The Saturday before Thanksgiving Follies — 2017
The fog of inertia hides increasingly radical change
Things are getting increasingly strange. There is a strange fog of calmness laying over the Western World while China rises to power before our eyes and Africa churns. There’s some churning in South America also. I’m not addressing the churning mostly from ignorance but primarily as churning is directionless. The planetary issue is the fast changing leadership.
The connected Brexit-Trump disasters of 2016 traumatized us all and triggered so many pending changes that we have all been scrambling for understanding or panicking at the obvious accelerating decline. Really 2017 has been lost to waiting for the other shoe to drop. The majority of people desperately want a return to sanity and counter to the obvious stupidity of both Brexit and Trump. Meanwhile neofascist political movements have appeared in many countries under the vague label of populism promoting racist xenophobia with no pretense of rationality. The other shoe for the majority would reverse the last twelve months and allow some needed corrections to globalization.
Depending on where you are there a versions of the other shoe but they are mostly fake news from the shaky neofascists. They don’t know where they are going and are afraid they may get what they asked for. There are the hard core with wild eyes and/or religious convictions who are threat to everyone. No one knows, yet, what to do with those folks. The confusion is easily seen in the pending collapse of the Brexit negotiations and the complete collapse of the US Republican Party that can’t even destroy itself successfully. At least Trump and his opportunist criminals knows what he wants and is determined to loot everything he can get. The Republican leadership like the idea of looting for their owners but are do completely lost they don’t really know where to start and its obvious they would lose everything if they hadn’t completely corrupted the electoral system.
The result, and I will focus primarily on the US as the biggest loser in this, is noises and rumblings, rumors, and periodic panics all going on under this fast blanket of inertia. Mueller is nailing the fringe who are singing like birds and Trump is increasingly irrational. Everyone simply watches and waits and rides their favorite hobby horse. Caitlin Johnstone keeps telling us there is no Russian collusion and that is probably correct but that doesn’t appear to have ever been anything but a political red herring. Watch the money much of which is Russian and it will lead you to a world of Trump criminals actions. So it’s increasingly obvious that Trump or at least most of his cohort and family are going down but probably not hard enough to satisfy the majority.
That segues to the #metoo slow motion train wreck for the traditional male power structure. This is the kind of thing that I have been expecting as it a blow at the very foundation of western civilization and is far overdue. The fact that this is across the political spectrum is the first, practical illustration of the how finished that political spectrum really is. No one seems to now how to deal with this as there is no existing political positions for people to fall back on for hints on exactly what idiotic position they should take. I think this is the first real crack in the foundation that people can’t ignore.
Both Trump and Roy Moore are recognized as walking dead based on their blatant misogynist to the point of criminality ways. Moore is dead, dead, dead except to some Alabama republicans who are obviously very sick. Trump should be resigning any day now but that isn’t going to happen and everyone knows that and also knows that it is only justified because they are is no way to handle this now. And that destroys what little moral veneer is left on the old US of A.
So the battles are suddenly being fought in a place that is not a battle field over things that are not political defined. Will it go away, no it can’t but what do we do? That fog of inertia is covering us. I think this is the first real indicator that what we are facing is way beyond what we thought we were dealing with. The old battles are no longer relevant even as they are desperately ramped up. People are busy looking around for the next surprise and not paying attention to the program.
Meanwhile China is stepping into leadership that was inevitable with the US failure and the Brexit confusion. Unfortunately China is not a traditional democratic civilization but a very sophisticated non-democratic one. The only hope that I see is the Chinese tradition of allowing controlled diversity based on adherence to the logical structure that they maintain. It is not the old style of democracy but it looks like where we are going now with only the crude, authoritarian brutalism as an option in the west. It increasingly appears that representative governments claiming democracy as their principle are probably finished in anycase. Another case of most people becoming more aware of this as the problems of the old governments become increasingly unsolvable and people are just seriously tired of the pretense of sham elections, specifically in the US.
But there is hope and that is growing as the confusion spreads. New digital and space nations are forerunners of where we have to be very soon. New leadership is mixed but hopeful with Macron doubtful but a new leader in New Zealand who may be a glimpse of the positive future. While these are hopeful it is sad to be part of the old and failing particularly when you are no longer young enough to move for new opportunity and to escape the risks of the bigoted, ugly and hateful who so often dominate a failing empire.
And that brings us to the real point of this survey and the changes that are hiding under the fog of inertia and superficial change. We’ve touched on it a bit as the decline of what has passed for democracy for the last two hundred or so years become inevitable and a stunning blow to those folks who are still caught in the old memes that divide rather than unite us. Under this is the transformation of language in paradigmatic change and the recognition that we no longer can define truth.
No, Trump didn’t invent this. He is a standard, generally incompetent liar of the psychopathic narcissistic pattern. But the people who placed him in the position to do as much damage as possible have been able to take advantage of the cycle of self referential academic analysis that has left us in the hall of funhouse mirrors otherwise knows as the Postmodern. Fifty years of countering the comfortable as cliched with the shocking as authentic only to realize that the shocking is now cliched and comfortable. As happens in intellectual artistic circles and is explicated in academic philosophical forum our modern era has lost the beat and dropped the theme. This eventually works its way out to the population who barely know the names of the artists, Picasso, de Kooning, John Cage or the intellectual explainers, Michel Foucault, who have created the justifications for the cycle that ends in fakes being indistinguishable from. . . what? We will find the real again but not where we have always looked for it.
And that is enough of this Saturday night before Thanksgiving 2017.