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  • Trump and the Disconnected Elites.

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on August 13th, 2016 (All posts by )

    Peggy Noonan has an excellent column today suggesting she understands why Trump is popular with the non-elite countrymen (and women).

    She discusses Angela Merkel and her invitation to Muslims to invade Germany.

    Last summer when Europe was engulfed with increasing waves of migrants and refugees from Muslim countries, Ms. Merkel, moving unilaterally, announced that Germany would take in an astounding 800,000. Naturally this was taken as an invitation, and more than a million came. The result has been widespread public furor over crime, cultural dissimilation and fears of terrorism. From such a sturdy, grounded character as Ms. Merkel the decision was puzzling—uncharacteristically romantic about people, how they live their lives, and history itself, which is more charnel house than settlement house.

    Germans are unhappy about the behavior of Muslim men, the majority of the immigrants.They are not happy.

    The anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD), now the third-most popular political party in Germany, adopted a manifesto calling for curbs to migration and restrictions on Islam. The document calls for a ban on minarets, Muslim calls to prayer and full-face veils.

    May 2. Hans-Georg Maaßen, the head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, revealed that around 90 “predominately Arabic-speaking” mosques in Germany are under surveillance. He said they involve mostly “backyard mosques” where “self-proclaimed imams and self-proclaimed emirs” are “inciting their followers to jihad.” He called on moderate Muslims to work with the government to fight extremism and defend the constitutional order. Maaßen was speaking ahead of a security conference in Berlin at which he said that his agency we receiving on average four terror alerts every day: “The Islamic State is committed to attacking Germany and German interests.”

    Missus Merkel is unmoved.

    As the daughter of a Lutheran minister, someone who grew up in East Germany, Ms. Merkel would have natural sympathy for those who feel marginalized and displaced. Moreover she is attempting to provide a kind of counter-statement, in the 21st century, to Germany’s great sin of the 20th. The historical stain of Nazism, the murder and abuse of the minority, will be followed by the moral triumph of open arms toward the dispossessed. That’s what’s driving it, said the acquaintance.

    Of course, Mrs Merkel is not opening her own arms. She is opening those of German citizens.

    Ms. Merkel had put the entire burden of a huge cultural change not on herself and those like her but on regular people who live closer to the edge, who do not have the resources to meet the burden, who have no particular protection or money or connections. Ms. Merkel, her cabinet and government, the media and cultural apparatus that lauded her decision were not in the least affected by it and likely never would be.

    The government is not amused by allegations that the Muslim “guests” are not behaving themselves.

    During an investigation into the mass sexual assaults in Cologne on New Year’s Eve, a chief superintendent from the Cologne police department revealed that he was ordered to remove the term “rape” from an internal police report about the assaults. The superintendent, identified only as Jürgen H., said that he received a telephone call on January 1 from an official at the interior ministry in North-Rhine Westphalia, who told him in an angry tone: “This is not rape. Remove this term from your report. Submit a new report.” The revelation adds to suspicions that there was a political cover-up to avoid fueling anti-immigration sentiments.

    Ms Merkel, of course, was not at risk of rape.

    What does this have to do with Trump? Well, aside from his statements about Muslim immigrants, it is an indicator of why he is doing as well as he is.

    The challenge of integrating different cultures, negotiating daily tensions, dealing with crime and extremism and fearfulness on the street—that was put on those with comparatively little, whom I’ve called the unprotected. They were left to struggle, not gradually and over the years but suddenly and in an air of ongoing crisis that shows no signs of ending—because nobody cares about them enough to stop it.

    The powerful show no particular sign of worrying about any of this. When the working and middle class pushed back in shocked indignation, the people on top called them “xenophobic,” “narrow-minded,” “racist.” The detached, who made the decisions and bore none of the costs, got to be called “humanist,” “compassionate,” and “hero of human rights.”

    Who do you think the chief “xenophobe is?” The Huffington Post is happy to tell you.

    Trump personifies a fear and hatred of “the other” embodied by some of our history’s more frightening and despicable figures: Father Coughlin, Joseph McCarthy, George Wallace. This has led to some of our most shameful chapters — lynchings, anti-immigrant violence, the internment of Japanese-Americans. Because such tragedies are so searing, we view them as unique.

    But they do not arise from nowhere. Nor did Donald Trump. Those who are shocked by his success have given scant notice to the darker forces which stain our society and roil our politics. Or, more likely, they pretended not to notice.

    The “dark forces” are the impression by the average citizen that elites care nothing about their concerns.

    The larger point is that this is something we are seeing all over, the top detaching itself from the bottom, feeling little loyalty to it or affiliation with it. It is a theme I see working its way throughout the West’s power centers. At its heart it is not only a detachment from, but a lack of interest in, the lives of your countrymen, of those who are not at the table, and who understand that they’ve been abandoned by their leaders’ selfishness and mad virtue-signalling.

    On Wall Street, where they used to make statesmen, they now barely make citizens. CEOs are consumed with short-term thinking, stock prices, quarterly profits. They don’t really believe that they have to be involved with “America” now; they see their job as thinking globally and meeting shareholder expectations.

    They are not acting or thinking as Americans and it shows.

    Affluence detaches, power adds distance to experience. I don’t have it fully right in my mind but something big is happening here with this division between the leaders and the led. It is very much a feature of our age. But it is odd that our elites have abandoned or are abandoning the idea that they belong to a country, that they have ties that bring responsibilities, that they should feel loyalty to their people or, at the very least, a grounded respect.

    Exactly, and the Huffington Post and its readers have no clue. HuffPo again:

    On learning that a homophobic American Muslim had slaughtered 49 LGBT fellow citizens, Trump’s first reaction was to congratulate himself for being “right on radical Islamic terrorism.” He then proceeded to trumpet his proposal for banning Muslim immigrants by — as is his practice — lying about the immigration process.

    While Hillary Clinton has the father of the homophobic murderer on the stage at her rally.

    WPTV-Mateen-behind-Clinton_1470715668266_43966615_ver1.0_640_480

    Why was he there ? It was no accident. He was featured by her campaign.

    This is certainly a weird election. Richard Fernandez has a theory.

    But the curtain has gone up and now the audience is in shock. How? How? Even the administration’s supporters were left totally surprised by the trail of disasters so intense it propelled Donald Trump to a presidential nomination. Jesse Bernstein in Tablet thinks that the root cause of the blindness was insufferable smugness of the intellectual elite. Jon Stewart’s “Culture of Ridicule”, Bernstein wrote, left kept the best and the brightest from seeing the train wreck coming. “No single event or trend initiated the takeoff of Space Shuttle Trump. … but there is one culprit who … who deserves his due: Jon Stewart. Let me explain. … As Emmet Rensin so perfectly put it:

    Finding comfort in the notion that their former allies were disdainful, hapless rubes, smug liberals created a culture animated by that contempt. The result is a self-fulfilling prophecy. … Over 20 years, an industry arose to cater to the smug style … and culminated for a time in The Daily Show, a program that more than any other thing advanced the idea that liberal orthodoxy was a kind of educated savvy and that is opponents were, before anything else, stupid.

    But to anyone outside the echo chamber the joke was on Stewart and his cronies.

    Read the rest, as they say. See what Oz looks like when the curtain goes up.

    it was these ineffably superior people who were the jokers, the clowns whose only tangible skill was to make fun of everybody so nobody would notice that’s all they were good for. In fact the only person they could stop with any probability of success and only if they ganged up on him was Donald Trump. That was it. They can’t see the audience in darkness beyond the footlights heading for the exits.

    And so we go on to the election.

     

    27 Responses to “Trump and the Disconnected Elites.”

    1. Bill Brandt Says:

      Rush Limbaugh had a good discussion on this today

      http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2016/08/12/we_re_not_the_evil_empire_but_we_re_divided_by_class_and_ruled_by_elites

      There certainly is a disconnect and the “elites” have no understanding of it

      The WSJ had a good article on one of the reasons for Trump’s popularity in the many counties hit hard by Chinese imports

      http://www.wsj.com/articles/how-the-china-shock-deep-and-swift-spurred-the-rise-of-trump-1470929543

      My mother is certain Trump will lose. I have a $50 bet with her.

    2. Bill Brandt Says:

      Gads, that Florence Jenkins was terrible. Carrying her analogy further one could say that she – and our “elites” are convinced of their talent and if anyone sees them differently they are “stupid”.

    3. TMLutas Says:

      If disconnection is a real problem, you work it. If you were to be paid to create connection, how would you do it? How would you change the elites in order for them to be worthy of the title? There are professionals whose job is shaping social movements from embedding particular brands of alcohol consumption into the american psyche to what sort of sex we should have in our bedrooms.

      If we do not have enough of these people (and we don’t) we need to get them or create them. We manifestly do not care to expend much energy doing so. It is very curious.

    4. Mike K Says:

      “If you were to be paid to create connection, how would you do it? ”

      Read Fred Siegel’s “Revolt Against the Masses” He has one anecdote in there about a group of Silicon Valley billionaires who decided to set up a political advocacy group and hired an experienced women to be CEO.

      At the first meeting of the Board, she gave a little talk and one thing she said of her experience so far was, “What is the difference between a billionaire and a terrorist?”

      “You can negotiate with a terrorist.”

      She was fired the next week. These people are convinced that success in one field, is an indicator that you are smarter and better informed than anyone else who is not a billionaire. The subject doesn’t matter. Mike Bloomberg is a good example.

      I wonder if it is really possible to change such a person’s mind ?

    5. Mike K Says:

      An interesting column on this topic.

      And as their fortunes have ballooned, so has their hubris. They see themselves as somehow better than the scum of Wall Street or the trolls in Houston or Detroit. It’s their intelligence, not just their money, that makes them the proper global rulers. In their contempt for the less cognitively gifted, they are waging what The Atlantic recently called “a war on stupid people.”

      I had friends of mine who attended MIT back in the 1970s tell me they used to call themselves “tools,” which told us us something about how they regarded themselves and were regarded. Technologists were clearly bright people whom others used to solve problems or make money. Divorced from any mystical value, their technical innovations, in the words of the French sociologist Marcel Mauss, constituted “a traditional action made effective.” Their skills could be applied to agriculture, metallurgy, commerce, and energy.

      In recent years, like Skynet in the Terminator, the tools have achieved consciousness, imbuing themselves with something of a society-altering mission.

      Interesting POV which is similar to mine.

    6. Mrs. Davis Says:

      One statistic explains what’s wrong:

      In 1947 some ten percent of college graduates nominated to Phi Beta Kappa went into the ministry.

      Can you imagine the percentage today? So how often will the ruling elite attend weekly service and hear:

      42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?

      43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

      44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.

      45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;

      46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

      47 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

      48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

      Rarely, I think.

    7. G Joubert Says:

      Merkel’s East German roots have prepared her well to rule by fiat, which puts her somewhat ahead of the curve.

    8. David Foster Says:

      Mike K….I think too much focus on Billionaires as the problem can play into the hands of the Left. There are plenty of politicians, celebrities,l and media people who have wealth far below the billion-dollar class but have much more public influence than the average billionaire, and use it in very harmful ways.

      There is all this focus from the Left on banning large political contributions and keeping ‘the rich’ and ‘the corporations’ from having undue political influence…but the true effect of this would be to give even greater political power to a certain *kind* of corporations: those that own media assets.

    9. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      TMLutas Says:
      August 13th, 2016 at 5:41 am

      OK, phrasing carefully here.

      In the past here, and in other countries, there was a natural feedback mechanism that prevented the ruling class from getting too far out of line, or too overtly hostile to their own people [which triggered its own counter-hostility]. It was called . . . consequences. There were consequences to rulers that were completely independent of whether or not they had an electoral political system.

      Right now, there are no consequences to anything that a member of what Codavilla called the “Ruling Class” does. ANYTHING. There is not even the pretense of a rule of law.

      Given that our “Ruling Class” hates and detests us, the only way to restore that connection is to make it strongly in their self-interest to be connected enough to avoid . . . consequences. They cannot be bribed into connecting with their own people. They do not even acknowledge us as either “their” or “people”. And they can steal or take whatever they want now with impunity.

      If they cannot be bribed, and if there is no electoral way to remove them, then a very strong DISincentive to disconnection is the only thing that will work.

      Kinda like a populist version of Oderint dum Metuant

      And just in passing Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal columnist, resident of Manhattan, and comfortable moving in all the circles of the “right people” may have written for Reagan; but since she has been a living example of TWANLOC. She voted for Obama twice, and certainly is going to vote for Hillary. If there were a “state of emergency” Executive Order as an October Surprise, she would be orgasmic. She is the enemy and does not realize it.

    10. Mike K Says:

      “I think too much focus on Billionaires as the problem can play into the hands of the Left.”

      I think the technological elites are more of a problem as they think they know everything from climate to politics.

      Billionaires are just one subset of the technology elites with more money and power. The millionaires of 100 years ago had built something substantial. What has Mark Zuckerberg built ?

      As Hemingway once said, “The rich are different from you and me. They have more money.” In this era, the billionaires are no more rich than the millionaires of 1907. The dollar is worth less by an order of magnitude.

      My wife just got a $10 gold piece to make a necklace of. She is enthralled by how heavy it is.

      “She is the enemy and does not realize it.”

      I think Peggy may be realizing what is happening. She might not admit it but she might pull that lever for Trump by November. Obama has to be a crashing disappointment to most of those voters who thought he was a new man. They won’t admit it, of course.

    11. David Foster Says:

      Mike K…”What has Mark Zuckerberg built ?”

      Zuckerberg basically has founded a media empire, perhaps more analogous to William Randolph Hearst than to Andrew Carnegie. The business does use technology cleverly, and has built some technology of its own as part of that, but it is basically still a media company.

      Jeff Bezos, on the other hand, has created an enterprise that is partly a retailer but partly an infrastructure provider (Amazon Web Services), hence is analogous to a combination of the Sears founders and some of the early railroad barons.

      Technologies that are *not* consumer-facing tend not to get a lot of media attention unless their proponents are very good at PR. Journalists are generally pretty clueless about anything beyond the buzzwords: the NYT headline “IBM Mainframe Evolves to Serve the Digital World” offers a particularly ludicrous example. If it’s something they can imagine using themselves, they are more likely to cover it than they would be to cover something industrial.

    12. Mike K Says:

      Facebook is a more successful iteration of a series of such “Social Media” entities like “My Space,” which has faded quickly.

      In June 2009, Myspace employed approximately 1,600 employees.[3][16] In June 2011, Specific Media Group and Justin Timberlake jointly purchased the company for approximately $35 million.[17] Under new ownership, the company had undergone several rounds of layoffs and by June 2011, Myspace had reduced its staff to around 200.

      Amazon and Sears are a sad comparison. I worked for Sears for a while and several family members worked there a long time. I was still in college when I worked there as a sort of part-time management trainee. Even then I could see how clueless they were about technology.

      I had dinner with a cousin in June and we were talking about this. His father worked for Sears an entire career. Sears could have been either Amazon, with their catalogue infrastructure, or WalMart with their customer base and history.

      Instead, they are fading away.

      The steel industry has changed greatly since Carnegie but some industries still thrive. Medtronic is an example. There are many others.

      Eastman Kodak killed themselves with their discovery of the digital camera. There was no way their business model could survive that invention.

    13. David Foster Says:

      I was meaning Sears in its glory days, not the present sad incarnation.

      There are a whole series of companies that were on top of the world, but blew it…either all the way down to Chapter 13, or merely as faint shadows of what they once were. Western Union. Holiday Inn. Howard Johnsons. Kodak. If I ever get time, I’d like to write a book called ‘Blowing It’, with the cover image being Wile-E-Coyote right after he steps off the cliff but before he realizes he’s falling.

      There are still people making steel successfully in America; check out Nucor. There’s a really interesting book on their early days called ‘American Steel.’

      Someone else would have done the digital camera if Kodak hadn’t done it. I’m not sure what their optimal strategy would have been, but ignoring digital photography wouldn’t have been a good option.

    14. dearieme Says:

      I once saw it argued that Kodak hadn’t understood that their real expertise was in speciality chemicals.

    15. Mike K Says:

      “ignoring digital photography wouldn’t have been a good option.”

      Not one at all and they were trapped by the business model of film processing.

      I wonder what Peter Drucker would have advised them, or if they asked.

      He was one to point out the real business you were in regardless of what you thought it was.

      I read his book on non-profits when I was president of the medical association and trying to get it to diversify. I asked about having him come for a one day seminar. His price was $10,000 an hour or a day. That was 30 years ago.

      “their real expertise was in speciality chemicals.”

      Good point.

    16. Sgt. Mom Says:

      Kodak fell into the trap of not realizing what their true mission was — people taking pictures and sharing them – because they were so hung up on the film process. And poor Sears – they could have been a contender with Amazon, if they had only been able to hang on and go on-line, use existing locations as a show-room for the on-line inventory, for home delivery.

      It’s like the old story of the buggy-whip manufacturers; they thought they were in the business of manufacturing buggy whips and so were totally screwed with the advent of the automobile. No, they were in the business of manufacturing transportation accessories – if they had been able to make that cognitive leap, they would have cheerfully gone on making after-market luxury goodies for automobile buyers.

      I had a character in the Second Chronicle of Luna City do a rant on this very topic, as regards the internet and print newspapers – “I’m not in the newspaper business,” she made a gesture with her fingers, installing air-quotes on either side of the words. “What I am in is the information dissemination business. I’m not hung up on the actual transmission vehicle.”

    17. David Foster Says:

      Kodak & specialty chemicals….they had a division called Tennessee Eastman which did those things, they spun it off as Eastman Chemical in (googles) 1994. I’m an EMN shareholder. I don’t know whether the spinoff transaction resulted in EMN stock for the Kodak shareholders, in which case they got at least something that survived the debacle, or whether it was structured in a different way.

      It is very very difficult, psychologically-speaking, to take actions that you know will cripple an existing very-profitable revenue stream (like camera sales and film processing). The temptation to believe things will continue is very strong.

    18. David Foster Says:

      Buggy whips….yes, the buggy whip makers could have focused on after-market luxury goods for car buyers, but they also could have focused on making products out of leather that didn’t necessarily have anything to do with transportation. It’s not always the right thing to do to define oneself exclusively according to a customer category, sometimes it makes more sense to define yourself along a process dimension..something you’re good at. The late Michael Hammer, a business consultant who was a lot more worthwhile than most of that breed, put it this way:

      “Every MBA knows the story about the company that failed because it thought of itself as being in the buggy-whip business when it should have seen itself in the transportation business. In fact this old chesnut entirely misses the point. Strategy is not primarily about markets, either the narrow market for buggy whips or the broader one for transporation. Indeed a company that made and sold whips was highly unlikely to be positioned for manufacturing automobiles. What would have enabled it to succeed in a world of internal combustion engines? The company that sold buggy whips should have asked itself what it did best, at what processes it excelled. Perhaps its real strength lay in its leather fabrication processes, or in its process of filling orders from a network of independent small manufacturers, or in its product development process. Its future was more likely to lie with leather gloves or bags than with metal chassis. What a company does is central to deciding what it is, and where and how it should compete.”

      My view: Deciding which strategy is right requires thinking about who the customers actually are. Were the customers carriage manufacturers who had a decent chance of succeeding in the automotive world? If so, then perhaps it would have made sense for our buggy-whip company to pursue the automotive market–most likely by providing leather interiors for cars, sold through the medium of companies they were already doing business with. They might then be able to expand into supplying other components, including components having nothing to do with leather. But if the customers were carriage manufacturers who were not pursuing automotive product lines, or unlikely to succeed with them, then a leather car-interior strategy would be less attractive–our company would have no relationship advantage with the new automobile manufacturers over any other potential supplies, since our company hasn’t been selling to the new guys anyhow. In that case, we might do better with gloves, handbags, and luggage–although there might be branding issues (as we now call them) in following such a path. Still other considerations would apply if the company was selling buggy whips through retail stores or via mail order, rather than to the buggy manufacturers.

    19. Mike K Says:

      The buggy whip example is illustrated by the history of Mark Cross, a leather goods manufacturer that is well over 100 years old.

      I got interested in Mark Cross because the son of the founder became a famous member of the Paris expatriate community in the 1920s and then, defying the tradition of the playboy child of the founder of a company, came back to the US in the 1930s and revived the company.

      There are quite a few books about Gerald and Sara Murphy and they became famous patrons of the arts in the 1920s. Scott FitzGerald even used them as the central characters in his novel “Tender is the Night” although they and their friends considered it untrue and a bit of a libel.

      Gerald Murphy is even recognized as a major painter in his own right. Unlike most artists, he ran his own business successfully.

      An example of a tech entrepreneur which shows how limited they can be.

    20. ErisGuy Says:

      They see themselves as somehow better than the scum of Wall Street

      Somehow better? Somehow better?

      After the events of the last two decades, it’s hard to disagree that silicon billionaires are better than the scum of Wall Street. If only thousands of Wall Street scum had been imprisoned after misnamed housing crisis, then and only then could they have been thought worthy of money and power. Instead they evaded responsibility for what they had done. The consequences of this are not yet over.

    21. Mike K Says:

      “they evaded responsibility for what they had done. The consequences of this are not yet over.”

      Congressman Fernand St Germain could not be reached for comment. He began the ball rolling when he, in a midnight act that was never discussed in committee, raised the dposit guarantee for S&Ls to $100,000 and set off the S&L crisis of the 80s.

      St Germain played a role in passing legislation which removed some regulations on savings and loans. The deregulation had the effect of enabling the institutions to engage in risky lending practices, and was the key factor in the creation of the savings and loan crisis. He also proposed an amendment to raise the FSLIC insurance on S & L accounts from $40,000 to $100,000 (at the time an average account balance was $6,000), bringing the proposal to the floor of the House of Representatives at midnight when only eleven other congressmen were present. It was voted for unanimously. This allowed for a flood of brokered CDs seeking higher interest to move around S & Ls and contributed to the debacle which will cost the taxpayer trillions of dollars and allowed hundreds of frauds to go unpunished. (Pizzo, Fricker, Muolo: Inside Job: The looting of America’s Savings and Loans (1989) McGraw-Hill Publishing Co.)

      He died in 2014.

      The same “hot money” practices are described in Nicole Gelinas’ essential book, After the Fall;

      My book review is Here

    22. TMLutas Says:

      Mike K – It is possible, through laughter and ridicule to change such a person’s (a billionaire’s) data feed. In general, such people go wrong because they assume something true instead of actually measuring and finding out that really it isn’t. The left thrives on creating scenarios where it is socially unacceptable to ask certain questions. Punish ignorance on this sort of thing and you have a solution.

      I’m not buying into Joel Kotkin’s idea that the tech oligarchs are worse than the robber barons, mostly because I think that the tools they depend on to maintain their prominence make it relatively easy to undermine them in turn. There’s no staying power for these people as *tech* oligarchs.

      Subotai Bahadur – Consequences is an interesting term to use. We’re running out of runway to turn society around without making the consequences violent but I don’t think that we’ve gotten there yet. The violence against Trump supporters, if it continues or accelerates, is very dangerous for the elite. Bargains that are not honored by one side will eventually not be honored by the other.

    23. Mike K Says:

      “The violence against Trump supporters, if it continues or accelerates, is very dangerous for the elite.”

      The violence in cities, which seems to indicate a decline in civilization, especially in urban areas, is also very worrisome.

      I live in Orange County, or as my left wing older son says, “Behind the Orange Curtain,” and we are pretty safe, We have black neighbors who seem to have chosen the Bourgeoisie life and I am all for them. They wave when I drive by and are obviously not part of the left wing black resentment movement.

      Remember that cities were population sinks until the 20th century as they needed constant in-migration or they lost population. Detroit shows what happens when in-migration stops.

      Los Angeles and San Francisco are filling up with poor and illegals. They still have a thin crust of civilization but if that starts to crack because of violence, it may start another preference cascade.

      I was in Seattle last week which has several residential islands that are still pretty rural.

    24. Anonymous Says:

      If they can capture a ruling majority of the public by buying them off with political goodies taken from the others or borrowed by long term debt, they may continue to rule as they have and be protected and profit. Of course at some point this shell game runs out of available resources to transfer and the unproductivity of the political majority and its governmental apparatus collapses the system. The lawlessness, corruption, entitlement and division such a system causes could end very violently. I think this has begun.

      Seems to me that we are well down the slippery slope. Like MK, I am preparing to ride it out while trying to find and support the exit strategy, if one exists. In a sense the progressives are correct that the greater part of the public is too dependent, detached and shallow to figure out or even care where our current path leads or why. The elites don’t really care, they are busy making their plans to survive and profit from the collapse. Let no crisis go to waste.

      Death6

    25. Marty Says:

      “INVADE Germany”? Tsk, tsk, such inflammatory language.

      “OCCUPY Germany”. Much better.

      “Invade” implies the government would organize resistance.

    26. MCS Says:

      Were there ever any substantial businesses engaged only in the manufacture of buggy whips? I suspect not. In any event, horses remained an important power source into the 1940-1950’s, albeit, a slowly declining one. Harnesses and the closely allied leather traction industry have a number of survivors. Hand bags and rubber/synthetic products predominate but you can still buy flat leather belting for the few applications where nothing else will work.

      I don’t think the disconnection of the elites is a new phenomenon. J.D. Rockefeller thought passing out dimes was a magnanimous gesture, opinions differed.

      Until people can survive by eating pixels, the worth of technology is in facilitating the production of goods. The value of things like Facebook are like Art, intangible.

    27. Mike K Says:

      “Harnesses and the closely allied leather traction industry have a number of survivors.”

      An interesting example is The Mark Cross Company, which began as a harness maker.

      The company was founded in 1845 in Boston as a carriage saddle and harness carrier. After its namesake’s death, Patrick Murphy continued the business. His son Gerald would take over the brand in 1934, but only after a storybook life abroad—details on that below.

      After marrying an heiress (as one does), he moved to Paris with his new wife. There the couple spent time in Villa America entertaining legendary literary, musical, and art figures like Cole Porter, the Fitzgeralds, and, as previously mentioned, Hemingway and Picasso. The Murphys famously coined the phrase “Living well is the best revenge,” which eventually became the title of a Calvin Tomkins book. The pair also frequently traveled to the South of France to work on their paintings (and sun tans, we presume).

      I have read every book I can find about the Murphys. Gerald was a significant artist, not a playboy. His paintings are exhibited in galleries.

      We were at the Laguna Beach art festival today and I saw several artists who do work quite similar to several of Gerald’s paintings.

      Their two boys died in the 1930s and Gerald never painted again. His wife was lusted after by Pablo Picasso and he was turned down by her, after which he painted himself out of a painting he had made of her.

      Gerald and Sarah moved back to the states and he took over his father’s company and expanded it into luxury leather goods. It continues as a top brand today.