Once again, ‘The Nation’ tries to grapple with the National Situation without in any way exposing the frakkery preceding the admittedly frakkulous Past Ten Years.
Christopher Hays writes a lead comment in the print edition for August 2/9, 2010.
We have huge deficits, he says. Agreed.
They are the result of 3 things: “the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Bush tax cuts, and the recession”.
To which I respond: Willy-Tango-Foxtrot? … yet again.
The ancient Chinese were right: if you don’t first Rectify the Names and define the problem accurately, then you are not going to have much of a chance of effectively solving the problem.
Hays – because he is trying to address the National Problem as best he can WITHIN the parameters of Correct thought – has brought a conceptual knife to a gunfight.
We were in trouble long before the egregious Bushling and his Dark Handler arrived (courtesy of a Supreme Court that figured that what it had done for the Left in Roe v. Wade it could do for the Right in Bush v. Gore.
The knowledge-and-service economy is and always has been a phantasm, a dampdream erected by the Advocacies and embraced by their Beltway panderers in order to justify a short-range revolutionary agenda that involved – for the radical-feminists – Deconstructing Industial-Male-White America and – for the Beltway – pandering to the radical-feminists and the other Identities while collecting PAC cash for letting the hyper-corporations outsource all over the globe, making money for investors and managers and bankers while reducing American workers to a probable serfdom.
The knowledge and service (K&S) economy cannot exist without the massive support of the Beltway, sitting on top of the economy produced by that Industrial America, that originally embraced it.
Otherwise, there are not enough K&S jobs: not only for working-class folks trying to raise a family (although the cadres’ agenda is to Deconstruct the Family too) but also for college kids … there aren’t enough high-paying lah-de-dah jobs for them either (NONE of the elites want to consider THAT just yet).
Ditto “the welfare state”, whose continued sustainment is Hay’s most urgent Correct concern. All those Identities (‘women’, immigrants, youth, assorted victims of Men or Life or History or God) are dependent upon the government, although to make more ‘cultural space’ for them their Advocates killed the Industrial Goose that laid the Beltway’s Golden Eggs. And those Eggs were what the Beltway had promised to pass out to the Identies … and the toe-bone’s connected to the foot-bone, and the foot-bone’s connected to the ankle-bone … you get the picture.
They are SO going to laugh at Us in future eras.
He’s all worked up because the ‘conservatives’ – taking a cynical political stance purely for electoral gain – are braying that there can be no deficits.
But the ‘liberals’ wish to be seen taking the high-road: run up deficits to help folks. And, after all, since close to three-quarters of the country are now Identities dependent on the liberals’ vaunted welfare-state, that would be electorally to advantage.
But the same ‘liberals’ do NOT want to admit what is bothering the ‘conservatives’ (to the extent that those worthies have thought about things at all): there is no more ‘wealth’ at the Beltway’s disposal. There are only the printing presses that churn out paper Dollars like ticker-tape strips, to be tossed off the roofs of government buildings on the rich rainbow parade of Identities below.
But how long will the nations of the world put up with this? They own Our debt and don’t want to see the Dollar printed into irrelevance.
Of course the ‘liberals’ could simply imagine – as they have for 40 years – that the Beltway they had worked so hard *and successfully) to indenture will go on being on-top-of-the-world forever. Just like Boomers who imagined that they would be thin and have hair and smooth heels forever and intend to die trying, if indeed they intend to die at all.
But – as the Apostle observed soberly quite some time ago – there comes a time when you have to “put away the things of a child”. But he also apparently wasn’t impressed with females, personally, so it’s OK to ignore everything he and the rest of his Book says. It is axiomatic in Correct thought these days that if you can find one thing a little off in somebody’s thought, then you can ignore the whole of it. Sort of like, if your father (google it if you have to) thinks that you don’t need a cell-phone then he’s so dumb that it’s OK to ignore him when he says you aren’t going to take the family car if you’re drunk or mega-buzzed on Red Bull.
This is a terrible human crisis, says Hays. We need the government to spend even if it means deficits – that’s what makes economies recover.
Well, that’s what makes healthy economies recover when they have a solid and sufficient productive base and just have a cash-and-confidence problem.
But We are into new territory here: the patient doesn’t just have a Great Depression problem.
The patient, rather, is a trauma-room trainwreck**:
there is no longer a solid or sufficient productive base;
there is even some question as to whether a society so divided, entitled, spoiled and en-Victimed as Ours can even sustain the effort necessary to rebuild one;
the government has squandered not only all of its ready cash but all of its credit;
the productivity that would generate more real wealth has been outsourced;
the creditors themselves are leery of throwing good wealth after bad;
if you print up more money to meet the government’s legitimate or expected obligations to its assorted citizens, then you debase the Dollar;
but if you don’t print up Dollars to at least keep up appearances and prevent the entire population from realizing what has really happened on your watch, then you are going to be faced with a whole lotta unhappy folks who have just realized that they have been done-unto in a way not all the Level-3 Sex Offenders in the country could have accomplished in a gazillion years of concerted effort.
And if folks start realizing that they’ve been diddled, robbed and in divers ways bamboozled, then you face a problem in sustained electoral viability (not to mention sustained political legitimacy) that can only be termed (in polite British understatement) “extraordinary”.
In which case the Party’s over on sooo many levels. Certainly, the Parties are over.
So you can see where Hays is right that there is a growing “hysteria” in the precincts of the Beltway these days. Their Great Party (as in Binge) is over – and while the Last Ten Years were certainly stunning in their arrogant stupidity, the enabling derangements had been inflicted upon the many foundation piers (the maturity and political competence of the Citizenry, the unity of The People, the industrial base that simultaneously employed and produced salable goods, the confidence of all Citizens in each other and in their common future and in their Constitutional Republic, and the solid Grounding of all individuals – Citizens and elected officials – in the worth of Maturity, Integrity, and Decency) during the previous Thirty Years of deliberate Deconstruction.
But how can anybody – especially at ‘the Nation’ – admit to all of that? By this point, so much damage has been done and the consequences are becoming so very undeniable that not even the shrewdly sustained illusions of master professional flaks can hide the truth; even the champagne flutes are sliding off the tables in the first class saloon.
Hays is trying to square a circle: he claims that with “official unemployment at 9.5 percent” there should be no talk of deficits. The figure 9.5, I take it, is meant to indicate that things are a little worse that the Beltway would like, but nothing to worry about. But then a few paragraphs later he quotes the ever-Correct ‘New York Times’ as to “the need for a stimulus in the face of astronomically high unemployment” … thus that things are sooooo bad that you can’t possibly talk about deficits (like the Republicans are doing). But of course, if unemployment is THAT high, then things are a hell of a lot worse than the Beltway wants to admit to Us. Or – could this be? – realizes itself.
Hays berates “congressional Democrats” for going along with the Iraq War. But by the time of the Iraq War in 2003, the Democrats had been feeding off Tip O’Neill’s shrewd master-plan for almost 30 years: pander to Big Pain and Big Identity for your votes while pandering to Big Money for your (now perfectly legal) PAC cash. Everybody wins! And the Game would go on and on – pretty much the nomenklatura’s game-plan in the USSR in that same era of the mid-1970s.
Hays has to keep his focus short – those Past Ten Years – lest anyone really start thinking and connecting the dots and tracing the Fatal Bullet’s trajectory all the way back to the Dems.
But squaring a circle isn’t so hard nowadays: as with the Red Queen who so loved to lecture Alice, far too many Americans have gotten used to believing as many as Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast – every day for 40 years:
that Evolution is real except that somehow it isn’t operative in human beings when it comes to the biological predispositions and competences of the respective sexes;
that a knowledge-and-service society can support the world’s largest and most stable economy and that it can provide decent jobs for almost all of the nations now-300 million people;
that you can double the work-force overnight while halving the jobs and not create monstrous employment problems;
that you can bring in millions of unskilled immigrants but that won’t have an adverse effect on the employment problem;***
that children can grow up without any stable parenting and not be the worse for it;
that human beings can sustain a Constitutional Republic as it rests on the great traditions of the West even when they no longer respect the West’s achievements;
that a nation full of people who see themselves as ‘entitled’ and as ‘victims’ can somehow muster and sustain the robust will to wrest and Shape a sufficient future from the lethal complexities of life and history;
that human beings can dwell in a Flattened two-dimensional world with no Beyond and still maintain the courage and composure to continue to live and work together;
and that a nation that acknowledges no Virtue and no Authority that might hold accountable its citizens or its government can remain virtuous and decent.
Oh, and that you can kill the Goose that lays the Golden Eggs but still have fresh Golden Eggs forever.
America has become a fairy tale – which was what the radical-feminists and the Multiculturalists had been braying all along.
Hays takes heart from the fact that recent polls (Congressfolk don’t actually (dare to) go out and meet their constituencies much anymore) show that citizens want unemployment benefits continued.
OF COURSE they do. There’s no other income for them. Their retirements were blown by the financial cowboys and life-rapers who had paid off Congress to look the other way; their savings are used up; their credit cards are maxed and their houses stripped of usable equity; the only jobs available are in supermarkets and coffee-shops … Hays is suggesting that now that the main deck is so close to the water, 3rd-class will be able to bathe much more easily. And few even remember the words to “Nearer, my God, to Thee” – although it may offer their best hope for any improvement, or at least consolation.
We should all be more optimistic, I suppose.
In a stunning irony and coincidence, the military announces that all of its 1 million-plus troops are going to be taking “positive thinking” courses. Apparently so that they can learn not to be ‘depressed’ about the way things are going, since it’s better to be ‘optimistic’ and that’s so much more ‘American’.****
Americans of the classic age were not ‘optimistic’ – they were ‘determined’.
But it takes a hell of a lot of Groundedness to generate and sustain, to ‘platform’, genuine determination.
And few kids raised in the entitled-victim culture of the past 40 years are going to be able to do it – unless they simply surrender themselves to pure visceral hate.
One in every six is on some form of psychiatric drug – and many are taking multiple-drug ‘cocktails’.
Were you under the impression – looking back to the Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast – that you could flood a military with dubiously prepared newbies while at the same time ‘demasculinizing’ it (reducing ‘stress’, abandoning real adherence to standards, corroding authority, not being ‘judgmental’) and still maintain combat efficiency?
Did you think it was actually possible that general officers – having learned to Believe A Dozen Impossible Things every day or at least to keep a verrry straight face – would retain their capacity to distinguish a workable strategic and tactical plan from a dampdream? And a frakkulently vicious dampdream at that?
Not only are the problems now merging into one another, but the general predispositions and incompetences of the Beltway – enabled by the passivity and political incompetence of a Citizenry bethumped for decades by political manipulation from Left and Right – are merging together into a toxic yet dynamic mass.
I can only offer the words of Joseph Goebbels in the one thing I could ever agree with him on: Nun volk, steh’ auf! Now, People, stand up! (the alternative reading could be ‘rise up’ … but I really really don’t want to go down that road ever at all).
But I’m no fortune-teller and things are on the table that back in more decent times would never have gotten there.
*Think of the knowledge-and-service economy, and the concomitant necessary Deconstruction of the so-called Male Industrial Economy, as traffic coming onto a freeway from an on-ramp.
Theoretically, the traffic coming on is capable of traveling at the same speed and maintaining that speed; the fresh traffic merges and moves along.
But what has happened in the Deconstructed Post-Industrial Economy – and indeed the entire national Mindset and Heartset – does not at all follow that template.
The traffic coming on – women, immigrants (legal yet also illegal) and so forth – is not able to keep up that speed. Perhaps it was never expected to. INSTEAD: the new traffic has to travel much ‘slower’ – that is to say, rather than simply keeping up to the pace of Industrial productivity and the Sense that such challenges require all the ‘traffic’ to possess, a consequence of all the fresh traffic is that the entire traffic flow on the freeway has had to be slowed down to conform to the limitations of the fresh traffic.
This has been spun as ‘reform’ – as always – and ‘progress’.
Relationality rather than productivity has become the primary mode of the traffic now. This is much more convenient to the fresh traffic, but it has wreaked havoc with the original traffic and its very real objectives and purposes.
Nor is this accidental. The radical-feminist vision was realistic enough to realize (but never admit) that females by and large were not going to simultaneously maintain both job-productivity AND reliability: women, even when ‘liberated’, demonstrate (bless them) an enduring desire for motherhood, for having children. No surprise there to anyone who understands and accept Evolution; but THAT is precisely what the radical-feminist vision cannot admit (or admit that it cannot admit).
The knowledge-and-service ‘economy’ is thus hobbled by the ‘softer’ pace of Relationality and by the need to accept that female employees, by and large, are going to have to sacrifice some amount of reliably sustained Productivity in favor of other priorities.
This can hardly have been an unforeseen consequence. Hence the Beltway’s short-sighted embrace of its twin objectives: pander to the radical-feminist vision in order to garner votes, while keeping corporate swag flowing into the PAC coffers by allowing American-chartered corporations to outsource production jobs to countries that will a) work more cheaply and b) work more reliably.
That illusion – that the country can indulge the Advocacy dampdreams while remaining the world’s most wealthy and productive economy – could be sustained only so long as b) there was enough ‘money’ flowing around the country to enough citizens so that they’d ‘feel’ wealthy while a) there was enough left of American economic primacy on the world stage so that the Beltway could borrow or otherwise ‘create’ (increasingly not through Production but through Financial Transactions) actual wealth.
In 2008 the frakkulent policies devised to keep the Illusion going finally collapsed under their own unregulated arrogance and the weight of the entire impossible scheme, and now the Beltway has no cash left (40 percent of every Dollar the government has is already now committed to debt-service for its borrowing).
But it cannot admit it. To do so would be to admit that the fundamental thrust of Social Policy for the past 40 years has been wrong, tethered to an impossible Illusion. And to force corporations to stop out-sourcing and recall their Production to this country would be to dry up the flow of PAC swag to which almost all national pols are now indentured.
And, of course, it would undermine fatally the status of all the current national ‘elites’ and their ‘elite thinking’.
**ER shorthand for a patient with multiple life-threatening problems, where doing the required intervention to solve one of the problems automatically exacerbates one or several or all of the other problems. For which a Chaplain is best summoned – stat … but then, this Hospital no longer has such decadent and ‘quaint’ creatures on staff. This is not simply a knowledge-and-service society, but a ‘secular’ one.
***William Finnegan, in ‘The New Yorker’ for July 26, 2010 (page 19), notes that the hallmark of the late-20th century immigration wave is that it is “the first in our history in which many, if not most, immigrants have come here illegally”.
This is a result of the Beltway – pandering to Identity Politics and its frakkulently specious theory of Multiculturalism – looking the other way as huge numbers of immigrants were allowed to accumulate illegally but unchecked, in order to quickly build up the numbers of non-whites (so to speak) who would help the officially embraced process of Deconstructing that White, Industrial, Male Economy, while also helping the corporations break the back of the unions and deflate the expectations of Americans that their government’s policies would sustain and support the achievements of the post-Depression and post-WW2 era when American workers achieved a world-class level of security and benefits for themselves and their families.
This constituted a hidden treachery without precedent in the history of the American polity.
****I'll be putting up a longer Post on this military development shortly.