Triangulated Into Silence

Were I of a more conspiratorial mindset – which I am not – I would almost swear that the Edward Snowden/NSA surveillance revelations were intentional on the part of the powers that be. Allow me to explain.

One of the cardinal political sins in this era of Jon Stewart-style, soundbite-based “gotcha” politics and political reporting is that of hypocrisy; especially of the “Well, you supported it when it was your guy doing it” sort. This is instantly, fatally discrediting to any person or group who gets “nailed” with it, and irrevocably taints not just them, but their arguments as well.

Now consider the relentless forward march of the surveillance/police state over the years since 2001. Under the Republican President Bush the Lesser, Democrats and other leftist types relentlessly denounced and opposed it, while Republicans and conservatives (with the limited exceptions of the small nascent Ron Paul movement and a few Old Right Pat Buchanan types) supported and defended it. What the NSA revelations have done is to reverse this – now it is those same Democrats and leftists (with a few limited exceptions of the Glenn Greenwald and Ted Rall variety) who support and defend the surveillance/police state; usually in language virtually identical to that with which the Bush-era Republicans defended it (or the Nixon-era Republicans defended what he did, as well).

The point here is not to illustrate that leftists are liars and hypocrites who are given to highly tribal “team” politics and weird personality cults – that much is obvious. It is to point out that, with the limited exceptions given above (which are small enough to be safely ignored by both the left-establishment and the right-establishment), now going forward, nobody will have the credibility or moral authority to vocally oppose the surveillance/police state. And what’s more, the sophisticated among the establishment political/media class know it, so in order to avoid embarrassment they won’t even try. Thus, virtually all opposition (and certainly all of it that cannot be easily labeled as “fringe” and ignored) to what is happening has now been effectively neutralized.

This may not be a conspiracy to “triangulate” opposition to the police/surveillance state into silence – and I am loath to ascribe to shadowy gatherings of men in weird robes what can be more simply explained by ordinary malfeasance, corruption, power-lust, greed, and incompetence – but once again we have a situation in which it couldn’t have worked out any better for the establishment if they actually had planned it.

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Red Cloud On Trusting Government

In the wake of the recent revelations of spying and abuse of power on the part of the government under his administration, Barack Obama had the following to say:

“If people can’t trust not only the executive branch but also don’t trust Congress, and don’t trust federal judges, to make sure that we’re abiding by the Constitution with due process and rule of law, then we’re going to have some problems here.”

To get a different perspective on this, I decided to ask Red Cloud, an Oglala Sioux Chief with extensive personal knowledge about what happens when you trust the government, to tell us about his experience in that area. His reply:

“They made us many promises, more than I can remember. They never kept but one… They promised to take our land – and they took it!”

It seems we may “have some problems here”, Mr. Obama.

There Will be No Reform

Over at his Miscellany blog, Bruce Charlton points out that after the 2008 economic crash, which was a clear warning of huge systemic problems in the economic affairs of the west, absolutely no meaningful reforms appeared, despite it being absolutely obvious what needed to be done in order to fix the problem and prevent reoccurences. Prof. Charlton states:

“I was thinking about the 2008 economic crisis, which I now regard as less of a profound international crisis and more of a warning. It was a warning that we in the West were spending more than we were producing, that apparent ‘economic growth’ was an illusory mixture of borrowing and inflation, and we were living off capital not income. What should have happened was a recognition and repentance, followed by reform – first to cut consumption, then to decide whether or how much to increase production. But 2008 was a warning which has not been heeded. There was no recognition, and no repentance – but instead there has been denial, lying and wishful thinking.”

I have deep respect for Prof. Charlton generally, but if there is any problem I find with his writings, it is that he vehemently rejects the Spenglerian historical view. If he didn’t, he would recognize the truth of its explanation of what’s happening here.

Simply put, every declining civilization reaches a point at which it becomes incapable of reform, even when the cures for its ills are glaringly obvious. This is a symptom of having become sclerotic; of living off of inertia instead of new ideas and new energies (something that’s inevitable and irreversible once the cultural phase of a society is past its peak); of a society being not only out of new ideas but out of the intellectual capital necessary to create new ideas; of corruption and cronyism having become so entrenched that no one any longer remembers any other way to do things or believes them to be possible. This is true of every declining civilization, in every time and place, under every political system.

Add to this the fact that the west is suicidal and has been for a century, since the calamity of 1914; that it longs for death and does everything it can to hasten it. Why else would it make war against its own children by committing unspeakable genocide against them in the womb? Why else would it willingly swamp itself with millions of dirt-poor Third Worlders who are both inassimilable and not particularly interested in being assimilated (though looking at what they’re being asked to assimilate into, one can hardly blame them)? Why else would it continue along a path that the intelligent and aware in its society cannot help but understand can only lead to financial ruin and societal oblivion?

There is no cure for this and there is no escape from it; as Spengler himself noted, “there is no question of prudent retreat or wise renunciation. Only dreamers believe that there is a way out”. Just so. So no, there will be no optimism here, as the time for listening to dreamers, fools, and death-seekers is at an end. You know what is coming. Prepare yourselves accordingly.

Old Media Deathwatch: WashPo Starts Selling Editorials

Little-noticed this week (meaning, little reported-on by the mainstream press) was the story that the Washington Post has discreetly begun selling editorial space to whoever can pay its price. Euphemistically called “sponsored views”, the Post says that it is “a new online advertising feature that invites organizations to post commentary related to or in response to content from The Washington Post’s Opinion section”, which “offers an opportunity for advocacy, communications and government affairs professionals to place their message in front of key constituents”.

Cut through the all the prevaricating, and the stench of desperation becomes unmistakable. No one who has eyes to see has believed that the Washington Post, or any of the rest of the left-establishment old media, has had any serious degree of credibility for a very long time, but this is so blatant and obvious that it cuts the legs out from under whatever small shreds of suspended disbelief may have been left out there. The first priority of any biased or corrupt organization is to maintain the illusion that it is not biased or corrupt. Selling corporations and special interest groups the chance to write editorials and have them placed in the Post’s pages – no matter what “restrictions” or “safeguards” are placed on them – is the kind of plain, undeniable, cards-on-the-table corruption that they’d never resort to unless things were very bad indeed. If they have let the mask slip to this degree, they’re in real trouble.

Good: as the great philosopher William Shatner said: “Let them die”. Their decline and fall is nobody’s fault but their own, and society will get along fine after them, just as it did before them. I will clap my hands at seeing another old media barbecue show.

Addendum To The Previous Post

The other lesson of the poll referenced in the previous post was one that I have also long spoken about; namely that when it comes to the defense of freedoms other than those which in some way or another involve sex – abortion, gay “marriage”, etc. – liberals are unreliable to the point of being utterly and completely useless. That is because sexual freedom, in all its forms, is the only freedom they objectively care about*. Other than that, when it comes to freedom, it’s all a matter of “кто кого” – of who is doing what to whom.

(*Of course, they care about welfare, group politics, hatred of religion, and unearned advantage, too – but no matter how much they may protest, those aren’t “freedoms” in any real sense.)

Democracy Is No Defense

A new poll finds that a healthy majority of Americans support letting the government snoop into their private business without any actual cause so long as some man from the government waves a terrorist boogeyman at them.

This proves what I’ve long said – that voting is not remotely the same thing as liberty, that democracy (and yes, this includes “representative republics” – a distinction without any functional difference) is no defense against oppression, and that 51% of your neighbors (or 51% of their elected representatives) can tyrannize you just as well as any tinhorn despot.

Well then, the majority shall get the tyranny they want, and deserve. I have no sympathy left for them. The older I get, the more I find myself completely out of sympathy for people who face the entirely predictable consequences of their own obviously poor decisions. Which is what the majority is facing now, and will face far more of in years to come.

But I am the 15%, and I will resist by fearlessly telling the truth.