Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Mass Psychology of Rapid Global Transformation

The Recovering Bureaucrat is now taking a look at the question of the best possible way to address our rapidly changing political economy.  Just as our current assumptions are inadequate to provide adequate leadership for what is coming, so too our assessment of how humans are confronting a world seeming to spin out of control is too simplistic.

Where are we, and what will it take to regain sure footing in the weeks and months ahead?

The predictable decision by the majority Democrats who control California’s government to spend billions of borrowed dollars on the illogical and indefensible high speed rail project is an example of the the temporary insanity that has occupied the minds of the conventional power establishment.

The Recovering Bureaucrat suspects that this flight from reality will continue until we run out of every tactic for avoidance and denial.  After all, the evidence is that this madness has been gripping the minds of leaders across the globe for several years now, floating on a huge current of fear and paralysis that occupies many if not most of the citizenry of these nations. 

We are dealing with a concurrence of events the likes of which no human being has ever witnessed, and the indications are overwhelming that the rate of technological, social, and political economic change is accelerating, leaving us no time to catch our collective breaths and make sober-minded and wise decisions about how to proceed.  If that isn’t a legitimate source of fear, then the RB has no idea what might be.  It’s very difficult to blame people for wanting to pretend that what is happening isn’t.

Jonah Goldberg’s latest book The Tyranny of Cliches only hints at the mechanisms that hold the convention of denial in place.  In a certain way, it is highly unfortunate that this global breakdown had to occur on the Baby Boomers’ watch, for we are the generation that, in birthing a new level of consciousness, turned our collective backs on reason (“Eurocentric white men’s weapon of psychological oppression”) and turned emotion into the vehicle of collective decision-making.  We promoted the goofy slogan of “if it feels good, do it.”  We championed the silly construct of “self-esteem” as a desirable norm.  We decided that the only way to stop oppression was to oppress the oppressors, and developed an entire argot (political correctness) to cover up our own complicity in oppression.

So now, as the breakdown of the Industrial Age comes into full expression, we are stuck with only our feelings by which to fashion a strategy to deal with it.  Unfortunately, we are about to find out how useless this is.  “Feelings” are what fuels the otherwise inexplicable commitment by not only the Left but by major transnational corporations to indulge in the “green” fantasy of a fossil fuel-free “sustainable” political economy.  (Well, it may simply be that the corporations are just being willing to profit off some sucker’s folly.)  This is why the Left no longer has a defensible philosophy of governance, relying instead on increasingly overwrought appeals to people’s sympathies.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Obamacare v. Founding Principles

The Recovering Bureaucrat is as entertained by all the blather in the aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling in NFIB v. Sibelius as he was by all the bloviating leading up to it.  What is still clear is that the fault lines in our current political economy are holding up remarkably well, and neither side is about to recruit masses of converts from the other.  The presidential election will still go down to the wire in November—unless Europe falls off the cliff, something the Europhiles may have just barely delayed enough to help Obama avoid losing.

What amazes the RB is the remarkable power of denial that is gripping the political leadership and much of the citizenry of the Advanced Sector.  He has written extensively about the Eurozone delusion; the lead opinion in the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision last week preserves America’s version of the blue social model fantasy.  The RB disagrees and fights back because not only is the model’s dependence upon government intervention into civil society unsustainable, it has the effect of eroding the very republican virtues of self reliance, personal freedom, and individual responsibility that are the moral foundation of the American experiment and the wellspring of its prosperity.

As the RB has often pointed out, the reaction against our founding principles has existed since the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  But it was only with the rise of the Progressive Movement at the end of the nineteenth century that its critics turned to the federal government as an instrument of the insurrection.

Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin W. Roosevelt are the political leaders most complicit in this powerful undermining of America’s world historic achievement.  We should be grateful that nobody of their stature is around today to champion their misguided cause—but on the other hand neither do we have anybody of the stature of the founders or of Abraham Lincoln to champion American exceptionalism.

Walter Russell Mead has done us the favor of codifying the current “blue social model” version of the Progressive war against our fundamental values.  The decision authored by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is only the latest in a string of rulings favoring the blue social model since West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish in 1937 finally cleared the way for FDR’s New Deal interventionism.  In the thirties, as today, the left wing attacked the Court’s previous unwillingness to certify New Deal legislation as constitutional as “obstructionist and political.”