The meltdown wasn’t caused by engineers but by the Soviet political system’s dogma.
Nothing enrages my family, friends and colleagues more than when I assert that contemporary US political divisions are the same as those since the beginning of recorded history: ideology, race, and religion, rather than (easily ignored) Trump tweets (or the political spin thereof). So I will proffer that his tweets were divisive in that they challenged Progressive Democratic beliefs regarding these factors, but neither should be accepted on faith if America is to avoid an economic meltdown.
Empires and State Religions
The Soviet System’s accomplishments from Stalin’s time – industrialization and WW II, urbanization, restoration and expansion of Imperial Russia, etc., and the space achievements under Khrushchev were so impressive that American intellectuals generally agreed with Khrushchev’s “we will bury you” right up to Chernobyl in 1986. The plant failed because the Soviet system of top-down authority and suppression of the truth forced operators to ignore the inevitable failure and instead follow orders that guaranteed a meltdown.
Gorbachev’s glasnost” (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) in response to the disaster removed the pillars of the Soviet system – adherence to beliefs given the status of religious dogma – causing it to collapse, something Austrian economists had considered inevitable. Russia restored the Orthodox Church, but without any historical political legacy based on individual sovereignty, it morphed into a kleptocratic autocracy and a return to Russian Imperialism and military aggression.
Whether or not China discovered America in 1421 (or had a greater Empire than the Incas) it was a mercantilist empire several centuries ahead of the British in scope, science and technology, requiring “tribute” (kowtow) in return for protection and trade. Religion wasn’t an obstacle to entrepreneurial capitalism until Mao replaced de fact religious freedom with communist ideology in the early 20th century. China’s economic liberalization begun in 1978, that eventually led to a flowering of entrepreneurship in China’s attempt to restore and expand its earlier mercantilist empire, was accompanied by some religious freedom. Had political liberalizations followed, China’s demographics – a population four and a half times that of the US – might have already buried us.
Churchill may not have saved the British empire in the world wars, but the Empire saved his little island nation. At its 1920 peak it controlled about a quarter of the world’s land mass and population. Britain is a protestant Christian nation, which most analysts conclude fosters property rights and capitalism. The Church of England seceded from the Roman Catholic Church to eliminate the sovereignty of the Pope common to European empires at the time. The British legacy of democratic government and individual freedom and responsibility, the cornerstone of a market economy (admittedly at times too crony and mercantilist) is the source of its economic success and that of its former colonies, including the United States.
Uniting church and state elevates political ideology to infallible dogma accepted on faith. The U.S. Founding Fathers, following Britain’s lead, founded a Christian nation that guaranteed individual freedom of religion but forbade the formal establishment of a state religion.
Progressivism: The Unofficial State Religion in the US
The U.S. was the most entrepreneurial capitalist economy worldwide during the century from the Civil War to the Great Society. Socialist historians trying to foment class warfare portrayed the “Robber Barons” as exploiters of labor, and the progressive movement was founded largely on this premise (doctrine). In fact, serious economic investigations have concluded that labor captures almost 98% of entrepreneurial value added. Nevertheless, Progressive goals morphed over time from less income inequality to state-enforced socialist equality. The current Pope generally agrees.
America, not unlike many countries, has a slavery legacy problem. Competitive enterprises have every incentive to discriminate based on productivity, but none to discriminate on the basis of race. Such discrimination embedded in the policies of the Democratic Party and Progressive ideology since their founding has been illegal since the 1960s. Starting with LBJ’s Great Society welfare state targeting blacks, living standards markedly improved, but black/white income inequality remains in the U.S as it does virtually everywhere, a reason why blacks everywhere emigrate to the US. Progressives accept the proposition that today’s differences are a consequence of systemic racism.
Beliefs are based on selective facts, distortions, political spin, political myth, indoctrination, repetition, and repression. I am a product of 8 years of Catholic indoctrination by the nuns at Sunday school repetitively chanting Church doctrine. In high school, the Jesuits lectured on “the miracle of the Church, 600 million true believers.” But the real miracle was that virtually none of the faithful could read the written doctrine or understand the language of Mass, still in ancient Latin until 1967. As with most religions, historical fact is difficult to verify (some question the historical basis for the Bible). I decided not to impose that indoctrination on my children. No regrets, as a half century of child abuse was condoned and covered up by the Church autocracy. Instead, they got progressive political indoctrination beginning in primary, secondary and ultimately higher education.
Conservatives believe that non-race factors are correlated with income and wealth differences and that the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race. Protestants, particularly evangelicals, continue to believe that America is a sufficiently meritorious society with opportunities for those who pursue them, but they also still believe in the Constitutional separation of church and state.
The Democratic party has adopted Progressivism as the de facto state religion, turning their beliefs into doctrine. The Biden Administration now actively promotes the Black Lives Matter movement that sees Marxism as the path to more specific reparations. While Progressives don’t promise martyrs, 70 virgins or eternal salvation, they do convey virtue and moral superiority over non-believers. While the price for infidelity isn’t death, it may well result in personal and professional persecution. Today’s progressives aren’t willing to be thrown to the lions like the early Christians: they are running the circus.
The Alarm Bells are Ringing
Today a cell phone is many times more powerful than the computers that supported the 1969 moon mission, but experts don’t believe today’s NASA could repeat the feat, and NASA is arguably one of the more productive bureaucracies. That should set off alarms. How is US state directed “investment” going to convince China to abandon control of the Taiwan Straits and South China Sea? A reliance on market capitalism multiples that of China’s is required to overcome their demographic advantage at economic dominance. Kowtowing is more realistic.
Expenditure, debt and deficit alarms have been ringing for decades. but Democrats are deep in their reveries, chanting “America is unfree and unfair,” “the election was totally free and fair,” “Trump is the devil incarnate” and “the January 6th insurrection was a sacrilege warranting eternal damnation.” Meanwhile, the order has been given to drain the cooling tanks.
Kevin Villani, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac from 1982 to 1985, has held senior government positions, has been affiliated with ten universities, and served as CFO and director of several companies. He recently published Occupy Pennsylvania Avenue on the political origins of the sub-prime lending bubble and aftermath.
22 thoughts on “The America Political Chernobyl”
We are currently being ruled by a cohort that lives in a fantasy world where gasoline cars and trucks can be replaced by electric vehicles. If this group supported nuclear power and research to increase it’s energy production and safety, I could believe they were sincere. They don’t, they aren’t and I think they are nuts or running a scam to acquire power before they admit they were just kidding about global warming and petroleum.
Cut to the chase, why don’t you, Mike. Indeed.
Meanwhile, I’m betting that PG comments, if any, will show less than agreement with the content of the OP.
Actually apart from a few things, I think he largely gets it right.
The fury towards Trump was not due to “ideology, race, and religion”, it was due to class. Period. He was not from the right class, and his supporters were not from the right class. Of course, typically in history “ideology, race, and religion” are highly tied to class, but we should still stay focused on the real issue, not secondary distractions. The country is supposed to be run by highly educated white people, the Professional Managerial Class, the PMC (which was so dominant in communist countries, before it spread to democracies post-WWII). Oh, they let non-whites into the club sometimes, but as CRT shows, their model of the world revolves completely around white people. I would include “wealthy” but of course a lot of the fury we see from that sort is because they are far more educated than they are wealthy, and most of them are consumed by rage that society doesn’t appreciate them more. They went to the “right” schools, did all the “right” things, why were they stuck in marginal situations instead of being recognized for how great they are? It’s just not fair…
A small correction. You say that “The U.S. Founding Fathers, following Britain’s lead, founded a Christian nation that guaranteed individual freedom of religion but forbade the formal establishment of a state religion”, but Britain has a formally established state religion, called the Church of England and headed by the monarch. At the time of the founding, there were many legal restrictions on Catholics, dissenters, etc. The Founders’ insistence on not establishing a state religion was another break from Britain.
The Dems/Progs are interested in power and loot, which is why it was so easy to link up with the Establishment GOP (GOPe) who are interested in the same things. All the rest of the blather is just window dressing in a whore house. Any ideology would do. CRT is just rehashed Marxism but it doesn’t spcifically target the Elite, so it is workable. They all think that they are too smart or too important to be awarded the Leon Trotsky memorial ice axe. They all pretend to believe that the tribal trash that the West African tribes exchanged for rum and steel implements (later including firearms) can be fixed with more welfare grift and “better schools”. Things are going to get ugly.
…They all pretend to believe that the tribal trash that the West African tribes exchanged for rum and steel implements (later including firearms) can be fixed with more welfare grift and “better schools”…No, they don’t. Progressives use Blacks as a political shield and as a tool to divide those who would otherwise be a threat if united. Kind of what Fred Hampton tried to get across before he got whacked.
Nordhaus paper looks interesting, but when he says “For sectors where knowledge is in the public domain, such as weather forecasting, the new knowledge cannot be appropriated and productivity improvements are passed on in lower prices. In other industries with well-defined products and strong patents, such as pharmaceuticals, producers may be successful in capturing a large fraction of social gains in “Schumpeterian profits”…I have to note that there are strong competitive positions that don’t necessarily involve patents, such as the current position of social media companies and others benefiting from ‘network effects’…this was probably a lot more clear today than it was in 2004, when the paper was published.
The fury towards Trump was not due to “ideology, race, and religion”, it was due to class. Period. He was not from the right class, and his supporters were not from the right class.
I disagree about Trump and his class somewhat. He is uncouth, like Rodney Dangerfield in “Caddyshack.” The “Clerisy Class,” my preferred term, suffers from “status anxiety.” The Wiki definition is useless as it is full of Marxist rhetoric, as usual in political topics. I think a better definition is the sense that one has achieved an elevated status, usually as a result of education, and one is threatened by the possibility that those with “lesser” credentials can attain the same status. Sarah Palin was the classic example. She went to “common” schools and yet was considered as a possible Vice President. The clerisy class, as exemplified by Peggy Noonan, a supposed conservative pundit, hated her for no particular reason but her humble origins.
Here is an example.
The whole debate was about Sarah Palin. She is not a person of thought but of action. Interviews are about thinking, about reflecting, marshaling data and integrating it into an answer. Debates are more active, more propelled—they are thrust and parry. They are for campaigners. She is a campaigner. Her syntax did not hold, but her magnetism did. At one point she literally winked at the nation.
The disdain is palpable yet what has Peggy Noonan ever done but write speeches ?
Progressive Democratic beliefs: First word, Progressive.
The word, “progressive”. always reminds me of “CANCER”, since cancer killed my wife.
Second word, “Democratic”: Democrats seem more to be Autocratic; do it OUR way or …get lost.
Third word, “beliefs”: They believe everyone else should have their beliefs…or get lost.
Now, I could be wrong; I’ve been wrong before, but that’s the way I see it.
Mike K. mentioned Peggy Noonan. I gave up on her back then.
I would have to say that Steve Sailor agrees with me.
I usually don’t go out of my way to make specific predictions, but my instincts are, by this point, not bad. For example, I was bellowing in Taki’s Magazine from June 3, 2020, onward that society reassuring blacks that they deserved a Racial Reckoning that entitled them to riot and resist arrest was going to be a disaster for all concerned.
That raises the more general question: What if I’m right?
What if my way of thinking is, in general, more realistic, insightful, and reasonable than the conventional wisdom?
The fact that I largely agree with him doesn’t mean he is right. I would just like to see better arguments on the other side.
It’s also significant that to see the arguments made by Steve Sailor and John Derbyshire, to take two examples, you must read Taki’s Magazine, not NRO or Fortune.
I’m not sure what you are disagreeing with re: Trump and class, Mike?
The psychology of Trump is pretty simple–rich Queens kid desperate his whole life to be accepted by Manhattan society, but rather than accept/co-opt him, they decided to reject and humiliate him, and anyone else who would possibly aspire to join them.
His biggest mistake was spending so much time with the establishment media. Did you see that recent picture of him with staff at Mar-A-Lago? That’s where he’s obviously most comfortable, but he has that fatal flaw of wanting to be accepted by that elite crowd…
I probably wasn’t clear. The Rodney Dangerfield comparison probably is pretty close to your concept. I consider Trump a highly accomplished guy who has made several fortunes building things and accomplishing lots that his detractors could never do. By “class,” if you mean the acceptance by the Harvard Club, I understand. There have been enormous fortunes acquired the past 30 years by the manipulation of paper, mostly money. The 2008 financial crash showed who runs the government for their own benefit.
Although after the election of 2008 most Republican office holders argued against the Troubled Asset Relief Program, against the subsequent bailouts of the auto industry, against the several “stimulus” bills and further summary expansions of government power to benefit clients of government at the expense of ordinary citizens, the American people had every reason to believe that many Republican politicians were doing so simply by the logic of partisan opposition. After all, Republicans had been happy enough to approve of similar things under Republican administrations. Differences between Bushes, Clintons, and Obamas are of degree, not kind. Moreover, 2009-10 establishment Republicans sought only to modify the government’s agenda while showing eagerness to join the Democrats in new grand schemes, if only they were allowed to.
Is Class the explanation for the Establishment’s rejection of President Trump?
It would be difficult to come up with a lower class character than candidate Bill Clinton, boasting on the stump about the astroturf in the back of his pickup truck. (Oops! There’s that sexualization again). Or to come up with a more classless desperate social climber than Hillary! Clinton. Yet both of those people were not just acceptable to the Establishment, they were celebrated & idolized.
The difference was that the Clintons wanted into the club so they could become personally rich and benefit from such Establishment extras as Epstein’s Island. (Damn! Yet more sexualization). They had zero desire to upset the established order of things. The contrast with President Trump was that he really did want to rock the boat — enforce borders, bring manufacturing jobs back to the US, pull out of endless pointless Middle Eastern wars. The fact that President Trump wanted to change things was what made him unacceptable to the Deep State Establishment.
I think the hostility toward Trump is indeed mainly class-based, but it’s hard to say exactly what the specific class-based objections are. Education? The man has a Wharton degree. Money? Born rich, and got richer?
Seems to me it comes down to two main things:
1–He doesn’t *talk* like Serious People are supposed to talk today….America has become speech-pattern-focused, somewhat in the way that accents have traditionally been so important in assessing people in the UK. Sarah Palin, also, was the target of a lot of hostility for the ways she talks.
2–He has made no attempt to ingratiate himself with academics. JFK did this quite consciously, and Biden–despite his own total lack of intellectuality–has gone even further, calling a meeting of historians to ask what programs he should focus on in order to make the maximum impression in future history books!
I don’t think that Trump could have done anything to ingratiate himself with the clerisy class, even if he had wanted to do so. He was hated because of those of us who voted for him. I have three degrees, one from an Ivy League school. I voted for Trump for the same reason I attended Tea Party rallies. We wanted change and to throw out the bastards. I considered the 2016 election (I was astonished when Trump won) to be a chance to throw a brick through the window of the ruling class. I had read Codevilla’s essay and even met him. I agree completely with him about the Uniparty. Trump was the antithesis. It was not a matter of his class so much as it was his voters who are still hated. The latest is “Domestic Terrorists” and “White Supremacists.”
A side note regarding the theory that China discovered the Americas in 1421 but the records were ignored and then destroyed. Very unlikely. Remember that 90%, and maybe even 95% of the Native Americans who died after the discovery of the New World died of disease. While it is possible that brief contact provided no disease exposure to the West Coast natives, or that even an initially devastating contact event was simply lost to history as it dissipated, the East Coast experience, right from first contact even on Caribbean islands which could sequester from each other, was that Old World diseases devastated New World natives very quickly, and ran ahead of the actual presence of the individuals.
“Taki’s Magazine” Good ol’ Taki, A Nazi and serious coker. Not surprising you would admire him Mike. ;)
A fairly serious druggie myself, well was really, now its a few hoots a day in my Brindle Farms vape device. I grow and squeeze my own dope for this purpose, now astonishingly, I am no longer a criminal.
Anyway, to the point, as a psychedelic ranger from way back, there are few things more pitiful, than doing a drug to gain confidence. Cokers are among the lowest of the low. ;)
I feel like most Americans don’t understand class. I confess I didn’t really get it until reading a book about Churchill a few decades ago.
He was absolutely a member of the ruling class, even though he struggled financially for most of his life. Class has nothing to do with money. Yes, typically the upper class had the wealth, but being seen as “working” for money was absolutely unacceptable. Those who made money were the “middle class”, i.e. not the nobility but not poor, but something in between. But they could never ascend to the higher class.
The Clintons are absolutely members of the PMC. Bill’s boorish behavior doesn’t have anything to do with that. The PMC isn’t really by birth, it’s by outlook, and the recognition that the bureaucracy is the rightful ruler of the country, and academia is the gatekeeper into it. Trump built stuff, had garish taste, and mingled more with the trashy lower classes, rather than acknowledging who actually had the right to rule.
AVI: “While it is possible that brief contact [with Chinese] provided no disease exposure to the West Coast natives …”
Isn’t it RAAAACIZ to suggest that Chinese people might have carried diseases to the Americas?
Oh! What’s that?? Chinese are actually White and therefore of course carry diseases which kill innocent natives around the world. Sorry, it is so tough to keep up with the evolving standards.
This raises an interesting question for the Wokerati — Whose diseases killed the innocent American Indians?
Was it really Euro-diseases from the evil English, French, Spanish, Portugese? Thanks to the cutting edge rewriting of history by the New York Times, we now know that Africans landed in the New World in 1619 — certainly bringing African diseases with them. Remember that Africa in those far-off days was known as the Dark Continent because so little was known about it — most of the European explorers caught African diseases and died before they could report back.
Assuming African diseases wiped out 95% of Native American populations, does that mean Africans in the New World owe Reparations to Native Americans? Anyone got a phone number for a good lawyer?
I’m sorry, but this made me stop in my tracks: “But the real miracle was that virtually none of the faithful could read the written doctrine or understand the language of Mass, still in ancient Latin until 1967. As with most religions, historical fact is difficult to verify (some question the historical basis for the Bible). ”
I have a missalette of my mother’s from the mid 1950s. Latin on one side, English on the other. Very, very common. And it was normal for people to have their own missalettes.
The various catechisms have been available in many languages for over 100 years. The Baltimore Catechism was published in the US in 1885. Both doctrinal works and more accessible educational texts have been available in English for a long time.
Historical basis for the Bible – most scholars consider the Bible to be the record of Salvation History. It wasn’t until the 18th century that ‘literalism’ became a popular movement. Looking back at the writings of the early Church Fathers, you will see non-literal interpretations. True, while some are more on the literal side, it wasn’t the only way to interpret the Bible.
And as to history, there’s a magazine called Biblical Archaeology that publishes articles by people with advanced degrees who are working in the field. (I let my subscription lapse because it wasn’t my cup of tea.)
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