real possibility for such a catastrophe?
Painting of “The Ratification of the Treaty of Münster”. This is one of the treaties leading to the Peace of Westphalia, in which the concept of the modern nation state was defined.
Wikimedia Commons / Gerard ter Borch (1617-1681)
Today, I read a very thoughtful essay by a Wall Street Journal editorial writer, Sohrab Ahmari, based in London, on why international events have taken such a disastrous turn for the West. Entitled How Nationalism Can Solve the Crisis of Islam, its subtitle is “Transnational liberalism breeds resentments and anxieties that are only beginning to surface across the developed world.”
With that title and subtitle, you can already sense the beginning of an attack on the conceits of modern day multiculturalism.
The classic, arduous. time-consuming, and expensive way to access information!
A photo of a part of my library
A few days ago, I asked the question “How Can So Many See Such Different Realities?” in a post with the same title. A part of the answer comes from the observation that most of us think we know a lot more than we actually do. From long-term observation of my fellow human beings (I am currently 70 years old), I am firmly convinced this is a true statement even for the most erudite of us. It has certainly been true for me for more times than I would like to admit! In fact, it is almost certainly a condition that is impossible to avoid. In this post I would like to offer some suggestions on how to ameliorate the situation.
Everyone holds different pieces of the puzzle!
© CanStock Photo
I am endlessly fascinated by how we all ostensibly live in the same universe, yet we all see such different realities. On the one hand, this social condition allows little room for boredom. On the other, it causes many human beings to hate, despise, and even to attempt to kill each other.
The major French presidential candidates for 2017. From Left to Right:
Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Communist (Wikimedia Commons / MathieuMD),
Emmanuel Macron, Center-Left En Marche! movement (Wikimedia Commons / Ecole polytechnique Université Paris),
François Fillon, Center-Right Les Républicains (Wikimedia Commons / Marie-Lan Nguyen).
Marine Le Pen, Far right National Front (Wikimedia Commons / Foto-AG Gymnasium Melle)
This Sunday, the 23d of April, 2017, will see the first round of the French presidential election. The burning question it poses is: Will the many revolts of Western civilization against its leftist, dirigiste elite be continued with the French election?