The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Tick, Tick, Tick

We watched as neocons in George W. Bush's era convinced many of us that Saddam Hussein had to go, that Afghanistan—a country stuck in the tribalism of the Middle Ages—could become an actual democracy, that nation building was a real possibility across the Middle East. That did not work out well. We watched as progressives in Barack Obama's era supported a domestic policy that doubled the national debt and a foreign policy that gives new meaning to the word disastrous, creating among other things, a violence driven, Muslim migration that will permanently change the nature of European countries and their liberties. Now we watch as the elites on the Left, supported by their progressive base, and encouraged by the passive-aggressive behavior of the GOP elite conduct a slow motion coup attempt (based on non-existent evidence and pathetically weak accusations) to unseat an duly elected President of the United States. We observe political viciousness that is unprecedented in the modern era. And as a consequence, Washington is paralyzed, nothing gets accomplished, and the real problems that face this nation remain unresolved.

Richard Fernandez believes we're at a crossroads:
The poisonous atmosphere in today's politics illustrates how bitterly established interests will fight to protect their "gains". They will literally kill to preserve an agenda. For example GOP House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot and seriously wounded by someone "distraught" over the recent Republican electoral victory ...

Expect more, not less of this. The natural impulse of a political system in institutional crisis is to dig in. Too many institutions in the West remain decades after their birth, frozen in the moment of their creation. NASA, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the university system and the United Nations rule us from the past. Public life has become a museum of memes from which nothing can escape without a mummy hand dragging the fugitive back into the darkened interior. It is perhaps no coincidence the two most popular leaders of the Western left, Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders, might credibly impersonate Boris Karloff. They are here to lead us back to 1968.
It is this desperate grasp to maintain the status quo of power that has led us here. They (both the GOP and the Dems) appear to be incapable of compromise and uninterested in innovative thinking. They grasp at the past as the challenges of the future go unattended. A non-politician president is demonized and under siege, ensuring that any policy he might propose gets buried by the many factions that oppose him.

Fernandez continues:
The bureaucratic model needs to be replaced by the flash mob paradigm, where eternal bureaucracies give way to the task-oriented, time-limited endeavor. As one friend of mine put it, the most amazing thing about the cathedral builders is they disbanded themselves:

Imagine the modern world recast (but with modern technology) to the middle ages guild system. Deconstruct modern corporations. It's time for them to go. You want to build something? Issue a "casting call" via an app.

"If you wanted to build a cathedral you sent out messengers far and wide: "Five year project. Room and board and competitive pay. Looking for masons, wood workers, a master builder, etc. References from your local guild required. Bring your own tools. Show up from June 15th to June 30th and we'll hire the best"

Flash mob for building a cathedral.

No Cathedral building corporation, Inc. [and certainly, no government agency]
Our modern institutions will never self-disband; that's the problem. They have become historical projects, ends in themselves, destined to fulfill some idealized future that was new in 1917. They are condemned, like Sisyphus to roll the same old rock up the same old Hill with the same old result. Of the two roads along the razor's edge our world finds itself choosing, the institutions in crisis can't pick the path to prosperity and potential. That's not in their repertoire.
Outside the two coasts, the people have sensed all of this for many years. It wasn't just Bush or Obama, although the abject failures of the latter president did create a tipping point. It wasn't just Hillary Clinton's blatant dishonesty and corrupt behavior that lost her the presidency everyone expected her to win. It was a pervading sense that no career politician coming out of either party had a clue and that words, not actions, were all that we could expect. They're all clowns.

Fernandez quotes Glen Reynolds who writes:
Watching the ongoing clown show in Washington, Americans can be forgiven for asking themselves, “Why did we give this bunch of clowns so very much power over our nation and our lives?” ...

... the prerogative powers once exercised by English kings, until they were circumscribed after a resulting civil war, have now been reinvented and lodged in administrative agencies, even though the United States Constitution was drafted specifically to prevent just such abuses. But today, the laws that actually affect people and businesses are seldom written by Congress; instead they are created by administrative agencies through a process of “informal rulemaking,” a process whose chief virtue is that it’s easy for the rulers to engage in, and hard for the ruled to observe or influence.
As Fernandez notes, the clowns have a very limited repertoire—one that leads us into the past, not the future. For just a moment, we should all take a deep breath and ponder that reality. The clock is running and when the alarm finally goes off, it may be too late. Tick, tick, tick.